The Academy Awards
Heavy metal Hollywood
What: Pickford Film Center's Red Carpet Affair
When: 4 pm Sun., Feb. 24
Where: Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Oscar is having a tough year.
It would seem the road to Hollywood’s heavy metal is paved with poor decisions and murky intentions on the part of the possibly still esteemed Academy. First, was that thing with the proposed and then rescinded Best Popular Picture category, which was followed by proposed host Kevin Hart rescinding himself after firestorm of controversy about his past tweets—resulting in the first host-free telecast in three decades. Then, in an effort to shorten the bloated ceremony, the Academy cut three of the five Best Original Song performances, only to add them back to the show in truncated form after an outcry. Since they were not able to shave the running time by excising the musical elements, they decided to award non-acting Oscars during the commercial breaks, assuming that folks don’t care about categories like Best Cinematography and Best Editing. They were incorrect, and backlash quickly led to backtracking on the part of the Academy.
Oscar is tired and he hasn’t even hit the red carpet yet.
Provided the Academy manages to stay out of its own way, by the time the proverbial curtain closes on the ceremony on Sun., Feb. 24, awards will be won, speechifying will happen, someone will be left out of the “In Memoriam” section and Bette Midler will have performed despite not having acted or sung in any movies last year. But before any of that can take place, predictions must be made and, as a person with opinions, it is my duty to make them.
Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Roma, Green Book, A Star Is Born, Vice
Who Will Win: This is the most wide open Best Picture race in recent memory—in part because while the nominees are blessed with merits, each is also plagued with flaws that could prove fatal to their Oscar chances. Even so, the pre-Oscars indicators suggest this is a three-way horse race between Green Book, The Favourite, and Roma. If the Academy didn’t have such mixed feelings about Netflix, a Roma victory would be a foregone conclusion, and I still think its superiority in an overall weak field could overcome perceived prejudice toward its streaming-service release. But don’t discount audience favorite Green Book—it’s just the kind of stellar acting showcase that resonates with a voting body comprised mostly of actors.
Who Should Win: It’ll never happen, but Spike Lee reminded us why he’s such a moviemaking force with BlacKkKlansman—and it just happened to be the most vibrant, immediate, incendiary and downright entertaining film to appear on big screens in 2018. If the Academy rewarded such things, BlacKkKlansman would win.
Who Was Snubbed: Prior to the official nominations, more than one Best Picture conversation speculated that we were heading for another Damien Chazelle vs. Barry Jenkins faceoff a la La La Land and Moonlight—and then neither First Man nor If Beale Street Could Talk was nominated in this category. Bullet dodged, I guess?
Nominees: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
Who Will Win: I’d like to reserve the bulk of my word count for this category for the “Who Was Snubbed” portion. See below.
Who Should Win: Every single feature-length film Alfonso Cuaron has directed—even that Harry Potter one—has been a gorgeous work of art. Roma is his most personal work yet, and as much as I’d love to see Spike Lee win the first Best Director Oscar he’s ever been nominated for, Cuaron’s excellence cannot be denied.
Who Was Snubbed: Since the Academy’s history has suggested they need help with such things, I’m just going to go ahead and name a list of female directors who made films at least as good, if not better, than those of the men who were nominated in this category: Debra Granik (Leave No Trace), Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Karyn Kusama (Destroyer), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Chloe Zhao (The Rider), Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots)—and those are just the ones off the top of my head. While I’m at it, what do Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) have to do to get a nomination? Make critically acclaimed, commercially successful movies that are nominated and will likely win in other categories? Because that’s exactly what they did. Oh, and evidently the Academy forgot to nominate Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born. I’ll try and get worked up about it, but don’t hold anyone’s breath.
Nominees: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Who Will Win: Aside from the Academy’s endless bungling of the telecast, the emerging story of this awards season is the possibility that Glenn Close will finally—finally, finally—win her Oscar. She’s the most-nominated actress—with seven nods to her credit—who has never won, and she was straight robbed during her last Oscar at-bat, for 2011’s Albert Nobbs. Is The Wife the best movie of her career? Far from it. But in a movie that probably wasn’t worthy of such a performance, she instilled her character with the combination of gentle nuance and steely inner fortitude that make her roles so memorable. Olivia Colman could yank this one out from under Close for her admittedly excellent work in The Favourite, and she would certainly be deserving of the honor, but my heart will break a little if I don’t get to see Close complete her awards-season victory lap.
Who Should Win: Glenn Close should’ve won an Oscar when she boiled that bunny. That it’s taken more than two decades to rectify that error is a Hollywood tragedy.
Who Was Snubbed: Every single woman nominated in this category absolutely deserves to be there. But so does Emily Blunt, snubbed for Mary Poppins Returns (and for Best Supporting Actress for A Quiet Place). The compulsively watchable and perennially overlooked Toni Collette was overlooked again for Heriditary, while walking Oscar nomination Saoirse Ronan came up empty this year for Mary Queen of Scots.
Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Who Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody was problematic, sanitized and roundly criticized—and it’s also the top-grossing biopic of all time and Rami Malek has run roughshod over awards season for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury. It’s as it should be. For all the movie’s imperfections, it’s anchored by Malek’s astonishing transformation into Mercury, who was so larger than life that playing him should’ve been impossible for a mere mortal—yet somehow Malek nailed it. Viggo Mortensen is the only potential spoiler on the horizon, but Malek has momentum on his side.
Who Should Win: Christian Bale’s transformation into Dick Cheney in Vice was at least as incredible as Malek’s portrayal of Mercury, so if he winds up winning a date with Oscar, I won’t be mad about it.
Who Was Snubbed: No doubt, the Academy’s biggest Best Actor snub was Ethan Hawke for First Reformed. If Oscar hadn’t ignored First Man, Ryan Gosling no doubt would’ve been nominated. Chadwick Boseman was a long shot for Black Panther, but in a world in which a superhero movie finally nabs a Best Picture nod, anything should be possible.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Marina de Tavira (Roma), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Who Will Win: The heavy hitters in this category are Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, two-thirds of the terrible trio that made The Favourite such a strong awards contender. Watching them square off against one another and bring such a ridiculous script to life was one of 2018’s great cinematic pleasures. However, a split vote and an equally strong turn by Regina King in the under-nominated If Beale Street Could Talk make it highly likely King will emerge, well, the favorite.
Who Should Win: Regina King should take home the Oscar for herself and all of the other people responsible for bringing Beale Street to the big screen who should’ve been nominated in their respective categories.
Who Was Snubbed: The aforementioned Emily Blunt convincingly simulated a silent birth for A Quiet Place, which is worth a nod all on its own. And of all the people overlooked for Crazy Rich Asians, no one was more ignored than Michelle Yeoh.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell (Vice)
Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali is about to win his second Oscar in this category three years, and I’m so here for it. I’m not going to lie, I’d love for Sam Elliott to win the first Oscar for which he’s ever been nominated, and for Richard E. Grant to get much-deserved recognition for his long career of elevating everything from costume dramas to otherwise terrible comedies, but Ali is an actor of such skill and strength that he’s automatically the frontrunner of any field in which he’s included.
Who Should Win: I have a known soft spot for the underrated and, until recently, criminally ignored Sam Rockwell, but he just won an Oscar last year, so Ali is the obvious choice here.
Who Was Snubbed: Despite its flaws, when Beautiful Boy was in theaters, I confidently predicted that Oscar would grace Timothee Chalamet with another nomination. As has become his custom, he was surprising and stunning in a movie that didn’t quite match up. Like many awards-season speculators, I’d been hoping Michael B. Jordan would get some love for Black Panther, but that was always the longest of long shots.
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