It’s that time of the year again. When the local cinema becomes my second home as I make a desperate attempt to watch all the Oscar nominated films in time for the award ceremony.
In this post I will go through each category and predict a) which film I want to win and b) which film I think will win. Here goes:
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
CHRISTIAN BALE – Vice
RAMI MALEK – Bohemian Rhapsody
If someone can explain the decision on whether Viggo Mortensen or Mahershala Ali would be lead actor in Green Book that’d be great as I still cannot separate them. Having said that, to portray such a well-loved figure as Freddie Mercury and THEN pull off his vocal performances, Rami Malek should be taking this home. If the panel want to avoid the Bryan Singer furore they’ll likely go for the safe option of Bale who nailed Dick Cheney.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
MAHERSHALA ALI – Green Book
ADAM DRIVER – BlacKkKlansman RICHARD E. GRANT – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Since watching him in Girls, I’ve been entranced by most of Adam Driver’s performances and it seems a distant hope for him to win. That’s mainly down to the competition here including Ali whose career has also taken off after sterling performances in another TV show; House of Cards. He’s also sublime in Green Book.
Despite Chris O’Dowd being initially chosen for the role, I simply cannot see any other actor portray Jack Hock than Richard E.Grant. He plays the part with such zeel, I rooted for him even though he kills Israel’s cat and trashes her flat. There’s the obvious Withnail comparisons to make yet this is far more tragic with a final laugh given when he asks Israel to leave him some dignity in her depiction while he’s on death’s door. Finally, after his heartwarming social media appearances wouldn’t it be great to see him performing an acceptance speech?
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
OLIVIA COLMAN – The Favourite
I enjoyed McCarthy, endured Aparicio (sorry, I really didn’t enjoy Roma), and was enthralled by Gaga. Yet if Colman isn’t doing another deliciously humble acceptance speech there’s something wrong with the world. If only for that clip of her shouting ‘Look at me, LOOK AT ME, HOW DARE YOU’, which makes me giggle every time I see it.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
AMY ADAMS – Vice
EMMA STONE – The Favourite
RACHEL WEISZ – The Favourite
Despite my overarching crush on Emma Stone, Weisz just edged out her performance. Shoutout to Adams who also nailed Lynne Cheney.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse wasn’t just my favourite animated film, it was probably one of my favourite films of the year. Every frame had something to catch your eye from the use of vivid colour and the trippy comic book effects that had me spellbound. The dialogue is equally sharp and each character brings something to the table.
COLD WAR – Łukasz Żal
THE FAVOURITE – Robbie Ryan
ROMA – Alfonso Cuarón
I have it on good authority that when Arctic Monkeys played Sheffield Alex Turner ventured to the nearest independent cinema to watch Cold War. That’s enough of a reason for it to remain on my list of films to watch. Roma was more easily accessible and even if I failed to enjoy the film on my sofa, the cinematography is easy on the eye so I could not argue if this won. For a Netflix film this probably says something about the advances of subscription services that a film we’ve watched at home on our widescreen TVs should be nominated for an Oscar for cinematography. If the Oscars stick to tradition I can see this being another for The Favourite
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
A Netflix film that I did enjoy was The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and the attention to detail was there to be enjoyed. Again, I have an inkling that The Favourite will live up to it’s title AGAIN.
BLACKKKLANSMAN – Spike Lee
THE FAVOURITE – Yorgos Lanthimos
VICE – Adam McKay
This is arguably the hardest category for me to call. After The Big Short translated the financial crash of 2008 into a hard-hitting, entertaining film I was again impressed that McKay could take down Dick Cheney and still humanise one of the most destructive figures in 21st century politics. Then there’s Spike Lee who takes the KKK down to a laughing stock. THEN there’s Lanthimos who takes the premise of a period drama and almost makes it cool.
Another film on the list is Free Solo and having heard it featured on Kermode and Mayo’s brilliant Film Review podcast I will make an effort to see if it lives up to the hype.
