A Star Is Born
Dark Horse: Crazy Rich Asians
Long Shot: First Man
Total Shock: If Beale Street Could Talk
The skinny: This season has been wild, and not necessarily in a fun way. A Star Is Born seemed to have this all locked up. Then Green Book came along to win the People’s Choice Award at Toronto (a strong precursor for a nominee, if not a winner), endured some backlash, then won numerous prizes (including Best Picture – Comedy at both the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards), then had two really gross things from its director’s and writer’s past resurface. So if it’s not quite your front runner anymore, it’s still a contender because it’s the old guard’s favorite movie. Roma is certainly formidable, but had almost all its oxygen sucked up by Bird Box of all things. Still, a foreign language film has never won Best Picture, despite being nominated three times in the last 21 years. I don’t see anything expanding this beyond this field of eight. Crazy Rich Asians could pick up a courtesy nod. (It’s already gotten ensemble notices from SAG and PGA.) But that would likely be its only nomination, which doesn’t bode well. Early on, I thought we’d have another showdown between Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle, but that appears to be a pipe dream, despite both of them making exceptional films. It’s a toss-up as to whether either breaks through, though First Man has had a stronger campaign, and will be one of the most nominated films of the year, even without a Best Picture.
Spike Lee, Black Klansman
Peter Farrelly, Green Book
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Adam McKay, Vice
Dark Horse: Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Long Shot: Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Total Shock: Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
The skinny: Even as a fan of Kingpin, I would be shocked and appalled if one half of the Farrelly Brothers got nominated for this. He already has a DGA nom, and their slate never matches up perfectly with the Oscars. So if anyone takes him down, it would be Yorgos Lanthimos, the Greek freak finally getting his due for his most accessible film. But don’t count out Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski either. He picked up a BAFTA nod even though Cold War wasn’t up for Best Picture. It would have been nice if they could have nominated another woman this year, but it’s not happening. Marielle Heller is the only one who has a shot, but Can You Ever Forgive Me? seems to have fallen back to its initial three nods.
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Dark Horse: John David Washington, Black Klansman
Long Shot: Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Total Shock: Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here or The Sisters Brothers or Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
The skinny: There’s plenty of great work this year, but this crop of nominees actually seems a little boring. A lot of people are already predicting Hawke misses here, but who would replace him, honestly? I like John David Washington, and he’s got a good body of work this year to go along with his star turn in Black Klansman (which I refuse to write as styled on the poster), but it doesn’t feel like his year yet. Willem Dafoe was just nominated last year, but even fewer people saw his Vincent Van Gogh biopic than did The Florida Project. And Joaquin Phoenix was excellent in three different films this year, but he’s not playing the “game,” so he won’t be honored.
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Dark Horse: Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns
Long Shot: Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade
Total Shock: Toni Collette, Hereditary
The skinny: As the Critics’ Choice Awards showed us with their tie, it really is down to Glenn Close and Lady Gaga. And while I have yet to see The Wife, an award for Glenn Close is long overdue. I’m, ahem, gaga for the rest of these women, but Close is a living legend, who’s been nominated six times before with nothing to show for it. Emily Blunt could take Aparicio’s spot, but I’m pretty confident Mary Poppins Returns will be relegated to technical categories. If there was any additional room, honoring newcomer Elsie Fisher would be great. But that only could have happened if A24 had upped their game, but they failed her and Toni Collette, who gave arguably her best performance ever in the terrifying Hereditary.