Award show season is upon us! The Golden Globes just happened and they're the first major film awards given out in the new year. They set the tone for the rest of the season. It's the perfect award show to start with because it recognizes not only films but also TV shows based on their genre: Drama or Comedy/Musical. The Academy Awards close out award show season and it's strictly for films. Nothing is split into genre categories so each award is fair game for any film deemed worthy of being nominated. This is why it's considered the most prestigious film award because the competition can be fierce.
The categories we are going to focus on are Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Actor in a Leading Role. Obviously, I cannot predict who is going to win, but I can predict who will possibly be nominated in each of those categories based on other award show nominations and who has won in the past.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper, "A Star Is Born"
Lucas Hedges, "Boy Erased"
Christian Bale, "Vice"
Robert Redford, "The Old Man & The Gun"
John David Washington, "BlacKkKlansman"
I think it's safe to say that "A Star Is Born" has a pretty good chance of being nominated for a lot of awards this season. It's nominated for five Golden Globes and four SAG awards already. Bradley Cooper's performance will most likely be one of the film's acknowledgments. Lucas Hedges was nominated for an Academy Award back in 2017 for Best Supporting Actor in “Manchester By The Sea," but I think his performances in "Boy Erased" and "Ben Is Back" could possibly earn him a nod for Best Actor this year.
The Academy is known for loving when men completely transform themselves for biopic roles. Take last years Best Actor winner, Gary Oldman, for example. Unfortunately, a couple months before The Academy Awards, Gary Oldman was accused of domestic violence and everyone hoped that would affect his chances at winning the coveted award due to the Times Up movement, but as past years have shown (looking at you Casey Affleck), the Academy does not care about how bad of a person you are. If you're accused of domestic violence or sexual assault, you can (and probably will) win this category. Now, nothing has come out about Christian Bale (and I really hope nothing does), but if something did, I wouldn't be surprised if he won this award for his transformation into Dick Cheney in "Vice."
Robert Redford is an obvious Academy choice for his role in "The Old Man & the Gun" since he announced his retirement and has been snubbed by the award show in past years. I hope to see John David Washington nominated the most though for his performance in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman." As Denzel Washington's son, it's not surprising that he is extremely talented, but he's managed to make a name outside of his dad's shadow by taking roles such as this one. If this isn't his year though (which the Academy has been known to disappoint in POC nominations), I hope that we see him in similar projects in the years to come.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Elsie Fisher, "Eighth Grade"
Lady Gaga, "A Star Is Born"
Olivia Colman, "The Favourite"
Glenn Close, "The Wife"
Saoirse Ronan, "Mary Queen of Scots"
I know, it's a long shot, but I really hope Elsie Fisher is acknowledged for her break-out role in Bo Burnham's "Eighth Grade." Fisher's performance completely encompassed everything I remembered about that awful school year and she did it with the vulnerability and honesty only someone of her age and lack of resume could pull off. Lady Gaga basically has award season in the bag. Her performance as Ally in "A Star Is Born" is well deserved of all its recognition and I am still crying over her song "I'll Never Love Again."
"The Favourite" has been one of my favorite films of the year by far and it's all because of Olivia Colman's performance as Queen Anne. I went into the film thinking I wouldn't like her character, and there were moments I didn't, but I left the theater completely blown away by what Colman made me feel for her. Her performance was nuanced and every close up that featured her face read like a chapter in a book taking you through a complex set of emotions in just a few seconds of a scene.
Glenn Close is thought to be a front-runner for her performance in "The Wife" which details the way generations of women have been overlooked due to confining gender roles. This isn't Saoirse Ronan's first time in the Oscar race for Best Actress. Ronan's been nominated in the past for last years "Lady Bird" and 2016's "Brooklyn." Her performance in the period piece "Mary Queen of Scots," will most likely earn her another nod.
There weren't a lot of POC leading ladies this year, which is a disappointment. Viola Davis was incredible in her role in Steve McQueen's film, "Widows," but the Academy most likely won't acknowledge her performance. I want more than anything for Kiki Layne to be recognized for her role in Barry Jenkins' "If Beale Street Could Talk," but she has yet to be nominated by any major award show. Let's hope that the Academy Awards will surprise us all and give her a nomination for her outstanding performance.
Bradley Cooper, "A Star Is Born"
Alfonso Cuarón, "Roma"
Yorgos Lanthimos, "The Favourite"
Barry Jenkins, "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Damien Chazelle, "First Man"
Unfortunately, it's another year where it looks like only men will be nominated in the Best Director category. There weren't any female directors nominated for a Golden Globe and it will probably be the same at the Academy Awards. We could see Bradley Cooper recognized for his directorial debut with "A Star Is Born." The film has been received well so it's more likely than not that he will be. It's doubtful that he will win though.
Alfonso Cuarón has been praised by critics for his Netflix film "Roma," which most likely means he will be nominated. Plus, he just won a Golden Globe for the same category and that helps raise his odds. Cuarón is Netflix's best chance at winning their first Academy Award. Yorgos Lanthimos is well-known for directorial style and his work on "The Favourite" will most likely be acknowledged.
I really hope to see Barry Jenkins recognized for his work on "If Beale Street Could Talk." Jenkins is, in my opinion, one of the best directors of our time and he has been previously nominated for an Academy Award for his Best Picture-winning film "Moonlight." Damien Chazelle is another previous Academy Award winner for his film "La La Land," and his work with "First Man" will most likely earn him another nod.
"A Star Is Born"
"If Beale Street Could Talk"
In my opinion, these are the 9 most deserving films to be nominated for an Academy Award, but it is quite possible that "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Mary Poppins Returns," or "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" could be nominated instead. It's a long shot for "Eighth Grade" to be nominated, but I really hope to see Bo Burnham's directorial debut acknowledged because the film was one of my favorite of the year. It was bold and honest and covered topics about growing up that haven’t really been touched upon before. "A Star Is Born," "The Favourite," "Green Book," and "Roma" are pretty much sure nominations though.
Now obviously I cannot predict the future, but I will be surprised if I'm not at least half right about some of these. The Academy Awards always have at least one surprise every year though, so we'll just have to see who's nominated at the end of the month. Either way, I'm excited to see what awards season has in store for us this year.