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN
PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE
Pfft, haven’t seen any of them so I’m opting out of this one.
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY – John Ottman
GREEN BOOK – Patrick J. Don Vito
Best judged by the films during which I failed to check my watch. That narrows the list down to two; Green Book which has it’s own pre-ordained finish so I knew it would end with Christmas. However, as a huge fan of Queen I knew the film would climax on THAT Live Aid performance. Understanding what needed to be done behind the scenes to salvage the film edges out the decision for me.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
ROMA – Mexico
SHOPLIFTERS – Japan
Shoplifters is another film on the list and given I failed to see the hype in Roma means that I can still see it edged out.
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS – Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks
VICE – Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney
Godamn. Margot Robbie looks close to unrecognisible as the smallpox-ridden Queen Elizabeth I but close to ridiculous too. That I bought into Bale as Cheney says so much about the transformation he undertook that I’d love to see the award go that way.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
BLACK PANTHER – Ludwig Goransson
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK – Nicholas Britell
MARY POPPINS RETURNS – Marc Shaiman
Having seen Hamilton two weeks before Mary Poppins Returns I still cannot understand why they didn’t just leave the songs to Lin-Manuel Miranda. After walking out of the cinema, the songs had already left my head. The Black Panther OST is effortlessly cool as you’d expect when you give the reins to Kendrick Lemar. However, for a film centred around the vibrant sounds on the streets I’d give this to If Beale Street Could Talk simply for the showcasing of how putting on a vinyl record can change the mood in a room.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
THE PLACE WHERE LOST THINGS GO – from Mary Poppins Returns; Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
SHALLOW – from A Star Is Born; Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
Nope. I still can’t remember any of the Mary Poppins songs. Plus an original Lady Gaga song is in the running having been produced by Mark Ronson, just give them the award.
Agh. As much as I would love to see Black Panther grab the award I’d be surprised if they plumped for a ‘superhero’ film, even if it is undeniably brilliant. Blackkklansman would likely be a controversial choice as would Bohemian Rhapsody for the Singer controversy which leaves The Favourite and Green Book battling it out. If either won I’d be happy, another for The Favourite I reckon.
BLACK PANTHER – Hannah Beachler; Jay Hart
THE FAVOURITE – Fiona Crombie; Alice Felton
Now, if Black Panther was a controversial choice for Best Picture it’s nod for Production Design should not be that remarkable. Whether that be Shuri’s wildly futuristic workshop or M’Baku’s wooden rustic greeting room, the film excelled in showcasing the wonders of Wakanda. Sigh, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Favourite won either.
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
ONE SMALL STEP
See DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
At times during First Man I thought I was sat next to Ryan Gosling during each flight. Then again, the sound in Bohemian Rhapsody is also suitably superb.
That NASA co-operated with First Man over authentic sounds of spacecraft and Mission Control to successfully replicate the experience edges this again for me.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
READY PLAYER ONE
Having read Ready Player One it was gratifying that Spielberg had managed to pull the vision from the pages and out of my head onto the big screen. The climatic battle at the end is a masterpiece yet this is another toss-up. To choose between CG Thanos and NASA’s trip to the Moon, I’ll likely plump for the former.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
BLACKKKLANSMAN – Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? – Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
That Spike Lee has only won an honorary Oscar in 2016 means I desperately want him to take this one home. The film rolls along with such balance between intent and playfulness that makes it feel all the more remarkable that it actually happened. If for some ridiculous reason Lee doesn’t get the Oscar he deserves I can see this going to Can You Ever Forgive Me?
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
ROMA – Written by Alfonso Cuarón
VICE – Written by Adam McKay
I’ll be honest. I’m never quite sure where the definition of ‘original’ comes from. Does it mean a screenplay pulled from real events or imaginary ones? If the latter then Roma looks a shoo-in yet I’d want to see Vice take it.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts.