The PGA Goes Green

The eyes of Oscar prognosticators were on the Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards and for good reason. In this decade, the Best Picture Award has matched the Academy’s 6 out of 8 times (there’s a little fudging here because in 2013 there was a tie between Oscar recipient 12 Years a Slave and Gravity). The non matches occurred in 2015 when the PGA selected The Big Short over Spotlight and the following year with La La Land winning and not Moonlight.

Two scenarios could have changed the Oscar landscape in a significant way. A victory for Roma (coming off its Critics Choice honor) could have solidified standing as a front-runner. If A Star Is Born took the top prize, it would have marked a much-needed win after some high-profile precursor snubs.

Neither scenario happened as Peter Farrelly’s Green Book was named. This is a surprise and it opens up an already uncertain race for Best Picture at the big dance. It certainly lessens Green Book winning the Oscar being seen as an upset. It’s a real contender along with Roma and Star.

Tonight’s ceremony also gave yet another animation award for SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse. Coupled with its Globes and Critics wins, it now appears Spidey is the Academy favorite over Incredibles 2.

Bottom line: the PGA made the Oscars a bit murkier. We got ourselves a race.

2018 FINAL Oscar Predictions

Well, folks, this is it. After months of weekly predictions and dozens of Oscar Watch posts, it’s time for my final Oscar picks in each feature film category (with an alternate listed as well). Nominations will be out Tuesday morning. I’ve used thousands of words to analyze the 2018 race and here’s the ones that count.

I’ll have analysis up Tuesday evening with how I did. Here we go!

Picture

A Star Is Born

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma

Vice

AlternateFirst Man

Director

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Alternate – Adam McKay, Vice

Actor

Christian Bale, Vice

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Alternate – John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

Actress

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

Glenn Close, The Wife

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Alternate – Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Alternate – Sam Rockwell, Vice

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Vice

Claire Foy, First Man

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Alternate – Marina de Tavira, Roma

Adapted Screenplay

A Star Is Born

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

If Beale Street Could Talk

AlternateFirst Man

Original Screenplay

The Favourite

First Reformed

Green Book

Roma

Vice

AlternateEighth Grade

Foreign Language Film

Burning

Capernaum

Cold War

Roma

Shoplifters

AlternateNever Look Away

Animated Feature

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

AlternateEarly Man

Documentary Feature

Free Solo

Minding the Gap

RBG

Three Identical Strangers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

AlternateShirkers

Film Editing

A Star Is Born

The Favourite

First Man

Roma

Vice

AlternateBlack Panther

Cinematography

Cold War

The Favourite

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma

AlternateA Star Is Born

Production Design

Black Panther

Crazy Rich Asians

The Favourite

Mary Poppins Returns

Roma

AlternateFirst Man

Costume Design

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Queen of Scots

AlternateCrazy Rich Asians

Makeup and Hairstyling

Black Panther

Border

Vice

AlternateMary Queen of Scots

Sound Editing

A Quiet Place

A Star Is Born

Black Panther

First Man

Roma

AlternateBohemian Rhapsody

Sound Mixing

A Quiet Place

A Star Is Born

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

Roma

AlternateMary Poppins Returns

Visual Effects

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

First Man

Mary Poppins Returns

Ready Player One

AlternateSolo: A Star Wars Story

Score

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary Poppins Returns

AlternateIsle of Dogs

Song

“All the Stars” from Black Panther

“Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin

“I’ll Fight” from RBG

”Shallow” from A Star Is Born

“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins Returns

Alternate – “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns

And my picks equate to the following movies getting these numbers in terms of nods:

10 Nominations

A Star Is Born, The Favourite, Roma

9 Nominations

Black Panther

7 Nominations

First Man

6 Nominations

Vice

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns

4 Nominations

Bohemian Rhapsody

3 Nominations

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

2 Nominations

A Quiet Place, Cold War, First Reformed, RBG

1 Nomination

Avengers: Infinity War, Beautiful Boy, Border, Burning, Capernaum, Crazy Rich Asians, Dumplin, Free Solo, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mary Queen of Scots, Minding the Gap, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ready Player One, Shoplifters, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse, Three Identical Strangers, The Wife, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: January 17th Edition

It’s been two weeks since I’ve made Oscar predictions and it’s fair to say a lot has happened since then. The show never did find a host, but a host of significant precursors happened. There were the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. The Directors Guild named their five nominees and they typically nail four of the five eventual nominees in that race. The last 14 days of action have changed my #1 rankings in some very big categories:

  • After consistently being ranked at #1, A Star Is Born now falls to second behind Roma.
  • Keeping with the theme, Christian Bale’s work in Vice vaults to first in Actor ahead of Bradley Cooper in Star.
  • Once again, a Star dips from the top spot as Glenn Close (The Wife) is first in Actress above Lady Gaga.
  • After Globe and Critics victories, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse is #1 in Animated Feature instead of Pixar’s Incredibles 2.

