Normally, I don’t do intros for these, but on August 8, the Academy announced they’re making some changes to shorten the length of the broadcast. Unfortunately, that shortchanges the brief time in the spotlight for the craftspeople who really make the movies. They’re also adding an “achievement in popular film award.” Until we know what the parameters of that are, I won’t add my predictions. But suffice to say, this could really mess things up.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Mary, Queen of Scots
On the Basis of Sex
The skinny: I used to start with 10, but that doesn’t make much sense. Since modifying their rules, we haven’t had 10 nominees, and right now there’s not a tenth film that makes much sense as a Best Picture nominee. So here are the nine, none of which have even premiered yet. That’s not fair to the excellent films we’ve already gotten, but almost all of these are slated for either big festival premieres or prime release dates.
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Damien Chazelle, First Man
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Steve McQueen, Widows
The skinny: It could be Chazelle vs. Jenkins yet again, with Lanthimos as the lone first-time nominee. While this list is still all dudes, it would be one of the most – if not the most – international slate this category has ever had.
Christian Bale, Backseat
Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Ryan Gosling, First Man
Joaquin Phoenix, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
The skinny: If this line-up holds (which it almost certainly won’t), this would be the first time all five nominees would be for actors playing real-life people. (It almost happened back in 2005, though Clint Eastwood’s boxing coach took Liam Neeson’s spot as Alfred Kinsey.) Bale certainly looks like Dick Cheney, though we’ll see if he’s truly transformed himself, and if Adam McKay’s historical dramedy is received more like Primary Colors or W.
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Viola Davis, Widows
Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex
Saoirse Ronan, Mary, Queen of Scots
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
The skinny: Colman would be the lone first-time nominee, and she’s been putting in great work for a long time, though mostly on television. Viola Davis and Saoirse Ronan now seem like perennial nominees, though Felicity Jones is likely the frontrunner, playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg.