It’s finally Oscar weekend! And just as it’s been this entire Oscar cycle, the unpredictability continues as Variety broke the news yesterday that Kendrick Lamar and SZA will not perform “All The Stars” from Black Panther, nominated for Best Song, due to “logistics and timing”.
Now does this sound like a story made up by a personal assistant? It does to me.
You’ll recall, originally “All The Stars” and “Shallow” were reportedly the only two songs that would be performed during the broadcast, until people protested, including Lady Gaga, at which point the Academy reversed the decision and invited all five nominees to perform. Which means that “All The Stars” and “Shallow” would have been the first two songs confirmed weeks ago. What’s with this “timing” thing then?
Kendrick’s not the kind of artist who goes out of his way to explain himself but, I wonder, if the Academy pulls a Ken Ehrlich on him, the way it went down with Ariana Grande at the Grammys, whether or not Kendrick will clarify why exactly he’s not into it. Because this is definitely a bummer. It is a good song. I am not sure its a clear winner but it would have been nice to see live at the Oscars.
The very long show must go on.
So we are to indure a Wayne’s World reunion. Both Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are confirmed as presenters and the assumption is that they’ll be introducing Best Picture nominee Bohemian Rhapsody of course.
Serena Williams is also already confirmed to introduce A Star is Born and since Barbra Streisand’s on the presenter list too, it seems obvious that she and Serena will be on stage together – and you know what that means?
Richard E Grant, this year’s Oscar fanboy, might get to meet his fave! Remember, he posted about writing her a letter when he was 14 years old? And then she tweeted back at him and he started crying? This is his chance! That would be his Oscar. He’s probably not going to win Best Supporting Actor but, maybe, for him, Barbra is his Oscar.
With eight movies as different as a $US1.3 billion comic book blockbuster and a black-and-white foreign language Netflix film vying for the biggest prize on the night, it’s shaping up to be one of the more interesting races in recent years.
We take a look at the main categories to watch come Oscars night — the movies and performances that are leading the race and the ones that might pull off a surprising upset.
Has A Star is Born completely lost steam? Will Black Panther become the first comic book Best Picture movie or could the mediocre Bohemian Rhapsody come out on top?
A Star is Born
Roma is the presumed frontrunner here, having won a slew of prizes including the BAFTA for best film. The semi-autobiographical movie inspired by director Alfonso Cuaron’s childhood in Mexico City has also been universally praised for being a filmmaking accomplishment, nailing the technical side while maintaining a humanist spirit.
But Green Book won the Producers Guild Award, which is seen as a reliable predictor of the Oscars. Green Book will be a controversial win with its old-timey treatment of race and its by-the-numbers but crowd-pleasing approach.
Also in contention is Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, which has a pulsating anger and relevant perspective on race relations and hate in America in 2019 despite being set in the 1970s.
Black Panther could end up the consensus pick, as a popular movie that made a ton of money and tapped into a cultural movement with audiences clamouring for diverse screen representation.
The Oscars ballot is also a preferential voting system (like Australian elections) so it won’t necessarily go to the movies with the most number one votes. This is where something like Black Panther — which may be many voters’ number two or three pick — could sneak through, despite not being nominated in any of the other major categories.
At this point, The Favourite, A Star is Born and Vice look to be also-rans.
Of course the real puzzler (for even being included in this list) is Bohemian Rhapsody.
The officially sanctioned and sanitised Queen biopic has been a hit with audiences, especially Baby Boomers with lots of disposable income, but it’s proven to be a lightning rod of controversy with allegations of underage sexual abuse against its director Bryan Singer and criticism of pinkwashing.
That, and it’s just not a good movie, no matter how much nostalgia for a youth long gone and or a love of Queen it stirs in older viewers.
If Bohemian Rhapsody ends up winning on the night, it will go down as an Oscar travesty alongside the likes of Crash, Driving Miss Daisy, The Artist, Gigi and Shakespeare in Love. What a company.
Potential spoiler: Green Book or BlacKkKlansman
Deserves to win: Roma
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Eyes on the prize. Glenn Close in The Wife
Glenn Close’s performance in The Wife as an overlooked and obliging wife finally finding her voice has been bubbling in the awards conversation for some time but it was her unexpected Best Actress — Drama win and rousing speech on Golden Globes night that has made her such a contender.
Factor in Close’s Screen Actors Guild win — and actors are the largest branch in the Academy — and that this is her seventh nomination with no win so far, makes a compelling case for a Close victory, even if it’ll be more of a “career win” than for her individual performance in The Wife.