You can can read all the rankings below and on Sunday, I will reveal my final picks for nominees ahead of Tuesday morning’s announcements!

Best Picture

1. Roma (Previous Ranking: 2)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Green Book (PR: 4)

4. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 5)

5. Black Panther (PR: 6)

6. The Favourite (PR: 3)

7. Vice (PR: 8)

8. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 10)

9. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

10. First Man (PR: 9)

11. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 11)

12. A Quiet Place (PR: 13)

13. First Reformed (PR: 15)

14. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Eighth Grade

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 3)

4. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 6)

5. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 9)

7. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 5)

8. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

9. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 8)

10. Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Paul Schrader, First Reformed

Best Actor

1. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 4)

4. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 3)

5. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

7. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 7)

8. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 8)

9. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 10)

10. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: 9)

Best Actress

1. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 3)

2. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 2)

4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

7. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 8)

8. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: 7)

10. Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back

Best Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 1)

2. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 2)

3. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

4. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 4)

5. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 7)

7. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 6)

8. Steven Yeun, Burning (PR: 10)

9. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: 8)

10. Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give

Best Supporting Actress

1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 2)

3. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 4)

4. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

5. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 6)

7. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 8)

8. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Marina De Tavira, Roma (PR: 10)

10. Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

3. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

4. A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

5. First Man (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leave No Trace (PR: 7)

7. Black Panther (PR: 5)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

9. Widows (PR: 9)

10. The Death of Stalin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Hate U Give

Best Original Screenplay

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Green Book (PR: 3)

3. Roma (PR: 2)

4. First Reformed (PR: 4)

5. Eighth Grade (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Vice (PR: 6)

7. A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

8. Cold War (PR: 10)

9. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 9)

10. Private Life (PR: 8)

Best Foreign Language Film

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. Cold War (PR: 2)

3. Shoplifters (PR: 3)

4. Burning (PR: 4)

5. Never Look Away (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Capernaum (PR: 5)

7. The Guilty (PR: 6)

8. Birds of Passage (PR: 8)

9. Ayka (PR: 9)

Best Animated Feature

1. SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse (PR: 2)

2. Incredibles 2 (PR: 1)

3. Isle of Dogs (PR: 3)

4. Ralph Breaks the Internet (PR: 4)

5. Mirai (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Early Man (PR: 6)

7. Smallfoot (PR: 8)

8. The Grinch (PR: 7)

9. Ruben Brandt, Collector (PR: 10)

10. Lu Over the Wall (PR: 9)

Best Documentary Feature

1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (PR: 1)

2. Free Solo (PR: 2)

3. RBG (PR: 6)

4. Three Identical Strangers (PR: 4)

5. Shirkers (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Minding the Gap (PR: 3)

7. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (PR: 7)

8. On Her Shoulders (PR: 10)

9. Crime + Punishment (PR: 8)

10. Of Fathers and Sons (PR: 9)

Best Film Editing

1. First Man (PR: 2)

2. Roma (PR: 3)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

4. Vice (PR: 6)

5. The Favourite (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther (PR: 4)

7. Green Book (PR: Not Ranked)

8. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 7)

9. A Quiet Place (PR: 9)

10. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Widows

Mary Poppins Returns

Best Cinematography

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. First Man (PR: 2)

3. The Favourite (PR: 5)

4. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 4)

5. Cold War (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

7. Black Panther (PR: 7)

8. The Rider (PR: 9)

9. Widows (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Mary Poppins Returns

Best Production Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. Roma (PR: 5)

4. First Man (PR: 4)

5. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 9)

7. A Star Is Born (PR: 8)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 7)

9. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 6)

10. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 10)

Best Costume Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 3)

3. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 2)

4. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 4)

5. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 5)

7. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

8. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PR: 10)

9. A Star Is Born (PR: 7)

10. Colette (PR: 9)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

1. Vice (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

4. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

5. Border (PR: 3)

6. Suspiria (PR: 7)

7. Stan & Ollie (PR: 5)

Best Sound Editing

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 3)

3. A Quiet Place (PR: 2)

4. A Star Is Born (PR: 4)

5. Roma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mission: ImpossibleFallout (PR: 6)

7. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 8)

8. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 7)

9. Incredibles 2 (PR: 10)

10. Ready Player One (PR: 9)

Best Sound Mixing

1. First Man (PR: 2)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Black Panther (PR: 3)

4. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

5. A Quiet Place (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

7. Roma (PR: 8)

8. Mission: ImpossibleFallout (PR: 7)

9. Incredibles 2 (PR: 10)

10. Ready Player One (PR: 9)

Best Visual Effects

1. Black Panther (PR: 3)

2. Avengers: Infinity War (PR: 2)

3. First Man (PR: 1)

4. Ready Player One (PR: 4)

5. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Solo: A Star Wars Story (PR: 6)

7. Welcome to Marwen (PR: 8)

8. Christopher Robin (PR: 10)

9. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (PR: 7)

10. AntMan and the Wasp (PR: 9)

Best Original Score

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

3. Black Panther (PR: 4)

4. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 2)

5. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Isle of Dogs (PR: 5)

7. A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 8)

9. Annihilation (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Vice (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Ready Player One

Best Original Song

1. “Shallow” from A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. “All the Stars” from Black Panther

3. “I’ll Fight” from RBG (PR: 4)

4. “Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin (PR: 5)

5. “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 6)

7. “Revelation” from Boy Erased (PR: 7)

8. “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 9)

9. “We Won’t Move” from The Hate U Give (PR: 10)

10. “OYAHYTT” from Sorry to Bother You (PR: 8)

And that equates to the following movies getting these numbers when it comes to nominations:

10 Nominations

A Star Is Born, The Favourite

9 Nominations

Black Panther, First Man, Roma

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns, Vice

3 Nominations

Bohemian Rhapsody, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

2 Nominations

Cold War, First Reformed, Mary Queen of Scots, A Quiet Place, RBG

1 Nomination

Avengers: Infinity War, Beautiful Boy, Burning, Crazy Rich Asians, Dumplin, Eighth Grade, Free Solo, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Never Look Away, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ready Player One, Shirkers, Shoplifters, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse, Three Identical Strangers, The Wife, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The Critics Choice Is Roma

The Critics Choice Awards aired last night and the ceremony has been a harbinger at times for the Oscar race ahead. Notably the show in 2017 ended up matching the Academy’s winners in all major races. So what message did reviewers send yesterday? Well some of it was mixed and some of it solidified certain selections in their positions come gold statue time.

It was a very good evening for Roma. The Mexican drama won Best Picture and its filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron won for his direction and cinematography. In those latter two races, Cuaron is the strong favorite to take the Oscar. Picture is still not assured as it faces competition from A Star Is Born and maybe BlacKkKlansman (which did go home empty-handed yesterday). I’ve had Star placed at #1 consistently in my Oscar rankings. Don’t be surprised if Roma grabs that slot this week when I update my predictions.

Christian Bale was victorious in Actor for Vice. Coupled with his Golden Globe win the week prior, it could give him a slight edge over Bradley Cooper in Star and Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody. Yet it’s competitive.

So is Best Actress and last night proved it. There was the rare tie and it was between Lady Gaga in Star and Glenn Close as The Wife. I’d say it’s a coin flip between them at the Oscars and I wouldn’t totally count out Olivia Colman in The Favourite.

The supporting winners matched the Golden Globes with Mahershala Ali (Green Book) and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk). Even though King was surprisingly not nominated at the upcoming SAG Awards, both actors look like front-runners in their respective categories.

Beale Street also took Adapted Screenplay, giving it a boost in that race over the slightly more favored BlacKkKlansman. In Original Screenplay, Paul Schrader notched a big win for First Reformed. I’m feeling more confident it makes the final five for the Academy.

The Critics Choice voters also chose SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse over Pixar’s Incredibles 2 in Animated Film like the Globes did. That’s more fuel to the fire that Spidey could get that Oscar win and give Pixar a rare loss in that race.

Finally, Black Panther had a solid showing – winning Visual Effects, Production Design, and Costume  Design. First Man took Editing while Vice was honored for its Makeup.

I’ll have my updates Oscar predictions up later this week with final estimates up on Sunday prior to Tuesday’s announcement. Stay tuned!

