Too Early for This: Oscar Picks – 15 Oct 2018

The Favourite
First Man
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born

Falling off: Beautiful Boy; Mary, Queen of Scots; On the Basis of Sex
Rising star: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
The skinny: The movie that wins the People’s Choice Award at TIFF can almost certainly count on a Best Picture nomination. That means that Green Book, which hearkens back to the racial dynamics of Driving Miss Daisy (not to mention Hidden Figures or The Help), is your new front runner for the moment. Now, critics have almost uniformly said the performances of Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali elevate it above what you would expect of an historical drama from one of the Farrelly brothers, but we’ll see if it’s more of the same. A Star Is Born, which didn’t even make the top three at TIFF, is right behind it.

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: Yorgos Lanthimos
Rising star: Spike Lee, Black Klansman
The skinny: Two rematches (Chazelle vs. Jenkins, Cuarón vs. McQueen), plus newcomer Bradley Cooper for the fourth version of a popular story. If Spike Lee can finally get an overdue nomination, this might be the most diverse slate this category has ever had.

Christian Bale, Vice
Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Ryan Gosling, First Man

Falling off: Joaquin Phoenix
Rising star: Robert Redford, The Old Man and the Gun; Clint Eastwood, The Mule
The skinny: Bale swaggered in with a killer trailer for Vice (previously titled Backseat). Packing on more than 100 pounds, he’s the clear leader, though he’ll be facing off against a group of former nominees who have never won before. And there are two octogenarians in what might be their final performances fighting for the geriatric slot: Redford and Eastwood. Both are in roles tailor-made for their particular set of skills, but The Mule has the edge since way more people will see it.

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: Saoirse Ronan
Rising star: Nicole Kidman, Destroyer
The skinny: Ronan falls victim to no one having seen her period piece yet (which is also hurting co-star Margot Robbie at the moment). So she’s off the board while Lady Gaga hollers her way into the line-up. With such great reviews, she now seems like the only lock alongside Felicity Jones. Mixed reviews for Destroyer mean Nicole Kidman could have enough support from enough people to be nominated again. But this may be a case like The Paperboy, where great notices and some precursor awards don’t translate to a nod for work in a film that won’t have broad appeal.

Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Falling off: Armie Hammer, Jonah Hill
Rising star: Daniel Kaluuya, Widows
The skinny: Hammer and Hill lose some momentum to make room for actors who will benefit from goodwill in Best Picture nominees. Ali, if he does indeed stay supporting, is almost certainly a lock now.

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

Falling off: Margot Robbie
Rising star: Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians
The skinny: Kidman’s best shot this yera is in Joel Edgerton’s coming-of-age drama, in which she plays the mother of a gay son (Lucas Hedges) forced to go to conversion therapy. But if mothers are the trend, then Emma Stone may miss out in favor of Michelle Yeoh’s icy matriarch.

The Favourite
Green Book
Sorry to Bother You

Falling off: On the Basis of Sex
Rising star: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The skinny: Only Green Book and Vice seem to be sure things in the “original screenplays based on a true stories” subcategory, meaning there’s probably only room for one “deeply personal and wildly original” slot, which should remain Sorry to Bother You. But can Netflix score two nominations here? It depends on how much support they can get for the Coens’ latest. Despite deserving nominations for nearly every film, only five have ever gotten there (six if you count Bridge of Spies).

Black Klansman
First Man
The Front Runner
If Beale Street Could Talk

Falling off: Beautiful Boy
Rising star: The Sisters Brothers
The skinny: I mistakenly put First Man in original last time, but now that it’s where it should be, this category feels mostly set. If Can You Ever Forgive Me? ends up being more formidable than its two acting showcases, then it could show up here. But for now I’ll entertain the notion that Western black comedy The Sisters Brothers could end up here.

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

Falling off: None
Rising star: Smallfoot
The skinny: We’ll have to wait to see how well The Grinch does critically and commercially before crossing it off. If it’s not as big in either department, Smallfoot could take the surprise slot that Ferdinand found itself in last year.

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