Instead of offering up another film review for a mediocre January release, lets take a look at the 91st Oscar nominations that were unveiled Tuesday morning, what’s going to happen this Sunday at The Screen Actors Guild Awards and what insights attending this year’s Critics Choice Awards gave me.
Starting with the Oscar nominations, my favorite film of the year, “Roma” (now playing on Netflix) scored 10 nominations. It outperformed in a variety of ways: It’s a Netflix film, which has never broken into the best picture race until now. It’s a black and white foreign language movie that has such wide support among the Academy branches, it even landed nominations in both best actress and supporting actress categories. “The Favourite” was the other big winner on Nomination Morning, also nabbing 10 nominations, including all three of it’s actresses Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman and best director Yorgos Lanthimos.
Who got nominated is important, but who got snubbed, is often the bigger story. Biggest omissions were Bradley Cooper for best director on “A Star is Born,” Justin Hurowitz for his original score on “First Man,” Timothee Chalamet for that masterful performance in “Beautiful Boy” in supporting actor. “Roma” and “A Star is Born” missed editing nominations, while “Green Book” director Peter Farrelly didn’t get a director nomination, which essentially means that film won’t be winning best picture.
The race can certainly change in a month, things can get as vicious as an election, but right now, stats say it’s between Spike Lee’s “BlackKklansman” and “Roma” for the best picture win. Expect Glenn Close to maintain her best actress winning streak for “The Wife.” Cooper missing the best director nod might be the PR ammunition needed to disrupt the best actor race, currently between Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Christian Bale (“Vice”). Supporting actress is still Regina King from “If Beale Street Could Talk” to lose while Mahershala Ali will likely win his second supporting actor Oscar for “Green Book.”
The Screen Actors Guild Awards are this Sunday (TNT and TBS, 7 p.m.), that’s where only the actors vote. The acting branch of the academy is the largest voting body, so typically whoever wins SAG, wins the Oscar. Watch out for Cooper to pull an upset in the lead actor. Actress is Lady Gaga versus Close, but expect the veteran to continue her winning streak. Regina King isn’t nominated at SAG, meaning it’s going to be Amy Adams (“Vice”) or Rachel Weisz (“The Favorite”). Whoever wins Sunday could steal the momentum King has after winning the Golden Globe and Critics Choice. Supporting actor is another easy victory for Ali and “Green Book.” Best ensemble is the head scratcher. While it doesn’t equate to a best picture win, only “A Star is Born,” “Black Panther” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” have skin in the game. Word from voters suggests support for the critically trashed but audience favorite Queen flick, but I think “A Star is Born,” based on Gaga’s popularity, might have the upper-hand, allowing for another night where Gaga and Close get statues.
I recently returned from the annual Critics Choice Awards, my fourth year as a Broadcast Film Critics Association voter. “Roma” of course took best picture there, along with its director Alfonso Cuaron nabbing best director. I stopped by his table for congratulations and to inform him he has also won the director prize from our Houston Film Critics Society. He joked, “Where is my award.” I have a running joke with Timothee Chalamet, last year the young actor was nominated and lost best actor for “Call Me By Your Name,” so I gave him a peach emoji pin from the film. This year I gave him another pin from that film as a consolation prize. I also had the chance to mingle with Julia Roberts, who starred in another one of my favorite films from 2018, “Ben is Back.” Got to shake hands with Viggo Mortensen, who was there nominated for “Green Book.” Seeing him in person really puts his transformation in the film into perspective. I also had a bit of fandom meeting Richard Madden formerly of “Game of Thrones.”
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