“It’s a wonderful night for Oscar!” Sunday is the big day! We’ll finally find out who the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an organization totally not out of touch and with impeccable taste, has chosen to give that golden, genitalia-and-butthole-less statuette to.
It’s been a tumultuous year for ol’ Oscar. First they wanted to create a “Best Popular Film” category, were told it was a stupid idea, and decided against it. Then they hired Kevin Hart to host, were told it was a stupid idea to hire someone who “joked” about beating the hell out of their kids for doing things that might be construed as “gay,” and fired him. Then they came up with the brilliant idea to only allow two of the “Best Original Song” nominees to perform, were told that was a stupid idea, and changed their mind — not to mention that one of the two songs they wanted to have perform cancelled on them last minute. And finally, they tried giving out awards during the commercial breaks in order to save time on the telecast, were told that was the dumbest idea yet, and immediately charted a different course.
Which means we’re now looking at a hostless awards ceremony where the Academy and ABC have openly told four of the award winners — not to mention like two dozen nominees — that they don’t really matter. How could this possibly go wrong?
So this is, if you don’t mind me saying, going to be an absolute shitshow.
Well, on that cheery note, lets play a fun game of “who’s gonna win?” Will it be Walk Hard with a Vengeance? Vijo Morganstein Teaches One of “You People” About Fried Chicken? How about fourth entry in the A Star is Born Cinematic Universe? Only the beautiful starlets and big money hotshots of Tinseltown (and a few accounting nerds from Ernst & Young) know for sure. But I, Lewton Bus’s Oscar expert,1 have my predictions ready and waiting.
So, shall we?
Best Visual Effects
Will win: Infinity War
Should win: Ready Player One I guess?
Marvel Studios has never won an Academy Award, and while that’s almost certainly going to end this year with Black Panther getting nominated in a handful of categories I would be shocked if Infinity War wasn’t technically the first to break the winless streak. There’s some great motion capture work for Thanos and the other primary villains that cancels out a lot of the more wonky, bland stuff that makes up a lot of the film’s third act.
First Man could get an upset here which would be cool. There’s a much more impressive, natural feel to the effects work there than in the plastic-y Marvel stuff and the nightmare fuel talking bears of Christopher Robin. Solo deserves neither a nomination nor a win in any category. Honestly I forgot it even came out this year and I’m the one who reviewed it.
But I guess I’ll go Ready Player One on this one, mostly just to be a dick. But if my options for “who made the special effects look the coolest” are Marvel, Ron Howard, Marc Forster and Steven Spielberg, I’m going Spielberg all day. Plus I count Mark Rylance’s entire wardrobe and constant “I want to die” performance from the film as a visual effect, so it’s the clear winner.
Best Original Song
Will Win: “Sha ha ha ha ha lows”
Should Win: Who cares? LET TIM BLAKE NELSON SING HIS SONG!
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper are going to win. This is a lock. Which is why I’m using this corporately mandated space to scream into the void about the greatest travesty and violation of human rights America has seen since that time Obama put Dijon mustard on a sandwich: Tim Blake Nelson not getting to sing “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings.”
This song rules. It’s a catchy tune that already feels like a classic cowboy crooner from the 40s and 50s. Hell, even my month old baby loves when I (poorly) sing it to her while trying to calm her down when she enters an apoplectic rage. Tim Blake Nelson and Willie Watson crush the duet, and it’s a shame that they aren’t going to reprise their performance on Hollywood’s biggest stage. Everything The Academy does Sunday night is completely unimportant until they rectify this wrong.
I’ll be waiting by my phone for a personal apology from AMPAS president John Bailey.
Should Win: Roma and literally anything else, respectively
These awards apparently aren’t very important according to the Academy, so I’m just gonna lump them together in one grouping. If the people running this show don’t care, why should I? Because they’re the founding blocks and the two things that set the medium of film apart from other art forms? Pshhhhhh. Oscar says they’re lame and boring and take too long.
The only way Roma doesn’t deservedly win cinematography is if the voters decide giving Cuarón an award for his secondary gig is uncouth given the other nominees are doing this full-time. I could see the other gorgeous, semi-autobiographical black-and-white period piece Cold War winning here if that’s the case. But really we need to talk about Editing. Mostly this nightmare:
This is nominated for best editing. It won the guild award for best editing. It’s the favorite to win the big one. The editing here makes the intentional cut-every-five-seconds edit of Armageddon look like a still photograph. It feels like 100 cuts happen during a four minute scene where people sit at a table and talk. I want to die.
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Green Book
Should Win: First Reformed
It looks like this one will be a toss up between Green Book and The Favourite, but really the standout here is Paul Schrader – cinema’s favorite insane person – finally getting his first Oscar nomination. The guy wrote Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Mishima, and The Last Temptation of Christ and is only now getting some love from Oscar. First Reformed rules, and is a perfect encapsulation of the man’s half-century long career, so it would be a beautiful moment if he won. There’s also a 50% chance that if he wins he’ll miss hearing his name called because he’s busy playing Words with Friends. Plus I would pay real American dollars to watch him give his acceptance speech and thank Taylor Swift for being “the godhead who makes existence possible and without whom we would wander forever in bleak unimaginable darkness.”
