I have no intention of watching the Oscars (although my wife might persuade me to hate-watch them), but I’m curious to see if I can call these shots with any accuracy using my default cynicism as a guidepost. With each category, I’m going to call make a Probable Prediction, and a Sleeper Prediction. I’m not going to make any assessment of What Should Win, because I don’t care.
So let’s away!
“A Star Is Born”
We’ve got a universally acclaimed superhero movie, a Spike Lee joint, a rock biopic, an all-girls Costume Drama, a period piece about bridging the racial divide, a foreign film about the underprivileged, the fifth remake of a Hollywood drama, and a MASH-mask for Donald Trump. There’s a lot of different ways you can call this.
Generally speaking, the films that get The Most Nominations are to be seriously considered. But Roma being a foreign film, I consider it a lock to win Best Foreign Film, and I don’t know that the Academy will want to do both.
The Favourite thus jumps to the lead as the Movie to Beat. But it’s got that Costume Drama thing going against it. But it’s all about Women, so it’s got that going for it.
I’m gonna say it probably wins.
Sleeper Prediction: Black Panther. Everyone would love that.
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
I really don’t want to think Christian Bale is going to ride Prosthetics and Weight Gain to an Oscar, but the politics might do it for him. They didn’t nominate this movie for Film, Both of the Actor, Director, and Screenplay to have it come up bupkis. However, he’s already won an Oscar, and this role already got him a Golden Globe, so I wouldn’t say he’s a shoe-in.
So I’m going with Rami Malek, because everyone still loves Queen for some reason. That would be a safe call, no one would complain about it, it’s not some White Dude playing a Historical White Dude.
Sleeper Prediction: Christian Bale. It could still happen.
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
I’ve seen enough of Can You Ever Forgive Me to know that McCarthy’s not going to win. Not because she isn’t good in it. She is. And it was smart of her to expand her palette. But she’s not getting an Oscar.
I can’t really see Lady Gaga getting one either.
Did anyone see The Wife? Because it sounds like every movie that Established Good Actresses Get Nominated and Don’t Win For. Slight chance they give her the Paid Your Dues statue, given that this is her 7th nomination with no wins, but I’m not gonna bet too hard on it.
I’m going with Yalitza Aparicio. That would be the Statement of the night.
Sleeper Prediction: Olivia Colman.
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”
This seems pretty straightforward. Sam Elliot and Sam Rockwell are not a big enough deal right now. Adam Driver isn’t going to be the White Dude that wins in a Movie About Racism. That would be #OscarsSoWhite. Instead, the statue goes to Mahershala Ali. He’s So Hot Right Now.
Sleeper Prediction: Richard E. Grant. Amusing Gay Dude who dies of AIDS. Can’t rule it out.
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”
I’m not gonna sweat this one too hard. Rachel Weisz is the one to beat. She’s the best performance in the most-nominated film (Emma Stone is pretty good, but Weisz nails it). I say she gets it.
Sleeper Prediction: Regina King.
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”
Spike Lee has never won an Oscar. He’s been nominated several times, but never won. Then again, Yorgos Lanthimos never has, either. But he’s got several chances. I’m expecting a Paid-Your-Dues Oscar for Lee.
Sleeper Prediction: Yorgos Lanthimos. He’s the New Hotness.
“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
I’ve already stated why Wes Anderson Will Not Win an Oscar:
His new film about animated dogs on a giant trash island near Japan is cultural appropriation, you see.
Given that, I feel like the Most Woke response would be to give a statue to an actual Japanese animated film. That would send the Message.
Sleeper Prediction: Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse, because the other two are sequels and because someone might grandstand about the late Stan Lee from the podium. If they can bring in those comic book viewers, they might build an audience for the telecast.
“Animal Behaviour,” Alison Snowden, David Fine
“Bao,” Domee Shi
“Late Afternoon,” Louise Bagnall
“One Small Step,” Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
“Weekends,” Trevor Jimenez
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen , Ethan Coen
“BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
“A Star Is Born,” Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters
In keeping with my initial predictions regarding If Beale Street Could Talk, which turned out right, I’m predicting it to win here. Let it Ride, as it were.
Sleeper Prediction: A Star is Born. No real reason, I just don’t see them shutting it out.
“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
“First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
“Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice,” Adam McKay
And based on the same logic, I think they’ll throw McKay and Vice a bone in this category, given that he’s also nominated for Director. That way we can have our moment of Political Grandstanding, as is tradition.
Sleeper Prediction: Green Book
What follows are the Technical and minor Awards. I’m not going to dig that hard into these; I’ll just call some shots:
Cinematography: The Favourite
Documentary Feature: RBG
Documentary Short: Period. End of Sentence.
Live Action Short: Detainment
Foreign Language Film: Roma
Film Editing: BlacKkKlansman
Sound Editing: A Quiet Place
Sound Mixing : Bohemian Rhapsody
Production Design: Black Panther
Original Score: Mary Poppins Returns
Original Song: “All the Stars”
Makeup and Hair: Vice
Costume Design: The Favourite
Visual Effects: First Man