Oscars Preview

Jason Upton, Sports Editor

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This year, the Oscars are looking to be significantly tighter than the past few years. Specifically, Best Picture. Each nominated movie has had its pros and cons in being selected, all the odds-on favorites have been subject to praise and controversy. Here’s the low down on each of the Best Picture nominees, including their race for other awards.

 

A Star is Born

The hype surrounding this movie was real. With Best Actor and Actress nominees Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, A Star is Born explored the meaning of fame in the industry today, contrasting the rise of singer Ally (played by Gaga) against the fall her husband, a once great country singer (played by Cooper). This year’s movie is the fourth iteration of the story, with Cooper and Gaga following the most recent movie’s duo of Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand from 1976.

The general reception has been really good, earning a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Shallows, the movie’s main song, is a shoe-in for Best Original Song. The movie has garnered an impressive seven Oscar nominations with most of them coming in the main categories. Still, Cooper and Gaga aren’t expected to win in their respective categories, and Cooper was snubbed from the Best Director nominations, so the outlook for A Star is Born is fairly bleak.

 

Black Panther

An oddity for the Oscars, this superhero flick got nominated mainly for its aspects of African-American culture that it added into the plot. Just like most other Marvel movies, it has some exciting action sequences and fights, but what makes Black Panther stand out is its element of moral dilemma that challenges the main character, played by Chadwick Boseman. His character, T’Challa, is attempting to contain the powerful technology uncovered by his civilization, but at the cost of keeping it from those who live in poverty, which ultimately ends up creating the villain, Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan. People have drawn parallels between Black Panther and political issues involving Africa in regards to the West.

While a Best Picture award is not in store for this movie, it has a fair shot at winning the award for Costume Design. It’ll have to settle for being the second highest grossing movie of 2018, and one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time, which is by all counts a spectacular consolation.

 

BlackkKlansman

The main buzz around this movie is that it has finally notched Spike Lee his first Best Direction nomination, which many people find it to be outrageous that he hadn’t been nominated before. There aren’t any real knocks against the movie, but it’s odds of winning aren’t great. Adam Driver is up for Actor in a Supporting Role, but there’s a very outside shot of him winning. Still, as the first film to be nominated for Best Picture under Spike Lee, it’s a huge landmark for his filmmaking career (Lee is just the sixth black filmmaker to be nominated for Best Director).

 

Bohemian Rhapsody

This came as a big surprise, as Bohemian Rhapsody is more of a popular, box office hit. Still, in shocking fashion, Rhapsody took home the award Best Drama at the Golden Globes (their version of the Oscar’s Best Picture award). It really doesn’t have much of a chance for Best Picture, but Rami Malek is putting together a very strong campaign for Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Freddie Mercury.

Rhapsody has been subject to loads of controversy, as halfway through production, the movie’s director, Bryan Singer, was forced to leave under sexual assault allegations. In addition, though the movie is supposed to be a partial biography of Freddie Mercury’s rise to fame, many have pointed out that it got some key parts wrong. The biggest error may have been the movie’s exaggerated portrayal of the band breaking up, then gloriously getting back together right before the concert of the century, Live Aid. In reality, the group never actually broke up, they simply agreed on a temporary break from performing together. Still, inaccuracy or no inaccuracy, Bohemian Rhapsody is an absorbing movie.

 

The Favourite

As one would assume by the title, the Favourite takes place in 18th century London, where two maids fight over the right to serve the Queen (played by Olivia Colman). This film has an astonishing three actresses nominated for Oscars, with Colman in the running for Actress in a Leading Role, and both Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz getting nominations for Actress in a Supporting Role. Though none of them are favored to win, these nominations really speak to the striking performances delivered in this movie.

The Favourite is nominated for ten Oscars, tied with Roma for the most of the year, which gives them a chance to be a surprise contender for Best Picture. The Academy clearly enjoys the movie, and with no real knocks against the film, the Favourite could steal the show.

 

Green Book

Green Book, based on a true story, follows an Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) and Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on Shirley’s piano tour through the South, as Lip acts as a driver/bodyguard for Shirley. Vallelonga, an Italian man, and Shirley, an African-American man, learn from each other along the way and become friends.

Green Book has endured many ups and downs in its Oscars campaign. The movie has been compared countless times to the 1990 Best Picture winner Driving Miss Daisy. Many people claim that Green Book is tailor made for the Oscars, so much so that it takes away from the story and is very cliche as a Best Picture nominee. Also, the film has been called out by Don Shirley’s family for containing lies, as they claim that Shirley’s relationship with Vallelonga was not close at all, a relationship that the entire movie was built around.

Nonetheless, Green Book is believed by many to be the second highest favored movie to win Best Picture, behind Roma. Mahershala Ali is a virtual lock for Best Supporting Actor, and Viggo Mortensen earned his third Oscar nomination. It’ll be hard for Green Book to shake its controversy, but it’s still a strong contender to win Best Picture.

 

Roma

Roma has a very polarizing presence, but in a low-key sort of way. Everyone can agree that it is a well-made film, very deserving of its probable Best Picture win. The thing that could divide voters though, and lead to its downfall, is its origins as a Netflix exclusive. This is where the film industry is headed, to where movies don’t debut on the big screen, but rather on streaming services, and Roma represents this new wave. Not all voters, who are made up of old actors and directors, are fans of this change in the cinema viewing experience.

The only real downside to the actual content of the film is it doesn’t appeal to a younger audience. The black and white style of it, and the minimal action it contains just isn’t enough to draw a casual movie watcher in for a little over two hours. Through the lense of the Academy, however, the film makes for a spectacular awards-grabber. It’s favored to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and is the lock of the century for Best Foreign Language Film.

 

Vice

However polarizing Roma is with its Netflix origins, Vice is ten steps ahead of it. Currently with the lowest odds of all the nominees to win Best Picture, Vice just isn’t the kind of movie that can win the award. It will likely divide the voters due to their political views, getting many first place votes, but many last place votes as well.

Vice garnered an impressive eight Oscar nominations, but isn’t favored to win any of them except for Best Makeup. Christian Bale’s incredible transformation into Dick Cheney may win him an Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role, but he has fierce competition with Rami Malek. Sam Rockwell is shooting for his second straight Best Supporting Actor win as George W. Bush, but the odds are very unlikely with Mahershala Ali in the pool as well. Amy Adams was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but her odds are very low too with Regina King as the favorite.

 

“The Favourites”

Best Picture: Roma

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Glenn Close (The Wife)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali (Green Book)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)