There is no frontrunner for Best Picture this year. There’s many reasons to believe why one movie could win over the other, but none are wholly convincing. Right now, “Roma” is on top in terms of nominations and wins from other awards associations. At the same time, “Green Book” is not backing down with a win from the Producers Guild and “A Star is Born” isn’t giving up either as one of the biggest event movies of the year. Following behind is Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” a box office hit and the director’s best work in years. Also in contention is Barry Jenkins’ follow up to his Best Picture winning “Moonlight,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Marvel’s superhero epic turned cultural smash, “Black Panther.” There’s also a well-received period drama (“The Favourite”) and three biopics: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Vice,” and “First Man.”
A Star is Born
If Beale Street Could Talk
Although “Roma” is in a foreign language, director Alfonso Cuarón is the man to beat this year. He is already established in the industry for such works as “Gravity” and “Children of Men” and is one part of the Mexican trio of directors (Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro G. Iñárritu) who usually find their way to the podium at the Oscars. Following him is Bradley Cooper who proved his abilities with “A Star is Born,” Yorgos Lanthimos for “The Favourite” and a long overdue Spike Lee. I’m holding out hope that Barry Jenkins hasn’t been forgotten and will beat out Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”). Unfortunately, that outcome seems more likely than another woman getting nominated in the category, such as Debra Granik (“Leave No Trace”) or Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”).
Well, so much for Bradley Cooper being the lock for “A Star is Born.” The writer-director-actor doesn’t seem to have much of a campaign strategy and is juggling between his roles as a director and actor. He should easily secure both nominations, but this race is between Christian Bale and Rami Malek. For their transformations in the roles of Dick Cheney in “Vice” and Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” they’re both fresh off of a Golden Globe win. Who’s left is Viggo Mortensen in “Green Book” and hopefully Ethan Hawke in “First Reformed.”
With so many great performances throughout the year, the Best Actress race is always the most crowded. This year, there are a total of three frontrunners in Glenn Close (“The Wife”), Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”) and Lady Gaga (“A Star is Born”). Close won the Golden Globe and gave a speech so stirring it might’ve won her the Oscar. Tying with Gaga for the Critics’ Choice, the veteran actress is long overdue for the big prize. At the same time, Colman is holding her own and is a strong bet as the lead in a film that has been lauded for its triple whammy of great performances by women. I also predict Melissa McCarthy will be rewarded for showing us new depths in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and Emily Blunt will cash in some clout coins for a “Mary Poppins Returns” nomination.
Best Supporting Actor
If anyone hasn’t been damaged by controversy surrounding “Green Book,” it’s Mahershala Ali. In fact, his mature response to the situation on the campaign trail might be helping him get recognition for a role he dedicated himself to. The 2017 Oscar winner in the same category has been sweeping up major awards and stealing buzz from Richard E. Grant and Sam Elliott, no longer heavyweight contenders for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and “A Star is Born.” Trailing behind I see Timothée Chalamet for “Beautiful Boy” and Adam Driver for “BlacKkKlansman.”
Richard E. Grant
Best Supporting Actress
This category seems to be Regina King’s to lose. Her performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk” has already won the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice awards, though she was surprisingly not nominated at Screen Actors Guild. Meanwhile, “Vice” star Amy Adams received nominations from all three and is a perennial Oscar nominee never to have won. She is the only actress who I think could upset King in the end, but it’s not likely. Elsewhere, Claire Foy’s performance in “First Man” might be the film’s only chance at nominations outside of the technical or crafts categories. Joining them, I predict Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, who complete the trifecta in “The Favourite.”
Best Adapted Screenplay
Spike Lee will not likely win for directing, but his distinct writing voice could lead him to a “BlacKkKlansman” screenplay win. His biggest threat is Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which was adapted from a classic James Baldwin novel. Rounding out the category is Nicole Holofcener’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther.” The last two slots aren’t sure bets, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace” makes it in.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
A Star is Born
Best Original Screenplay
For Best Original Screenplay, “The Favourite” seems poised to win for its period details and costume farce. It is the clear frontrunner, followed by “Green Book,” “Vice” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.” Sneaking in the fifth slot is Paul Schrader’s excellent “First Reformed” script, if not Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade.”
Edited by Joe Cross | email@example.com