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Film & TV

Oscar Nominations 2019 – reaction and predictions

Roma and The Favourite score big with ten nominations each

BlacKkKlansman

Best Picture:

“Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”
“Vice”

Due to the superior number of nominations, Roma and The Favourite are the frontrunners here especially with consideration for its universal acclaim among critics and audiences alike. However, with pressure on the Academy to try and make the most important evening in the film industry more accessible, Black Panther, A Star Is Born, and Bohemian Rhapsody may also find themselves in the mix for Best Picture. The fact that Green Book was nominated despite a number of controversies throughout awards season also stands it in good stead. BlacKkKlansman and Vice provide worthy competition through their adroit handling of social relevance but I can’t see them troubling the favourites (no pun intended). I predict that Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma will take the big prize.

Lead Actor:

Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Despite mixed reviews for Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek was a clear contender for Lead Actor with his emotionally complex portrayal of Freddie Mercury. But I think he’ll be hard pushed to overcome another unrecognisable Christian Bale performance, who played former US vice president Dick Cheney in Vice. Elsewhere, we see Bradley Cooper nominated for his fourth acting Oscar, and seventh overall, for A Star Is Born. He is joined by the veterans Viggo Mortensen and Willem Dafoe, the latter of whom is bizarrely nominated in the Lead Actor category for the first time.    But Bale’s hilarious performance as the domineering, Bush-era politician will prove too powerful and too relevant for this impressive crop.

Melissa McCarthy

Lead Actress:

Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

The Lead Actress category is a particularly tantalising one this year, with three actresses neck and neck as favourites for the award. Glenn Close’s superb turn in The Wife will go head-to-head with Olivia Colman’s very funny, but unstable Queen Anne, whilst Lady Gaga simmers in a close third position. The vote for Colman and Close could be that tight that it inadvertently propels Lady Gaga to the prize as a compromised victor. Additionally, it’s great to see Melissa McCarthy nominated after a string of disappointing comedies in 2018 and even greater to see Yalitza Aparicio honoured for her performance in Roma despite no previous acting experience. However, I was hoping that the Academy would nominate Toni Collette for her unhinged performance in Hereditary.  Had she received a nod, surely we’d be looking at a four-horse race for Lead Actress. I’m expecting Glenn Close to make it sixth time lucky.

Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Prior to the nominations, I predicted Mahershala Ali and Beautiful Boy’s Timothee Chalamet to be duking it out for Supporting Actor. But the big surprise of this category is the omission of Chalamet despite much praise for his harrowing performance as a teen addicted to crystal meth. Nominated in place of Chalamet is the seasoned actor Sam Elliott, who receives his first nomination at the age of 74. Also receiving their first nods are Richard E. Grant and Adam Driver. The final nominee, Sam Rockwell, will be looking to defend his title having won this award in 2018. Without Ali’s performance, I think this category would be very difficult to call. But in all honesty I can’t see any of the other nominees preventing Ali winning his second Oscar in three years.

Rachel Weisz

Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

It’s a sixth nomination for Amy Adams, which means she is now officially in DiCaprio territory (Leo won his Oscar with his sixth nod). By the pressure of aggregate, we could finally see Adams pick up a well deserved Academy Award. But she faces some serious competition from every nominee. The delectable duel in The Favourite saw both Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone rightly nominated. It’s also wonderful to see Marina de Tavira nominated for her crucial part in Roma. But the favourite here (again, no pun intended) is Regina King, for Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk. King has already picked up the Golden Globe among several other critics awards but unlike Adams, Stone, and Weisz, she wasn’t nominated at the BAFTAs and SAGs which could swing the momentum away from her when the Oscars roll around.

Director:

Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”

The reach of this category must be commended, with minorities represented by Spike Lee and Alfonso Cuaron, as well as Poland and Greece being represented by Pawel Pawlikowski and Yorgos Lanthimos respectively. However, one thing that must be criticised here is the lack of female directors. Debra Granik or Lynne Ramsay both gained universal acclaim for Leave No Trace and You Were Never Really Here respectively and both could’ve replaced Adam McKay for Vice, which has drawn mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. The likes of Lee and Pawlikowski must be praised for their political pieces but I think the battle will be between Cuaron and Lanthimos. Roma is beautifully executed, with Cuaron acting as director and cinematographer here. The Favourite shows in its finest form yet, Lanthimos’ ability to bring a surrealist, bizarre vision to the big screen and make it accessible. But I’m hoping, and thinking, that Cuaron will pick up the Director award once more. Roma is a truly awesome cinematic experience.

Isle of Dogs

Animated Feature:

“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

It’s been a superb year for animated films. Mamoru Hosoda’s Mirai has provided an excellent new addition to the world of anime and deserves it place here among the finest animations of 2018. Ralph Breaks the Internet also provides a middling, but enjoyable sequel to Wreck-It Ralph. However, the realistic contenders for the award here are Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Incredibles 2 was a superb follow-up to one of the most beloved animated features of all time. Not being swallowed up by the expectation was a feat in itself. Elsewhere, Wes Anderson has followed up his first animated film, Fantastic Mr Fox, with a typically meticulous feature in Isle of Dogs. But expect Anderson to be edged ever so slightly by the fantastic Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse nails its comic book aesthetic supremely, balancing complex self-reference with the frivolity of a family flick. In fact, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s crew might feel a little miffed that they weren’t included among the Best Picture nominees. And rightfully so too.

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