You may read a slew of blogs and binge on a gaggle of TV shows all opining who will win an Oscar for best this and best that. There’s another line of questioning that we feel is tad more important for cinephiles, not the critics.
The favorites and the real winners aren’t necessarily the same among the people who actually have to buy the tickets at the theater instead of getting the sneak peeks for press junkets.
This year, there are plenty of surprises surrounded by what you consider as the usual groups of suspects–the movies that get in consideration around December 27-31 and only critics with a snoot full of dialogue.
Now that we will actually see the winners of cinematography and editing, and won’t see a contrived, pandering to the nerd community “Popular Film” award, let’s go through the main awards and discuss predictions and those we prefer. Ready?
The Producers Guild, the Writers Guild, the Golden Globes, BAFTA–none of them have agreed on what is the Best Picture of 2018. From Green Book to Roma to even Black Panther. (And please, it was good…but not Best Picture good.) What on earth will Oscar do?
Roma. Alfonso Cuaron’s tale of a working class woman based in 1971 shouldn’t have the country wrapped around its finger, but it does. Namely because they it takes inspiration from Cuaron’s own childhood memories. They are powerful. They are precise. And they are captivating. Oscar isn’t a fan of “streaming movies.” The critics look on this original content as lesser-than, and this movie will fix all of that. For Hulu and Amazon Prime, the quest for real relevance begins now.
Directors are often Oscar’s gift to the cinema community, not the fans. This reward goes to their personal champion. Often, the Best Picture nod goes to the compromise between critics and fans. Best Director, on the other hand, honors AMPAS’ true feelings. Why? Because they can. This is why they really want to give it to Spike Lee. He’s always had chops and true vision, but not since Malcolm X has he had the chance. In 1993, he was up against Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven. This year, he will be beaten out again.
Alfonso Cuaron. Due respect to Spike Lee, Alfonso Cuaron should win the Best Director nod because he quite simply is this year. Unlike Roma, whenever his name is brought up in a category, he wins. His name is offered for consideration this year for best director; ergo, he wins.
For anyone who saw the man running from his past trying to avoid his future in Bradley Cooper, you knew he was the favorite to win. Then, Rami Malek and Christian Bale hit the silver screen later in the year. Both actors were part of biopics who absolutely personified the man in the movie. The members of Queen cried when they saw Bohemian Rhapsody. And if you had political consciousness when Dick Cheney was in office, you know Christan Bale was all him.
Rami Malek. When Malek was announced, fans were still butthurt that Sacha Baron Cohen was playing the part of the greatest front man in Rock and Roll history (come at us Internet). Then Malek took the screen and embodied the wide-eyed visionary of Farrokh Bulsara and the liberty, vigor, and resilience of Freddie Mercury. If he wins, it wouldn’t be a surprise, but political consciousness is a powerful thing in Hollywood.
Much like in the Best Actor category, Lady Gaga has been the toast of the town. She was phenomenal in A Star is Born. What Bradley Cooper was able to pull out of her was probably easier than many think. Gaga is viciously talented but this role was close to herself. In fact, it pretty much was her. The insecurity, the need for approval, the drive to finish. She has some stiff competition in Glenn Close and Yaltiza Aparicio. Shoot, even Melissa McCarthy put aside her laughs for a serious role that was a memorable experience.
Lady Gaga. It truly was a triumph, even gathering warranted praise from Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson personally. She was fantastic and if you didn’t cry in the final scene of the movie, check your pulse because you are probably dead. However, Glenn Close has gone a remarkable o-fer (0 wins of 6 nominations for Best Actress). That drought ends this year.
A couple of surprises with Sam Elliott and Adam “Kylo Ren” Driver in there, with some stalwarts in Sam Rockwell and Richard E. Grant. Then, there’s the rising star becoming a white hot supernova in Mahershala Ali. He’s already won once for Moonlight. He took that award running away from everyone. And if he wins tonight, he will be the only black actor since Denzel Washington to win multiple Oscars.
Mahershala Ali. There is a distinct reason nerds love him as much as critics, cinephiles as much as blerds. The man’s versatile and enigmatic talent ranges from comic book villains to period-piece heroes. Although he won two years ago, it’s no reason that he won’t now. Tom Hanks won back-to-back Best Actor awards for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. When an actor richly deserves the honor, most of the time, he wins it. Ali will. Again.
The wonderful world of Oscar has one movie that is beloved, two honors belong in this category. However, will they cancel each other out? The Favourite being one of those movies released Dec. 27-31 to only Los Angeles and New York City; yet, gets all the love. Admittedly, it hasn’t been wide view in the Matrix but this alone speaks of the rich talent on the screen. Aside from that, Roma (Oscar’s darling this year, you’ll see), Vice (Amy Adams was marvelous), and the surprising Regina King.
Regina King. Amy Adams is in the Glenn Close bridesmaid category, as an o-fer at the Academy Awards (0 for 5). She has richly deserved this award on a couple of occasions, but Regina King came from Boyz N The Hood (a true classic storytelling experience) to a tour-de-force in If Beale Street Could Talk. When this movie was released, no one was going to deny her the nod for Oscar. Then came SAG and BAFTA, which completely snubbed her. And those old cranks with AMPAS pay attention to stuff like that.
(And none of us have seen nominees for Best Shorts: Live, Animated, or Doc)