If I was confused last year, this year I’m completely and utterly lost. The only things I’m sure about are “Shallow” winning Best Original Song and Roma winning Best Foreign Language Film. Any of this year’s other frontrunners losing to another nominee wouldn’t shock me in the least.
A Star Is Born
Will win: Green Book
Could and should win: Roma
Should have been here: First Man
The skinny: At first it seemed like A Star Is Born had this thing locked up back in October. There was no big controversy it had to weather. The rest of the field just caught up with it. Green Book was all but anointed when it won the People’s Choice Award at Toronto, but its tepid box office and mixed reviews laid it low. Then history showed up, as the Shirley family claimed it was a wildly inaccurate depiction of Don and Tony’s relationship, and then we got treated to not one but two gross matters of public record resurfacing from director Peter Farrelly’s past, as well as co-writer Nick Vallelonga’s. It was dead until it won Best Picture at the Golden Globes. Black Panther finally got its Best Picture nomination, as well as the big prize at the Screen Actors Guild. And Roma won Best Picture at the BAFTA Awards. So who’s going to win? I honestly have no idea. I hope it’s Roma, but it’s a foreign-language film financed by Netflix. Despite several foreign-language films getting nominated (even as recently as 2013), one has never won Best Picture before, and there’s a contingent – though who can say how large – of voters that views Netflix as the enemy. But I think Green Book weathers the storm to take the big prize. Its base of (mostly older) voters probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the optics of awarding such a backward-looking choice, and despite the vitriol on Twitter, the group of people who have it dead last on their ballots is small, meaning it probably takes it the provisional win.
Spike Lee, Black Klansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice
Will win: Alfonso Cuarón
Could and should win: Spike Lee
Should have been here: Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
The skinny: I went back and forth, but I’m not going to overthink this. Alfonso Cuarón won the Directors Guild of America Award. He’s going to win again. I still think Spike could pull it off, but he’ll likely be honored elsewhere. If Spike did win, it would be the first time since 2003 the DGA winner was nominated for the Oscar and lost. (And that time it was another great director who’d never won the Oscar before.)
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Will win: Rami Malek
Could and should win: Christian Bale
Should have been here: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
The skinny: These performances all have some merit, but they pale in comparison to Ethan Hawke’s work in First Reformed, so what does it matter? Malek has been on a tear on the awards circuit, mostly as a vehicle to honor a movie liked by general audiences (who made it a massive worldwide hit) but loathed by critics. I’d rather it be Bale, who’s actually saying something with his performance, or even Cooper, the only nominee here who created a character from whole cloth.
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Will win: Glenn Close
Could and should win: Olivia Colman
Should have been here: Rosamund Pike, A Private War
The skinny: I don’t think Glenn Close’s work in The Wife is among the five best leading actress performances of the year, or even among the top 10. But I’m still rooting for her to claim her long overdue Oscar. She’s currently 0-for-6. But would I be upset if Olivia Colman won? Absolutely not. She’s giving the best performance of these five nominees as Queen Anne, drowning her sorrows in lesbian trysts and cake. But how good was 2018 for leading actress roles? So good you could swap out all five with these ladies: Toni Collette, Elsie Fisher, Regina Hall, Rosamund Pike and Charlize Theron.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, Black Klansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice
Will win: Mahershala Ali
Could and should win: Richard E. Grant
Should have been here: Steven Yeun, Burning
The skinny: Ali’s a great actor, getting a much-deserved win in this category just two years ago. He’s probably going to win an Emmy this fall for his excellent work on this season of True Detective. And he’s probably going to win again, as far and away the best part of Green Book. But oh, how glorious it would be if Richard E. Grant won. He and Sam Elliott probably cancel each other out, as both are great character actors, killing it for decades in the same roles, finally nominated for roles that showcased what they do best.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Will and should win: Regina King
Could win: Rachel Weisz
Should have been here: Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace
The skinny: It’s a two-person race between Regina King, who missed some key nominations here and there, and Rachel Weisz, a previous winner. Weisz might be canceled out by Stone, so I think that means King’s got this. But it’s basically a coin flip at this point.