Lady Gaga’s Oscar campaign is all but over with the singer running third behind Close and Olivia Colman who picked up a Golden Globe and BAFTA for her performance in The Favourite.
Lady Gaga is likely to go home disappointed.
Potential spoiler: Olivia Colman
Deserves to win: Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman will fight it out with Glenn Close for Best Actress.Source:Southern Downs Bush Telegraph
Rami Malek has won the Screen Actors Guild, the BAFTA and the Golden Globe for his performance in Bohemian Rhapsody. Picture: Alex Bailey/Twentieth Century Fox via APSource:AAP
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
When the Oscars nominations were announced, it seemed like renewed momentum was swinging behind Bradley Cooper, that he might have a better chance of picking up Best Actor after being snubbed in the Director category — a two-for-one deal.
Cooper’s portrayal of Jackson Maine was a restrained and multilayered performance where some of his rivals relied more on mimicry.
But Rami Malek has been running away from Cooper and Christian Bale, picking up awards left, right and centre, including the Screen Actor’s Guild.
The controversy around Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer doesn’t seem to have hurt Malek’s chances, especially as it’s well-known that Malek and Singer clashed on set and Malek reportedly had a hand in getting Singer sacked from the production two-thirds of the way through.
Frontrunner: Rami Malek
Potential spoiler: Christian Bale
Deserves to win: Bradley Cooper
Christian Bale could snatch the Oscar for best actor. Picture: Greig Fraser/Annapurna PicturesSource:Supplied
Regina King is popular in the industry.
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Of the four acting races, Supporting Actress is the most open. Regina King is the presumed front runner here for her turn as a determined and supporting mother in If Beale Street Could Talk but it’s far from a sure thing with King being snubbed for nominations at the Screen Actors Guild and the BAFTAs.
King is broadly popular in the industry and she’s managed to pull some surprise Emmys out of the bag in the past so she’s still the most likely to win.
Which means Amy Adams may be looking at her sixth loss from as many Oscar nominations.
Rachel Weisz is also gaining momentum here after picking up the BAFTA ahead of her The Favourite co-star Emma Stone, proving that the conventional wisdom that Weisz and Stone were cancelling each other may not be true.
Frontrunner: Regina King
Potential spoiler: Rachel Weisz
Deserves to win: Regina King
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliot, A Star is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice
Mahershala Ali looks set to win his second Oscar in three years for playing Don Shirley in Green Book. There may be controversy surrounding the movie but Ali seems immune to it — as he should be.
He’s a singularly gifted actor whose performances are thoughtful and graceful; it’s great to see him rewarded after years of supporting roles on TV.
Ali’s biggest threat is Richard E. Grant who was incredible in Can You Ever Forgive Me? and is also a charming campaigner who was been winning over voters with his natural charisma.
And then there’s Sam Elliot who’s been around in the industry for a long time with a great overall body of work — he would be a popular pick.
Frontrunner: Mahershala Ali
Potential spoiler: Richard E. Grant
Deserves to win: Mahershala Ali
Spoiler alert. Richard E. Grant has been winning over voters. Picture: Mary Cybulski/Fox Searchlight Pictures via APSource:AP
Alfonso Cuaron is up for five Oscars in this year’s race
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
This is Alfonso Cuaron’s award to lose. The Mexican director, who previously won the same gong for Gravity, has been cleaning up the awards circuit including the all-important Director’s Guild Awards, whose winner has gone to win the Oscar in all but seven times since 1948.
Cuaron also wore so many hats on Roma’s production, including editing, cinematography and writing, that a Director Oscar will be seen as deserved recognition for his overall achievements.
The spoiler comes in the form of Spike Lee who has never been nominated in this category before and an overdue Oscar for the visionary albeit inconsistent director is a nice Oscar narrative, especially for a movie like BlacKkKlansman, which vividly captures the current political moment.
Frontrunner: Alfonso Cuaron
Potential spoiler: Spike Lee
Deserves to win: Alfonso Cuaron
Alfonso Cuaron took on cinematography duties when his usual collaborator three-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki’s schedule clashed with Roma’s production.
Cold War — Lukasz Zal
The Favourite — Robbie Ryan
Never Look Away — Caleb Deschanel
Roma — Alfonso Cuaron
A Star is Born — Matthew Libatique
It was unthinkable to think one of the most important awards on the night was going to be relegated to being handed out during an ad break but, happily, sanity prevailed and it’s being restored into the main ceremony.
The category this year is unusual in that it includes three foreign language films (Roma, Cold War and Never Look Away), two of which are in black and white.
The race is between Cold War, which won the Cinematography Society’s main award, and Cuaron’s Roma.