Paul Schrader 2020.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: BlacKkKlansman
Should Win: BlacKkKlansman
If ever someone deserved to win a “legacy” Oscar, it’s Spike Lee. Almost thirty years ago he got his one and only nomination for Best Original Screenplay, a seemingly backhanded compliment from the Academy given Do The Right Thing is one of the greatest films ever made. Since then he’s only gone on to write and direct a few other masterpieces like Clockers, Bamboozled, 25th Hour, and Malcolm X. So even my cynical ass wants to see Spike win here. Just make it happen. I’m sure Bradley Cooper will be fine going back to his life of being really really really ridiculously good looking, having a supermodel wife and rolling in Marvel Studios money if he doesn’t win this one.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Should Win: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
I don’t have much to say about this category. Regina King is a longtime veteran of the industry and she’s great in Beale Street, meaning she both fits the criteria that the Academy often looks for in the acting awards and also is a deserving winner. I’ll take it over Amy Adams reciting Macbeth to fat Christian Bale.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Mahershala Ali – Green Book
Should Win: Richard E Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Mahershala Ali is a great actor and is a lot of fun in Green Book. It’s also a very #Important film about racism, homophobia, and odd-couple friendship that feels like it was tailor made to win an oscar circa 1988. Given he’s basically already apologized for being in the film, it’s a teensy bit amusing to me that he’s almost certainly a lock to win here. Maybe this time the lack of a host means he won’t have to put up with people making hacky jokes about his name on the best night of his life.
I haven’t actually seen Can You Ever Forgive Me? which I’m sure is causing all of you to wonder, “Kevin, If you haven’t seen the film how can you possibly want Grant to win?” To which I say “I get to make the rules here, not you, person who I’ve never met before.” Mostly I’m basing this on the clip below, which I’ve probably watched like 50 times.
Grant’s beaming glee while saying “Indeed!” is hypnotic and I could watch it on a loop for an eternity. Give this man an Oscar.
Will Win: Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
Should Win: Literally Anyone Else
Bohemian Rhapsody is a monstrosity of a film, and Rami Malek certainly ain’t what you’d consider “good” in it. I can’t believe this performance is getting this much acclaim and praise. It’s like 99% fake teeth and lip synching. At least Christian Bale gained gained a ton of weight and took five years off of his life to play Dick Cheney. If I have to hear Malek say “Dahrliiiing” in his obviously fake gay-londonite voice one more time I’m going to lose my mind. It’s not even a good impression of Freddie Mercury. It’s like a bad Funny or Die sketch come to life.
The only positive development from Malek almost certainly winning is that this trainwreck if a ceremony might reach its peak when Bohemian Rhapsody wins a major award and everyone just pretends that Bryan Singer didn’t direct it. Or maybe they do acknowledge it and Singer gets a standing ovation like Roman Polanski and Woody Allen have. That’s show business, baby!
Will Win: Glenn Close – The Wife
Should Win: Yalitza Aparicio – Roma
Okay, am I the only one who isn’t 100% sure that The Wife is even a real movie? Has anyone seen it? Do you know anyone who has seen it? Glenn Close’s agent just made this up and everyone went with it. I can feel it in my bones. You’ll never convince me otherwise.
Will Win: Green Book
Should Win: Let Me Be Frank
I know it’s not the most popular opinion, but I didn’t hate Green Book as much as I probably should have given my standing as Lewton Bus’s #Wokest Critic. Sure, it’s just Driving Miss Daisy but with an all caps ITALIAN STEREOTYPE as the white character, but I found myself kinda enjoying the odd-couple comedy of Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. It sits on its balls every time it tries to be “about something” and is very, very high on the smell of its own totally-not-racist farts, but I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t at least kinda amused for stretches of the film. It shouldn’t win Best Picture and is probably the second worst of the nominees, but it didn’t make me insane with anger like a certain other nominee did.
That nominee? Bohemian Rhapsody. I don’t even like Queen that much and I was flabbergasted at how terrible it is in practically every way. The editing is an abomination, the cinematography makes it look like a TV movie at least half the time, the acting never rises above an SNL sketch that got cut for time, and the script bends over backward — going as far as to fundamentally manipulate or outright erase historical events — to make Freddie Mercury the villain in his own story. Plus there’s the whole “was directed by an accused paedophile” business. Please God don’t let this win.
If they’re gonna pick a movie about a rockstar with an addiction problem using a formula that is old hat, A Star is Born is the much better choice. I didn’t really like it either, but at least Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga actually sing and play their instruments. It’s bloated, meanders a lot in the middle, and suffers from a complete dearth of momentum after the first performance of “Shallow,” but I didn’t spend the whole movie quoting (and wishing I was watching) Walk Hard to myself, so it automatically wins the head to head battle with Bohemian Rhapsody.
I didn’t see Vice because it’s 2019 and I’m too tired from current events to want to listen to Adam McKay lecture me for two hours about the evils of neoconservatism. Hard Pass.
Taylor Swift has been stanning for The Favourite very hard, which means a win for it is a win for T-Swizzle. And a win for her is, really, a win for Paul Schrader which is the most important part. Bless the godhead and bend the knee before the light.
I’ll be cool if any of the other nominees win. BlacKkKlansman is pretty good, but it isn’t even one of Spike Lee’s five best films. That said, the historical odds of him ever getting another shot at this are slim-to-none so I’ll pretend like he won for Bamboozled or Clockers something and feel a-okay about it. I’m slightly lower on Black Panther than basically everyone else I know, but even still it’s the second best of the nominees this year. Roma was my third-favorite film of the year, so that’s gotta be my hope to win it all.
But at the end of the day the true winners are you, the audience. Sure, you’ll never have the fancy clothes, millions of dollars, exciting and fulfilling careers, acclaim from your peers, supermodel spouses, or worldwide fame of the folks on the red carpet, but you might win $10 in your office Oscar pool for guessing the Best Live Action Short category right so who’s to say you’re not living the high life? So sit back, relax, pour yourself a pepto-and-whiskey cocktail and enjoy the show!