Hi, it’s me! Your amateur film critic, SQ! I’ve always wanted to write a little “should win/will win” for an entertainment publication. Since the Oscars are on Sunday, I thought I’d post one over here on DC4B!
I have zero expertise on these things, but I’m aware of what makes me tick and the goings-on leading up to the Oscars. I have even less expertise in categories like Best Director, Visual Effects or Animated Short. I’ll just keep it to the Big Five categories, with Best Original Song thrown in for fun. Anyway, here goes!
Best Original Song
Should win: “Shallow”
Will win: “Shallow”
It’d be cool for the prolific ballad-writer Diane Warren to finally win an Oscar, but the Jennifer Hudson-sung RBG tune, “I’ll Fight,” is far and away the weakest of the category. Maybe 11th time will be the charm?
The legendary country-folk singer-songwriter duo, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings’ “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” is a fine waltz, but the movie version sung by Willie Watson and Tim Blake Nelson is… corny. Maybe it’s supposed to be? I haven’t seen the movie; Other than Raising Arizona, I’m not a Coen Brothers person.
“The Place Where the Lost Things Go” is the sentimental pick, a sweet little ode to the death of a loved one. There isn’t much going on in it musically, but it has an advantage in being key to Mary Poppins Returns’ emotional core.
“All the Stars” is the most contemporary of the nominated songs. The pedigree of Kendrick Lamar, SZA and Black Panther make it the hip and young pick. Of all the longshots in this category, this mid-tempo hip-hop ballad stands the most chance.
But “Shallow” is the only nominated song that’s a force and an actual pop culture phenomenon. It’s most crucial to its film’s story – we witness as “Shallow” grows from an idea of a song to a full-fledged rock duet. And with that song Lady Gaga’s Ally literally becomes a star. Gaga’s raw emotion in its build-up certainly launched a thousand memes (and “Just wanted to take another look at you” spurned millions!), but it still gives me goosebumps.
Glaring omission: “Hearts Beat Loud,” Hearts Beat Loud.
The titular song from the Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons father/daughter band movie actually sounds like a song that’d come on Spotify randomly and have you rushing to find out who the band is. It still wouldn’t stand a chance against “Shallow,” but it’d be a nice little burst of dance-pop joy at the ceremony in lieu of, say, the J-Hud vocal acrobatics.
Best Supporting Actor
Should win: Richard E. Grant
Will win: Mahershala Ali
I love Mahershala Ali just as much as anyone. His performance in Moonlight was a huge breakthrough that achieved wide acclaim after a decade and a half’s worth of being a working actor. He’s supposed to be fantastic in Green Book, which I’m sure he is.
But Richard E. Grant’s portrayal of Jack Hock is a standout in Can You Ever Forgive Me. In a role that could be scene-stealing from its star, Melissa McCarthy, Grant plays Hock’s flamboyance and messiness with just the right amount of subtlety and grace. With Grant’s “I’m just happy to be nominated!” giddily relatable blurry-selfies-with-the-stars social media presence, plus multiple critics’ awards and the BAFTA, he’s gained quite a bit of momentum and could legit provide a needed upset that wouldn’t upset me at all!
Glaring omissions: Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk, Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther, Ethan Hawke, Juliet, Naked
Best Supporting Actress
Should win: Regina King
Will win: Regina King
If Beale Street Could Talk was cruelly under-nominated, not earning deserved nods for Best Sound Editing, Cinematography, Director and Picture. King is an incredibly versatile actress with a caseful of awards for both comedic and dramatic performances, including three Emmys and the recent Golden Globe she won for her role as Sharon Rivers, a mother trying to find justice for her incarcerated son in If Beale Street Could Talk.
Though I love Amy Adams, the consensus is “she should win an Oscar, but not for Vice,” which is something I can get behind. Rachel Weisz is another critical Favourite (haha) in the category, but in the end, King’s performance is the one no one can beat for me – and surely for the Academy.
