A Predilection for Predictions
As you may know, I love a list. I also love movies, so when the Oscar nominations are announced I print out the official ballot and start my must-see to do list!
I try to watch movies throughout the year that are nomination contenders, but I usually fail a bit. The top movies are typically released at the end of the year, so it’s tough to get ahead of the game. But my goal is always to see as many nominated movies as possible. Ultimate goal (never realized!) is to see every movie nominated. At the very least? Every best pic nominee, and it’s a rare year when I don’t meet that requirement.
This year there were 52 movies covering 120 nominations. I ended up seeing only 16 — but they did cover 75 nominations, so I’ll take it! This year I am pretty sure I will get a lot of predictions wrong, as there are so many close races. In anticipation of the Academy Awards show tonight, here are my thoughts and predictions for some of the awards:
Best Actor: Willem Defoe, who played Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate, was good, but the movie was not what it could’ve been. It was hard to watch, as it was pretty much from a “madness” viewpoint. So he’s not a contender, really. Viggo Mortenson in Green Book played a pretty generic character (ignorantly racist Italian New Yorker hired to drive African American concert pianist around the deep south. Basically a flipped version of Driving Miss Daisy). Bradley Cooper was amazing, but he’s not going to win. For some reason Hollywood is NOT embracing A Star Is Born. I think there is something there we mortals just don’t all know. Maybe Cooper needs to do another amazing job as an actor/director so Rami Malek for Boehmian Rhapsody and Christian Bale for Vice. Oscar loves rewarding actors for playing real people (four of the last 6 best actor winners covered this territory). I am torn. I think Bale will win — and should win. Since seeing the movie I have had to google pictures of Dick Cheney to see the difference between the two. Malek was brilliant, but let’s be honest: playing Freddie Mercury is all about over acting, which Malek does superbly. So: Christian Bale.
Sound Editing: A Quiet Place. I mean, it’s a movie that is all about sound. So maybe the sound should get the best actor award?
Documentary: I only saw one, and I think the Academy is as trendy as anything else. So: RBG (see this flick, btw!)
Best Actress: No one knows who Yaitzia Aparicio is, and have never seen her do anything other than Roma, so for all we know she is just being herself. Melissa McCarthy was great in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but playing such an unsympathetic character, and one who preys on the celebrity of movie stars, will not endear her to the voters. So it’s a three way race. Personally, I would love to see Star’s Lady Gaga win. She was fantastic. But she won’t. Glenn Close is a sentimental favorite — she has never won. She was the best thing about The Wife, and it wasn’t her best role. Olivia Coleman in The Favourite could steal it from her, if Close and Gaga split their vote. Coleman was hilarious and sweet and sad and heart breaking. But Oscar likes to throw old folks (ugh) a bone. So: Glenn Close.
Animated: didn’t see any of them. But I’m voting for Isle of Dogs because: Dogs.
Best Supporting Actor: No freaking idea. This one has good, but not amazing IMO performances. Maybe Richard Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me? Maybe Star is Born’s Sam Elliott (again the old-timer’s-paid-his-dues reward). Adam Driver was good in BlackKKlansman, but we won’t remember it tomorrow. Sam Rockwell won last year for a better performance than this turn as Vice’s George Bush. Mahershala Ali DOES have some nuanced moments, and all the oddsmakers say it’s his to lose. So: Mahershala Ali.
Costume Design: Only saw two of them (Black Panther and The Favorite). I always root for period pieces here, and I am doing it again. The thing that makes Favourite different from others is that the outfits aren’t exactly accurate; instead, they read like a fashion house collection, with each dress having similar fabrics/colors/etc. A unique, modern twist. So: The Favourite.
Makeup: Vice. Period.
Best Supporting Actress: Favourite’s dueling nominees (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz) cross each other put. Marona de Tavira in Roma: nope. Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk is the oddsmakers’ favorite, but I was underwhelmed. My hands downs favorite: Amy Adams in Vice. Her Lynne Cheney was eerie, scary, hateful and sympathetic. So: Amy Adams.
Score: If Beale Street Could Talk. Loved the music, and it really sets the movie’s tone.
Song: Shallow. Let’s face it: this is the consolation prize for A Star is Born.
Foreign Language: I only saw Roma — and I am giving it the nod. Eager to watch Cold War, though.
Directing: Roma which means...
Best Picture: So I don’t have a favorite here – really. I would watch almost all of them again. Black Panther? I don’t get it. It was fine. BlackKKlansman? Cool story, great acting, well done, but I think it’s a one and done. Green Book? Same thing. I adored The Favorite, A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody!!! That leaves Roma, which will win. Why? Several reasons: Oscar likes to take itself seriously, even if it doesn’t understand why. It can’t choose between the others (and it’s all about sending a message), and Roma is inscrutable enough that no one can argue about its artistic merit. It’s also a Netflix property, and a win here could send a big ass message to the industry that the times they are a-changing. But let’s be honest: this is gonna be like other winners that no one watched again (Ghandi, Chariots of Fire). So: Roma.
Just for giggles, here’s my personal ranking of the 16 movies I watched:
A Star is Born
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
At Eternity’s Gate
If Beale Street Could Talk