It’s that time of year again. I’ve spent the past couple of months catching up with everything I missed in order to vote for the Independent Spirit Awards, and though I’ve yet to see a handful of the Oscars’ Best Picture nominees, I feel I’m in good shape to make some reasonably confident predictions.
Let’s get this out of the way up front, though: No Leave No Trace nom for Best Picture, or Debra Granik nom for Best Director? For shame!
Anyway, here’s who and what I think will win on Sunday night, and my reasoning why…
This is the most open field in years and there’s no clear logic as to what might have the edge. Sure, there’s a handful of nominees that are slightly more likely to get the win, but the preferential voting system being used this year makes the whole thing so much more unpredictable. I don’t think Roma is going to win, for the simple reason it will undoubtedly win elsewhere and I think that, coupled with the anti-Netflix constituent will stop it from walking away with the top prize. Green Book is another likely winner, and does apparently have some passionate supporters despite the waves of backlash, but I don’t know that the support is going to be enough. My wish is that BlacKkKlansman wins, but I just don’t think it has the momentum. Based on what I’m hearing, there’s widespread appreciation for Bohemian Rhapsody. And that’s what I think will ultimately win. Let’s face it, it’s the perfectly middling Oscar movie that we’ll love arguing for years should never have won.
The narrative is that this is Alfonso Cuarón’s to lose. And I think he will. He’s pretty much a lock for other categories (most notably Cinematography and Foreign Language Film), plus he already won this for Gravity a few years back, so I think the Academy will choose to spread the love here. I’m saying Spike Lee. He’s never won before and I think the Academy will want to reward him for his career and for keeping his mouth shut and playing good throughout this whole awards campaigning season. (Plus there’s the whole thing of making good for ignoring Do The Right Thing, *cough*.)
Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close has never won… Until now. The Wife isn’t a must-see film and I doubt everyone who votes has seen it. But I think Glenn Close will take this easily. Any potential upset will come from The Favourite’s Olivia Coleman, but I actually think that film will walk away empty-handed come Oscar night, despite all their success at the BAFTAs. Seriously, Glenn Close has this.
Actor in a Leading Role
For the longest time, I was leaning towards Christian Bale for Vice. He’s covered in prosthetics and playing a real-life character, all things that the Academy, rightly or wrongly, notoriously loves. But so too is Remi Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody. And I think that’s the film that’s more beloved… I’m going for Remi Malek to win.
Actress in a Supporting Role
It won’t be one of The Favourite girls, though I do think BAFTA-winner Rachel Weisz has the better shot of the two. Regina King seems to be riding a wave and has long been considered the actual favorite here, so let’s predict she’s gonna take it.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Richard E. Grand has the most potential to be the upset here, and I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t adore a charmingly affable acceptance speech from him… But it’s going to be Mahershala Ali. You know it, I know it. And the fact he’s widely regarded as having the toughest awards season given all the shit that’s been swirling around Green Book, the dude deserves it for that alone.
This year’s screenwriting categories are the two I found most difficult to pick this year. I want to choose the films I want to win. In this category, that’d be BlacKkKlansman. But the Coens have a track record of being ignored elsewhere, only to be recognized for their writing prowess, so Buster Scuggs could be in with a potential shot. I think the winner will be a film shut out most elsewhere (of course it’s already won Original Song) despite being commonly regarded as a frontrunner for best picture several months ago: A Star Is Born. Plus, it’s an opportunity to personally reward leading man/director/everything else he did on the movie, Bradley Cooper.
Egad! You could throw a dart and hit any one of these nominees and you could very will be correct. Four of the five are Best Picture contenders and the same logic I just applied to A Star Is Born could repeat itself here – with the possible exception of Roma, as it’ll do just fine elsewhere. That said, I’m banking on neither The Favourite or Vice having the groundswell of support to take this. Green Book is the most likely of those four, but I do think despite its chances elsewhere, the Academy was particularly sensitive to the controversy surrounding Nick Vallelonga. And then there’s First Reformed. It’s widely regarded as a masterpiece, though I personally was less enamored. But regardless, Paul Schrader has never won an Oscar before. Click that hyperlink and you’ll see that’s an oversight I predict the Academy will want to correct even more so than for Glenn Close or Spike Lee.
Here’s my predictions in full: