Chris Pix for the 2019 Oscar Race

The 91st Academy Awards are February 24th this year (host-less, no less) and here are my picks for who’ll take home Oscar gold!

BEST PICTURE 

It’s all about politics this year for Best Picture. Sure, Black Panther made over a BILLION in sales and boasts an all African-American cast & director, but it’s still a super-hero/fantasy/sci-fi movie and those NEVER win, much less get nominated! Roma is the Academy darling as it’s a foreign film, and has a human story to tell, but so does Green Book, which is based on a true story. I don’t see A Star Is Born (a fifth remake), Vice (too political), The Favourite (a period picture), or Bohemian Rhapsody (a bio-pic) having much luck here, but don’t rule out BlacKkKlansman as a dark horse in this race. My choice? I’m a MCU fanboy, so I’m hoping for Black Panther, but judging how the Academy votes? They’ll probably vote Roma.

BEST ACTRESS 

I’ll just say it: I think this is Glenn Close’s year. She’s been nominated seven times for an Academy Award and never won. Take away Yalitza Aparicio from Roma, and Melissa McCarthy from Can You Ever Forgive Me? and you’re left with Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born). Colman has a chance as her portrayal as the ditzy Queen was electric and Gaga’s first-time acting gig was flawless. But enough to garner an Oscar? I’m betting Close will nab gold for her role in The Wife.  

BEST ACTOR

This is probably the toughest category to call: first toss out Willem DaFoe from At Eternity’s Gate, ’cause who even saw this movie? So now we’ve got the REAL race: Christian Bale in Vice, Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born, Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody, and Viggo Mortensen in Green Book; each one giving a singularly outstanding performance in their own right. Really, this should be a four-way tie! BUT if we have to give it to one guy, I’m giving it to Bale who, for my money, so completely embodied Dick Cheney, it sets him apart from the others. Not to mention his committal to the role was awesome!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

This year the Best Supporting Actor category has a runaway winner. Mahershala Ali for Green Book. I even said he’d get it in my review of the movie last year, so bye-bye Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), so long Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born), ta-ta Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and seeya later Sam Rockwell (Vice). You guys are good, but not good enough to grab some gold this year.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

This category is a runway walk-off between two women from the same movie. Rule out Amy Adams from Vice, Marina deTavira from Roma, Regina King from If Beale Street Could Talk, which leads us to the two main contenders: Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, both from The Favourite, a movie I did NOT care for. Oh sure, their acting was spot-on, but the movie was crap. Anyway, between the two, I’m thinking Rachel Weitz will take home Oscar.

BEST DIRECTOR

WHY Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born) or Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) weren’t nominated here is mind-boggling. Clearly they’re better than some of the films I’ve seen nominated! Instead we have Alfonso Cuaron for his black & white ‘slice o’life’ Roma, the lousy Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite, Spike Lee’s underrated BlacKkKlansman, Adam McKay for his brutally honest & sinfully funny Vice, and Pawel Pawlikowski for his unseen film, Cold War. While I’d love to see McKay win (he deserves to), or Lee for his sheer chutzpah, once again, I’m afraid Cuaron will get Oscar because of the way the Academy votes.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara for The Favourite has legs, so let’s rule out Paul Schader’s First Reformed right away, as well as Roma by Alfonso Cuaron, since his ‘screenplay’ was mostly improvised stuff from the cast. I think it’ll come down to either Green Book by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, and Peter Farrelly or Vice by Adam McKay, both of which are damn strong in writing. I’m gonna go with Green Book purely because of content.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY 

Let’s face it, A Star Is Born by Eric Roth, Will Fetters & Bradley Cooper is just an old dog in a new wrapper, so no. Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? is good, but not good enough. Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk might be a dark horse, but my monies on either the wildly imaginative Coen Brothers The Ballad of Buster Scruggs or the dangerously biting BlacKkKlansman by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee. Both are deserving, but I’m thinking BlacKKKlansman will take it.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

With the House of Mouse having not one, but TWO movies in the race (The Incredibles 2 & Ralph Breaks The Internet–both sequels, btw), and the unknown Mirai being there, it might be a no-brainer, however, don’t rule out the fantastic Isle of Dogs and the wickedly cool Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as contenders. While stop-motion animation is always a tough sell (like Nightmare Before Christmas), this particular Spider-Man CG animation was different, exciting, and NOT produced by the unstoppable Disney juggernaut. I’m hoping that’ll win Oscar gold.

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