Oscar Picks: 15 Nov 2018

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born
The Favourite
First Man
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born

Falling off: None
Rising star: Black Panther
The skinny: Though Green Book will come on strong after its Thanksgiving opening, right now it’s A Star Is Born that’s firmly in the lead. (Though to be fair, only it and First Man have opened.) With close to $200 million in domestic gross, strong critical support and the added benefit of being “the kind of movie they don’t make anymore,” it’s the one to beat. I’m still skeptical on Black Panther‘s chances. Yes, the demographics are changing. Yes, Logan got a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination last year. But that and more than a billion dollars in box office don’t mean it’s a sure thing.

Alfonso Cuarón on the set of Roma
Damien Chazelle, First Man
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Steve McQueen, Widows

Falling off: None
Rising star: Peter Farrelly, Green Book
The skinny: Bradley Cooper’s name is already etched on the DGA’s Best First Feature Award, but winning Best Director might be a bigger challenge, at least against these heavyweights. Though Jenkins and McQueen have yet to win, right now I think it’s Cuarón who has the edge, since Roma is a labor of love, in which he served as his own DP. You’re going to hear that detail a lot. But if Green Book is as big a hit as expected, a Farrelly brother might be nominated for multiple Oscars. Did a shiver just go down your spine?

Christian Bale in Vice
Christian Bale, Vice
Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Ryan Gosling, First Man
Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased

Falling off: Timothée Chalamet (moved to supporting), Willem Dafoe
Rising star: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
The skinny: Christian Bale has completed another transformation. He and Cooper are locks, but no one else is guaranteed. This is the most competitive Best Actor race in a long time, so who knows who the other three will be. It could even be Rami Malek. He’s already an Emmy winner for Mr. Robot, and could be the lone Oscar nomination for Bohemian Rhapsody, a successful but disrespected biopic.

Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Viola Davis, Widows
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Falling off: None
Rising star: Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place or Mary Poppins Returns
The skinny: I feel pretty confident in this slate, even though Paramount will make a pretty big push for A Quiet Place, which is a bit insane to me. If Emily Blunt can’t get nominated for Sicario, I don’t think she’ll get nominated for her other works this year, even if there are corollaries (Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark and Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins).

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Falling off: Steve Carell (moved to lead)
Rising star: Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk or Widows
The skinny: Richard Grant is magnificent in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, playing his typical caustic, witty drunk. It might be perceived as too slight to go all the way, but he’s a respected actor with a long body of work. It may come down to how well he plays the glad-handing game. Though Mahershala Ali has a shot at picking up his second win in this category in three years, there may also be room for Brian Tyree Henry, who’s supposedly riveting in his one scene in If Beale Street Could Talk and full-on menacing in a much different role in Widows.

Amy Adams, Vice
Claire Foy, First Man
Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite

Falling off: None
Rising star: Rachel McAdams, Disobedience
The skinny: I honestly have no idea who will get nominated here. Amy Adams isn’t a sure thing. She didn’t even get nominated for her best performance in Arrival! Annapurna seems to be shooting itself in the foot with its release of If Beale Street Could Talk (a real shame), and Emma Stone could split votes with her co-star Rachel Weisz. And Nicole Kidman as a loving but flawed mother? Voters have seen that already. So that leaves Foy, who just won an Emmy for The Crown, and has two other memorable performances this year, which all help her case. She’s doing a lot with a little – one of First Man‘s few failings is how little it gives the women to do – but that might be enough. Rachel McAdams might also split votes with Weisz, but she definitely has a shot at a nomination as a repressed wife falling for her husband’s sister.

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali in Green Book
The Favourite
Green Book
Sorry to Bother You

Falling off: None
Rising star: Eighth Grade
The skinny: Cuarón winning here would be a genuine shock. Only one foreign language film has ever won before, and that was more than 15 years ago. So it’s probably going to be Green Book, so just prepare yourself. But there may be a spot in here for another first-time director, who made a well-liked film that doesn’t have a chance in hell elsewhere.

Kiki Layne and Stephan James in If Beale Street Could Talk
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
First Man
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born

Falling off: Black Klansman, The Front Runner
Rising star: Crazy Rich Asians 
The skinny: This seems like our slate, and I don’t know if they’ll feel like honoring a movie in a bigger category that seemed destined to be nominated in their now-dead Best Popular Film Category.

The Parr family in Incredibles 2
The Grinch
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Falling off: None
Rising star: Early Man
The skinny: Though Isle of Dogs may have the non-CG vote locked up, there’s always the possibility of another, even if Early Man was a flop. Nick Park is a veteran of this category (and might have won again were it around in 2000) and its short companion. After all, Illumination only has one nomination to its name (Despicable Me 2). But it’s not like it matters, because Incredibles 2 is winning this thing.

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