Which films are currently the favourites to win ahead of this year’s Oscars ceremony?
With many of awards season’s major ceremonies having already taken place – including the Golden Globes and the Baftas – we now have a bit more of an insight into which films might go on to Oscar success on 25 February.
The Favourite and Roma are currently leading the Oscar nominations with 10 nods each, and after their success at the Baftas, it seems likely that they could be the night’s big winners. Oscar has always liked to throw up a surprise or two, though, especially in the Best Picture category (see the wins for Moonlight and Spotlight in recent years).
Hollywood had one of its biggest rebounds in years in 2018 – with box office numbers up a staggering 9% on 2017 – but it’s also been through one of the most divisive, difficult, potentially destructive periods in history. With the Oscars often seen as a stocktaking exercise for everyone involved in the film industry, 2019’s awards will be under closer scrutiny than ever.
Awards shows, critical reception and industry buzz are all getting impossible to ignore already – so it’s time for us to round-up the likely favourites for 2019’s big prizes.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Song, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing (8)
Why it will win: If there’s one thing voters love, it’s a story about themselves. Anything to do with fame, showbiz, or the entertainment industry cuts straight to the quick of Hollywood’s narcissistic heart, and Bradley Cooper’s musical drama ticks a lot of boxes. Remake of a beloved Golden Age classic? Tick. Directorial debut by an actor who’s already paid his dues? Tick. Repackaged pop star turning in a meaty performance? Tick. A Star Is Born will likely win all the Oscars’ music awards, but it’s also a contender for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. They might even throw something in for Sam Elliott too, if he’s lucky (this is his first Oscar nomination of his 50-year acting career).
Why it won’t win: If anything, A Star Is Born seems a bit too obvious. As the last few years have proved, the Academy seems to be leaning away from the big weepie biopics that always used to clean up – giving Best Picture to quirkier, braver, more indie-edged movies like The Shape Of Water, Moonlight, Spotlight and Birdman. It looks like it could fall foul of the curse of the early front-runner, too. Of the five Golden Globes it was nominated for, it only took home one award (Best Original Song forShallow); ditto the Baftas, where its Best Original Music win didn’t quite live up to its seven nominations.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing (5)
Why it will win: Bryan Singer’s hugely popular Freddie Mercury biopic didn’t initially seem to be an Oscar front-runner, especially given the fact that it received mixed reviews. That was until the Golden Globes, though, where Bohemian Rhapsody defied expectations by taking home the gong for Best Picture (Drama). Star Rami Malek also won a Best Actor award for his transformative turn as the Queen frontman – a feat that he repeated at the Baftas – which definitely boosts his chances of getting his hands on an Oscar, too.
Why it won’t win: Malek declined to thank director Bryan Singer – who was removed from his post during shooting – during his acceptance speeches at the Globes and the Baftas, which of course meant that everyone was talking about Singer’s firing and on-set conduct all over again. The Academy might want to avoid any potential controversy. The film’s Globes success was also seen as something of a surprise – the film might not get quite the same recognition from Oscar voters as it did from the Hollywood Foreign Press.
Nominated for: Best Production Design, Best VFX, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing (4)
Why it will win: Everything else that Damien Chazelle has touched has won an armful of awards, so there was initially no reason to think that the worthy, weighty First Man wouldn’t do the same. A nod for Best Picture (and a second Best Director nod for Chazelle) seemed like a shoo-in, while Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy were also hotly tipped for acting nominations. When the nominations were finally revealed, though, they were all absent from the shortlists – First Man‘s four nods are all in technical categories. There’s no doubting it’s an incredibly well-crafted film though, so it could still be in with a shot for a couple of awards.
Why it won’t win: While First Man‘s visual and sound effects are undoubtedly impressive, it has some extremely strong competition in those categories from the likes of Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity Warand Bohemian Rhapsody, to name a few. The Baftas, meanwhile, reduced its odds even further – the film was nominated for seven awards but was ultimately left empty-handed.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing (6)
Why it will win: Spike Lee’s barbed social history lesson is his best film in years. Star John David Washington sadly missed out on a nomination, but Adam Driver picked up a Supporting Actor nod, alongside Lee for Best Director. The film also picked up a coveted Best Picture nomination, too. It was nominated for and missed out on all three at the Baftas, although Lee did pick up an award for Best Adapted Screenplay at that ceremony.
