2019 Oscars are a wide-open race
By Elizabeth Lande, Co-Copy Editor
Now in its 91st year, the Oscars have been a hallmark of the movie industry for decades, celebrating the actors, producers, directors, and those even further behind the scenes for their excellence in filmmaking.
So, as a major movie buff, I present to you my predictions for the top five categories of the 2019 Oscars. Inaccuracies aside, it’s gonna be a wild ride.
Best Original Screenplay
In this category, I’ll cut right to the chase; it’ll be “The Favourite.” I was impressed by the other nominees — “First Reformed,” “Vice,” “Roma,” and “Green Book” — but “The Favourite” has it one hundred percent. Oh my word, the dialogue. Nearly the entire movie is a verbal battle of clever comebacks and witty cynicism. It’s refreshing, it’s hysterical, and I think it’s more than enough to secure the win.
If we’re talking true excellence here, the very best of 2018 directors, then I find it hard to believe that this Oscar will go to anyone except Alfonso Cuaron. “Roma” is, for lack of a better word, amazing, and Cuaron’s work has led it to a total of 10 nominations.
Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”), Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”), Adam McKay (“Vice”), and Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War”) created beautiful films, but Cuaron’s vision was sweeping, poignant, and complex, and he pulled it all together beautifully.
I hadn’t even heard of “At Eternity’s Gate” until the nominations were released, and I doubt that the majority of the general public had, either, so I think Willem Dafoe will lose this one. Viggo Mortensen was fantastic in “Green Book,” but if I have to guess, I think it’ll take a back seat to my three remaining nominees: Bradley Cooper in “A Star is Born,” Christian Bale in “Vice,” and Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
All of them gave powerful performances, so packed with talent that it becomes almost impossible to narrow it down any further. I somehow doubt a win is in Cooper’s future this year when compared to Bale and Malek. Both faced the challenge of disappearing into the shadow of a historical figure, and both nailed it. Malek may actually stand a chance, but how he’ll stand up against Bale (I mean come on, Malek is only like three inches taller than me) is another matter. I’m on the fence for this one, and as much I’m holding out for Malek, I think the edge goes to Bale.
I hate to condemn people’s chances right out of the gate, but I’m going to be staggered if either Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”) or Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) win in this category. When compared to Lady Gaga’s acting turn in “A Star is Born,” Glenn Close’s performance in “The Wife,” or the wonderfully eccentric portrayal given by Olivia Colman in “The Favourite,” I don’t think the first two leading ladies can eek out a win.
My theory for the last three is pretty simple: Colman should win. Hers was the strongest, if most unexpectedly brilliant, performance I’ve seen this year. Gaga is grand in her acting debut, a role tailored perfectly to her. Close is close, and I certainly feel sorry that she hasn’t snagged an Oscar for her previous six nominations. However, I think that neither have enough to beat out Colman.
First off, there are two films that are rather far out of contention, but they remain notable simply for their status as nominees. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is good, but overwhelmingly due to Malek’s performance.
The second no-chance nominee is “Black Panther.” It’s a huge triumph for representation in film, as well as an acknowledgment that what the general masses enjoy can actually be great. It’s been a long time since an action film like “Black Panther” has won Best Picture (“Return of the King” in 2003), and I don’t think this year will do it, but it’s nice to celebrate the nomination anyway.
After this, the movies get pretty close in terms of contention. “Vice” is unlikely to win simply because of the pool of other nominees, but it’s still fabulous in its own right. I predict an interesting future for “The Favourite,” and while that may not include a Best Picture Oscar, it could become a joint cult film for history nerds and era-accurate fashion geeks.
“Roma’s” nomination is an interesting topic of discussion — its presence on Netflix might spite the Academy into denying it the highest honor, even if Cuaron wins for Best Director.
I’m also not optimistic about the chances for “A Star is Born.” It got a lot of love from critics and consumers, but the outpouring of affection was transferred to “Green Book” following its later release. This film may also overshine another nominee: “BlacKkKlansman.”
While undoubtedly a good movie, I think the academy won’t like “BlacKkKlansman” as much when they have “Green Book” to consider as well. This latter film is easier to approach with its old Hollywood vibe — even if it’s not as complex of a commentary on racism — and it will likely win before its similarly themed partner does.
So I guess, by process of elimination, it all comes down to “Green Book.” Still, though, the race is largely wide open and, in a year of standout popular films and quieter but no less impressive commentaries, I’m more than happy to be wrong.
2019 Oscars are a wide-open race