Oscars 2019

After months of controversy, the Oscars have finally settled on a host. Oh wait, no they didn’t. I’m still all for Billy Crystal, Ellen Degeneres, or Whoopi Goldberg popping up onstage to play surprise host. It can still happen! At least all 24 of the categories are being aired on live TV. This is going to be a fun ceremony. Ugh. I don’t have high hopes. I hope I’m proved wrong.

Sunday, February 24th, is the end of a long series of award shows, star-studded luncheons, and debates on whether or not Green Books controversies taint it as a film, whether Bohemian Rhapsody should suffer as a film because of the actions of its director, and whether Black Panther deserves any awards whatsoever. Well, the debates might NOT stop.

This year, the biggest category of the night is a major toss-up, as the Best Picture prize can realistically go to any of the nominees (except one). My gut tells me it’s between Green Book and Roma, but then again my gut has also told me that A Star Is Born will sneak through and emerge victorious since the day it came out. But then there’s The Favourite, which is tailor-made for the Oscars with period costumes, dynamic performances, and subverted sexuality. And let’s not forget that Bohemian Rhapsody was an unexpectedly victorious dark horse at the Golden Globes. Black Panther also has an appeal as the first comic book movie nominated for Best Picture, and its cultural relevancy makes it a worthy turning point in the Academy’s history of Best Picture winners. Then we have the equally relevant Blackkklansman, helmed by the always controversial Spike Lee, who has never been given his rightful place among Oscar winners (expect for an honorary one awarded to him in 2015). Vice is the only nominee that I don’t see winning the coveted prize in any circumstance, because its brutal political stance easily polarizes audiences, even in the very liberal Hollywood. (It’s also fine by me because Vice is the least deserving of the 8 nominees).

To me, the only thing stopping the critically acclaimed and universally loved Roma from taking Best Picture is the fact that it’s a NETFLIX film. The Academy was never a fan of the streaming giant to begin with, and even though Roma received a theatrical run to make it eligible for awards, therein lies the point. Despite its move to diversify the voting body, the Academy is still based in cinematic tradition. That means going to the theater to watch an extremely artistic, black-and-white foreign film that highlights the humanity of the female working class. To award a film that was mostly watched on laptops as Best Picture…well, that’d be just as big of a leap as to give Black Panther the prize.

I stand by my predictions down below, and I do think Roma will squeeze out a win on Sunday night. The emotional appeal behind it is strong. Director Alfonso Cuaron is a convincing storyteller, and as Barry Jenkins did with 2016’s big winner Moonlight, he’s using the medium of film to narrate a journey that’s extremely personal to him. The leap I described above is one that I think the Academy is willing to take for an unforgettable film like Roma.

With so much focus on the Best Picture race this time around, no other category really stands out as a major toss-up. I think Christian Bale will lose as a close second to Rami Malek (and rightfully so – Malek’s work in Bohemian Rhapsody is incredible, plus, Bale has an Oscar), Cuaron’s intimate and personal story will unfortunately beat out Spike Lee’s provocative direction for Blackkklansman (I like both films a lot, but Lee’s much more deserving of Best Director), and the Academy loves Damien Chazelle too much to let his movie, First Man, go home empty-handed. I think it will eke out a Visual Effects win over Avengers: Infinity War.

Below are my predictions and opinions for 18 of the 24 categories. I left out animated, shorts, and documentary film categories. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse completely surprised me in how much I liked it, and it will definitely win the Best Animated Film Oscar. The bland but still satisfactory RBG will take home the gold for Best Documentary Feature by default, since the far superior Won’t You Be My Neighbor? failed to nab a deserved nomination. I’m still holding a grudge for that one, Academy. If you haven’t watched the wonderful documentary on Mister Rogers yet, you’re really missing out.

I could complain some more about who shouldn’t have gotten nominated, more snubs, and why Green Book‘s controversies are pointless, but that would be too much digression. Just look back at last week’s article on my personal favorites of 2018 – that’s a better and less angry idea.

Sound off in the comments about your snubs and predictions!

Above: The 8 nominees for Best Picture. “RT” stands for “Rotten Tomatoes” scores.
Share this post