Hello Most Metro!
I love good cinema. And for all of my college years and days in retail, Oscar season was a time for speculation and preparation for watching (and cheering and jeering) the event on the big night. But for most of the last 18 years, I have been so consumed with preparing for THE NEON’s Annual Oscar Party, I’ve hardly stopped to think who would win and who would lose. That is until Dayton Rotary stepped in. For the last four years, I’ve been asked to give a short presentation regarding the upcoming Academy Awards. This forces me to reflect on the year’s nominees and to think about who will take home Oscars. Below are some of my thoughts regarding this year’s big contenders.
Amy Adams – 6th Oscar nomination (5 supporting, 1 lead).
Marina de Tavira – 1st Oscar nomination, lots of accolades in Mexico.
Regina King – 1st Oscar nomination…lots of TV accolades.
Emma Stone – 3rd Oscar nomination…won for LA LA LAND.
Rachel Weisz – 2nd Oscar nomination…it’s been 13 years since nomination for CONSTANT GARDNER.
WHO WILL WIN? This year’s “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar will almost certainly go to Regina King. Her performance in IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is heartbreakingly wonderful. I recently heard King speaking on NPR’s “On Point” about how she rarely watches her own work…but a friend convinced her she had to see this film on the big screen. Within the first five minutes, she knew this Barry Jenkins film was something special…and it turns out that I was just a few rows behind her at The Toronto International Film Festival. (If King doesn’t get it, Adams is a good second bet.)
Mahershala Ali – 2nd Oscar nomination…won for MOONLIGHT!
Adam Driver – 1st Oscar nomination…has won awards for GIRLS on TV.
Sam Elliot – 1st Oscar nomination EVER. Hard to Believe!!
Richard E. Grant – 1 Oscar nomination (though years of brilliant work).
Sam Rockwell – 2nd Oscar nomination…won for THREE BILLBOARDS…
WHO WILL WIN? Mahershala Ali appears to be the favorite at this time, but Sam Elliott could sneak in and get it. (That said, I’m rooting for Richar E. Grant.)
Yalitza Aparicio – 1st Oscar nomination, 1st film role ever!
Glenn Close – 7th Oscar nomination (4 leads, 3 supporting)
Olivia Colman – 1st Oscar nomination (lots of TV accolades and will be the Queen in next season of THE CROWN)
Lady Gaga – 1st Oscar nomination
Melissa McCarthy – 2nd Oscar nomination (1st was for BRIDESMAIDS)
WHO WILL WIN? It’s Glenn Close’s turn. The nominations show a diverse canon of work (DANGEROUS LIAISONS, FATAL ATTRACTION, ALBERT NOBBS, WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, THE BIG CHILL)…but the brilliance doesn’t stop there – what about 101 DALMATIANS, PARADISE ROAD and more! The upset in this category would be Lady Gaga…who does have a lot of fans and support in the business (but I think it would be a posthumous “slap in the face” to Judy Garland – who did not win for her incredible work with this role).
Christian Bale – 4th Oscar nomination…won for THE FIGHTER
Bradley Cooper – 7th Oscar nomination (3 of these nominations are for this film)
Willem Dafoe – 4th Oscar nomination…recent nomination was for last year’s FLORIDA PROJECT, 1st nomination was in 1987 for PLATOON
Rami Malek – 1st Oscar nomination (lots of accolades for TV’s MR. ROBOT)
Viggo Mortensen – 3rd Oscar nomination
WHO WILL WIN? This is a tough one. Many folks are banking on Christian Bale (think of that range – from EMPIRE OF THE SUN as a kid to THE MACHINIST to BATMAN to Dick Cheney). The other big contender is Rami Malek – who has garnered a lot of love this award season. I’m going with Bale.
ROMA has one big thing going against it. Netflix! Will the Academy be kind to a film that has been released by a company that wants to completely change the way films are consumed by the public? Netflix knew they had to get this film into cinemas in order for it to get serious Oscar consideration…and we played it at THE NEON because I consider it the best film of the year. But Netflix rarely wants cinemas to play their films…they want consumers to subscribe to their service. They are not team players and the integrity of how a film is viewed is low on their list of priorities. Big corporate profits over artistic integrity seems to be the order of the day…even when filmmakers ask for their films to get more theatrical exposure. So we’ll see what happens…do members of the Academy care about all of this…or will they base their votes on the power of this film?
THE FAVOURITE divided our audience at THE NEON like no other film this year. We had people see it numerous times and we had people complain that the film was “pornographic” or “stupid” or “wasn’t funny at all.” It’s my opinion that this very dark comedy has a lot to say about the lengths people will go to gain power…and it also speaks about the disconnect by many of those in power and the people they represent. I think it’s a brilliant film (although one with a very grim worldview).
A STAR IS BORN – this is the 4th version of this story. The 1937 version won a special award for its use of color and also won a “Best Screenplay” Oscar. The 1954 Cukor version (with Garland) did not win any Oscars (and is the strongest version of this story). The 1976 version with Streisand won “Best Song”…and this latest version will also win Gaga an Oscar for “Best Song.”
One special note about the other nominees is that Hannah Beachler, a woman who grew up in Centerville and attended Wright State University for Motion Picture Production, is the first ever African American to be nominated for “Best Production Design.” BLACK PANTHER has broken a lot of barriers this season, and it’s exciting to see Beachler get such wonderful recognition (she’s had an incredible career – working on such wonderful films as FRUITVALE STATION, MOONLIGHT and many more…including Beyonce’s LEMONADE).
A couple quick notes:
It’s hard to believe that this is Spike Lee’s 1st Oscar nomination!
Alfonso Cuaron is nominated for 4 Oscars this year…not only did he write and direct ROMA, he also shot and produced it. All four of these roles have received recognition.
Foreign films have received a lot more love than usual this year. In addition to ROMA’s 10 nominations, COLD WAR received 3 nominations (WARNING…BIG PLUG AHEAD…COLD WAR is currently playing at THE NEON), NEVER LOOK AWAY has two nominations, and BORDER is nominated for “Best Makeup.” And speaking of foreign films (ANOTHER BIG PLUG), CAPERNAUM, one of my absolute favorites of 2018, opens this Friday at THE NEON.
WHO WILL WIN? The only way ROMA won’t win this year would be for “political” (aka Netflix) reasons. I feel pretty confident that it will win regardless. But if it doesn’t, the Oscar could go to GREEN BOOK – a film that despite some controversy, has received a lot of awards and admiration this season.
As for our Oscar Screening Party...as always, it’s FREE! The Academy Awards will be screened in our large auditorium this Sunday, February 24 – and you could win awesome prizes throughout the night…including our grand prize from our friends at Square One Salon & Spa. Ballots are available in our lobby and must be turned in before the first award is presented. We hope you’ll join us! We’ll be seating as close as possible to 7:00pm for the pre-show.
Hope to see you soon at THE NEON,