Will A Star Still Shine at the Oscars?

One week ago, we had a Golden Globes surprise when A Star Is Born had an unexpectedly bad night. The Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was a hit with the Hollywood Foreign Press and that was much to the detriment of Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. Rhapsody took Best Picture (Drama) and Rami Malek won Actor in the drama category over Cooper. Furthermore, it was Glenn Close winning Actress for The Wife over Lady Gaga. The only race Star won was Best Original Song for the Cooper/Gaga duet “Shallow”.

The next question is obvious: do the Globe snubs hurt Oscar chances? The quick answer: perhaps not. It’s worth noting that in this decade, the Best Picture Drama recipient from the Globes has matched the Best Picture Academy winner three out of eight times (Argo, 12 Years a Slave, Moonlight).

I have had Star ranked as my #1 choice in my weekly forecasts for Oscar nominees since I started doing it in late August. It’s never changed. That said, it’s always been a soft front-runner. I do not think Bohemian will win the Oscar for Best Picture. It’s only in recent days that I’ve come to believe it’ll definitely be nominated.

The brightest challenger, in my view, is Roma. Alfonso Cuaron won the Globe for his direction over Cooper. I believe he is looking solid for the Oscar victory. One thing to keep an eye on this evening is the Critics Choice Awards. They matched the Oscar in every major category last year. If Star has another sub par evening there, look for even more chatter about its prospects dimming.

For the moment, the Globes could prove to be an anomaly for the film’s possibilities with the Academy. However, it’s well worth monitoring how these other precursors play out.

 

The DGA Puts Oscars in Sharper Focus

The Director’s Guild of America is a reliable guide as to who the Academy may nominate come Oscar time. The consistency in the DGA selections has been remarkable over the last five years. In that time, the DGA’s picks match the Academy’s selections at a ratio of 4/5 every single year. And their picks definitely mean a whole lot as to whether the filmmaker’s movie will get a Best Picture nod.

Today the DGA unveiled their five directors nominated and they are:

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Adam McKay, Vice

Let’s begin with the Best Picture race. Looking over the films made by each director that’s been nominated for the past five years, all 20 of them went on to receive a Best Picture nod. Bottom line: all five of the movies listed above appear to be locks in the 5-10 pictures that will be honored.

In my view – Cooper, Cuaron, and Lee are virtual certainties for inclusion in the Academy’s directing race. When I made my latest round of weekly Oscar predictions last Thursday, I did not have Farrelly or McKay in. Instead, I went with Ryan Coogler for Black Panther and Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite. 

That forecast runs contrary to the 4/5 ratio that we’ve witnessed for the last half decade. That means adjustments might be made in my next estimates this Thursday. I’m starting to think Farrelly may have a better shot at this juncture than McKay. Of Lanthimos and Cooper being the odd DGA man out who gets in the Oscar pool, that’s an awfully close call and I’ll probably debate that until post time.

The DGA, if history proves true, provided us with five movies that are in the Oscar race. As for the final five for Director, that’s in question. However, it’s probably wise to think four of them get in.

2018 Golden Globes Reaction

Wow. Well, the Golden Globes were going according to script for the vast majority of its running time… until the last 20 minutes or so. It was a huge night for both Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book, with the former’s final win being quite the shocker.

The Queen biopic won in an upset for Best Film (Drama) over the heavily favored A Star Is Born. Less surprising was its star Rami Malek’s Best Actor (Drama) victory, though I picked Bradley Cooper.

In the other upset, Glenn Close took Best Actress (Drama) for The Wife over Lady Gaga in Star. While the Cooper/Gaga musical drama predictably won Best Song for “Shallow”, that was the only statue for it. That’s surprising.

All in all, I went 10/14 on my picks. I was chugging right along until the Close, Malek, and Bohemian victories.

The other race I missed was Green Book taking Screenplay over The Favourite. The race relations pic also won for Best Film (Musical/Comedy) and Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.

As for the other categories I correctly called:

Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Actor (Musical/Comedy): Christian Bale, Vice (it’s only win despite a leading six nods)

Actress (Musical/Comedy: Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Foreign Language Film: Roma

Animated Film: SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Score: First Man

So… what does this mean for the Oscars? It could mean a lot. I have felt that A Star Is Born and Cooper and Gaga were the soft favorites. That could still be true. I’m still a bit skeptical Malek wins the Oscar, but Bale is a different story. Bottom line: Best Actor is a competitive three-way race.

