Tyler Christiansen ’21
The Oscars is every film-lover’s Super Bowl. It’s the movie event of the year, a day of celebration for all kinds of films: foreign, animated, short films and the teams behind the camera as well as in front. From this writer’s perspective, it doesn’t really matter who wins; seeing films and people recognized for their work, whether that be through a nomination or an actual win, is cathartic. Does that mean whatever wins is automatically the “Best Picture” of the year? No. If we look back through Oscar history, some of the great films did not win or even get a nomination: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Psycho, Singin’ in the Rain, Raging Bull, Citizen Kane, Wizard of Oz, Apocalypse Now, It’s a Wonderful Life, etc. Two of cinema’s finest directors, Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock, never won. Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola each only have one for directing. While art is subjective and the Academy has a fallible system, it is still fun and exciting keeping track of the films that come out of the major film festivals in August and September and trying to predict who will come home with the gold trophy and whose name will be put in the history books. With that said, the Oscars are this Sunday, so I will try to predict some of the major categories based on what I think will win, not necessarily what I want to win.
Best Picture Nominees:
A Star is Born
While the Academy only chose eight nominees out of a possible ten this year, there is a lot to love here. “Black Panther” garnering the first and worthy nomination of its genre. Spike Lee’s film “BlacKKKlansman” is a triumph and his first film to be nominated in this category, which is really strange if you think about it. How did “Do The Right Thing” or “Malcolm X” miss the mark? Like I said, the Academy is fallible. “Roma” is the clear frontrunner, so expect this to take home the big prize. I would also not be surprised if “Green Book” or “BlacKKKlansman” swiped it, though. But where’s “If Beale Street Could Talk” or “First Man”?
Best Director Nominees:
Alfonso Cuaron – “Roma”
Spike Lee – “BlacKKKlansman”
Yorgos Lanthimos – “The Favourite”
Adam McKay – “Vice”
Pawel Pawlikowski – “Cold War”
So this category is something. Spike Lee gets his first nomination here (what) and so does Yorgos Lanthimos, the idiosyncratic director behind 2016’s “The Lobster” and 2017’s “Killing of a Sacred Deer.” The real surprise here is the absence of Bradley Cooper for his work on “A Star is Born.” How does the film get eight nominations, but one of them isn’t the director? While Pawlikowski made a wonderful film, he was never in the discussion until the nominations announcement on January 22nd. The Academy probably thought that since “A Star is Born” is the fourth iteration of the same story that Cooper is unworthy or something. I see where they’re coming from, but I disagree. Alfonso Cuaron is on a hot streak after winning Best Director for his 2013 film “Gravity,” so place your bets on him.
Best Actor Nominees:
Christian Bale – “Vice”
Rami Malek – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Bradley Cooper – “A Star is Born”
Viggo Mortensen – “Green Book”
Willem Dafoe – “At Eternity’s Gate”
This is a pretty stacked category, but it is really a two-way race between Christian Bale and Rami Malek, with Bradley Cooper falling behind, for some reason unknown to me. Bale and Malek are both transformative in their roles and I honestly wouldn’t mind either of them winning, but I prefer Bale by a small margin. However, I think the Oscars will go with Malek.
Glenn Close – “The Wife”
Lady Gaga – “A Star is Born”
Olivia Colman – “The Favourite”
Yalitizia Aparicio – “Roma”
Melissa McCarthy – “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Three-way race between Close, Gaga and Colman. If I were on the Academy, I would undoubtedly choose Lady Gaga for her singing “Shallow.” The Academy will probably go with the veteran who has six nominations but zero wins. It’s kind of lousy, but that’s usually the way things work. Maybe the Academy should watch “A Star is Born” again. It’s also kind of a shock not seeing Emily Blunt for playing Mary Poppins here.
Best Supporting Actress:
Marina de Tavira – “Roma”
Amy Adams – “Vice”
Regina King – “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone – “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz – “The Favourite”
Regina King all the way. Poor Amy Adams.
Best Supporting Actor:
Adam Driver – “BlacKKKlansman”
Mahershala Ali – “Green Book”
Richard E. Grant – “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell – “Vice”
Sam Elliott – “A Star is Born”
I really have no idea why Sam Rockwell is here over Timothee Chalamet for “Beautiful Boy.” Ali has this in the bag, but I would love it if Driver got it.
This is Paul Schrader’s first screenplay nomination ever and this is the guy who wrote “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull.” He probably should win this category, but it’s going to “The Favourite.” Where is “Eighth Grade” at, Academy?
If Beale Street Could Talk
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Ballad of Buster Scruggs
A Star is Born
Even if Spike Lee loses the directing and picture categories, he’s got this one in the bag. “Scruggs” is a welcome entry and it’s a real shame that “Beale Street” is not in the Best Picture discussion anymore.
Other major categories:
Cinematography – “Roma”
Editing – “Vice”
Musical Score – “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Best Song – “Shallow” (I would put all of my chips on this)
Animated Film – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
2018 was a great year for film, no matter who wins on Sunday.