The nominations for this year’s upcoming Academy Awards have been announced and we now know exactly which films will be vying for the coveted golden statuette. My general opinion is that it’s a pretty poor mix of films, especially in the Best Picture field. This is in-keeping with the ongoing fiasco they are facing from not having a host, facing controversy with a proposed new category and relegating certain categories to be announced in commercial breaks. But it is what it is and the Oscars are never going to be universally correct for everyone’s tastes. In fact, 2018 in general wasn’t a great year for films and there were just too many films that disappointed and didn’t reach their full potential.
A Star Is Born
Predicted Win: Roma
I really do think this is a poor field. This category can have between 5 and up to 10 nominees depending on the Academy’s votes and I’m surprised there are only 8. At the time of writing, I am still yet to see A Star Is Born. BlacKkKlansman, Green Book and Roma are probably my favourites but they are all films that have some serious flaws. I liked Bohemian Rhapsody but I’m surprised it’s featured here as it recieved quite a mixed response and especially for all of its behind-the-scenes drama. I also like both The Favourite and Vice but neither film is their respective directors best work and I have some serious issues with both of them. Black Panther is here for a different reason I think, mainly to satisfy more casual filmgoers and despite the rapturous response from both critics and audiences it recieved, I think it really succumbs to all the usual third act antics and Michael B. Jordan’s villain isn’t as developed as everyone seems to think he is.
I think Roma will win here as it’s the only deserving winner from the films that I have seen. I loved Green Book but its subject matter would be a problematic win. Despite me really liking BlacKkKlansman, it’s not Spike Lee’s best work and has a really wobbly first act and is very preachy in its main message. Even being nominated, unfortunately Roma represents Netflix’s continuing rise and the inherent problems of their films distribution is only going to increase. Now that they have a filmmaker of the calibre of Alfonso Cuarón on board, they’re only going to go from strength to strength.
As for films that were snubbed, it’s a real shame that Widows didn’t get quite the response it deserved as this would have been a really deserving film here, as would Boy Erased and also First Reformed and Leave No Trace. The other Awards contender that looked likely to gain a spot was If Beale Street Could Talk but I am yet to see the film. It was never going to be nominated for anything but my controversial personal favourite film of last year, Sicario 2: Soldado, also is more than worthy of a place here.
Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born
Christian Bale for Vice
Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen for Green Book
Willem Dafoe for At Eternity’s Gate
Predicted Win: Christian Bale for Vice
I think this is a three way race between Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Rami Malek. Although I am still yet to see A Star Is Born, I think Bale is the deserving winner who delivers a knock-out performance as Dick Cheney in Vice. Cooper could win here as he has hasn’t received a Best Director nod for his directorial debut and Rami Malek won at the Golden Globes so it could be any of the three. Viggo Mortensen is also brilliant in Green Book and the performances in the film really carry it but I don’t think he’ll win.
It’s a shame that Ethan Hawke hasn’t been nominated here for his excellent performance in First Reformed, Robert Redford for his swansong The Old Man and the Gun and Clint Eastwood for The Mule. Benicio Del Toro is also wonderful in Sicario 2: Soldado, which again never would have featured but it’s criminal he wasn’t nominated for the first film.
Glenn Close for The Wife
Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Olivia Colman for The Favourite
Yalitza Aparicio for Roma
Predicted Win: Glenn Close for The Wife
This is a very strong category and I think it’s a race between Close and Colman. I think Close is more likely to win due to her Golden Globe speech but both have never won the coveted Award. It’s great to see Yalitza Aparicio get a nomination here for Roma which she was so good in and this will undoubtedly boost her career. It would have been good to have seen Toni Collette’s career best performance in Hereditary to be featured here as well, but instead of who is difficult to call. Nicole Kidman also puts in a great performance in Destroyer.
Best Supporting Actor
Adam Driver for BlacKkKlansman
Mahershala Ali for Green Book
Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Elliott for A Star Is Born
Sam Rockwell for Vice
Predicted Win: Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me?