So is Best Actress. Close’s win could mean the Academy’s race will end up closer than anticipated. And Colman is a factor, too.

Ali and King helped solidify their status as supporting front-runners. So did Cuaron in the directing race.

To Best Picture… I believe the unexpected Star loss could ironically boost its Oscar chances for the big prize. Perhaps the Academy voters will feel they wish to go a different way. As for Rhapsody, I had yet to predict it would even get a nomination. You can definitely expect that to change come Thursday in my weekly predictions. I feel the biggest Star competition is Roma rather than Green Book at the moment.

So that’s my first blush reaction on a night when Bohemian was a champion. And finally – I want to hang out with Carol Burnett. That’s all for now, folks!

Best Picture: A Look Back

A few weeks ago, I posted look backs at major categories at the Oscars from 1990 to the present. I’ve covered all four acting races and if you missed it, you can peruse them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/04/best-actor-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/31/best-actress-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/25/best-supporting-actor-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/20/best-supporting-actress-a-look-back/

In each post, I review what I’d classify as the three least surprising winners, as well as the three biggest upsets. And I select what I believe are the strongest and weakest overall fields.

Today on the blog, we arrive at the Big Daddy – Best Picture. It’s important to remember that hindsight doesn’t come into play here. For instance, Forrest Gump won the top prize in 1994. Since then, many believe fellow nominees Pulp Fiction or The Shawshank Redemption should have won. Yet the Gump victory was not an upset at the time. Same goes for 1990 when Dances with Wolves bested GoodFellas.

Let’s begin with a reminder of each winner since 1990:

1990 – Dances with Wolves

1991 – The Silence of the Lambs

1992 – Unforgiven

1993 – Schindler’s List

1994 – Forrest Gump

1995 – Braveheart

1996 – The English Patient

1997 – Titanic

1998 – Shakespeare in Love

1999 – American Beauty

2000 – Gladiator

2001 – A Beautiful Mind

2002 – Chicago

2003 – Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

2004 – Million Dollar Baby

2005 – Crash

2006 – The Departed

2007 – No Country for Old Men

2008 – Slumdog Millionaire

2009 – The Hurt Locker

2010 – The King’s Speech

2011 – The Artist

2012 – Argo

2013 – 12 Years a Slave

2014 – Birdman

2015 – Spotlight

2016 – Moonlight

2017 – The Shape of Water

We start with my three least surprising winners:

3. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

Peter Jackson’s final entry in the acclaimed trilogy seemed due for a win after the first two installments were nominated, but lost to A Beautiful Mind and Chicago. This was as much a recognition for the entire franchise and by 2003, it was obvious the Academy would move in that direction.

2. Titanic (1997)

James Cameron’s epic was plagued with rumors of a troubled shoot and the possibility seemed real that it could be a costly flop. The opposite occurred as Titanic became the highest grossing motion picture of all time upon its release. It seemed clear that Oscar love would follow.

1. Schindler’s List (1993)

Capping an amazing year which saw Steven Spielberg direct Jurassic Park over the summer, his Holocaust feature Schindler’s List became the undeniable front-runner at its end of year release. Winning all significant precursors, this was a shoo-in selection.

Now to the upsets. In my view, there were four very real ones and I had to leave one out. That would be 1995 when Braveheart emerged victorious over the favored Apollo 13 and Sense and Sensibility. Yet there’s 3 others that I feel top it.

3. Moonlight (2016)

La La Land appeared ready to pick up the gold after its filmmaker Damien Chazelle and lead actress Emma Stone had already won. And it looked like the script was being followed when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway actually announced the musical as Best Picture. Perhaps Oscar’s largest controversy followed as the wrong envelope was given and the Barry Jenkins effort Moonlight had actually won. Correct envelopes or not, the Moonlight victory was still unexpected given the La La momentum.

2. Shakespeare in Love (1998)

All eyes were on Spielberg’s World War II epic Saving Private Ryan to win as Spielberg had already picked up his second statue for directing. Shakespeare rewrote that script and few saw it coming.

1. Crash (2005)

Here is perhaps the most surprising BP winner in history. Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain was the strong favorite when the Paul Haggis race relations drama took it. Even presenter Jack Nicholson looked shocked when he read the envelope.

