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- The coveted golden everything burrito.
The Academy Awards happen this Sunday, but let's be honest: the ceremony audiences are really excited for are the Lubies, CITY's annual Oscar-alternative honoring films, performances, and trends that have been unjustly overlooked by the Academy. In keeping with Lubie tradition, winners are rewarded not some useless hunk of metal, but with golden everything burritos.
In anticipation of the event, a host of Hollywood luminaries crammed into my apartment for the big reveal of this year's winners. The Lubies are a raucous occasion: margaritas flowed freely and tortilla chips were on the house, so it's not exactly shocking to report that the ceremony got a bit sloppy. But let me tell you, it was damn entertaining to watch. Who knows? With planning for this year's Oscars going the way it has, maybe it's time I start shopping around the broadcast rights to this far more enjoyable event.
Without further ado, on to the winners:
Best Supporting Actress: Cynthia Erivo, "Bad Times at the El Royale," "Widows"
The Tony- and Grammy-winning actress showed off her impressive range with two very different big screen roles this year. First she was an aspiring singer who gets mixed up in the no good goings-on of Drew Goddard's stylish neo-noir "Bad Times at the El Royale," spending a large portion of her screen time singing gorgeous renditions of Motown classics. Then in Steve McQueen's tragically Oscar-ignored heist drama, she was unforgettable as the bad-ass wheel woman for the film's band of would-be thieves led by Viola Davis. Put Erivo in everything, please.
- PHOTO COURTESY 20TH CENTURY FOX
- Cynthia Erivo with Viola Davis in "Widows."
Best Supporting Actor: Brian Tyree Henry, "If Beale Street Could Talk," "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," "Widows"
No actor had a better 2018 than Henry, who in addition to his work in "Hotel Artemis," "White Boy Rick," and TV's "Atlanta," delivered genuinely great performances in no less than three of the year's best films.
- PHOTO COURTESY SONY PICTURES
- Brian Tyree Henry in "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse."
Best Actress: Regina Hall, "Support the Girls"
Playing the tireless manager of a Hooters-esque sports bar struggling to keep her personal life from self-destructing and her rambunctious staff in line, Hall was the heart and soul of Andrew Bujalski's funny, empathetic film.
- PHOTO COURTESY MAGNOLIA PICTURES
- Regina Hall in "Support the Girls."
Best Actor: Stephan James, "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Regina King deservedly became the standout in the "Beale Street" cast over the past several months, picking up every award in sight in the run-up to the Academy Awards. But somehow James' excellent lead performance was almost completely ignored. As the wrongly incarcerated Fonny, James was absolutely heartbreaking.
- PHOTO COURTESY ANNAPURNA PICTURES
- Stephan James in "If Beale Street Could Talk."
Best Villain: Michael B. Jordan, "Black Panther"
Receiving his second Lubie Award (after picking up the Best Actor burrito for "Creed"), Jordan turned Erik Killmonger into the year's best baddie. Like the greatest screen villains, Killmonger's destructive impulses were rooted in a real, justifiable pain audiences could sympathize with.
Straight From My Nightmares: The bear, "Annihilation"
Nothing else on screen this year sent chills down my spine like this terrifying beast encountered by the scientists in Alex Garland's sci-fi thriller as they explored the Shimmer, a mysterious quarantined environment where the inhabitants are rapidly mutating due to an unknown alien contaminant.
- PHOTO COURTESY PARAMOUNT PICTURES
- Natalie Portman and ursine friend in "Annihilation."
Best Song: The title track from "Hearts Beat Loud"
All due respect to this year's likely Best Original Song Oscar-winner "Shallow," but the toe-tapping song recorded by the father-daughter duo (played by Keirsey Clemons and Nick Offerman) in this crowd-pleasing indie should have been getting just as much recognition.
Best Dad: Josh Hamilton, "Eighth Grade"
Most parents in teen movies are non-entities, but Hamilton's father figure was the unsung hero of the film. If you didn't tear up at his heartfelt fireside speech to Elsie Fisher near the end of Bo Burnham's sweet and sour tale of adolescence, you may need to check your pulse.
- PHOTO COURTESY A24
- Josh Hamilton in "Eighth Grade."
Shoulda Been a Contender: TIE: Jesse Plemons, "Game Night"; Hugh Grant, "Paddington 2"; Logan Marshall-Green, "Upgrade"
There's no better demonstration of the Academy's bias against genre and comedy films than the refusal to consider the work of Plemons, Grant, and Marshall-Green as real award contenders. In a just and fair world, all three actors would have been a serious part of the Oscar season conversation for their roles as, respectively, a lonely creep, a villainous actor, and a cyber-enhanced killer.
Best line delivery: "Oh no, he died!" Rachel McAdams, "Game Night"
No matter how many times I hear it, this line -- delivered by McAdams after witnessing a bad guy get sucked into a plane engine -- never loses its ability to crack me up.
Moment Most Guaranteed to Traumatize Kids for Years to Come: The Snap, "Avengers: Infinity War"
With a flick of his fingers Josh Brolin's big bad Thanos wiped out half of the universe -- beloved superheroes included -- in Marvel's early summer blockbuster, and I'll never forget the cries from the youngest audience members in my packed theater showing. Sure, we all expect that tragedy to be undone when "Avengers: Endgame" gets released on April 26, but in the moment, that pain was real.
- PHOTO COURTESY WALT DISNEY PICTURES
- Josh Brolin as Thanos in "Avengers: Infinity War."
Best Use of Technical Wizardry: "They Shall Not Grow Old"
Peter Jackson's fascinating WWI documentary breathed new life into 100 year-old film from the trenches, restoring the footage, then adding color, sound, and even converting it to 3D. Sure, not all of those additions were absolutely necessary, but the results were absolutely stunning.
Best Unearthed Cinematic Treasure: "Something Good -- Negro Kiss"
This joyous 20-second short film from 1898, containing what's believed to be the first kiss between two African-Americans captured on film, was rediscovered at a Louisiana estate sale by an archivist from the University of Southern California and added to the American National Film Registry in December. When Twitter user Kyle A.B. added Nicholas Brittel's sublime "If Beale Street Could Talk" score to the footage, it only deepened the emotional impact.
Adam Lubitow will live-tweet the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, February 24. Follow his coverage on Twitter @roccitynews.