A year of seemingly limitless creativity at the movies offers as rich a collection of memorable movies as we can remember. Which ones will Oscar honor with Academy Award nominations? Here are my predictions for the names we will hear on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
This year, top contenders for the top Oscar include popular hits at the box office. Bradley Cooper’s new take on A Star Is Born made Lady Gaga into a movie star while Black Panther created a global movement with its universal message. Joining these nominees should be The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos’ dishy reinvention of the costume epic; Roma, Alfonso Cuarón’s celebration of growing up in Mexico; BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee’s courageous take on racism; and Vice, Adam McKay’s interpretation of the life and work of Vice President Dick Cheney. Because the Academy can nominate up to 10 films, look for Green Book and If Beale Street Could Talk, two gentle films that explore race relations, to join the contenders.
Christian Bale captures the physical and emotional subtleties of Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice. His work is matched by Viggo Mortensen’s rich portrayal of a tough guy in the 1960s in Green Book and Bradley Cooper’s sensitive rendition of a down-on-his-luck singer in A Star Is Born. Ethan Hawke brings sensitivity to his portrayal of a troubled priest in First Reformed while John David Washington reveals the challenges the first black detective on a police force can experience in BlacKkKlansman.
Because the Academy loves to crown a new movie star, look for Lady Gaga to be a contender for her screen debut in A Star Is Born. She will likely find herself in a tight race with Glenn Close, a six-time nominee without an Oscar win, who should be remembered for her courageous work in The Wife, as well as Olivia Colman, who delights with her exaggerated look at Queen Anne in The Favourite. Rounding out the list should be Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Yalitza Aparicio as the source of stability in Roma.
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar two years ago for Moonlight, should be a top contender this year for his layered account of a pianist traveling the South in Green Book. He should be joined by Richard E. Grant, as a supportive yet complex friend in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Sam Elliott as the supportive yet complex brother in A Star Is Born. Rounding out the nominees should be Timothee Chalamet as a troubled teenager in Beautiful Boy and Adam Driver as an undercover cop in BlacKkKlansman.
Best Supporting Actress
Regina King breaks our hearts as the strong, determined mother in If Beale Street Could Talk while Amy Adams brings a sense of command to her look at Lynne Cheney in Vice. They should be joined Oscar night by Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz for their devilish comic turns in The Favourite as well as Claire Foy for playing Janet Armstrong in First Man.
Alfonso Cuarón’s visual storytelling gives Roma its scope while his heart defines the film’s meaning. Bradley Cooper dares to make a familiar story feel fresh with A Star Is Born while Spike Lee brings his distinctive voice to a timeless tale with BlacKkKlansman. Yorgos Lanthimos dares to take a fresh look at royalty in The Favourite while Pawel Pawlikowski creates a frightening world in the Polish drama, Cold War.
The Reel Dad chooses more Oscar nominees
Which films will Oscar honor with Academy Award nominations? Here are more predictions for the names we will hear on Tuesday, January 22.
Best Original Screenplay
Alfonso Cuarón’s beautifully modulated Roma captures the essence of his youth in Mexico City. Joining Roma should be Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara for their outrageous take on the costume drama with The Favourite and Adam McKay for his exaggerated look at Dick Cheney in Vice. Look for Paul Schrader to be nominated for First Reformed while Bo Burnham should capture a nod for Eighth Grade.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Noted books and movies provide source material for this year’s nominees. Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole should be honored for adapting Black Panther while Barry Jenkins should be nominated for bringing the novel If Beale Street Could Talk to the screen. Spike Lee, along with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott should be nominees for writing the adaptation of BlacKkKlansman while Bradley Cooper and Eric Roth are likely to be remembered for A Star is Born. Look for a surprise nomination for The Death of Stalin and its writers Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows and Fabien Nury.
Best Film Editing
What happens in the editing room can make the difference to a finished film as these possible nominees illustrate. Leading contenders should be Roma, A Star is Born, The Favourite, Black Panther and First Man.
Best Animated Feature
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse looks to be a likely nominee along with the hit sequel, Incredibles 2 and Wes Anderson’s creative Isle of Dogs. The other two slots should go to Mirai and Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Best Documentary Feature
Won’t You Be My Neighbor takes us back to the lessons of Mister Rogers while Three Identical Strangers reveals the complexities of multiples. RGB examines the compelling life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Free Solo looks at rock climber Alex Honnold, and Minding the Gap tells tales of friendship in the Rust Belt.
Best Costume Design
Sandy Powell has as much fun with the clothes as the actors have with the words in The Favourite. Andrea Flesch brings a visual clarity to Colette while Ruth Carter imagines new worlds in Black Panther. Julian Day recreates the 1970s in Bohemian Rhapsody while Erin Benach stylizes a different musical world in A Star is Born.
How a film is lit, and a camera is positioned, creates the world we experience on screen. For this Oscar, Alfonso Cuarón should be nominated for shooting his own film, Roma, along with Robbie Ryan for his stylistic view of The Favourite. Matthew Libatique brings visual texture to A Star is Born, a strong contender, along with Linus Sandgren for First Man and James Laxton for If Beale Street Could Talk.
Best Production Design
The look of the movie — through the design and decoration of its sets — enhances the images we savor. Competing for this Oscar should be Black Panther, Roma, First Man, The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Yes, it takes magic to make performers look the roles they play. Three films should be nominated for this Oscar: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice.
Best Original Music Score
Music adds so much to the feeling a film can create. Look for these names to be read on Oscar night: Terence Blanchard for BlacKkKlansman, Nicholas Britten for If Beale Street Could Talk, Alexandre Desplat for Isle of Dogs, Justin Hurwitz for First Man and Ludwig Göransson for Black Panther.
Best Original Song
Lady Gaga looks to be a strong contender for this Oscar, for Shallow, from A Star is Born. Look for other nominees to be All the Stars from Black Panther, I’ll Fight from RBG, The Place Where Lost Things Go from Mary Poppins Returns, and A Place Called Slaughter Race from Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Best Foreign Language Film
Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, from Mexico, leads the list of potential nominees. Look for nominations, as well, for Cold War from Poland, Capernaum, from Lebanon, Never Look Away from Germany and Shoplifters from Japan.
Best Sound Editing
Of the two categories honoring sound, this one focuses on the creation of sound effects to create the film’s sound design. The nominees should be A Star is Born, First Man, Black Panther, A Quiet Place and Avengers, Infinity War.
Best Sound Mixing
The second sound category honors sound recording and re-recording. Competing for this Oscar should again be A Star is Born, First Man, Black Panther, A Quiet Place, with the fifth slot going to Bohemian Rhapsody.
Best Visual Effects
This popular category is all about the marvelous magic creators unleash to tell amazing stories on film. Leading contenders for this Oscar should be Avengers: Infinity War, First Man, Black Panther, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Ready Player One.