And now the fields. That’s a bit tough because just under a decade ago, the Academy switched from five finite nominees to anywhere between five and ten (nine being the most common). For weakest, I’m going with 2011 when there were 9. While there’s some quality picks like The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, and The Tree of Life – I feel even some of them might have missed the cut in stronger years. And I think that certainly applies to Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, and War Horse.

For strongest, I will go with the aforementioned 1994. Pulp Fiction and Shawshank are indeed two of the most impressive cinematic contributions in recent times. Winner Gump and other nominees Quiz Show and Four Weddings and a Funeral filled out the slate.

And that does it, folks! Hope you enjoyed my look back at Best Picture in modern times.

The Rider Takes The Film Critics Cup

The National Society of Film Critics bestowed their best of 2018 awards today and it showcases another victory for Chloe Zhao’s western drama The Rider. The indie pic already won Best Picture at the Gotham Awards over some higher profile competition. With two top prize victories, is there any chance The Rider could gallop into Oscar contention?

That seems doubtful, but you never know. This particular critics branch has previously honored movies that the Academy ignored. Recent examples include 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis from the Coen Brothers and 2014’s Goodbye to Language from legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. It is worth noting that the winners in 2015 and 2016 (Spotlight, Moonlight) won the Oscar and last year’s Lady Bird was nominated.

In the Director race, it was another trophy for Alfonso Cuaron’s work in Roma. He already has achieved status as the Academy favorite. He also won for his cinematography.

Ethan Hawke received yet another critics prize here for Actor in First Reformed, as did Olivia Colman in Actress for The Favourite. The latter’s Oscar chances seem assured while Hawke is more of a mystery (I’ve got him in currently). Regina King’s SAG snub is seeming less and less important as she got another honor in Supporting Actress for If Beale Street Could Talk. And Steven Yeun added to his reviewer group awards here with his Supporting Actor role in Burning. He’s racked several up, but still appears to be a long shot for Academy inclusion. Same goes for Screenplay as the Society went with The Death of Stalin. I’ve yet to include it in my Adapted Screenplay projections. It’s possible, but it probably won’t get in.

So while it was another good day for The Rider, I’m still skeptical that will equate to Oscar attention.

 

The PGA Boosts Rhapsody

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced their nominees today for their 10 Best Pictures of 2018 and you better believe it comes with Oscar implications. The PGA Awards are correctly looked at as a major harbinger for the films likely to make the final cut of the Academy. Let’s look at the past five years. In 2013, eight of the nominated PGA pics got Oscar nominations. In 2014, 2015, and 2017 – it was seven. In 2016, that was number was nine. The math is a little tricky considering there’s always 10 PGA nominees and it fluctuates with the Academy (usually with eight or nine being the magic number).

As you can see, it’s very safe to assume seven out of the ten PGA picks will get Oscar love. And here are those ten nominees:

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

Crazy Rich Asians

The Favourite

Green Book

A Quiet Place

Roma

A Star Is Born

Vice

Right off the bat, we have six flicks that appear to be sure things for the Academy. They are BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, and A Star Is Born. I would make the case that, at this point, Vice is the 7th. It got the most nods from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the Golden Globes and its inclusion here is important.

So there’s your seven. Yet the PGA announcements today cause me to consider the 8th. That’s Bohemian Rhapsody. In my weekly Oscar prediction posts, I haven’t included it in my projected Academy movies for Best Picture. I suspect that will change next Thursday. It managed a nod at the Globes for Best Drama. Despite mixed reviews, it’s a box office sensation and audiences dig it. I think it’s in and look for that change to be reflected next week.

Now to the omissions. The PGA selections left out If Beale Street Could Talk and First Man. Those are the two pictures that, as of yesterday, I still had being nominated by the Academy. I still feel Beale‘s road to Best Picture inclusion is fairly solid, though it’s far from a guarantee. I had it listed at #7 yesterday. Expect that to change.

As for First Man, I think it’s time for me to admit that it won’t land recognition from Oscar voters. It has simply failed to gain any significant precursor traction and that trend seems bound to continue. Other pictures could have received a boost from the PGA today and failed. They include Can You Ever Forgive Me?, First Reformed, and Eighth Grade. Also the nods today provide further evidence that Mary Poppins Returns could be in trouble. I took it out of my expected nominees two weeks ago and I don’t see that changing.

So what will be the PGA picks that don’t get Oscar nods? My guess would be Crazy Rich Asians and A Quiet Place, though it could happen. In short, we have more evidence today as to what the Academy will pick. And it’s a good day for Freddie Mercury and company.