Saturday, February 23, 2019

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Picture

The competition: BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born, Vice

Previous winners: The Shape of Water, Moonlight, Spotlight, Birdman, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The Artist
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!
The facts: I wrote an article for The Film Experience a week or two detailing the factors preventing each film from taking home this prize – I’ll direct you to that piece for all of the background. This year is a bit complicated because, as a foreign film, “Roma” wasn’t eligible for Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes, where the prize went to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the film that everyone had ranked dead-last in their predictions. “Green Book,” the Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical winner, also won the PGA, and now we’ve gotten to an unprecedented moment where both Globe winners aren’t nominated for Best Director. “Eighth Grade” surprised by taking home the WGA, and it’s not even contending for any Oscars, joined by “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” which was the only film not nominated for Best Picture up for Best Adapted Screenplay there. “Roma” did manage to win countless critics’ prizes as well as the Critics’ Choice Award and the DGA.

It’s possible that “The Favourite” could benefit from the boost of tying “Roma” for the most nominations – ten – though it would really have to prevail all over, which I’m not sure I see it doing. “A Star is Born,” once the frontrunner before it sort of failed of slumped out of awards season, has eight bids, as does “Vice,” a film that will win Best Makeup and Hairstyling and maybe Best Film Editing, along with an outside shot for both Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor. “Black Panther,” which has seven nominations, may not win any of them, which would be disappointing, while “BlacKkKlansman” might win just one (or none) of its six bids, with Best Adapted Screenplay looking likeliest, even though I’m not predicting it. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is actually looking decent for a few of its five nominations, and “Green Book” might also prevail in more than one of its five categories, even though it’s only really locked for Best Supporting Actor.

Who should win: “Vice” is my least favorite of these – I’ve written many times about my feelings on the film. “BlacKkKlansman” didn’t wow me, and I think its strong finish accounts for more of people’s positive feelings towards the film than anything. I’d rank “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star is Born” pretty much equally out of all the films I saw this year, which I’m sure bothers most critics, but to me they were both engaging and energizing even if they weren’t my favorites of the year. The other four are all also essentially the same to me, just missing my top ten. I’d be thrilled if any of them won, though I’ll admit that “Black Panther” or “The Favourite” would both be particularly cool even if I liked the other two just as much.
Who will win: With all this in mind, I do see the possibility of a popular upset by “Green Book,” but not really by “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I don’t see either “BlacKkKlansman” or “The Favourite” surging enough, and I’d actually say the likeliest occurrence in the event that people don’t want to reward “Roma” because it’s not an English-language movie and it’s produced by Netflix, “A Star is Born” finally gets the due we all thought it would a while back. While there has been more of a contest than usual every year since 2013, I think Roma is even further ahead than “The Shape of Water” was at this time last year, mainly because no other film is likely enough to topple it. But who knows, it could still be possible! I’ll still be holding my breath at the end of the night.

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