The Emmys are but a distant memory now, and A Star Is Born is the future. Though television will share the limelight come the Golden Globes, it's that time of the year again when we look ahead to awards season and start sifting through all of the films vying for Oscar consideration. As the race kicks off, A Star Is Born appears to be leading that pack and to that I say, oh, haaa-ah-ah-ah, haaaaWWAHH, HAAA-AHH-AHH-AAHHH.
Now that Telluride, Venice and TIFF, the trifecta of film festivals that serve as a sort of unofficial starting line for Oscars season, have offered up their best and brightest, and those films, among others, are beginning to arrive in theaters, let's look at the big six and see who's currently in the running in each category -- keeping in mind how much time still remains before the 91st Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 24, during which all of this could change.
A Star Is Born
If Beale Street Could Talk
We can ostensibly lock in three films for Best Picture: A Star Is Born, having cemented itself as this year's one to beat, continuing to garner love from critics and doing gangbusters with audiences, First Man, and Green Book, which seemingly came out of nowhere to win TIFF's People's Choice Award, a reliable harbinger of a Best Picture nomination.
Everything else still remains very much in contention. Of the early favo(u)rites, there are two firsts of note: Black Panther, which earned rave reviews for its cultural impact and for being a damn fine superhero movie, would be Marvel's first Best Picture nomination, while Netflix's black-and-white period drama, Roma, could be the film that finally cracks this race for the streaming giant.
Although the Academy may nominate up to 10 films, I'm keeping my Best Picture field to eight picks for now, leaving space for those films that have yet to screen on the festival circuit (Mary Queen of Scots and On the Basis of Sex will both premiere at AFI FEST) or elsewhere, like Adam McKay's Dick Cheney biopic, Vice. Then there's always Mary Poppins Returns. The original won five Oscars, after all, and was nominated for eight more.
In the Running: Beautiful Boy, Boy Erased, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Colette, Mary Queen of Scots, The Old Man & the Gun, On the Basis of Sex, Vice, Widows
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Viola Davis, Widows
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Cynically speaking, the greatest thing Gaga has going for her might be expectations, with voters going in expecting rah-rah and being bowled over by her dramatic chops. (If you cannot fathom the Academy awarding a pop star for her first film role, please consult Jennifer Hudson's Oscar.) Gaga is going to be so good at campaigning, too, although I do wonder how she'll balance those duties with her Vegas residency.
I'm less certain about Colman's placement. She won Best Actress at Venice for her loopy turn as Queen Anne, but may end up in the Supporting category, where she would be a significant threat. (Venice doesn't hand out awards for supporting actors. If she does ultimately go supporting, co-star Emma Stone will likely assume her spot here.) Meanwhile, many are giving the Best Actress edge to Glenn Close, who is overdue for her first win, but I'll side with first-time actress Aparicio and the power of Netflix, for now.
In the Running: Glenn Close (The Wife), Toni Collette (Hereditary), Felicity Jones (On the Basis of Sex), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer), Keira Knightley (Colette), Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Carey Mulligan (Wildlife), Julia Roberts (Ben Is Back), Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots)
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Ryan Gosling, First Man
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Robert Redford, The Old Man & the Gun
John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman
Cooper and Redford seem like safe bets, the former delivering what might be the performance of his career and the latter exceptional as always in what is being billed as his last performance -- and the final opportunity for the Academy to honor him. (Redford has won one Oscar -- for directing -- and it was in 1981.) Otherwise, there are a handful of wild cards in play, and I'm going to throw some weight behind Washington, who is maybe more of a longshot than some other contenders, but who delivers one hell of a performance as a black police officer infiltrating the KKK.
In the Running: Christian Bale (Vice), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Steve Carell (Beautiful Boy), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate), Ethan Hawke (First Reformed), Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), John C. Reilly (The Sisters Brothers)
Best Supporting Actress
Claire Foy, First Man
Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots
Emma Stone, The Favourite
The Favourite boasts three awards-worthy performances, though, as mentioned, where each of the actresses is submitted is still up in the air. I'm running Stone in Supporting until the studio makes it official, but if Olivia Colman winds up here, she will be hard to beat. As is, I'm giving an edge to King, who very likely could become a first-time Academy Award nominee and first-time winner in the same year. (As a sidebar, this is the only race A Star Is Born cannot sweep, seeing as the second female lead is...Halsey, maybe?)
In the Running: Amy Adams (Vice), Blythe Danner (What They Had), Elizabeth Debicki (Widows), Marina de Tavira (Roma), Danai Gurira (Black Panther), Natalie Portman (Vox Lux), Sissy Spacek (The Old Man & the Gun), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite), Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians)
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther
Green Book has its own dual leads dilemma -- in truth, both Ali and Viggo Mortensen should compete as Best Actor, though that doesn't help either's odds of winning -- and so, simply because Ali's role is slightly smaller, I imagine he will go supporting, where he won in 2017. (For Moonlight.) And while there are still plenty of actors skirting the periphery of this race, I'm predicting this is the field that changes least from now until nominations are announced. Erik Killmonger is going to be an Oscar nominee.
In the Running: Russell Crowe (Boy Erased), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Robert Duvall (Widows), Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased), Colin Farrell (Widows), Jake Gyllenhaal (Wildlife), Daniel Kaluuya (Widows), Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk), Sam Rockwell (Vice)
Damien Chazelle, First Man
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Consider it a year of rematches: In 2017, Chazelle took home Best Director for La La Land but Jenkins' Moonlight won Best Picture. Similarly, in 2014, Cuarón won Best Director, for Gravity, while Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave took home Best Picture. (Reader, I admit that I went back and forth between McQueen and Lee in choosing these five.) Cooper and Lee, both of whom have been nominated before but never in this category, would be the new additions.
If this is indeed how the race shakes out, however, that will mean yet another year of *extreme Natalie Portman voice* all-male nominees, after Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman ever nominated for Best Director earlier this year.
In the Running: Jacques Audiard (The Sisters Brothers), Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased), Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Adam McKay (Vice), Steve McQueen (Widows), Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots)
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