First Pass Oscar Predictions, 2019

Most of you know I was a professional film critic waaaay back in the day, and one of my hobbies every year is to look at the Academy Award nomination list when it comes out and guess, based on my experience, which people/films will walk away the awards. My prediction rate: Pretty decent! Usually I get five of the six main categories (Best Picture, Director, and the lead and supporting acting categories).

This year, before I begin, I’ll note: Kind of a weird year, nomination-wise. There are some heavily expected films/filmmakers in there, but also a bunch who… really weren’t? At least, they were a surprise to me. And there were some surprise omissions as well. All of which makes this a pretty damn interesting year for the Oscars, and for guessing who will win.

So let’s check out this year’s list and see how it goes.

BEST PICTURE 

Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
Roma
A Star Is Born
Vice

Eight nominations this year out of a possible ten, and an interesting spread. For years my usual advice would be to toss out of consideration any film that doesn’t also have a Best Director nod — which this year would punt Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book and A Star is Born — but this year I wouldn’t do that.

Two of these films, however, I think we can take out of contention immediately: Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody are the first off the boat. Black Panther gets a deserved nod in the category, but its other six nominations are in (sorry) undercard categories: No directing, acting or screenwriting nods here. Plus it’s a superhero film. It took the Academy until 2003 to honor a fantasy film, and it took another fifteen years after that to honor a science fiction film. It is correctly nominated in the category, but I don’t think the Academy can bring itself to give the nod to a superhero film (here; more on this later). Bohemian Rhapsody, on the other hand, has a Bryan Singer problem, as the director is in bad odor at the moment for being an alleged sexual harasser and predator, and also for being fired off the film essentially for being a flake. Rhapsody winning would be an embarrassment; these aren’t the Golden Globes, after all. People would actually care.

After that? It gets tricky! Honestly I feel like there are good arguments for each after this point. But let me rank them anyway. I don’t think The Favourite is actually the favorite, but 10 nominations, including director, screenplay and its domination of the actress categories, really can’t be overlooked. It could pull off a surprise. Likewise, BlacKkKlansman isn’t one I see making the final cut, mostly for subject reasons (it’s not usual winner fare), but it was well-regarded and it represents a comeback for Spike Lee, who, honorary awards aside, is fucking owed a competitive Oscar if you ask me. No one can say BlacKkKlansman isn’t of sufficient quality for a win. It could win.

Green Book is next out for me. It did well at the Golden Globes, but its awards season PR campaign has been a bit of a nightmare, what with its primary white actor tossing about the unexpurgated N-word in interviews, its screenwriter having to apologize for bigoted tweets and its director having to apologize for (checks notes) flashing his dick on previous movie sets. So all of that is a thing. Plus, you know, that whole “Driving Miss Daisy 2.0” issue, which maybe isn’t 100% fair, but when you have a Best Picture field that also includes Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman, it’s not hard to see which film in the field is targeted at white folks who want to feel good about how far we’ve all come. And, well. Here in 2019 and in the thick of the Trump Years, “how far we’ve all come” is well up for debate, isn’t it. Which brings us to Vice, which, whatever its other qualities, is a film about Dick Cheney, so, uh, yeah. Maybe I’m overestimating liberal filmmaking’s visceral disgust of the former vice president, but I don’t seeing it making it first past post out there in the Hollywoods.

So we’re down to A Star is Born and Roma. For me the big surprise of the Oscars is Bradley Cooper’s omission in the Best Director category (don’t feel too bad for him, he’s nominated in three other categories), and I think that’s indicative of how much the heat behind this seeming-juggernaut of the awards season has cooled. But cooled or not, I still think it’s one of the two films that has the best chance, especially if the actors branch of the Academy is scandalized that one of their own was not honored as director and seeks retribution/compensation (See: Argo). Beyond this the story is classic Hollywood, frequently told but as it happens rarely honored with awards, so maybe this time is the charm.

