PREDICTIONS FOR 17 OF THE 24 AWARDS:
What will win: Green Book
Upset Possibility: Roma
Extreme Upset Possibility: A Star Is Born
What should win: Green Book
Overall, I considered this a mediocre year for films. In fact, I had a difficult time ranking the nominees below from first to eighth. Not one would I give a solid four star (out of five) rating. That being said, Green Book was overall the most satisfying - even though much has been written about the historical inaccuracies and the other scandals that have surfaced. There has been much press about the likelihood Roma will win. Cuarón's black-and-white personal homage to his childhood achieved technical and artistic perfection from the cinematography to the long intricate tracking shots to the incredible acting performances. However, the Netflix entry, although garnering almost universal critical acclaim, has failed to win appeal in the popular vote. Although it is a cinch to win the Best Foreign Language Oscar and Cuarón likely for Best Director, I don't feel the Academy will honor it with it's ultimate award. Although, there has been buzz about the umpteenth remake of the A Star Is Born winning, I think otherwise. The film will be honored with Best Original Song (a virtual lock) but sequels have had a long uphill battle being named Best Picture. Fact-checkers have created controversies swirling around two other biopics on the list. Vice's possible historical inaccuracies have been raised as well as Spike Lee's BlackKlansman. Finally, much has been made of the sexual misconduct allegations involving Bryan Singer who began directing Bohemian Rhapsody but was later replaced with Eddie The Eagle director Dexter Fletcher. That, plus the fact that Queen's Freddie Mercury's sexuality was almost totally downplayed in the script might have ultimately doomed the film's chances. I don't feel the historical costume drama/satire The Favourite, although my second favorite film, will ultimately appeal to the majority of the voters. And the fact that Black Panther is the first superhero film to be nominated will be enough of an acknowledgment to the Academy members.
Who will win: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Upset possibility: Yorgos Mavropsaridis (The Favorite)
Who should win: Alfonso Cuarón
Despite the fact that watching Roma was akin to watching paint dry, as stated above, the brilliant directorial achievements exhibited by Cuarón will almost certainly result in his winning the Oscar. Cuarón nearly did it all as he directed, wrote, and filmed the Netflix entry . Although there is much to be admired in Yorgos' dazzling direction of The Favorite, it doesn't quite match the consummated effort by Alfonso.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Who will win: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Upset possibility: Christian Bale (Vice)
Who should win: Rami Malek
Not only did Malek totally embody the legendary Queen front man, his personna made you forget that you weren't actually watching the late singer. That being said, one cannot overlook the impersonation Christian Bale gives to ex-Vice President Dick Cheney. However, it is Malek who is the sole driving engine and energy that makes Bohemian Rhapsody tick. Also, eleven of the last sixteen winners in this category were in biopics.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Who will win: Glenn Close (The Wife)
Upset possibility: Olivia Coleman (The Favourite)
Who should win: Glenn Close
Hollywood loves to recognize one of their own who have lost on multiple occasions. Close fits this bill perfectly. Not only that, but her standout performance actually warrants the ultimate accolade. Longtime English actress Olivia Coleman's witty performance as Queen Anne was notable and deserving but it will be surprising if she is, ahem, "victorious".
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Who will win: Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Upset possibility: Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
Who should win: Mahershala Ali
Even though he won two years ago for Moonlight, this film serves to emphasize the range Ali exhibits in a character that dominates most of Green Book and is so vital to the film. However, one cannot ignore the fact that beloved long-time Hollywood thespian Sam Elliott could sneak in as a voter favorite in this his first nomination.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Who will win: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Extreme Upset possibility: Rachel Weisz (The Favorite)
Who should win: Regina King
The first ever Oscar nominee should win as the mother whose daughter tries desperately to have her boyfriend freed from jail for a crime he didn't commit. Unlike the onscreen screen time afforded Ali in the supporting role, her win will be based solely on one unforgettable and touchingly powerful scene that defines the supporting Oscar. Although Weisz was the supporting standout in The Favorite, her nomination along with co-star Emma Stone could cancel each other out. However, it is King's acting that is most memorable.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
What will win: Roma (Mexico)
Upset possibility: Cold War (Poland)
What should win: Roma
Personal favorite: Shoplifters (Japan)
Almost a slamdunk, Roma should easily win. As I previously pointed out, I believe the voters will bestow the film with this award over the Best Picture honor. However, in a battle of the black-and-whites, Cold War is looming as a possible upset. However, my personal pick would be the Canne Palme d'Or winner, Hirokazu Kore-eda's compelling tale of a family of misfits.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Who will win: Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse
Upset possibility: Incredibles 2
Who should win: Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse
In any other year, the Pixar film would probably win going away. However, Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse is the odds-on favorite. Great story-telling combined with distinctive animation will propel the almost universally beloved film in receiving an Oscar. That plus the fact that the Pixar sequel, although excellent, is not nearly as good as the original.