A fairly weak collection of nominations. I think Richard E. Grant could win this as even though Mahershala Ali is probably the strongest competition, he has won recently for Moonlight. That said, Ali does seem to be getting all the Awards so far. It’s good to see Sam Elliott nominated but surprising to see Sam Rockwell as his performance as former President Bush is overshadowed by Christian Bale in Vice and he won just last year for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Adam Driver has continued to get attention for his performance in BlacKkKlansman but I don’t think he’s particularly great in it so I think he’s a wasted slot in this field. Daniel Kaluuya in Widows would have been a much better choice, as would Joel Edgerton for his sinister turn in Boy Erased or even Josh Brolin in Avengers: Infinity War.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams for Vice
Emma Stone for The Favourite
Marina de Tavira for Roma
Rachel Weisz for The Favourite
Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk
Predicted Win: Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk
This is another strong field for actresses this year but I think Regina King will win for her rapturously acclaimed performance in If Beale Street Could Talk. Any of these would be worthy winners and I’m particularly happy to see Marina de Tavira get nominated as I think arguably she gives the best performance in the film. Sometimes the Academy can surprise! It’s also interesting to see both Weisz and Stone recieve nominations, not just one of them. As for omissions, I’d love to have seen Tilda Swinton featured for her three performances in Suspiria.
Adam McKay for Vice
Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War
Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman
Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite
Predicted Win: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
This is a weak field this year and I think this will be a very easy win for Alfonso Cuarón as his influence is all over Roma and many will appreciate it for its autobiographical quality. Spike Lee and Yorgos Lanthimos are good nominations but neither of their films are their best. Adam McKay’s nomination is laughable. Like Marina de Tavira in the Best Supporting Actress category, it’s suprising to see a nomination here for Pawel Pawlikowski, but a welcome one. A stronger field would have consisted of Steve McQueen for Widows, Luca Guadagnino for Suspiria and Paul Greengrass for 22 July.
Best Original Screenplay
Paul Schrader for First Reformed
Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie and Peter Farrelly for Green Book
Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara for The Favourite
Adam McKay for Vice
Predicted Win: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara for The Favourite
A good selection and a tough one to call. I suspect The Favourite is probably the mostly likely to win here, as that script perhaps carries the film more than the other films. It’s particularly pleasing to see Paul Schrader feature even though the film was snubbed in other major categories as the script. Ideally, I’d like to see Schrader win but I think that’s a tall ask.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters for A Star Is Born
Charlie Wechtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman
Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty for Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Predicted Win: Charlie Wechtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman
Another strong selection and another tough one to call. I think Holofcener and Whitty deserve to win for Can You Ever Forgive Me? but seeing as BlacKkKlansman has won this Award so far in other ceremonies, perhaps this might again. Good to see The Coen’s get a mention here too.
Best Foreign Language Film
Never Look Away
Predicted Win: Roma
Rather ignorantly I must admit, I am yet to see most of these films and the only one I have currently seen is Roma. But over the past few years, there have been some excellent films nominated (possibly even better than the main Best Picture category!) so I will definitely watch these at some point. This is a difficult category to call as I have predicted Roma to win Best Picture so it might seem a little unfair if it were to take the gong here as well. If Roma doesn’t win here, I suspect Cold War will win, particularly as it’s managed to achieve nominations in other major categories.
Best Animated Feature
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks The Internet
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Predicted Win: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
This is another interesting field and I think the race is probably between Incredibes 2 and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Pixar normally dominate this field and whilst reviews were very positive for this long-awaited sequel, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse could edge it as no-one expected it to be as good as it is. I think it would be my personal choice as well as I found Incredibles 2 a rather underwhelming sequel.
Matthew Libatique for A Star Is Born
Lukasz Zal for Cold War
Caleb Deschanel for Never Look Away
Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
Robbie Ryan for The Favourite
Predicted Win: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
This isn’t all that strong a field and I think this is probably Roma‘s to win again, as it really aids the film in how it tells its story and it is beautiful to watch. The same can be said for Cold War, which is probably the next contender if Roma doesn’t take it but I think that would be unlikely. A stronger field would have included Sean Bobbitt for Widows, Seamus McGarvey for Bad Times At The El Royale, Benjamin Loeb for Mandy and Sayombhu Mukdeproom for Suspiria.
Barry Alexander Brown for BlacKkKlansman
John Ottman for Bohemian Rhapsody
Patrick J. Don Vito for Green Book
Yorgos Mavropsaridis for The Favourite
Hank Corwin for Vice
Predicted Win: Hank Corwin for Vice
Unless Christian Bale wins for his performance, I think this is Vice‘s best shot at an Oscar.
