It’s been a long, arduous journey to the Oscars this year. From the flameout of “A Star is Born” and “First Man” on the awards circuit, to the controversy surrounding the show, this has been the most chaotic and unpredictable ceremony in recent memory. And none of that is getting into the myriad of criticism facing “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which need their own article.
The Academy announced in August that it was going to create a new category called Best Achievement in Popular Film. This decision was highly criticized and soon taken away. However, the Academy seems to have tried to compensate for the loss of this category by giving nominations to movies that many people saw like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “A Star is Born” and, most notably, “Black Panther.” The latter film’s nomination marks the first time a billion-dollar film has been nominated for Best Picture since “Avatar.”
Here are some predictions for this year’s Oscars:
Will Win: “Roma”
Once upon a time, this was “A Star is Born’s” prize to lose. Fast forward a few weeks and those prospects have slowly died. “Green Book” could become this decade’s “Crash,” but so far it looks like Alfonso Cuaron’s personal story about a maid could become the first foreign language film to win. Netflix has poured money into it and gained huge success, so for now, I’m fairly confident in predicting a win here. It may not live up to all of the hype but it’s a solid choice.
Should Win: “Black Panther”
Literally anything that isn’t “Green Book” or “Bohemian Rhapsody” (aka, “Driving Miss Daisy 2: Electric Boogaloo” and “What if we made Freddie Mercury’s life a boring biopic that demonizes his sexuality”) would be good at this point. It would be especially galling if Spike Lee lost again to an outdated, unchallenging fable about race. As much as I deeply adore “The Favourite,” I’ll give this one to “Black Panther.” It’s the best Marvel movie to date, and will be the film people remember when they look back on the year.
Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
Cuaron cleared all of the big awards this season, and he looks to be a lock for his second trophy. Interestingly, he’s one of two directors nominated this year for a foreign language film, the other being Pawel Pawlikowski for “Cold War.” If either won, it’d be the first time a foreign language film won the prize.
Cuaron’s famous long takes and lack of score are used to good effect in this black and white film. Though it doesn’t match up to “Children of Men” in quality, it is certainly good enough to garner Cuaron his second Oscar for directing.
Should Win: Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Did you know that Spike Lee has never been nominated for Best Director or Best Picture in his over 30-year long career? It’s high time that was corrected, and “BlacKkKlansman” is some of his best work.
Will Win: Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Both front-runners here have their fair share of controversy: Viggo Mortensen dropping the n-word in a panel interview and giving a bizarre take on black men directing samurai films and the sexual assault allegations surrounding Bryan Singer finally becoming impossible to ignore, tainting the campaign around “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Malek has been able to skate past the controversy, making this the safest way to award the film.
Should Win: Christian Bale, “Vice”
Last year’s winner in this category, Gary Oldman, proved that being unrecognizable can play a factor in bringing home the hardware. Bale disappears into his character in this role as the soft-spoken yet frightening Dick Cheney.
Will Win: Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Once upon a time, Lady Gaga was the front-runner here. Those hopes were dashed when Close unexpectedly won the Golden Globe and gave a heartfelt speech about her mother. She’s been nominated and lost so many times, the Academy will probably give it to her as a make up. Gaga will have to settle for the certainty of winning Best Original Song.
Should Win: Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
McCarthy takes a turn for drama here, playing writer-turned-forger Lee Israel, and she’s a revelation. Many of her comic performances end up going into a loud and boisterous territory, but here, she’s charming as the misanthropic Israel, underpinning it with a vein of sadness and anger. Combined with her chemistry with Richard E. Grant (more on him in a bit), she’s a joy to watch.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Ali deserves better than this, a role where he exists solely to teach a white man that racism is bad. He’s a fine actor, as seen in “Moonlight,” but his performance is good because he elevates the weak material he’s given. If he’s the only award “Green Book” wins, so be it.
Should Win: Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
As Melissa McCarthy’s partner in crime, Grant is simply a delight to watch. Free from the self-loathing that usually characterizes gay men in the early ’90s, he hustles and schemes, drinks and cavorts and looks great doing it. Not to mention he’s been a ray of sunshine all award season.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
King has been a mainstay on television for her work in “The Leftovers” and “American Crime” (for which she won two Emmys).As the mother of lead Trish, she’s an exuberant, loving woman desperate to secure her daughter’s happiness. She won the Golden Globe for this role as well, and a win here would be perfect.
Should Win: Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”
My brain logically knows that Regina King should win, and it’s a great performance, but my heart descends into gay shrieking everytime I remember Rachel Weisz’ catty, ball-busting portrayal of Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Malborough, who is taking charge and squaring off. Plus she wears a shooting outfit that is to die for.
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: “The Favourite”
A deliciously wicked, riotously funny script that never punches down, there’s no script I’ve loved more this year. The reversals that come up with each of our three heroines in their relationships are dealt with subtly but not so much that the audience loses track. It’s a fine line to walk, but it’s one that this movie walks with grace.
Should Win: “The Favourite”
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: “BlacKkKlansman”
The true life story of a black cop infiltrating and taking down a KKK cell is entertaining and firey, and if the Academy doesn’t want to split Picture and Director, it will probably give Lee his first Oscar here. It would also be an antidote to the presence of “Green Book” in Original Screenplay.
Should Win: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Nicole Holofcener’s adaptation of Lee Israel’s memoir does everything a great adaptation should. The best may be the integration of the main characters’ sexualities: not making it the focus or hiding it, but simply allowing them to exist as characters who happen to be queer. It also makes a wistful portrait of New York and creates some suspense out of hitting a typewriter.
Will Win: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
Usually, the annual Pixar tearjerker is the shoe-in for this award, but this year seems to be an exception. The unique animation style of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” gives the Academy an excuse to give it a win. With a great protagonist, dope soundtrack, tight writing and an overall fun ride, there is no reason that this movie shouldn’t be given honors equal to “Coco,” “Inside Out” and “Shrek”.
Should Win: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
It’s the most visually stunning and experimental movie to come out in ages. And on top of that, it’s hilarious, heartfelt and thrilling.