What will win: RBG
Upset possibility: Hale County This Morning, This Evening
What should win: RBG
The excellent doc on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg will get an extra push from the liberal voting members and while considering her recent health challenges. The somewhat experimental Hale County This Morning, This Evening has garnered excellent reviews and a ton of awards including a Special Sundance Jury award and Best Documentary Award at the prestigious Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. However, the film left me ambivalent and bored when I screened it at last year's AFI Documentary Film Festival.
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
What will win: End Game
Upset possibility: Period. End of Sentence
What should win: End Game
None of the entries left me so emotionally and mentally drained as did the Netflix entry End Game. Mortality is never an easy subject to tackle; however, filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman do a superb job in deftly handling the difficult subject. The other Netflix entry Period. End of Sentence, about the effort of overcoming the stigma of menstruation led by a group of women outside of Delhi, India, could upset.
Who will win: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Extreme upset possibility: Lucasz Zal (Cold War)
Who should win: Alfonso Cuarón
Almost a no-brainer as Roma is one of the most beautiful films, black-and-white or color, that I've ever seen on screen. He would also be the first nominated director to shoot his own film. If Alfonso loses, it will be the shock of the Oscars.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Who will win: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott, & Spike Lee (BlackKlansman)
Upset possibility: Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Who should win: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
Once again, the liberal leaning voters will want to honor Spike Lee's film based on the true events tale of police infiltration into the KKK. This would be the perfect spot to acknowledge the film. However, Can You Ever Forgive Me? could upset after winning the Writer's Guild Award.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Who will win: Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara (The Favourite)
Upset possibility: Nick Vallelonga, Brian a, Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Extreme upset possibility: Paul Schrader (First Reformed)
Who should win: Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara
Probably the toughest category to predict. A Best Picture nod should be followed with the Best Screenplay. However, I'm going out on a limb and picking the superlative script by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara whose humorous outrageous dialogue drives the craziness in The Favourite. Not to be overlooked as an extreme long shot is Hollywood's esteemed writer/director Paul Schrader, who just might slip in under the radar.
Who will win: Hank Corwin (Vice)
Upset possibility: John Ottman (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Who should win: Hank Corwin
One of the many joys of Vice is the stylized spirited energy created by the precise editing technique utilized by Hank Corwin. No other film on the list matches but I will admit Bohemian Rhapsody came the closest.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
Who will win: "Shallow" Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt (A Star Is Born)
Upset possibility: None
Who should win: "Shallow"
The song that kick-started the romance in A Star Is Born is sure to win the big O. When Ga Ga and Cooper recreate the song during Sunday's telecast, those who have not seen the film will understand its musicality and power.
Who will win: Sandy Powell (The Favourite)
Upset possibility: Ruth Carter (Black Panther)
Who should win: Sandy Powell
Almost a tossup. However, one of the most impressive costume designs was dazzlingly accomplished by Powell bringing the Victorian characters to life. However, one cannot ignore the inventive costuming done by Ruth Carter. And the Academy might want to bestow at least one Oscar to the extremely popular superhero movie when all is said and done.
MAKEUP AND HAIR STYLING
Who will win: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney (Vice)
Upset possibility: (None)
Who should win: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney
STOP BACK FOR MY POST-AA REPORT