Original Score: Since Justin Hurwitz’s score for First Man was criminally snubbed, the field opened up for Nicholas Britell’s brilliant encapsulation of James Baldwin’s hopeful, jazzy affinity for New York to take the statuette. If Beale Street Could Talk is the title, and Britell’s does much of the talking on its behalf.
The Nominees: Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther), Terence Blanchard (BlacKkKlansman), Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk), Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs), March Shaiman (Mary Poppins Returns)
Will Win: Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Could Win: Terence Blanchard (BlacKkKlansman)
Should Win: Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Deserved Consideration: Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow (Annihilation), Marco Beltrami (A Quiet Place), Jonny Greenwood (You Were Never Really Here), Ian Hultquist (Assassination Nation), Justin Hurwitz (First Man), Colin Stetson (Hereditary), Thom Yorke (Suspiria), Hans Zimmer (Widows)
Original Song: If “Shallow” somehow loses this category – and in the process what’s likely to somehow be A Star Is Born’s lone win of the night – I might actually go off the deep end. I only say that because I’m 99% sure it won’t happen.
The Nominees: “All the Stars” – Black Panther, “I’ll Fight” – RBG, “The Place Where Lost Things Go” – Mary Poppins Returns, “Shallow” – A Star Is Born, “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Will Win: “Shallow” – A Star Is Born
Could Win: “All the Stars” – Black Panther
Should Win: “Shallow” – A Star Is Born
Deserved Consideration: “Always Remember Us This Way” – A Star Is Born, “Hearts Beat Loud” – Hearts Beat Loud, “Maybe It’s Time” – A Star Is Born, “Sunflower” – Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, “Wrapped Up” – Vox Lux
Original Screenplay: These were the best five nominees they could come up with? I’m just happy Paul Schrader got nominated for First Reformed, and I predict The Favourite to run away with this one based solely on its acerbic wit. It’s a shame that Eighth Grade, the true best original screenplay of the year, didn’t manage to crack this meager crowd.
The Nominees: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite), Paul Schrader (First Reformed), Nick Vallelonga & Brian Hayes Currie & Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Adam McKay (Vice)
Will Win: The Favourite
Could Win: Green Book
Should Win: First Reformed
Deserved Consideration: Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade), Tamara Jenkins (Private Life), Hirokazu Korreeda (Shoplifters), Sam Levinson (Assassination Nation), Armando Iannucci, David Schneider & Dan Martin (The Death of Stalin), Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You)
Adapted Screenplay: Spike Lee. Spike Lee. Spike Lee. Hollywood loves him, he’s never won an Oscar, and he’s highly unlikely – although not out of the conversation – to notch a win for Directing or Best Picture. And in this group, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing BlacKkKlansman come out on top. The film’s editing and direction certainly help balance the tone, but can you imagine how hard it would be to adapt such an insane true story? What exists on-screen can’t happen without first being put to the page.
The Nominees: Eric Roth, Will Fetters & Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk), Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Will Win: BlacKkKlansman
Could Win: A Star Is Born
Should Win: If Beale Street Could Talk
Deserved Consideration: Oh Jung-Mi & Lee Chang-Dong (Burning), Zoe Kazan & Paul Dano (Wildlife), Felix van Groeningen & Luke Davies (Beautiful Boy), Josh Singer (First Man), Audrey Wells (The Hate U Give)
Directing: It’s disappointing that the nominees are, yet again, all men. And I’m not even saying that because of our social climate. Some of the years very best films were directed by women and deserve to be seen. And yet if I had to replace one nominee, it’d be Adam McKay for…Bradley Cooper, whose snub defies logic. Alfonso Cuarón will be your winner though. Roma is his baby and without his nurturing I can’t even begin to imagine the story finding its legs or taking its first steps. What the film lacks in story he makes up for with technical mastery.
The Nominees: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Could Win: Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Deserved Consideration: Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade), Damien Chazelle (First Man), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Josephine Decker (Madeline’s Madeline), John Krasinski (A Quiet Place), Nadine Labaki (Capernaum), Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible – Fallout), Chloe Zhao (The Rider)
Actor in a Leading Role: It looks as if the Academy is really going to award Rami Malek for what’s essentially a well rehearsed, elaborate Lip Sync Battle performance. That shouldn’t be surprising though; remember Gary Oldman winning for his portrayal of Winston Churchill last year? Yeah, me neither. There’s a feeling that Bradley Cooper – a 4 time acting nominee – is the kind of guy who has it all. The seeds of jealousy run deep, as they should, because it is hands down one of the best performances this decade. He’ll lose and Malek will win, which just goes to show how much people still worship Freddie Mercury.
The Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Will Win: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Could Win: Christian Bale (Vice)
Should Win: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Deserved Consideration: Jakob Cedergren (The Guilty), Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible – Fallout), Ryan Gosling (First Man), Ethan Hawke (First Reformed),Tomasz Kot (Cold War), Joaquin Phoenix (You Were Never Really Here), Zain Al Rafeea (Capernaum)
Actress in a Leading Role: So many critics are hailing that it’s Glenn Close’s time to win. She’s respected, seemingly even revered, and one of the great living actresses. And because the Oscars are like high school classmates voting for their class president, its helps that she’s both well liked among her peers and just as accomplished. But should she win for this role, that’s the real question. I say no, mostly due to the fact that I can imagine 5 other actresses off the top of my head who could play the same role the exact same way. Colman seems to be her biggest competition, and although she has less screen time she’s infinitely more engrossing and daring with her performance. She’d be a major upset, but I think people will look back on Lady Gaga’s feature film debut with great admiration considering she delivered something truly singular in the fourth remake of a great Hollywood story.
The 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?)
Will Win: Glenn Close (The Wife)
Could Win: Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Should Win: Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Deserved Consideration: Sakura Ando (Shoplifters), Toni Colette (Hereditary), Helena Howard (Madeline’s Madeline), Joanna Kulig (Cold War), Carey Mulligan (Wildlife), Natalie Portman (Annihilation / Vox Lux), Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give), Charlize Theron (Tully)
Best Picture: The biggest award of the year also happens to be the most unpredictable. So rather than go on and on about who should are shouldn’t win, I’ll just list these nominees from best to worst since my opinions have already been made. A Star Is Born, BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Vice, Roma, Black Panther, Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody. And for reference, only those first four made my Top 50 list. After a great year for cinema, it almost seems silly that these are the representatives for the best of the bunch.
The Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice
Will Win: Roma
Could Win: Green Book
Should Win: A Star Is Born
Deserved Consideration: Annihilation, Cold War, Hereditary, Eighth Grade, The Hate U Give, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Quiet Place, The Rider