It is an interesting race, too, more wide open than most. The 2019 race does have a frontrunner but does not have a slam dunk. However, if Roma is the movie to beat, what is most unclear is which film is the movie to beat it. The major awards have gone to a range of films. Traditional indicators of what film will win point a number of different directions. Here is a look at what each of the eight nominees has going for and against it.
Written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón (of Y Tu Mamá También, Children of Men, Gravity), Roma is a semi-autobiographical take on the filmmaker’s upbringing in Mexico City. Set in 1970, the film follows the life of a middle-class family and their live-in housekeeper (played by first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio). The Netflix-produced film received universal praise from critics and film enthusiasts for Cuarón’s screenplay, direction and cinematography. Roma received 10 nominations at the Academy Awards, including:
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Supporting Actress
The film tied with The Favourite as the most-nominated film. Additionally, it is tied with 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the most Oscar nominations ever received by a non-English language film.
Cuarón’s deeply personal film is a lock for Best Foreign Language Film. As for Best Picture, foreign films don’t have much luck in this category. In fact, Roma is only the fifth movie to be nominated for both categories in the same year. The previous four — Z,Life Is Beautiful, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Amour — won Best Foreign Language Film but not Best Picture.
Roma has a lot of history working against it, but if anyone can beat the odds, it’s Cuarón. He became the first Latin American director to win the Academy Award for Best Director with Gravity in 2014. And with its primary competition, Peter Farrelly’sGreen Book, losing steam as the season comes to an end, Cuarón’s black-and-white foreign language film has suddenly emerged as the frontrunner in the category.
Key awards for Roma
Directors Guild of America: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Golden Globes: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director
National Board of Review: Top Ten Best Films of 2018
In Peter Farrelly’s Green Book, Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises, Captain Fantastic) plays Tony “Lip” Vallelonga. He is an Italian-American bouncer tasked with driving African-American pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali of Moonlight) through a concert tour in the Deep South.
The film received positive reviews from critics. Mortensen and Ali’s performances have been lauded as two of the best of the year. Green Book won the National Board of Review Award for Best Film of 2018 received numerous other accolades, including winning the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. It also earned a solid five nominations at the Academy Awards:
Best Supporting Actor
Best Original Screenplay
Best Film Editing
There’s a lot of bad juju on Green Book, however. While Ali is a lock for Best Supporting Actor, Shirley’s relatives condemned the film for its historical inaccuracies. There’s also the issue of Mortensen using a racist slur during a promotional panel discussion. Plus, there is the resurfacing of some anti-Muslim tweets by co-writer Nick Vallelonga, which may turn off Oscar voters.
Unless Black Panther pulls out a surprise win, it seems like this category is Roma’s to lose, with Green Book unable to capture anything more than first runner-up in a game where you either win or go home empty-handed.
Key awards for Green Book
Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay Producers Guild of America: Best Theatrical Motion Picture Screen Actors Guild of America: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role National Board of Review: Best Film, Best Actor
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (of The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer), The Favourite is set in the early 18th century and explores the relationship between two cousins (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz) vying to be court favorites of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman).
The Favourite, recognized for its sharp writing and direction, strong performances, and gorgeous production design, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 75th Venice Film Festival. It went on to win 10 British Independent Film Awards. It was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and two Best Supporting Actress nods, The Favourite ties with Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma as the most-nominated film of 2018.
The Favourite is a likely win for Best Original Screenplay, but Best Picture seems out of reach for the Greek filmmaker’s polarizing period piece.
Key awards for The Favourite
Golden Globes: Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Olivia Colman)
Co-written and directed by Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Chi-Raq), BlacKkKlansman is the filmmaker’s strongest, most soulful narrative work since 2002’s 25th Hour. Based on actual events, the film follows the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department as he sets out to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
Praised for the strong performances of John David Washington and Adam Driver, as well as Lee’s writing and direction, BlacKkKlansman won the Grand Prix at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and received six nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, including:
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Film Editing
Best Original Score
As it stands, BlacKkKlansman is a frontrunner in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, but middle-of-the-pack as far as Best Picture contenders go. After decades of making influential films, the Academy may decide now is the time to recognize Spike Lee with a Best Director trophy, but that seems like the only other category in which BlacKkKlansman stands a chance.