But then there’s Roma, which is brilliant and distinctive and classy and everything the Academy loves to see in a Best Picture winner, has great production story to boot, and is from a director who everyone loves (who also shot and wrote the film and is nominated in those categories). It’s the closest thing this year to the front runner, buuuuuuuut there are two wrinkles: It’s also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and it’s from Netflix. I’s fair to say the Academy hasn’t quite figured out what it thinks about, or wants from, that streaming service, and maybe there’s some residual animosity/whatever there (Disclosure: I have deals with Netflix for things in development/production. I like Netflix, personally. They give me money!).

The A Star is Born-winning scenario is Roma winning the Foreign Language award and Alfonso Cuarón winning Best Director (and/or screenplay or cinematography), leaving the field open for Bradley Cooper’s film. It seems unlikely the Academy will vote for Roma for Foreign Language and Best Picture. So who the Foreign Language winner is will be your first big clue of how the evening will go.

If you put a gun to my head about it, I’d say Best Picture will go to A Star is Born, because, aside from everything else, it wouldn’t hurt the Academy these days to honor as Best Picture a film that made more than $100 million at the domestic box office (the last one to do that: Argo, six years ago). The Academy members know their organization is reeling from PR issues and could use a hit, in more ways than one. But Roma could very definitely take it, and possibly should. If neither of them do it, who knows? The only thing I do know is that if Green Book takes it, black Twitter is going to be lit for the next week afterward.

Will Win: A Star is Born
Should Win: Roma 

DIRECTOR

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice

Congratulations to Pawlikowski for (probably) punting Bradley Cooper out of the fifth Best Director slot and for raising his profile considerably. He won’t win here, but if Cold War wins in Foreign Language (which it probably will, if Roma does not), he’ll still get his moment and it will probably be good news for Roma, too. So everyone wins (except, uh, A Star is Born). I’m pretty sure Lanthimos and McCay are along for the ride here, although of the two I think Lanthimos has an outside chance, and we should all watch the next few weeks to see if The Favourite’s star rises generally. I think Spike Lee has a reasonable chance although again this might just be me projecting my come on for fuck’s sake it’s Spike Lee feelings here. For all that I’ll be mildly shocked if Cuarón doesn’t walk with this one. This is as close to a gimme as this year is giving us.

Will Win: Cuarón
Should Win: Cuarón

LEAD ACTRESS

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Probably the most competitive category because there are good arguments for everyone here: McCarthy is stretching herself as an actor and the Academy loves that; Aparicio is literally coming out of nowhere (from the Hollywood point of view) and that’s a deeply attractive thing for voters; Colman is an actor’s actor and I suspect has a lot of admirers in the acting branch and beyond; and Lady Gaga is Lady Gaga and she basically carries A Star is Born on her surprisingly naturalistic shoulders.

In any other year, I’d put chips on Gaga and Colman, but here’s the thing: This is Glenn Close’s seventh Oscar nomination, and if anyone deserves the “career award” path to an acting Oscar win — in which the Oscar win is less about the particular performance than the recognition that the person should seriously have won by now — it’s Close. Does Close deserve the Actress Oscar for The Wife, against all the other performers in the field this year? Maaaaaaybe? Does she deserve an Oscar? Oh hell yes she does. I suspect the Academy members know it, too.

Will Win: Close
Should Win: Colman

LEAD ACTOR

Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

I think Mortensen is one of our most interesting actors generally and I can watch him in just about anything, but he certainly hasn’t been helping himself recently on the PR front, and I don’t really see this being the role that nets him an Oscar (I suspect Mortensen, who is quirky, is probably okay not winning, so). Aaaaand I don’t think Actor is the Oscar Vice is going to get, Bale’s method acting aside (he’s already got an Oscar, and he’ll be back, so he’ll be fine). So that leaves Cooper, Dafoe and Malek. Malek’s possible, and in fact I think this is Rhapsody’s best chance at a big award, but Cooper is in a similar(ish) role and his film is generally less problematic. On the other hand, if Star wins Best Picture, Cooper picks up an award there, and Academy members do like to spread awards around these days. But on the other other hand: Willem Dafoe, who like Close is certainly eligible for the “Career Oscar” treatment, and whose performance as Vincent Van Gogh is widely acclaimed. I am personally vaguely annoyed that a 63-year-old actor is playing “the final years” of a man who died at 37, but honestly who cares what I think about that.

