The Oscars Race Is On — Here's Who's Going to Win
Roll out the red carpet and steam your best dresses, the 2019 Oscar nominations have arrived. Hollywood awards season entered the home stretch with yesterday’s announcement, which saw Roma and The Favourite top the list with 10 nominations a piece, followed by A Star Is Born and Vice each scoring eight.
Little Monsters have plenty to celebrate — Lady Gaga is now a two-time Oscar nominee, scoring nods for Best Actress and Best Song for A Star Is Born. Amy Adams earned her sixth (!) career nomination for her turn as second lady Lynne Cheney in Vice, while Glenn Close picked up her seventh for her role as a literary giant’s right hand in The Wife.
Both of this year’s most-nominated films are stacked with stellar performances by women, including from stars like Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz in The Favourite, and Roma’s breakout newcomer Yalitza Aparicio. That neither movie even features a man in a leading role serves as small consolation for the distressing lack of women recognized behind the camera this year. Just two are nominated as part of screenwriting teams, Nicole Holofcener (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and Deborah Davis (The Favourite). In much better news, Black Panther’s Hannah Beachler has made history as the first-ever Black nominee for Best Production Design.
While a few A-list hopefuls found themselves benched in the acting categories, including Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place), Ethan Hawke (First Reformed), and Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), the lineup for the big night will feature many familiar faces from the Golden Globes and Academy Awards past. Here are our best guesses for who’ll take home the glory on Feb. 24.
Best Supporting Actor
If anyone has escaped the controversy surrounding Green Book unscathed, it’s Mahershala Ali. Having already picked up the Critics’ Choice Award and the Golden Globe for his performance as Don Shirley, the Moonlight winner is all but sure to win a second Oscar. Though the late musician’s family has vocally disapproved of how Shirley is portrayed in the film, Ali has reached out personally to smooth the waters. For an outside upset, keep an eye on Richard E. Grant for his splendid turn as a drunk louche opposite Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best Supporting Actress
This category likewise seems a lock for first-time nominee Regina King, who earned one of just three nominations for If Beale Street Could Talk. Recognizing her performance would be a nice way for voters to show some much deserved love for director Barry Jenkins’ largely overlooked follow-up to Moonlight. But don’t count out a surprise win by Amy Adams, who voters may feel has been kept from the podium one too many times.
The only person who loves a transformation more than Mr. Golden Oscar is Mr. Christian Bale. The actor is near unrecognizable beneath his Dick Cheney drag in Vice, whose makeup-and-hair team can also ready their acceptance speeches. Now a four-time nominee, Bale won his first Oscar for a similarly dramatic shape-shift in The Fighter. At this point it’s tough to say who else could join the ring, but Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury and Viggo Mortensen’s Tony Lip are outside possibilities.
As usual, this race is among the tightest and most thrilling. Early buzz for Lady Gaga has all but completely fizzled, particularly after Glenn Close bested her at the Golden Globes. (Don’t worry, Ms. Gaga will definitely win Best Song for “Shallow.”) The fact that Close has somehow never won an Oscar could mean this is her year. But it’s a tight call between her and Olivia Colman, whose wrenching, madcap performance in The Favourite has earned her a Golden Globe and lots of love on the British awards circuit.
There’s really no disputing the height of Alfonso Cuarón’s achievement in Roma, any cinephile’s pick for the year’s most masterful film. An upset in this category would be a total shock. That said, the fact that this is Spike Lee’s first-ever nomination is also pretty surprising — still, don’t expect that narrative to outpace Cuarón over the finish line. Also, here’s hoping next year’s ballot isn’t such an exclusive boy’s club.
A lot can happen in a month, and much will depend on how Oscar voters spread recognition among the Best Picture nominees in other categories. Though Green Book won the Producers’ Guild Award, a strong predictor for Best Picture success, the film’s divisiveness could hinder its chances as conversation around it continues to swirl. Though director Peter Farrelly was passed over, winning Best Picture without a Best Director nom has happened before, including with Argo, and Green Book precursor Driving Miss Daisy. And if voters want a movie playing for social relevance, Green Book may seem like the safest bet over Vice (a mediocre movie with fine performances) and the more confrontational BlacKkKlansman.
But if there’s justice in the world, and the Academy can extend itself to a black-and-white foreign-language film — produced by Netflix, no less — Roma is certainly the most deserving.