Academy Awards: predictions and opinions

Academy Awards: predictions and opinions

Josh DeLaRosa, Film Reporter

The Academy Awards (or the Oscars, if you prefer) is an event that is a lot like Christmas for film-inspired audiences. When you’re young, it’s exciting because all your favorite movies have been nominated, and it always felt like the best movie, actress, actor, script, director, etc., would win because they deserved it. The awards are the tree and the nominees are the presents.

As you get older, though, you become more disenchanted with the ceremony. There’s all the pop and filler that segue to and from the various nominees, and the movies nominated are often times not even that good. For this year’s awards ceremony, we have two films (“Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Vice”) up for Best Picture that aren’t even certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. And before you tell me RT is biased, the site simply collects a multitude of varied reviews and assigns a positive or negative impression based on the critics’ review; they don’t review films themselves, so stop before you even start.

If I’m coming across as annoyed, it’s because I am. Back to my Christmas analogy, simply watching the awards has become an effort—like buying Christmas presents for relatives you don’t really know or care about. At the end of it, you wish you could have your time back, so you could’ve spent it on something else. For me, I would rather nap…

So here I go; I present to you, my humble (and most likely sole) reader, my predictions for the 2019 Academy Awards.

For Best Picture, I’m predicting Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.”

As much as I would love to see Spike Lee receive the recognition he has been deprived in his 30-plus-year career with “BlacKkKlansman,” I just don’t see it happening in the Best Picture category. The thoughtful depiction of a Mexican middle-class family (supposedly based on Cuarón’s own upbringing) demonstrated in “Roma,” I feel, has a greater capacity for resonating with a crowd like the Academy.

For Lead Actor, I like looking at performers who physically become a character they’re portraying, whether they’re fictional or not. For this reason, I’m predicting Christian Bale will win his second Academy Award, in any actor category, for his literal transformation into former vice president Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s “Vice.”

For Lead Actress, the guidelines I set for myself are the same. While I didn’t understand the hype behind the film initially—mainly because my loathing for country music precedes everything I do—Lady Gaga proved in Bradley Cooper’s remake of “A Star Is Born” that she has a gift for entertainment. And while it may be considered cheating because she’s playing a singer while she’s an actual singer, this shouldn’t take away from the fact that she’s grown into her own as a screen performer.

For Supporting Actor, I’m giving the prize to Mahershala Ali for Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book.” My reason is really simple: I think Ali can turn any film into gold simply by being in it. He has a magnetic energy that forces your eyes and ears upon him. Is it possible he won’t win? Yes, but the Academy will be wrong for not awarding a master at work.

Supporting Actress is a bit of an unfair race this year because two nominees (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz) are competing for their work in the same film, Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Favourite.” From my time observing and digesting the Academy Awards, I’ve noticed that, despite them not being so, the Academy likes awarding films, casts and crews on the basis of diversity. For this reason, I’m predicting Marina de Tavira from “Roma” will take home the prize. This isn’t to diminish her work in the film in the slightest; she is fully deserving of the recognition she has received, and I wish I knew more about her as a performer.

For Best Director, now, this is where Spike Lee comes in. In the narrative of future events I have mapped out in my mind, Lee will be slightly disheartened at the shaft he got for Best Picture. However, with Best Picture and Best Director often times being used interchangeably from one another, I believe Lee will find second life in a win for Best Director for “BlacKkKlansman.” This is a long-time coming for Lee, and “BlacKkKlansman” just so happens to be, in my belief, the best film he’s put out in the last 10 years. Hopefully I’m correct, because I’ve been told I’m wrong a lot.

I don’t have a whole lot of space (the film reporter job gets grief from some of the Winonan staff because I didn’t love “Bohemian Rhapsody”), so I’m going to crunch a bit to eliminate the possibility of trashing or ignoring a beloved film.

Best Animated Feature: Despite my wishes, I see the award going to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” for its revolutionary animation and overall hilarious script.

Best Animated Short: Louise Bagnall’s “Late Afternoon.” To channel my inner redneck: animation purrty.

Best Adapted Screenplay: If you read my review, you know how much I loved the Coen Brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” but I’m aware that it’s probably not the best adapted screenplay that graced the screen last year. As of right now, I’m torn between “BlacKkKlansman” and “A Star Is Born.” Given how I predicted Best Director will go to Spike Lee, I suppose I should give Bradley Cooper some love and award him for his efforts with “A Star Is Born.” After all, he did get snubbed for Best Director…

Best Original Screenplay: Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.” See my reasoning above in the Best Picture category.

Best Cinematography: I would go with “Roma” once again, but I think it’s mainly because black-and-white films always just look better and more sophisticated. For this particular category, I’m going to set the film aside. With “Roma” out of my running, I’m giving the prize to “The Favourite.” The diegesis of the film relies on its 18th century setting, and to convey that convincingly the cinematographer has to pull double-duty. Cinematographer Robbie Ryan does a remarkable job at transporting us into 18th century Great Britain, and he deserves to be recognized for his efforts.

Best Documentary Feature: I’m still upset “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” was snubbed. For this reason, they don’t deserve my awesome prediction.

Best Documentary Short Subject and Best Live Action Short: If I can be frank with you for a moment, this is the first time I’ve heard of any of the films in these categories. But I know you probably don’t know them, either, so don’t you sit there and shame me.

Best Foreign Language Film: Even with Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay in “Roma’s” favor, I wouldn’t put it pass the Academy to also award the film this recognition. Why? Ask them, friend.

Again, my space is becoming more limited. Here’s a list of the rest of my predictions:

Best Film Editing: Barry Alexander Brown for “BlacKkKlansman.”

Best Sound Editing: Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl for “A Quiet Place.” I am aware of the irony.

Best Sound Mixing: “Bohemian Rhapsody.” See, select Winonan staffers, I’m capable of giving the film some credit.

Best Production Design: As much as I’m aware that popular films are easy to award, “Black Panther” was an amazing-looking film.

Best Original Score: Again, popular films are easy to award, but the soundtrack for “Mary Poppins Returns” feels like a trip to the past. If you’ve read my reviews thus far, you’ve probably noticed my fondness for nostalgia.

Best Original Song: “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.” Is there really any doubt?

Best Makeup and Hair: “Mary Queen of Scots” simply lends itself to this category. If you can turn Margot Robbie into a being that eerily resembles Pennywise the Dancing Clown, I consider you talented.

Best Visual Effects: As much as I loathed “Ready Player One,” and I really mean it—the film is unbelievably self-important and idiotic—it did have impressive visual effects complementing its absurd plot.

So there you have it; my predictions for a show I’m probably just going to Google for its results. Despite my animosity toward the ceremony, I still recognize that these awards mean a great deal to a significant group of creators.