Cuaron usually collaborates with three-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki but took on cinematography duties on Roma because of scheduling clashes. And the movie really does look beautiful with its crisp visuals that don’t romanticise a turbulent time in Mexican history.
Potential spoiler: Cold War
Deserves to win: Roma
The Favourite was written by Australians Deborah Davis and Tony McNamaraSource:Supplied
The Favourite — Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
First Reformed — Paul Schrader
Green Book — Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
Roma — Alfonso Cuaron
Vice — Adam McKay
The Writers Guild of America awarded its Original Screenplay prize to Bo Burnham for Eighth Grade, which isn’t even nominated here so The Favourite, and its screenwriters Deborah Davis and Australian Tony McNamara looks to be the, well, favourite.
The movie’s sharp and witty script with its biting dialogue and bonkers story would be a worthy winner.
Green Book was a formidable opponent at one point but momentum seems to have fallen off — how much its various scandals have hurt the film’s chances is hard to know but screenwriter Nick Vallelonga’s pro-Trump, anti-Muslim tweet from 2015 would more problematic in Hollywood than the film’s questionable racial politics.
Don’t count out First Reformed and Paul Schrader.
Frontrunner: The Favourite
Potential spoiler: First Reformed
Deserves to win: TheFavourite
BlacKkKlansman is a sentimental favourite to pick up at least one gong on Oscars nightSource:Supplied
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs — Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
BlacKkKlansman — Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmot, Spike Lee
Can You Ever Forgive Me? — Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty
If Beale Street Could Talk — Barry Jenkins
A Star is Born — Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters
Adapted screenplay was shaping up to be a close contest between Blackkklansman and If Beale Street Could Talk but the Writers Guild just crowned Can You Ever Forgive Me? with its top award, which now makes this a three-horse race.
Blackkklansman could score here for its sharp and politically relevant story of a black police officer who infiltrated the KKK but If Beale Street Could Talk and its writer-director Barry Jenkins may be compensated for Beale Street being shut-out of the Best Picture race.
On the other hand, Can You Ever Forgive Me? was a great showcase for Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, partly because the script was so good to start with.
This will be one of the more competitive categories on Oscars night.
Potential spoiler: If Beale Street Could Talk
Deserves to win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
From eight nominations, Original Song looks to be the only category A Star is Born is likely to win.
All the Stars — Black Panther
I’ll Fight — RBG
The Place Where Lost Things Go — Mary Poppins Returns
Shallow — A Star is Born
When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings — The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
This is the only category that A Star is Born looks likely (OK, more than likely) to win despite the movie’s early momentum out of its Toronto premiere. So Lady Gaga will still get her shot to get up on stage and give a fawning, earnest and dramatic speech — “There could be 100 people in a room…”.
And after the original debacle that only Shallow and All the Stars from Black Panther would be performed at the ceremony, now all five nominated tracks will get their 90 seconds in the sun. The highlight will surely be Bette Midler who has been tapped to do the Mary Poppins Returns song.
The only real competition to Shallow comes in the form of Kendrick Lamar, who’s nipping at the heels of Lady Gaga.
Frontrunner: Shallow, A Star is Born
Potential spoiler: All the Stars, Black Panther
Deserves to win: Shallow, A Star is Born
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has near universal acclaim from criticsSource:Supplied
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Since this category was introduced in 2001, it has been dominated by Pixar and Disney — you have to go back to 2011 for the previous non-Disney/Pixar movie to have won.
Disney may be a mighty force in Hollywood with many of its people part of the Academy voting body, but it looks like Sony’s inventive and visually impressive Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in pole position in win.
Partly because Disney has two movies in contention — Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet — which may split the vote and Spider-Man has been cleaning up all the precursor awards including the important Annie Awards and the Producers’ Guild for Best Animated Feature.
Expect the web-slinger to come through on the night.
Frontrunner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Potential spoiler: Incredibles 2
Deserves to win: Isle of Dogs
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Marina de Tavira’s unexpected nomination in Supporting Actress shows there’s strong support for Roma by Oscar votersSource:Supplied
Cold War, Poland
Never Look Away, Germany
Roma should be a lock in this category with the Mexican movie so dominant elsewhere this awards season — one of rare instances in which a foreign language movie has managed to break into the main categories at the Oscars.
But don’t discount Cold War completely, which obviously has support among voters after also picking up Cinematography and Director nominations.
It could be that voters will assume Roma will pick up the Best Picture gong and throw a little love to Cold War here. Shoplifters, which won the Cannes Palme d’Or, may also get a look-in.
Potential spoiler: Cold War
Deserves to win: Roma