This category I’m not sold on any particular person being the front runner, but for now I’ll go with Dafoe and see if it sticks in the next few weeks. If not Defoe, I’ll say Malek, with Cooper consoling himself(!) with a mere Best Picture statuette.

Will Win: Dafoe
Should Win: Bale

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Ali and Rockwell have won Oscars within the last couple of years and I don’t think there is a huge belief among Academy members that they absolutely must have another one right now, so I’m going to go ahead and drop them out of consideration. Adam Driver I think is happy to be here! Good for him, I think we’ll see him in this category again at least a couple more times in the future. I don’t think it’s his year (although if it is, that’s gonna be a good sign for Spike Lee). I’m delighted to see Grant in the category as I’ve been a fan of his since How to Get Ahead in Advertising, and I think there is a pretty good chance he’ll get the nod. But at the end of the day I think it’s Sam Elliot’s to lose, and I will be surprised if he does.

Will Win: Elliot
Should Win: Elliot

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Stone and Weisz already have Oscars and again there’s not a huge rush to give either another. And after that, who knows? Any of the other three could take it. My money is on Adams, who is a multiple nominee, is edging into “she should have an Oscar as some point so why not now” territory, and whose Oscar win would take care of Vice’s Oscar recognition generally. But King and de Tavira should not be counted out, particularly King, who already won a Golden Globe for this role, and otherwise has recently won an Emmy. So: We’ll see!

Will Win: Adams
Should Win: King

Other Awards: I’ve already talked about Foreign Language — if Roma wins, it’s likely to be A Star Is Born’s night; if not, then Roma is still in the running for Best Picture. If Lady Gaga doesn’t get Actress, she will be able to content herself with an Original Song Oscar, as “Shallow,” which she co-wrote, is a prohibitive favorite in the category. In the screenplay categories, I’m feeling The Favourite and also maaaaaaybe BlacKkKlansman, the latter being a place where Academy members have a chance to give Spike Lee his competitive Oscar (but I’m very soft on that prediction). If you’re wondering where Black Panther has a shot, see Costume and Production Design, with (I think) Costume being the best chance (It’s also up in the Sound categories, but I don’t have a feel for those).

I do think a superhero film will win an Oscar: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is I think the hot tip for the Animated Film Oscar. Incredibles 2 might still take it (which would not be the worst thing, it’s perfectly good!), and I have to say I have a soft spot for Ralph Breaks the Internet, because my pal Pamela Ribon co-wrote the screenplay, and it’s hilarious. But, yeah. Spider-Man was a game-changer, and if it doesn’t win, it was robbed.

I’ll check in again just before the actual ceremony to see if my feelings about the categories have changed at all. In the meantime, you may now entertain your own Oscar thoughts in the comments.

41 thoughts on “First Pass Oscar Predictions, 2019

  1. Was anyone else as gobsmacked as I was that WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR was not even nominated for Best Documentary?……

    The only thing I can figure is that all of the Academy voters were all “well, OBVIOUSLY it’s gonna get nominated so let me try to use my ballot to show some love for other documentaries” and in the end, everyone else thought someone else was going to vote for it and so no one did.

  2. I have to agree with your thoughtful analysis, which is why I must also assume we will both be proved wrong.

  3. The nominee I would have liked to see for Best Actress was Elsie Fisher for Eighth Grade, a film that the Oscars ignored completely. But it didn’t happen, so looking for a win for her is pointless.

    With that off the table, I’d love to see Can You Ever Forgive Me? get its two acting awards. That also isn’t likely to happen.

    Rami Malek for Best Actor all the way!

    I think you have underestimated the Academy’s hatred of Netflix. Roma will get a Best Director statue because they love Cuarón, but their hatred of Netflix will keep the film from getting Best Picture. Perhaps that means that Spike Lee will finally get his turn.

  4. @KWadsworth The Academy has often shown bias against documentaries that people actually watch, though it has gotten less severe over the years. In any case, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? should have gotten a nomination.

  5. I believe you’ve misattributed Glenn Close in the Lead Actress section: “Does Close deserve the Actress Oscar for ‘The Favorite’, against all the other performers in the field this year?” Should be ‘The Wife’.

