This is the second in a series of articles about the 2018 year in film and the lead-up to the 91st Oscars. As with previous posts, I will include discussion threads for individual Oscars categories with my personal predictions in the comments section, as well as a General Discussion thread.
Another month, another flood of Oscars precursors… I had a whole article about category fraud ready to go, but thankfully I decided to wait until after the Golden Globes had aired to go live, because hoo, boy, do we have a lot to talk about! Worry not, faithful readers: we will discuss category fraud another day.
Folks, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association just threw a fairly staid Oscars season for a loop. Sunday night’s ridiculous Best Drama and Best Actor wins for Bohemian Rhapsody, to say nothing of the numerous awards Green Book garnered, have disrupted what was looking like one of the more straightforward lead-ups to the Oscars in recent memory.
I know what you’re all thinking: it’s the Globes, who cares? I am the first person to discount the influence of the Golden Globes – the ceremony more than deserves its reputation as a big party where the awards go to the best-known names nominated. This was on full display Sunday night in many of the TV categories (yes, Michael Douglas, I’m looking at you). So why am I thinking that things are different this year?
The last time one of the Globes’ two Best Picture winners missed out on an Oscar Best Picture nomination was when The Hangover took the Musical/Comedy award in 2010. It’s an impressive run that gets even more impressive when you consider that the last time the Globes’ Drama winner missed out on an Oscar nom was in 1964 when Otto Preminger’s The Cardinal took home the Globe. Point being, Bohemian Rhapsody is almost definitely getting nominated for Best Picture, and yes, it’s a little ridiculous. In the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up, a mediocre Bryan freaking Singer movie that engages in queer erasure and villainizing is a likely Best Picture nominee and possibly the Best Actor frontrunner. It’s picked up a pile of guild nominations too, which bodes well (for the movie, not for the Oscars’ reputation or my sanity).
If there was ever any question about whether Green Book will get nominated for Best Picture (which more than a few of you did in fact question in my last post), it has been answered with Golden Globes wins for Best Musical/Comedy, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Screenplay(!?!?). That screenplay, and indeed the entire movie, was apparently constructed without any input from the family of the film’s supposed subject, Dr. Don Shirley. Shirley’s family has called the film a “symphony of lies.” In a year chock full of quality films with people of color in lead roles, it’s all too clear why a poorly received, whitewashed story of friendship against the odds (a friendship that evidently did not exist in reality) is rising at the expense of challenging, acclaimed movies like If Beale Street Could Talk and Widows. Old habits die hard, I guess.
The HFPA and the Academy have been dancing around each other for the past several years, moving the timing of the Golden Globes ceremony and the opening/closing of Oscars nomination voting repeatedly. This year, the two aligned in a way that might maximize the potential for the ~90 Golden Globes voters to influence the 7000+ Oscars voters: Oscars voting opened the day after the Globes were handed out.
Where does that leave us? Well, the last six weeks have seen a flurry of precursor activity, and not just from the HFPA: since my last post, year-end honors have been announced by the NY Film Critics Circle, the LA Film Critics Association, the American Film Institute, and the National Society of Film Critics. Nominees have been announced for the Annies, the Screen Actors Guild, the Producers Guild, the Writers Guild, the Critics Choice, the Directors Guild, and the American Society of Cinematographers. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has also announced the shortlists for Best Documentary Feature and Best Foreign Language Film, in addition to several craft categories, making those awards a bit easier to predict.
Arguably, Roma is on the rise, as is director/cinematographer/ screenwriter/editor Alfonso Cuaron. Roma wasn’t eligible to be nominated for Best Drama at the Golden Globes due to its not being in English, otherwise we might not be talking about Bohemian Rhapsody quite as much as we are right now. Best Actor was seeming like Bradley Cooper’s to lose for A Star is Born, but it looks like Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek is going to be giving him a run for his money. Best Actress was a tight race between Lady Gaga for A Star is Born and Glenn Close for The Wife, but recent weeks have seen adoration for Close eclipsing Gaga. Best Supporting Actress is wrapped up with a bow for If Beale Street Could Talk’s Regina King, though the film’s prospects elsewhere have dimmed significantly. Mahershala Ali is likely to pick up his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Green Book, with little indication that Can You Ever Forgive Me?’s Richard E. Grant will stage a comeback.
As always, my predictions in the “above the fold” categories are in individual threads in the comments below, and I’ll put in a General Discussion thread for your amusement and to discuss other categories, etc. Sort by “Newest” to find it. Try to keep your comments to the designated threads to keep it easy to navigate for everyone – if it works in tournaments, it can work here! I’ll be back late next week with full predictions in all 24 categories, and then again the morning of January 22 for this year’s edition of the extremely stressful Oscar nominations live post.