What are The Oscars really about these days? After wading through the morass of controversy surrounding The 91st Oscars, it’s a question that’s becoming increasingly difficult to answer. Are the Oscars simply an extension of Hollywood’s mass-marketing juggernaut? Are they a vehicle used to display Hollywood’s political correctness? Or are they truly dedicated to recognising the work of the most outstanding artists working in cinema?
These debates distract from what The Oscars should be about: the celebration of cinematic artistry in the year that’s passed, so without further ado here are my 2019 Oscar predictions.
Best Actor looks to be a lock in for first time nominee Rami Malek and his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody; Malek’s performance, gaudy fake teeth aside, does carry Bohemian Rhapsody which is at best a glorified Wikipedia entry on the making of Queen’s songs.
Best Actress is a little less straight forward. Glenn Close (The Wife) will most likely take home the honour but she faces stern competition from Peep Show’s Olivia Coleman, whose child-like performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite is brilliant and Lady Gaga (A Star is Born) who burst onto the silver screen with a performance that captures the zeitgeist of today’s music industry.
The Oscar for Best Director is undoubtedly ending up in the hands of Alfonso Cuarón. His film Roma demonstrates through gripping long takes, perfectly designed compositions and docu-realistic performances that Cuarón is not only a master of the craft but also one of the best directors working in Hollywood today. He also has the $25million backing of Netflix’s Oscars campaign which surely won’t harm his hopes.
This year’s Best Picture contest is one of the most unpredictable in decades. As always there have been some surprising omissions from this year’s nominees. Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle, whose films Moonlight and La La Land, respectively, were dead centre of the infamous Oscars gaffe two years ago, failed to secure nominations for their films If Beale Street Could Talk and First Man. Perhaps more worrying is that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a wonderful animation which gave a sense of vitality to the superhero genre was snubbed ahead of the formulaic Black Panther, which became the first superhero film nominated for Best Picture. Green Book and A Star is Born are both strong contenders, however I believe that The Academy, which has shown a lot of love to Mexican filmmakers in Hollywood in the past seven years, is ready to make history by giving the award to Roma, making it the first foreign film to win Best Picture and also Netflix’s first Best Picture win, potentially ominous news for the future of theatrical distribution, but nonetheless a win for great cinema as Roma is the best film of 2018.
The Oscars will be held on Sunday 24th of February at 12am U.K time