With the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seemingly in disarray, an awards show scheduled for this weekend with no host, and a weird selection of nominees, this may be the toughest Oscar season to predict in ages. Nonetheless, predict we will. Which movie do you think will ultimately claim Best Picture at the end of the interminably long night?
Please note that this post contains two polls. The first is your prediction for which movie the Academy voters will crown, while the second is your personal opinion for which of the nominees (if any) actually deserves to win. As we all know, the most deserving movie is rarely the one to come out on top in this horse race.
I don’t have a particularly great track record at calling the Oscars, but that doesn’t usually stop me from having opinions on the matter. This year, however, I’m at a complete loss. When the nominees were first announced, I thought that Green Book looked like the front-runner, but that movie feels like it lost a lot of momentum in the meantime. The same can be said for A Star Is Born, which was anointed a sure thing when it was first released but now barely seems to be in the conversation.
Strong arguments can be made against any of these movies winning. Black Panther, for example, is the type of silly popcorn entertainment that Academy voters don’t typically take seriously. Vice wasn’t especially well-liked among critics, and seems to be the most clearly undeserving nominee. Bohemian Rhapsody also had mixed reviews, and director Bryan Singer is so toxic right now that that I doubt anyone wants to reward him. (A Best Actor trophy for Rami Malek will be that film’s consolation prize.) Green Book has faced a backlash for the way it filters an African American story through a white character’s perspective. A Star Is Born is the fourth remake of a story that’s been told way too many times already. BlacKkKlansman is perhaps too edgy and controversial to win. The Favourite is your traditional “It’s nice just to be nominated” inclusion. The rapturous reviews for Roma may be offset by the cinema industry’s fear of Netflix. Roma is also nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category, which the voters may consider sufficient recognition.
I’ve written previously about how unimpressed I was with Black Panther as a movie. Even among Marvel superhero fluff, it’s lower-tier, in my opinion. The film is more symbolically important than actually good. Nonetheless, the Academy is under great pressure to start rewarding more populist movies, and a big blockbuster headlined almost entirely by people of color may be a politically strategic choice in our current cultural climate. That would be an awfully cynical move and I hope it doesn’t happen, but I wouldn’t put it past the voters.
That said, my prediction right now is that Roma will triumph in the end. The Academy loves Alfonso Cuarón, and the almost unanimously glowing reviews make it a safe choice. (Plus, giving major awards to Mexicans is a fun way for Hollywood to thumb its collective nose at Donald Trump.)
That’s my gut feeling right now, anyway. But I don’t feel very confident about it. If Roma takes the Foreign Language category early, I’ll know that it’s significantly less likely to also claim Best Picture.
How do you think this will play out?