And the Oscar goes to… fantastic stories about family, politics, royalty, pop stardom, race relations, and superheroes which defined film in 2018. The Favourite and Roma lead with 10 nominations apiece, but tonight I’m particularly looking forward to the presentation of Best Production Design thanks to Wright State University alumna Hannah Beachler, who made history as the first African-American nominated in the category for her superb work on Black Panther.
Knowing there will be surprises and upsets, here are my predictions in the top six categories:
A Star is Born
Overlooked: A Quiet Place; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Beautiful Boy; Ben Is Back; Boy Erased; Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Cold War; Crazy Rich Asians; Eighth Grade; First Man; First Reformed; The Hate U Give; If Beale Street Could Talk; Leave No Trace; Mary Poppins Returns; Mary Queen of Scots; Shoplifters; Widows; The Wife; Wildlife; Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Should Win/Will Win: Black Panther
I feel you’ve undoubtedly heard a lot about Roma, especially its momentum during this topsy-turvy awards season. Roma, which ranked high on my Top 10 films of the year, is a beautifully crafted and acted look at the life of a Mexican maid, but I also recognize it’s very love-hate. After all, it’s understandable that watching water stream down a drain or watching a car correctly park in a driveway, in black and white no less, would be agony for some. And as for the Academy, there’s still great uncertainty about embracing a foreign film and a Netflix film as Best Picture, especially when Roma seems guaranteed to win foreign film anyway. So, taking all this into consideration among many worthy contenders including Green Book which has been shrouded in controversy for a while, I’m going with the more universally attractive and compellingly entertaining Black Panther, the pop culture achievement of 2018 that transcended cinema and unified a divisive nation for young and old alike.
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Overlooked: Ari Aster, Hereditary; Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade; Damien Chazelle, First Man; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Ryan Coogler, Black Panther; Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born; Paul Dano, Wildlife; Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased; Peter Farrelly, Green Book; Debra Granik, Leave No Trace; Peter Hedges, Ben Is Back; Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk; Hirokazu Kore-eda, Shoplifters; John Krasinski, A Quiet Place; Steve McQueen, Widows; Björn Runge, The Wife; George Tillman, Jr., The Hate U Give
Should Win: Lee
Will Win: Cuarón
The overdue Lee, receiving his first nomination here, deserves to win based on his decision to incorporate the relevant Charlottesville footage, but Cuarón remains unstoppable.
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Overlooked: Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther; Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy; John Cho, Searching; Ben Foster, Leave No Trace; Ryan Gosling, First Man; Jake Gyllenhaal, Wildlife; Lucas Hedges, Ben Is Back and Boy Erased; Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk; Joaquin Phoenix, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, You Were Never Really Here; Jonathan Pryce, The Wife; Lakeith Stanfield, Sorry to Bother You; John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman
Should Win: Bale
Will Win: Malek
The transformative Bale, in one of his finest and most complex performances, mesmerized behind the makeup to create a fascinatingly dark portrayal of Dick Cheney, but Malek, the darling of awards season, will be the champion for embodying Freddie Mercury’s legacy with fiery flair and enormous heart.
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Overlooked: Sakura Ando, Shoplifters; Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns; Toni Collette, Hereditary; Viola Davis, Widows; Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade; Joanna Kulig, Cold War; KiKi Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk; Carey Mulligan, Wildlife; Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back; Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots; Amanda Stenberg, Widows; Charlize Theron, Tully; Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians
Should Win/Will Win: Close
Aparicio, Gaga and McCarthy impressed and Colman truly delighted, but after seven nominations Close, tremendous as a gifted spouse suddenly finding her voice, will no longer be ignored.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice
Overlooked: Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy; Coleman Domingo, If Beale Street Could Talk;; Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased; Josh Hamilton, Eighth Grade; Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk; Jonah Hill, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot; Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give; Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite; Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther; Daniel Kaluuya, Widows; Ed Oxenbould, Wildlife; Anthony Ramos, A Star is Born
Should Win/Will Win: Ali
Ali should’ve shared lead category placement with Mortensen, but he’s a sure bet nonetheless for bringing nobility and charm to his portrayal of musician Dr. Don Shirley.
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
Overlooked: Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place; Linda Cardellini, Green Book; Elizabeth Debicki, Widows; Ann Dowd, Hereditary; Claire Foy, First Man; Danai Gurira, Black Panther; Regina Hall, The Hate U Give; Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased; Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Leave No Trace; Debra Messing, Searching; Lupita Nyong’o, Black Panther; Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots; Annie Starke, The Wife; Maura Tierney, Beautiful Boy; Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians
Should Win/Will Win: King
King has dazzled on television for years (Southland, American Crime, Seven Seconds), but her return to the big screen as a supportive mother fighting to save her daughter’s wrongly imprisoned boyfriend was an absolute knockout!