Why it won’t win: The film ends with the image of an inverted American flag, slowly turning black, after Lee shows us the real scenes of the car attack that took place during the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. To say that it’s a bit inflammatory is an understatement – and naming the film Best Picture will make Hollywood look like it’s making a big political statement, which is something it can be afraid of doing.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing (10)
Why it will win: Alfonso Cuarón is another Oscar favourite who joined the winners circle in 2013 with Gravity after multiple nominations for Y Tu Mamá También and Children Of Men. Stripping his style right down for an arty, black and white, autobiographical drama, Cuarón won the Golden Lion at Venice with Roma, and picked up almost universal acclaim from everyone who saw it.
The film has tied with The Favourite for the most number of nominations this year, and looks likely to take home a few awards. Best Director? (“Look! He can tell a small story too!”). Probably. Best Cinematography? (“Look! They took the colour out!”) Definitely. Best Picture? Could happen. It has already won two Golden Globes – for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director for Cuarón – and four Baftas, including Best Film and Best Director.
Why it won’t win: Other than the fact that it’s a little black-and-white film in a foreign language (it’s already been submitted for contention in that category by Mexico), the biggest hurdle for Roma is its distributor. If it won, it would be the first Netflix film to win Best Picture, and Hollywood might not be ready to open that can of worms yet.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Make-up and Hairstyling (8)
Why it will win: Adam McKay got a lot of love for 2015’s The Big Short, and he’s been nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay forVice. He writes a lot of snappy dialogue and he shoots it with plenty of style, so there’s no reason to think he won’t be in with a shot this year. All of that is likely to be overshadowed by one (or two?) performances though, as Christian Bale dons a ton of prosthetic makeup to play two different ages of Dick Cheney. Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell are also in with a shout, but Bale looks like the favourite here by far – although he’s now likely got some way to go to beat Rami Malek. Bale won the award for Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) at the Golden Globes, but lost out at the Baftas, where the film only managed to win a Best Editing award.
Why it won’t win: There’s the politics problem. While it’s not about current issues, the film is about real, recent Republican party members, and Hollywood will possibly try to avoid wading in. Critics have been divided by the film, too.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress (x2), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing (10)
Why it will win: Because it’s called The Favourite, and everyone loves a bit of irony? That, and the fact that it boasts three exceptional performances with Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz all being nominated for acting awards – Colman won Best Actress at the Golden Globes and the Baftas, where she won over both rooms with a hilariously humble speech, while Weisz took home a Bafta for Best Supporting Actress. Director Yorgos Lanthimos has a history of making very good but very odd films (Dogtooth, The Lobster), but his latest mixes his art-house sensibilities with stately period film weight – making this a perfect mix of style and substance. The film won a total of seven Baftas, too – the most this year – which surely stands it in good stead.
Why it won’t win: The only thing that’s really standing in the way of The Favourite here is the competition. There’s a chance that it won’t get the distribution it needs to burrow into the voter’s heads, and that it might get written off as another one of Lanthimos’ weird indie films, but Colman stands an excellent chance here of competing for Best Actress – especially after her awards season wins so far.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing (5)
Why it will win: Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali both pull a Driving Miss Daisy and combine their Oscar-winning power to tackle some serious social issues in the Deep South. It’s a comedy, of sorts, but it’s also a hard-hitting drama with a lot to say. Acting nods are likely here – Mahershala Ali has already won a Bafta for Best Supporting Actor – although the film might miss out on the rest. However, the film won three awards at the Golden Globes (the most of any film on the night) – Best Screenplay, Best Film (Musical or Comedy) and Best Supporting Actor for Ali – which might mean we could be in for a surprise come the Oscars. Could this be this year’s unlikely Best Picture winner?
Why it won’t win: It might be seen as too much of a comedy – especially with king-of-the-fart-jokes Peter Farrelly directing – and that might mean it only gets recognised for the performances.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Original Song, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing (7)
Why it will win: It won’t. Or rather, it might clean up in the technical categories. But even though Black Panther has been recognised as the first superhero movie ever to be nominated for Best Picture, there’s next to no chance of it winning the big prize. A total of seven nominations is no mean feat, though. It won the Best Visual Effects award at the Baftas, although it hasn’t been nominated in that category here.
Why it won’t win: Despite Disney’s aggressive push for the film to winevery award going – and despite the fact that it very nearly caused the Academy to introduce a whole new category – Black Panther is still a Marvel movie, and it’s still a superhero movie. Rightly or wrongly, that means it probably won’t get anywhere near winning Best Picture.
This article was originally published on: https://www.denofgeek.com