  6. I’m rooting hard for Hannah Beachler! (Black Panther, Production Design). She’s from Centerville Ohio and a Wright State grad.

  7. Thank you. I never understood Oscar nominations as opposed to films people want to watch. While I don’t think I truly do so now, I have a better understanding of it. I think BlackKlansMan should win best oscar but am not sure how Directors get judged. Thank you again.

  8. While I’m not saying VICE is going to sweep awards, I do think Bale will probably still get the Actor win, in part because I don’t agree with your logic about the movie, re: “Maybe I’m overestimating liberal filmmaking’s visceral disgust of the former vice president, but I don’t seeing it making it first past post out there in the Hollywoods.” Because it’s definitely a biopic by-and-for people who do not like Dick Cheney. Will it win Best Picture? Probably not– I think you’re right that it’s really between Roma and Star Is Born, unless Green Book pulls a Crash. But I think Bale seems the more likely winner in the actor category.

  9. I thought Star is Born was good nostalgia for folks who loved Queen’s music. The movie was …. innnteresting, but then again, it was seriously flawed in the the “bandmates write a movie where the one dead bandmate is to blame for everything” kind of vibe.

    In the movie, freddie going solo is portrayed as breaking up the band and the bandmates are mad at him for going solo. In reality, two bandmates had done a solo project before Freddie ever did. In the movie, the band was broken up when Live Aid rolls around and they didnt want to play because they were so out of practice. In reality, they had been on a world tour and didnt want to do live aid because they were exhausted. The movie shows freddie going solo as breaking up the band. The reality is they never really broke up. The movie shows that freddie being abusive and neglectful toward the band prior to the breakup being something he needed to apologize before the band would forgive him and get back together. The reality was they never really broke up. They were never really estranged the way the movie portrayed it. The movie skates right up to and peers over the edge of the notion that Freddie’s wild ways broke up the band and was something he had to apologize for to get the band back together. In reality the band never broke up, were never estranged.

    In the movie produced by the band’s lawyer/agent with two band members serving as consultants, everything is ultimately Freddie’s fault, only Freddie does outrageous things, and only Freddie has to apologize for anything. Its a shockingly one-sided version of the band’s history.

  10. All in all pretty well considered. Seems like you have potentially a lot of “Lifetime Achievement” Oscars, and I suspect the Academy members won’t go for all of Close, Elliott, Dafoe and Adams on that basis. I think Elliott is the closest to a shoe in, but any of the others could lose (and I think Dafoe probably loses because who saw that movie). My favorite would be Malek with a side of Cooper. Otherwise I think King has the best chance of winning supporting actress.

    Also, you say that if Roma *loses* the best Foreign Language Oscar then that’s a good sign for it’s chances for Best Picture, but I don’t see the voters embracing the cognitive dissonance of awarding Roma the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year, while not also considering it the Best Foreign Language Film.

  11. They should do a new category, the “You didn’t had an Oscar ’cause we were assholes”, and select those artists that weren’t recognized back in the day. Give a dozen every year. Or 20.
    Of course, the first one should be given to Spìke Lee.

  12. Everyone checkout Mirai by director Mamoru Hosada for Best Animated Feature. Its is about a young boy who has to deal with a baby sister and some wibbly wobbly timey wimey incidents. This is Hosada’s 7tth film. He is the first non-Ghibli director to be nominated in Best Animated Feature. Please consider it for Hugo nomination.

  13. After Amy Adams waz robbed by not being nominated for Arrival I agree she falls into that category of “should have”! My heart wants Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther to win all the awards, but my head tells me they have no chance.

  14. What about the slights? Aside from Won’t You Be My Neighbor, it’s a crime that Sorry to Bother You didn’t get at least an Original Screenplay nom.

  15. First off – JUSTICE FOR MICHELLE YEOH! WTF she’s not up for Best Supporting Actress for CRAZY RICH ASIANS is beyond me. (At least, she – and we – will always have Evil STAR TREK….)

    Agree about Spike Lee – not a favorite normally, but BlacKkKlansman is his best film in years, and it’s time. (Of course, the last time I’ve been blown away by Lee was Bamboozled, so YMMV.) Yorgos Lanthimos is one of those Great Directors who’s Just Too Flipping Weird for The Academy to be comfortable with – he’s he kind of guy who will end up getting a Life Achievement Award of some kind, probably when Hollywood thinks he’s on Death’s Door….

