For some people, this Oscar season has been “fun and exciting.” For others, it’s been like having the stomach flu. Just when you think the runs and the projectile vomiting are over for good, a whole new round starts again. It doesn’t feel like an Oscar race to me. It feels like an election. Either which way, just as there will be a winner and a loser in 2020, there will be winners and losers on Sunday night. That much we know for sure. The rest of it — well, it’s a crapshoot. We always say that and we sort of mean it much of the time, but this time it really is a crapshoot because of the various narratives that have been playing out and how the wins have been going down so far.
Essentially, there is no con; Rasensus on Best Picture. If Roma was a consensus winner, wouldn’t it have won the PGA, easily, on a preferential ballot? If Green Book was a consensus winner, wouldn’t it have a Best Director nom? If Black Panther was a consensus winner, wouldn’t it have won the PGA at least, and have nominations in writing, directing, or acting? If BlacKkKlansman was the consensus winner, wouldn’t it have won a single award somewhere? The SAG? The WGA? If The Favourite was a consensus winner, why didn’t it win PGA or get nominated for DGA or the SAG?
Kris Tapley has put out his predictions of what he thinks is most likely to win in all categories. In the coming days, we’ll be getting more predictions and maybe some people will get lucky. This is, really and truly, like betting on a horse race and honestly, even horse races have actual odds. We have Oscar “odds”, but those odds are based on what people like me think and, thus, are useless to people like me. At the same time, there are so many different ways this thing could go down.
In truth, we’re all flying blind.
Frontrunners and Their Challengers:
Frontrunners: Roma (DGA), Green Book (PGA)
Challengers: Black Panther (SAG), BlacKkKlansman (stats champ for nominations, but no wins)
We’ve done Best Picture to death and there isn’t a frontrunner. There just isn’t. Every measure we use has been busted out. We can only go with the major guilds and maybe a little BAFTA influence. The WGA gave us two winners that weren’t Best Picture nominees, so they’re out. On paper, Roma looks like the right choice until you factor in the obvious: it is also nominated in foreign language film, and the way the Oscars go down is that no film has ever won both Best Picture and a separate feature category. No doc, no animated, and no foreign. They have separate categories for a reason. Will some voters love the movie so much they put it in both? Of course they will. And it could win. I’d probably have to go with that if I was betting hard cold cash, but something prevents me from doing it. Maybe it’s the Netflix thing too. Old timers will refuse to award that film Best Picture. And then there’s the question of people NOT WATCHING IT. It’s on Netflix and people still aren’t watching it. Why? Because a lot of people don’t like watching subtitled movies. Yell all you want but it’s just the fact of the matter.
When I first started my website back in 2000, for the first time I ever predicted Best Picture I went for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to beat Gladiator. Gladiator won the PGA. Crouching Tiger won the DGA. Traffic won the SAG. In the end, Soderbergh won Best Director, Crouching Tiger got foreign language, and Gladiator won BP. I’m not going to make that same mistake again 20 years later! So I will be very likely sticking with the PGA winner. And if I wasn’t, I’d go with the SAG winner.
Frontrunner: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Challenger: Christian Bale, Vice
Frontrunner: Glenn Close, The Wife
Challenger: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Best Supporting Actor
Frontrunner: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Challenger: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me
There have been rumblings that Grant’s publicity train is going to be too much to resist. That his endearing post-nom display of emotion will win over voters in the end. The only way Ali loses this is if voters want to be assholes and continue to punish Green Book. And look, if there’s one thing I know for sure after 53 years on this planet: people are mostly assholes. By nature. We have to work hard every day not to be. So yeah, who knows. Both performances are great, however, and I hope we can celebrate each of them if they win. I loved both performances. Ali’s is more of a leading role, more accomplished role, which makes it hard to pass up.
Conversely, Colman in The Favourite is more of a supporting role, which makes it harder to bet on against an actual leading role, like Glenn Close’s.
Best Supporting Actress
Frontrunner: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Challengers: Marina de Tavira, Roma; Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Frontrunner: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Challenger: He has none, but if he did it would be Spike Lee to make history as the first black director to at last win the Oscar.
Best Original Screenplay
Frontrunner: Unknown — it was Green Book, but since it didn’t win the Writers Guild and a movie that isn’t nominated for the Oscar DID? We have no frontrunner here.
The Favourite has so many nominations, and won the BAFTA, that it could be the frontrunner. Paul Schrader is up for the award and anyone who knows who he is might be inclined to at last give him an Oscar for First Reformed. Roma could sweep and win here. And Vice could win because it, too, has key nominations and might win SOMETHING. It’s a crap shoot.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Frontrunner: Unknown — most believed it was BlacKkKlansman and it still might be, though the WGA’s win for Can You Ever Forgive Me shows there is a possible uptick for that, especially given that Nicole Holofcener is one of the nominees.
Challengers: Most likely Can You Ever Forgive Me, If Beale Street Could Talk
Frontrunners: Either Bohemian Rhapsody or The Favourite, since both won the Eddie.
Challengers: Green Book, which, if it wins Best Picture, supporting actor, and screenplay might also pick up editing. Vice is a real challenge here. And of course BlacKkKlansman could win, signaling that movie is finally going to start picking up wins. Essentially, this too is a crap shoot.
Frontrunner: Roma — this film is mostly cinematography, just as Gravity and Children of Men are mostly cinematography. Cuaron is, at heart, a cinematographer and, thus, this film is a celebration of that unique talent he has with the frame.
Challenger: Only one — Cold War, which more people might actually watch. The Favourite could also win here.
Sound Mixing/Sound Editing
Frontrunner: Bohemian Rhapsody — after it won both the BAFTA and the CAS it seems poised to take both sound categories.
Challengers: Black Panther — this film seems poised to win a bunch of Oscars and picking up two sound wins would certainly take care of that.
First Man — the only female sound nominees are on First Man in both sound and sound editing. That might help push it to a win.
Frontrunner: The Favourite
Challenger: Black Panther
Frontrunner: The Favourite
Challenger: Black Panther
Frontrunner: Black Panther
Frontrunner: “Shallow,” A Star Is Born
Challenger: Has none, but if so, “I’ll Fight,” RBG
Frontrunner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Challenger: Incredibles 2
Frontrunner: Appears to be Free Solo
Challengers: Any of the five, especially Minding the Gap, RGB, Hale County
Challenger: Cold War
I personally have never felt less sure of how the Oscar race will turn out than I am this year. However it turns out, anyone who gets it right will have to credit a lucky break. There is no skill involved in figuring any of this out.