Monday, January 28, 2019

Oscar Predictions 2019

Another year, another Oscars post, and another shot at the elusive 10 for 10. Looking back, I only missed the Best Foreign Language Film award (the Boston Globe critics swayed me to pick Lebanon's The Insult, but A Fantastic Woman from Chile took the prize).

Unlike past years, I am going to make my picks sort of cold, not waiting for any of the SAG, WGA, and DGA awards (the Producers Guild has handed out their awards, not sure how much that will sway me). And as the picks just came out this morning, Five Thirty Eight hasn't put up their model yet. I will update with winners and picks as time marches on.

Before the picks, though...

1. I was surprised to see that Lin-Manuel Miranda did not get a Best Original Song nod while a song from Mary Poppins Returns did. But then I looked at the soundtrack listing and he didn't do any writing for the film, which seems like a missed opportunity? 

2. Also surprised that "Pray for Me" from Black Panther didn't get a nod, but that's based solely on having heard the song on the radio every day for something like six months. I don't think I've ever heard "All the Stars."

3. My first two points probably don't matter, as I think "Shallow" is going to win in that category. Which means Lady Gaga will likely end the ceremony with more competitive Oscars than Spike Lee.

4. That's weird, right? I asked this on Facebook, and the one person who responded thought it would be consistent with Oscars history. 

5. I have literally not seen any nominated movies.  The only first-run movie I recall seeing in the theater in 2018 was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which I took my kids to for another kid's birthday party.

6. The lack of Oscar nods for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not surprising.

Anyway, your picks!

Best Foreign Language Film - I've only found one rule that seems to work for picking a winner here: if the film is also nominated for Best Picture, pick it. So Roma gets my pick here, though there's a possibility that Cold War could win here (its director is nominated for Best Director but the picture wasn't nominated for Best Picture) based on the same theory I use to pick screenwriting awards. Roma is a legitimate Best Picture contender, so voters could go with Cold War thinking Roma could win the big prize.

(BAFTA: Roma won for best film not in the English language)

Best Animated Feature Film - I am actually going to pass on my only rule here - Pixar wins - and go with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. What little I've read about Spider-Man and Incredibles 2 (the Pixar film) suggests the former is much better. That might not be enough to hand Pixar a rare loss in this category.

(BAFTA: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Best Adapted Screenplay - I'm thinking this won't be A Star is Born, based on being a Best Picture contender and on this being like the fourth or fifth time the film's been redone. BlacKkKlansman seems like the most viable way to get Spike Lee a competitive Oscar, and the film does seem unlikely to win Best Picture. But I'm thinking this award will go to If Beale Street Could Talk as a make-up for not getting a Best Picture nomination.

(Aside: now that there are 10 Best Picture slots, why are we not getting 10 nominees?)

(BAFTA: BlacKkKlansman)
(WGA: Will You Ever Forgive Me?)

Best Original Screenplay - I'm thinking not Green Book, which has seen some controversy as to how the film portrays Don Shirley's familial relationships, and for questions on how accurately it depicts the Jim Crow South (and as it's a Best Picture contender). Also thinking not Roma due to its Best Picture chances.

For me it's down to Vice versus The Favourite. Both have Best Picture nods but seem unlikely to win (which is weird to say of The Favourite, which co-led with 10 overall nominations). I'm going to go with The Favourite pretty much as a hunch.

(BAFTA: The Favourite)
(WGA: Eighth Grade, a film which got royally shafted by the Oscars, from what I've read)

Acting seems more open than years past, but I feel reasonably confident in these picks:

Best Supporting Actress - Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk

(SAG Awards: won by Emily Blunt, who wasn't nominated for an Oscar. Regina King was not nominated in this category.)
(BAFTA: won by Rachel Weisz for The Favourite. Regina King was not nominated.)

Best Supporting Actor - Mahershala Ali for Green Book

(SAG Awards: won)
(BAFTA: won)

Best Actress - Glenn Close for The Wife
(SAG Awards: won)
(BAFTA: Olivia Coleman for The Favourite)

Best Actor - Christian Bale for Vice
(SAG Awards: Rami Malek)
(BAFTA: Malek again, looking like I backed the wrong horse)

Unlike past years I don't feel like any of these are locks - though Ali comes close - so if given a second bite at the apple I'd go with Amy Adams, Richard E. Grant, Lady Gaga, and Willem Dafoe. I don't know if these are all sensible choices, but they reflect the sort of lifetime achievement/TV moment voting that could get one (or more) of these folks a win.

Best Director - Full disclosure, I originally picked Alfonso Cuaron, saying he would pull the unlikely back to back win. Of course, last year's winner was actually Guillermo del Toro. This is why someone who actually sees movies should make these picks.

That being said, I'm still going with Alfonso Cuaron, especially if he's not trying to win it back-to-back.

(DGA Award: won)
(BAFTA: won)

Best Picture - Roma. I have no great analysis for this other than what I've read generally about the films that are nominated. Though I do wonder how many voters will be confused that the movie doesn't take place in Italy. I also wonder if the film could win this and the foreign language prize - could the larger voting block for Best Picture pass on it assuming it will win elsewhere?

(PGA Awards: Green Book. Over the last 20 years the winner of this award has won the Oscar about 2/3 of the time, though in very recent history - the last five years - it's more like 50/50.)
(SAG Awards: they don't have a best picture award, but there are folks who see the Outstanding Performance by a Cast award as an analogue, so I will mention that Black Panther won this. I will also say the movie that wins this award wins Best Picture about half the time.)
(BAFTA: won)


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