    Definite Hell to the YES! for Sam Elliott – he’s been kicking around since the late Sixties/early Seventies doing solid to great work (his weakest role was one of his first, playing Peter Lupus’s replacement for a half-season on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE).

    Can’t decide between Close (not a personal favorite of mine) and Colman (who’s like that MST3K joke/truism about Gene Hackman, “So Good in Everything [S]He does…”) – though a sneaky part of me thinks they’ll cancel each other out and Lady Gaga will win for A STAR IS BORN.

    Bradley Cooper deserves all the awards for making A STAR IS BORN happen, and happen in a way that doesn’t make you want to yark! (Example – either Barbra Streisand’s version, or a recent Bollywood copy, AASHIQUI 2.) But I have a bad bad feeling he may cancel himself out….

  16. I’m too lazy to go back and check, but I don’t recall you getting all the top awards right last year. I remember you being somewhat negative on THE SHAPE OF WATER winning (as it did) Best Picture.

    OK, I wasn’t too lazy after all. Your pick was:
    Should win – GET OUT
    Will win – GET OUT

    WATER did not even make your three finalists. You predicted Paul Thomas Anderson would win Best Director, though you did say that Guillermo del Toro should win. You got three of the four acting awards (not Willem Dafoe) right.

    That makes three out of six.

  17. Last year I told my son to use your predictions for his betting pool because you usually get five out of six right. You went three for six. Now my son has lost his faith in both of us.

  18. I’m neither surprised nor disappointed by the omission of WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR, which is a perfectly pleasant docu-bio, but nothing more than that.

    Appalled at the noms for BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (such a grotesquely dishonest movie) and Malek, which in a few years are going to look awfully embarrassing.

    Lots of nominees in the wrong category — Ali and all three of the FAVOURITE actresses.

    And while I’m happy to see a nomination for Richard E. Grant, I’m sorry that an even better performance from Hugh Grant, in PADDINGTON 2, was never even part of the conversation.

  19. Disappointed in zero noms for Black Panther in the Best Supporting categories. Danai Gurira? Michael B. Jordan? Not to mention snubs for Ryan Coogler.

  20. Can you explain the rationale for nominating Colman as lead vs Stone and Weisz as supporting? Without taking anything away from Colman’s excellent performance I could make a good case for Stone being lead, and a decent case for Weisz. Is it based on order in the credits?

    Very interesting movie, thankfully a bit more approachable than The Lobster. But only a bit.

  21. Is there still a hard maximum of ten potential Best Picture nominees and they only nominated eight, or did they drop it from ten to eight maximum Best Picture nominees?

    If there were two potential slots for Best Picture left empty, can you think of any movies that really deserved the slot? I enjoyed the heck out of Tag and Deadpool 2, but I’d never think they deserved an Oscar for Best Picture. There are a couple of movies I wanted to see in 2018 that were supposed to be exceptional, even transcending genre, like Widows, Sorry To Bother You, and Eighth Grade, but I’m not seeing any sign of them in award season.

    I do hope that First Man wins for sound mixing or sound editing. The soundscape captured the disconcerting feeling of being strapped in the warhead of a missile going kablooey.

  22. “No one can say BlacKkKlansman isn’t of sufficient quality for a win.”

    I can.

    It was mostly style, and very very preachy. It was like getting hit repeatedly in the head with a baseball bat labeled “Message!”

    There were parts I enjoyed, but on the whole I thought it was a bad movie. You can make your point without being belligerent about it. That just shows contempt for your audience, that they are not smart enough to see it without being smacked in the face with it.

  23. Djscman:

    There are ten potential slots, but each film has to have a certain percentage of total votes as well. So the films that would have been in slots nine and ten didn’t have a sufficient percentage of total votes.

    pjcamp:

    There have been preachier movies that have won, I assure you.

  24. Me: “I thought Star is Born was good nostalgia for folks who loved Queen’s music”

    Dafuq? Replace star is born with bohemian rhapsody.