Key awards for BlacKkKlansman
While BlacKkKlansman has been nominated for awards by the Golden Globes, the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, and Screen Actors Guild, it has yet to score a major win.
A Star is Born
Co-written and directed by star Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born is the third remake of William A. Wellman’s 1937 film, which earned seven Academy Award nominations at the time. The 1954 adaptation, starring Judy Garland and James Mason, was nominated for six. And the 1976 version, starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, earned four. Between the three films, however, there are only two Oscars: Best Writing (Original Story) in 1938 and Best Original Song in 1977.
A Star is Born follows a hard-drinking blues musician (Cooper) who discovers and falls in love with a talented young singer-songwriter (Lady Gaga). The film was selected by the National Board of Review as one of the Top 10 Films of 2018 and earned five Golden Globe nominations and eight Oscar nods, including:
Best Supporting Actor
Best Original Song
If history is any indication, Cooper’s adaptation will come up short in all the major categories, but it’s guaranteed to take home at least one Oscar – Best Song for “Shallow” written by Lady Gaga with Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt.
Key awards for A Star is Born
Golden Globes: Best Original Song National Board of Review: Top Ten Best Films of 2018, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor
Co-written and directed by Ryan Coogler (of Fruitvale Station, Creed), Black Panther is the 18th entry in Marvel’s shared cinematic universe and the first MCU movie to feature a black superhero as the title character. Upon its release, the film received widespread acclaim for its direction, visual effects, costume design, production design, and strong performances from the film’s stellar ensemble.
Black Panther became the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time with over $1.35 billion worldwide, breaking numerous box office records in the process. It’s easily the most popular film to be nominated for Best Picture this year. It’s also the first superhero film ever to receive such a nomination. In total, The film racked up seven nominations at the Academy Awards, three nominations at the Golden Globe Awards, and two wins at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
If there’s a huge surprise in store at this year’s Oscar ceremony, it’s a Black Panther win for Best Picture. DraftKings and SugarHouse currently have Coogler’s superhero flick at +2500 if you’re looking for some action.
Key awards for Black Panther
Screen Actors Guild of America: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture National Board of Review: Top Ten Best Films of 2018
Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men), Bohemian Rhapsodyfollows Freddie Mercury’s life from joining the band Queen in 1970 to their 1985 Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium. The film stars Rami Malek (USA Network’sMr. Robot) as Mercury with Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello in supporting roles.
Bohemian Rhapsody received five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Malek. The film won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes and was nominated for the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture. Malek also won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor.
Like Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody is a controversial pick for Best Picture for its historical inaccuracies surrounding not only the formation of the legendary rock band but Mercury’s relationships; glossing over facts to make a more dramatic narrative. And then there’s Singer, who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by numerous men.
Needless to say, the odds aren’t looking good for the Queen biopic. Malek will likely take home the Best Actor trophy, but it’s hard to imagine Singer’s film winning the big prize. DraftKings and SugarHouse currently have Bohemian Rhapsody at +2500.
Key awards for Bohemian Rhapsody
Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor – Drama Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Written and directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), Vice follows Dick Cheney on his path to becoming the most powerful Vice President of the United States in history. The film features an incredible, transformative lead performance from Christian Bale, who gained 46 pounds to play Cheney, and an equally impressive ensemble featuring Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, and Tyler Perry.
Despite a lukewarm reception by critics, McKay’s film received numerous nominations, including eight at the Academy Awards, a leading six at the Golden Globe Awards (one win), and six at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards. Unfortunately for McKay and crew, Vice is currently at the bottom of the heap when it comes to Best Picture contenders. Resorts Casino sportsbook has it at a staggering +8000, making it the very definition of a longshot.
Key awards for Vice
Golden Globes: Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Christian Bale)