Who’s In, Who’s getting snubbed?
Come Tuesday morning 5:30am (PST) the wild ride of award season will lean into the final stretch when the 91st Annual Academy Award nominations are announced. For the past couple of years, outsiders have heard “this year is so unpredictable”. That’s not untrue, but with each Oscar birthday, the reliable stats so many pundits depend on, seem to fall away. The makeup of voters and members have also changed radically in the past two years, and the nominees and even winners, are starting to reflect a new era.
The lack of an award season front runner in the 2018 award season does feel like last year. A Star is Born and Roma are unconventionally in the presumed, but shaky frontrunner seat. While a host of would-be-frontrunners-any-other-year like Green Book, BlackKklansman, The Favourite and Black Panther, continue to struggle in exercising their strength.
What Does all this mean, Who’s getting nominated?
Since we don’t know how many best picture nominees there will be any more under this new system (it can be between 5 and 10), let’s take a look at the sure five first:
A Star is Born
After that we look at the films that are just on the cusp, assuming there will be at least 8 nominees. From a combination of statistics, history and hopefully insight, here are the films I think are next in line:
Understanding there is the possibility of 10 nominees I think these two would fill out that list:
If Beale Street Could Talk
Who else could sneak in there if I am wrong, and who do I see getting snubbed on Oscar nomination morning (aka Christmas for Hollywood). Mary Poppins Returns has lost major steam. Both Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody are fighting off scandals and backlash that could be strong enough to knock them out of contention. There is an easier argument for who gets left off (First Man, Black Panther, etc) than who can additionally make it in.
Best director is much easier to track and predict. It’s obvious Alfonso Cuaron (Roma) is getting nominated and likely winning, since he has won everywhere else. The DGA (Directors Guild of America) is usually the best indicator of who the five nominees will be for the Oscar, give or take one. Here are the names I expect to hear Tuesday morning:
Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Spike Lee (BlackKklansman)
Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born)
Yorgos Lanthamos (The Favourite)
Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
It’s Farrelly’s nomination to lose, not only because of the film’s scandal but his own personal exposure flub that made the rounds during the voting period. If Farrelly is bumped out, there are a few other choices for that fifth spot. DGA nominee Adam McKay (Vice), a second foreign film director Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War) who nabbed a BFCA nod, the beloved Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk) or a true shocker would be Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) who hasn’t shown up anywhere.
The Acting Races & that tricky 5th slot.
For best actress there seems to be the solid 4 names that have shown up at all the major precursor awards and that shouldn’t change when the Oscar nominations are announced:
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Lady Gaga (A Star is Born)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me)
Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
It’s that 5th slot that has everyone guessing and most seem to point to newcomer Yalitza Aparicio from Roma to be swept along with the overwhelming passion the picture is experiencing. Netflix has campaigned for Roma harder than any other studio or film. Each time Cuaron has won an award, he makes Aparicio the focal point. She has been to every event, shook every hand and kissed every baby during this campaign. Not to mention she is the heart and soul of the film. It’s actually not that uncommon for a foreign language nominee in best actress. The 5th slot originally seemed to be headed for Emily Blunt, but Mary Poppins took such a dive bomb after it hit theaters and Roma gained momentum. My wish here is that Toni Collette for Hereditary would shock everyone and show up, but there is zero evidence of that happening. One thing to watch here is Melissa McCarthy, while she seems like a 4th slot lock, she has been virtually unseen, the campaign for that film has stopped and I think Aparicio is actually in the 4th spot and McCarthy is the venerable one. If that’s the case it could go back to Blunt (who has never been nominated), there is Nicole Kidman (Destroyer) who had a Globe nomination, Elise Fisher (Eighth Grade) who has a Globe nod and won at Critics Choice Awards, or Viola Davis (Widows) who got a BAFTA nomination.
The same logic applies to best actor in that there have been the same predictable four nominees in nearly every lineup. It’s who lands that final spot that has everyone scratching their head:
Christian Bale (Vice)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)
Ethan Hawke has won nearly every early critics award leading up to the major award shows. That’s when his winning streak ended abruptly, and by that I mean he wasn’t even nominated at the Globes, BAFTA or SAG. His replacement has generally been John David Washington for BlackKklansman. Willem Dafoe is a possible outsider option, however, his film At Eternity’s Gate isn’t universally liked or seen, which is also an issue for Hawke.
Supporting actress has been a roller coaster ride with only 3 nominees showing up at the various awards. Leaving speculation for a big upset here either with nominations, momentum and perhaps even an unexpected winner.
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Amy Adams (Vice)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Claire Foy (First Man)
Regina King was snubbed by both SAG and BAFTA, the two most important industry award bodies because they have overlap with Oscar voters. However, her wins from both the Globes and Critics Choice seem to have her staying in the race. That leaves either Adams or Weisz to take the SAG/BAFTA or split the wins. The issue here is that another actress will gain momentum in what many have pointed to the same track record Sylvester Stallone has with Creed a few years ago. He too missed SAG/BAFTA and eventually lost the Oscar. Emily Blunt got in over King at SAG for A Quiet Place, and Margot Robbie landed both SAG and BAFTA for Mary Queen of Scots. Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased), a Critics Choice Nominee, is a longshot while Marina de Tavira (Roma) even longer.
Supporting Actor is probably the easiest of the top categories to predict due to its consistency:
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Richard E Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me)
Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Adam Driver (BlackKklansman)
Sam Elliott (A Star is Born)
While it’s true Elliott and Sam Rockwell (Vice) have switched in and out a few times, Vice is on a downturn and there is a swell of support for Elliott who has never been nominated. Both face very short screen time issues. The only other real option here would be Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) but that hasn’t gained traction and would be a huge surprise.
Other Category Predictions