    Timothy: “Bradley Cooper deserves all the awards for making A STAR IS BORN happen, and happen in a way that doesn’t make you want to yark!”

    Meh. Tragedy doesnt mean Good.

    Coopers suicide in the movie wasnt on the menu until act3, when he is in rehab telling some random dude he tried committing suicide as a kid. At which point, it was the only possible outcome. That was pretty crappy. If you are gonna use chekovs gun in act 3, dont introduce it in act 2.9 fer petes sake.

    At a couple points in the movie, cooper chastizes gaga for singing a song about a guys butt and other nonsense. She never establishes whether she wanted it or was willing to sacrifice her principle for a voice, or whether she even had principles, or if she sold out. We dont know. Cooper is clear you only have so much time to be heard. Her character is so much more underdeveloped than his in this regard.

    And the suicide at the end felt pretty undeserved. It didnt come up until act 3. And the reason he did it was because the scumbag agent said he was hurting her career. Meanwhile, we never hear her say her career was more important to her than cooper. Far as we see her behavior, she chose cooper over her career, and two men take action to counter that because they think they know whats best for her.

    Her charcter never even gets the chance to fight her agent or stop cooper commiting suicide. She has almost no agency the entire movie.

  25. “Can you explain the rationale for nominating Colman as lead vs Stone and Weisz as supporting?”

    The studio thought they’d have a better shot of getting a win for Colman on her own than of getting a win for either Stone or Weisz, who would likely split the vote. And since they see Best Actress as a more prestigious award than Best Supporting Actress, they put Colman alone in the lead category.

    For the most part, the studio decides which actors it will campaign in which categories; those decisions are not always reality-based. I would have reversed the categories of all three actresses — I think Stone and Weisz are co-leads and Colman is supporting — but it’s not the worst case of category fraud in Oscar history, or even in this year’s nominations (Mahershala Ali is obviously a co-lead in GREEN BOOK).

    Occasionally, Academy voters ignore the studio’s categorization. In 2008, Kate Winslet had two roles in contention, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and THE READER. Both were lead roles, and you can’t be nominated in the same category twice, so the studios agreed to campaign THE READER as a supporting role, which was complete hooey. Winslet and the studios got away with it at the Golden Globes, where she won both awards — Best Actress for REV ROAD and Best Supporting Actress for THE READER. The Oscar voters, however, nominated her only for THE READER, and in the Best Actress category. But that was a rare exception; the voters will usually obey the studios’ wishes, even when an actor is clearly being run in the wrong category.

  26. I really wish THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD hadn’t missed the deadline for Oscar nomination, because it was very well done.

  27. Speaking of Colman (disclaimer: I am a *huge* fan), has anyone seen Tyrannosaur ? It’s harrowing, difficult, and bloody magnificent.

  28. Man, some years I’ve seen a lot of the nominees and some years I haven’t…but usually I’m AWARE of more of them. I have Netflix but I’ve never heard of Roma. I’ve never heard of the The Favorite. I knew OF BlacKkKlansmen, Green Book and others, but i guess i just wasn’t that invested in SEEING them. It’s hard to believe it’s really been less than a year since Black Panther, tbh. Bohemian Rhapsody felt like a movie I would get annoyed seeing (both from a problematic director and the sanitizing of history endorsed by the band). A Star is Born and Vice just sound like things I wouldn’t want to see. Cold War? Another one I’m unfamiliar with. Can you ever forgive me is one I’ll watch when it hits a streaming service, but again…2016 to now has been so stressful, watching films about unhappy people, unpleasant people or straight up tragedies? Low on my list of things to do for self-care. At Eternity’s Gate is a movie I’d never heard of until right now, but Dafoe as Van Gogh? I’m here for that…although again, not in the theater.

    Honestly, I’d just rather go watch ‘Into the Spider-verse’ again.

  29. I’m rooting for Close and Elliot for the reasons you give (and lifelong hots for Elliot) and BlakKlansman as best picture. Nice to have so much quality available!

  30. Oh god Viggo Mortenson is a racist? I’m seriously disappointed in him because I love to watch him act, but WTF?

  31. Kaci:

    I doubt seriously Mortensen is racist in the “white robes” sense, and I’m pretty sure given the nature of the film that he supports racial equality. My understanding is that he used the N word to make a point, which is rarely a very good idea for a white dude to do.