Glaring omissions: Mackenzie Davis, Tully, Shayna McHayle, Support the Girls, Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians, Blake Lively, A Simple Favor (don’t @ me!)
Should win: Bradley Cooper
Will win: Rami Malek
2018 was the year when the guy from Mr. Robot became the guy every boomer and teen decided to stan forever. Bohemian Rhapsody has been rightfully panned. Malek’s performance has been mostly-commended and mixed. Some thought he embodied Freddie Mercury, others thought a set of false teeth and a decent swagger and lip sync do not a great performance make. But he’s won pretty much every precursor and played the game.
And it’s a shame that Bradley Cooper hasn’t played the game – at least not until it was too late. Cooper isn’t my favorite actor, but his performance of Jackson Maine was truly a showcase for his chops. Cooper drew from his own experiences with addiction to portray a troubled, over-the-hill, egotistical addict of a rock star. Cooper’s Jackson Maine is a frustrating, selfish, but ultimately sad shell of a man and his glimmers of happiness and love are all that more impactful.
Glaring omissions: Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here, John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (I still haven’t seen First Reformed!)
Should Win: Melissa McCarthy
Will Win: Glenn Close
This category is the cream of the crop, and it was likely difficult to narrow it down to these five nominees in such a fantastic year for leading performances by women. And honestly? I wouldn’t be mad if Glenn Close won! I know most are looking at it as an “it’s her time!” consolation win, but she chewed the fucking scenery in The Wife and I loved every minute of it.
More impressive to me, though, was Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of down-on-her-luck small-time celebrity biographer-turned-check-forging-scammer, Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me. McCarthy’s Israel is deeply abrasive, guarded, combative and mean-spirited. But you root for Israel despite everything because of the pathos McCarthy brings, showing Israel’s vulnerability, heartbreak, loneliness and need for someone to understand her. Unfortunately, McCarthy’s darkly comedic performance has been overlooked this entire awards cycle, making her the biggest longshot in the category.
But don’t count Olivia Colman out! With a Golden Globe, BAFTA and multiple critics’ awards she’s well-positioned for a possible upset!
Glaring omissions: Regina Hall, Support the Girls, Toni Collette, Hereditary, Keira Knightley, Collette, Charlize Theron, Tully, Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade, Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (again, a stacked year!)
Should win: The Favourite/BlacKkKlansman
Will win: Roma or Green Book? Maybe Black Panther?
This is the most up-in-the-air Best Picture race there’s been in recent years. Roma is the critics’ choice, Green Book is the populist choice and there’s tons of goodwill behind Black Panther. My picks for this category are the most inventive and delightfully queer female-led movie of the year, The Favourite, and the most entertaining and engaging politically-relevant movie that reminds us of how history has a way of repeating itself, BlacKkKlansman.
Glaring omissions: If Beale Street Could Talk and Can You Ever Forgive Me weren’t nominated. Bohemian fucking Rhapsody – a paint-by-numbers, poorly-edited, cringe-fest directed by an alleged serial predator – was. ‘Nuff said.
Well, there you have it. I’m looking forward to my tradition of yelling at the TV this Sunday. This season’s been a shitshow, what with the lack of a host, constant switch-ups of not airing categories/having songs performed, the Academy making some, uhh… choices (Bohemian Rhapsody for editing?!?!?!).
I’m most looking forward to the musical performances from Lady Gaga, Bette Midler and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. I’m looking forward to the genuine joy, surprise and fun moments we typically see from the winners of the “smaller” categories. I’m hoping for upsets! I’m hoping for some outlandish-to-normies-but-actually-iconic red carpet lewks (give me a gold card dress over a mediocre prom gown any day)! What I look forward to most, though, is the live-reacting to all that’s happening with my internet pals.
In the meantime, I’ll be planning my still-undetermined Theme Meal and rooting for Regina Hall to take the Independent Spirit Award on Saturday!