Best Production Design
Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart for Black Panther
Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas for First Man
John Myhre and Gordon Sim for Mary Poppins Returns
Eugenio Caballero and Barbara Enriquez for Roma
Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton for The Favourite
Predicted Win: John Myhre and Gordon Sim for Mary Poppins Returns
These are all worthy nominees and it’s a tough one to call. My hunch would be Mary Poppins Returns seeing as there’s always a film that hasn’t featured in the main categories and then gets this and hairstyling. If not, then probably The Favourite.
Best Costume Design
Ruth E. Carter for Black Panther
Sandy Powell for Mary Poppins Returns
Alexandra Byrne for Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary Zophres for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Sandy Powell for The Favourite
Predicted Win: Sandy Powell for The Favourite
I think this is again between Mary Poppins Returns and The Favourite, but I think The Favourite will probably edge it here.
Best Make-Up and Hairstyling
Goran Lundstrom and Pamela Goldammer for Border
Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks for Mary, Queen of Scots
Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney for Vice
Predicted Win: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney for Vice
This is probably another one for Vice in terms of how it aids the performances.
Best Original Score
Terence Blanchard for BlacKkKlansman
Ludwig Görannson for Black Panther
Nicholas Britell for If Beale Street Could Talk
Alexandre Desplat for Isle of Dogs
Marc Shaiman for Mary Poppins Returns
Predicted Win: Ludwig Görannson for Black Panther
A mixed bag. Firstly, how did Marc Shaiman get in here? I’m also surprised that Alexandre Desplat managed to get in as well. Terence Blanchard’s score is good but I think the win will be for Ludwig Göransson. There were loads of snubs in this category that could have dramatically improved this – West Dylan Thordson for Glass, Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans for Boy Erased, Johann Johannsson for Mandy, Thom Yorke for Suspiria and Justin Hurwitz for First Man.
Best Original Song
‘Shallow’ in A Star Is Born
‘All The Stars’ in Black Panther
‘The Place Where Lost Things Go’ in Mary Poppins Returns
‘I’ll Fight’ in RBG
‘When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings’ in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Predicted Win: ‘Shallow’ in A Star Is Born
This seems to have dominated so far so I suspect this wins.
Best Sound Mixing
Tom Ozanich, Dean A. Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steven Morrow for A Star Is Born
Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor, Peter J. Devlin for Black Panther
Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali for Bohemian Rhapsody
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis for First Man
Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and Jose Antonio Garcia for Roma
Predicted Win: Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and Jose Antonio Garcia for Roma
A tough one to call here but again, I would say if Roma has a sweep, this could be another award to add to its collection, but First Man could also prevail here as it’s a more technical film.
Best Sound Editing
Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl for A Quiet Place
Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker for Black Panther
John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone for Bohemian Rhapsody
Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Latrou for First Man
Sergio Diaz and Skip Lievsay for Roma
Predicted Win: Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl for A Quiet Place
This category is A Quiet Place‘s sole nomination and I think it could actually win here, as sound is so important to the central conceit of the film.
Best Visual Effects
Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Daniel Sudick for Avengers: Infinity War
Chris Lawrence, Mike Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Cobould for Christopher Robin
Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J. D. Schwalm for First Man
Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk for Ready Player One
Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy for Solo: A Star Wars Story
Predicted Win: Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J. D. Schwalm for First Man
A very intersting if not slightly disappointing field and a tough one to call. I’m gobsmacked that Christopher Robin and Solo: A Star Wars Story have been able to garner nominations. I think the winner will be First Man. Glaring omissions include Aquaman, Mandy and Annihilation.
So based on my predictions, I’m predicting Roma to be a very dominant presence with the other Best Picture nominees perhaps picking up an Award here and there. Roma’s success isn’t certain though and this makes for quite an exciting year due to how unpredictable it is. In the technical categories, Roma, The Favourite and First Man potentially pose the biggest threat.
There are a few films that, inevitably, have been overlooked. These include:
- Widows – no nominations at all despite getting good reviews and being released in Awards season
- Boy Erased – some found this to be Awards bait but I really liked it
- First Reformed – other than one nomination for its screenplay, this deserved to feature more
- Sicario 2: Soldado – my personal favourite film of 2017, although this was never going to get a nomination
But other than these, a generally unremarkable set of nominations and it’ll be interesting to see who goes home with what award.
The Academy Award Winners will be announced on Sunday 24th February