  32. Mortensen said in a q and a session: “People don’t say ‘n****r’ anymore,”

    He said the full word, rather than saying “n-word” or some euphemism.

    Thinking viggo is racist because of *that* is pretty fucking silly.
    About the same level of silly that tries to ban Huck Finn because it contains the same word. People need to allow for context, fer fucks sake, and room for mistakes.

    The problem with Green Book isnt Viggo slipping on a word. The problem is Dr Shirley’s family says the entire movie is bullshit. That Dr Shirley fired Tony after a year and a half, that they were never friends, that it was a employer/employee relationship only.

    Thing is, the screenplay is cowritten by Tony’s son, and no one behind the movie ever talked to anyone in Dr Shirley’s family about the accuracy of anything. So Tony’s son basically rewrote what happened to make his dad look better than he really was, and somehow absolutely no one working on the movie thought to pick up a phone and call Dr Shirleys family to verify a single word of it.

    And THAT might sink Green Books chance of winning…..

    https://www.indiewire.com/2018/12/green-book-controversy-shirley-family-lies-mahershala-ali-apology-1202028687/

  33. I think Roma has a better chance at “best picture” than is generally thought. Even granting the formidability of the foreign film and Netflix barriers, Roma has inspired a great deal of passion among its partisans, not just in the “this movie is great” sense but in the “this takes cinema to the next level” sense. The question is whether this passion will translate into voting numbers.

    A Star Is Born does make the most sense as a consensus choice, the sort of hard-to-dislike film that picks up a lot of second- and third-place votes, playing to the strengths of preferential balloting. I suspect this is how The Shape of Water won last year over four films (Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Phantom Thread and The Post) that looked more like “traditional prestige pictures” than most of the films AMPAS has been honoring in the last decade, and over four other films which inspired specialized passions that apparently didn’t transfer to other films in the same cohort – Get Out (too black), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (too white), Call Me by Your Name (too gay) and Lady Bird (too girly).

    If A Star Is Born wins “best picture”, I think that’s how it’s going to happen. But will it start out with enough support to benefit from all those hypothetical 2nd-/3rd-place votes? If it doesn’t, and if it gets eliminated in the balloting at, say, 3rd place, I could see most of its own 1st-place votes being reallocated to something relatively traditional and comforting such as Green Book. (Especially in the current social climate, cinematic comfort can certainly inspire its own form of passion, not one to be ruled out in favor of the more supposedly purely aesthetic kind.)

    However, I suspect A Star Is Born’s support to be so heterogeneous that if it is eliminated before the final balloting, its accumulated votes will likely be spread more or less evenly among the remaining contenders, with none of them significantly gaining or losing in the process. If it does make it all the way to the final elimination, though, it’s going to be very tough to beat.

    There is one way to beat such a contender, as Hugo-voting stats show – start off with such a commanding lead among 1st-place choices that you don’t need so many 2nd-place ballots to make it over the top. IMHO, I think this is Roma’s most likely path to a “best picture” Oscar. As noted above, the film inspires a lot of passion among its fans. But will there be enough of those fans in AMPAS? With resistance to the Netflix-taint apparently weakening, and the Academy’s diversification efforts strengthening the hand of its international cinephile contingent, the answer is…maybe?

  34. Neither “Sorry To Bother You” nor “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” is on the Best Picture list, so I’m at a bit of a loss there.

    (I’ve heard that the reason “Sorry To Bother You” has zero nominations is simple: the people who made it refused to mount an active Oscar campaign. Which is interesting in itself.)

  35. I wish I could give a similarly well thought out review of the Best Original Score nominees. However, I have yet to get my hands on the score to Black Panther (which has good buzz). The darn “music inspired by” CD is everywhere. I also have yet to listen to Mary Poppins Returns since I did not think it would be nominated.

    First Man has some very good music. Isle of Dogs is solidly okay. I do not like jazz so I think I cannot be as fair to BlacKkKlansman and Terence Blanchard as he deserves, according to movie music people who like jazz.

    According to IndieWire the smart money is on First Man.

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