By: Miranda Mong
This year’s awards season has been the most inclusive in years, and the list of Oscar nominations has continued the trend with some surprising exclusions and unexpected entries. With Hollywood’s biggest night of the year set to take place on the night of February 24 at 8 P.M. on ABC, The Squire rounds up the actors, directors and movies currently on track to take home the famous golden statues.
A Star Is Born
Who Will Win?: Of course, the big win of Oscar night is also the one most difficult to predict, but Roma, The Favourite, and A Star Is Born are floating around the top three. Roma currently stands as the frontrunner, with Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white masterpiece about a working class housekeeper in 1970s Mexico striking a chord with voters across the board. But Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite also spins a twist on the traditional period drama, accompanied by an iconic display of performances. Then there is Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in another retelling of A Star Is Born, both bringing passion to the story. It’s too early to rule out these two yet, but because that the Best Picture Oscar is meant to honor the year’s best achievement in film, it’s Cuaron’s vision and story in Roma that gives it a huge advantage to the other nominees.
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Who Will Win?: Even with Bale’s dedication to his role, he has a few tough contenders. After all, he practically disappears into the role of Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s Vice. But Rami Malek’s performance as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody has proven to be an intimidating contender, and his win over Bale at the Screen Actors Guild Awards makes him the current frontrunner in the Best Actor race.
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Who Will Win?: It’s hard to imagine Glenn Close not winning Best Actress, after her surprise win at the Golden Globes in January put her on a path to Oscar gold over Colman and Lady Gaga. This also is Close’s seventh nomination in a career lasting forty years without an Oscar win so far. With a powerful performance in The Wife, a story that could stick with many voters, I see Glenn finally closing in on her long awaited Academy Award.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Who Will Win?: Just as Mahershala Ali has been powering ahead as the frontrunner in the Best Supporting Actor race, Regina King has been the one to beat in the Best Supporting Actress race since winning the Golden Globe. King’s exclusion from the category at the Screen Actors Guild ceremony this year was a wrench in her awards campaign, but she still received the Oscar nomination. She faces a contender in Amy Adams, who steals the scenes in Vice as Lynne Cheney. But, it is King’s role as a mother trying to open the door for the release of her daughter’s fiancé from prison in If Beale Street Could Talk that has been winning voters over so far.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice
Who Will Win?: Given that Green Book has Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali sharing scenes for most of the film, Ali being in the Best Supporting Actor race comes with a much heavier performance than the other nominees, as he has much more screen time. However, there are two contenders facing Ali. Elliott in A Star Is Born and Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me, as both have been campaigning hard. Though, with all of the wins under Ali’s belt, it may be his award to lose.
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice
Who Will Win?: In a year of ambitious projects in cinema, there’s one film that truly brings to life the vision of its filmmaker: Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma. Cuarón is the one to beat this season and Roma is a treat to any film lover. The filmmaker tells a very personal tale that he wrote, directed, produced, shot, and edited. But, don’t count out Spike Lee, who scored his very first Oscar nomination in the directing category for BlacKkKlansman, after a career spanning thirty years. The filmmaker tells a story set in the 1970s, and draws parallels to the racial split in America today.
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
BlacKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
A Star Is Born (Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters)
Who Will Win?: With Hollywood’s obsession with adapting books to film, this category was already one of the hardest to get into. Each of the five nominees show a well-deserved case for the win, but there are two that stand out: If Beale Street Could Talk and BlacKkKlansman. Adapted from James Baldwin’s novel of the same name, Beale Street follows Fonny and Tish, a black couple in the 1970s, torn apart by a false allegation that leads to Fonny being thrown in jail. It is a story that resonates amongst the black community through history. Furthermore, BlacKkKlansman follows the true story of a black police detective who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan, drawing a parallel to the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Both are nominated for Writers Guild and BAFTA awards, but it could be BlacKkKlansman that pulls through.
Best Original Screenplay The Nominees:
The Favourite (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara)
First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
Green Book (Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly)
Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
Vice (Adam McKay)
Who Will Win?: Green Book leads the pack of Best Original Screenplay contenders, but remembering the controversies around the film, especially around the screenplay and screenwriter Nick Vallelonga, an Oscar win might not happen. The family of Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali) said they had not been contacted by the filmmakers and that the portrayal of Shirley was inaccurate. The backlash against the film could open the path up for The Favourite, which spins a very entertaining twist on the usual period drama, going into the manipulation of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) by her advisors. Then there is also Adam McKay’s Vice, which changes the usual biopic with a take on Dick Cheney. So, I’m a little split on this one, but it could be The Favourite that makes it through.
Best Original Song
“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
Who Will Win?: We might not be so far from the “Shallow” now. Given the success of A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s duet seems like a shoe in. It won the Golden Globe in the category (and earned four Grammy nominations including Song and Record of the Year). But, there’s also Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars” from Black Panther that has racked up more than half a billion streams and also scored four Grammy nominations, including Song and Record of the Year, or Emily Blunt’s sweet “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns that could tap into voters’ childhood. For now, my bet is on the power of Gaga and Cooper, who will be performing “Shallow” at the Oscars.
Best Animated Feature Film
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Who Will Win?: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse! In a category that is usually dominated by Disney, not only did the animated retelling of the web-slinger spin a web of twists on the usual superhero film, the power of the message “anyone can wear the mask” fueled emotions across a world of comic book fans who might otherwise have not seen themselves shown in the superhero world that has been dominated by white actors. The combination of different animation styles and taking inspiration from the style and colors of Spidey’s comic books, Spider-verse served up a very new and inclusive superhero.
On that note, you still have time to watch all of these amazing pieces of film and make your own predictions. Every year the Oscars always has something new in store—familiar faces announcing awards, interesting interviews, and of course, everyone’s outfits on the red carpet. So, if you haven’t already, sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn, and have a movie night so you can be prepared for the 91st Annual Oscars.