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Monday, February 25, 2019

Every Movie I Saw in 2018 Ranked, and If I Ran the Oscars

  1. Roma—Available on Netflix 
  2. Sorry to Bother You—Available on Hulu
  3. First Man
  4. Hereditary—Available on Amazon
  5. The Death of Stalin
  6. The Favourite
  7. First Reformed—Available on Amazon
  8. If Beale Street Could Talk
  9. Eighth Grade—Available on Amazon
  10. Blindspotting
  11. Annihilation—Available on Amazon
  12. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs—Available on Netflix
  13. Paddington 2—Available on Hulu
  14. Incredibles 2—Available on Netflix
  15. Isle of Dogs
  16. Mission-Impossible: Fallout
  17. Burning
  18. A Quiet Place
  19. Tully
  20. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
  21. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot—Available on Amazon
  22. Mandy
  23. Widows
  24. Shoplifters
  25. Wildlife
  26. The Old Man and the Gun
  27. You Were Never Really Here—Available on Amazon
  28. Blackkklansman
  29. Vice
  30. Cold War—Coming soon to Amazon
  31. American Animals
  32. Leave No Trace—Available on Amazon
  33. Upgrade
  34. Black Panther—Available on Netflix
  35. Let the Sunshine In—Available on Amazon
  36. Avengers: Infinity War—Available on Netflix
  37. Mid90’s
  38. Unsane—Available on Amazon
  39. Blockers
  40. The Sisters Brothers
  41. Support the Girls—Available on Amazon
  42. A Star is Born
  43. Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom
  44. Happy As Lazaro—Available on Netflix
  45. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  46. Suspiria
  47. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  48. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  49. Halloween
  50. Green Book
  51. Hold the Night—Available on Netflix
  52. Lean on Pete
  53. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  54. Apostle—Available on Netflix

Best Director:
Winner: Alfonso Cuaron—Roma

Runner-Up: Damien Chazelle—First Man
Other Nominees: Boots Riley—Sorry to Bother You
Yorgos Lanthimos—The Favourite
Ari Aster—Hereditary

Best Actor:
Winner: Bradley Cooper—A Star is Born

Runner-Up: Ethan Hawke—First Reformed
Other Nominees: Stephan James—If Beale Street Could Talk
Joaquin Phoenix—Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Ben Foster—Leave No Trace

Best Actress:
Winner: Emily Blunt—A Quiet Place

Runner-Up: Charlize Theron—Tully
Other Nominees: Carey Mulligan—Wildlife
Emma Stone—The Favourite
Johanna Kulig—Cold War

Best Supporting Actor:
Winner: Richard E. Grant—Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Runner Up: Alex Wolff—Hereditary
Other Nominees: Armie Hammer—Sorry to Bother You
Tom Waits—The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Steven Yeun—Burning

Best Supporting Actress:
Winner: Olivia Coleman—The Favourite

Runner-Up: Tilda Swinton—Suspiria
Other Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh—Annihilation
Rachel Weisz—The Favourite
Katherine Waterston—Mid90’s

Best Ensemble:
Winner: The Death of Stalin

Runner-Up: The Favourite
Other Nominees: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Sorry to Bother You

Best Original Screenplay:
Winner: Sorry to Bother You

Runner-Up: The Favourite
Other Nominees: Hereditary
First Reformed

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Winner: The Death of Stalin

Runner-Up: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Other Nominees: First Man

Best Cinematography:
Winner: Roma

Runner-Up: Mandy
Other Nominees: The Favourite
Mission-Impossible: Fallout
Cold War

Best Editing:
Winner: The Death of Stalin

Runner-Up: Mission: Impossible-Fallout
Other Nominees: Sorry to Bother You
First Man

Best Production Design:
Winner: Roma

Runner-Up: First Man
Other Nominees: The Favourite
Isle of Dogs
Cold War

Best Costume Design:
Winner: Black Panther

Runner-Up: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Other Nominees: The Favourite
Paddington 2
If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Hair and Make-up:
Winner: Suspiria

Runner-Up: Vice
Other Nominees: Hereditary
Black Panther 
Hold the Dark

Best Original Score:
Winner: First Man

Runner-Up: If Beale Street Could Talk
Other Nominees: Eighth Grade
Incredibles 2

Best Visual Effects:
Winner: Annihilation

Runner-Up: First Man
Other Nominees: Avengers: Infinity War
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Best Sound Editing:
Winner: Annihilation

Runner-Up: First Man
Other Nominees: Mission-Impossible: Fallout
Avengers: Infinity War
A Quiet Place

Best Sound Mixing:
Winner: First Man

Runner-Up: You Were Never Really Here
Other Nominees: Roma
Cold War
A Star is Born

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Oscar Predictions 2018

Best Picture:
  1. Green Book
  2. Roma
  3. Black Panther
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody
  5. Blackkklansman
  6. The Favourite
  7. A Star is Born
  8. Vice

Make no mistake: Roma is the favorite to take home the big prize tonight, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. A foreign language film has never won the Academy’s top honor, and there’s doubtlessly a portion of the voters who will be against a Netflix movie winning Best Picture on principle alone, given that home viewings don’t exactly drive the box office.
Bohemian Rhapsody, almost universally derided by critics and cinephiles alike, is the movie that simply won’t die, and the freight train that is Rami Malik’s Oscar campaign, combined with enormous popularity worldwide, make it impossible to count out. Same goes for Blackkklansman, given its timely subject matter, and widespread sentiment that Spike Lee is deserved his long-delayed due. Black Panther’s global domination dwarfs all competition by a sizable margin, and electing a superhero movie as 2018’s champion would mark a sea-change in the way this ceremony is viewed, which could appeal to some of the newer voters.
But I’m going the complete opposite direction. Green Book is all the things movie obsessives chide the Oscars for always championing: an “important film” with a simplistic view point on complicated issues. Many have presumed its chances as DOA after the slew of controversies its had to weather over the last couple months, from claims of fabrication to the unsavory actions of several of its creators. I can’t help but wonder if all this might have actually bolstered its chances, prompting a slew of Hollywood power players to buck back against being told what they should and shouldn’t vote for. It was already a questionable choice when the PGA (the “Best Picture” guild) gave Green Book its top prize; why are we all assuming they’ve since changed their minds?
I know I’m going out on a limb, but I just can’t shake the feeling that Roma is too radical a choice, and Green Book strikes me as the most likely alternative. The last three movies here are just along for the ride.

Best Director:
  1. Alfonso Cuaron—Roma
  2. Spike Lee—Blackkklansman
  3. Adam McKay—Vice
  4. Yorgos Lanthimos—The Favourite
  5. Pawel Pawlikowski—Cold War

After my Best Picture rant, let me keep this one short and sweet: Cuaron has this one in the bag. Spike Lee’s status as an overdue legend gives him a sliver of a chance, but this is truly one of the biggest locks of the night.

Best Actress:
  1. Glenn Close—The Wife
  2. Olivia Coleman—The Favourite
  3. Lady Gaga—A Star is Born
  4. Yalitza Aparicio—Roma
  5. Melissa McCarthy—Can You Ever Forgive Me?

If Cuaron is a big lock, then Close is bigger, as she currently claims the most nominations ever for a thespian without a golden man to show for it. Coleman’s there if Oscar wants to get frisky, but this is basically a done deal.

Best Actor:
  1. Rami Malik—Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Christian Bale—Vice
  3. Bradley Cooper—A Star is Born
  4. Viggo Mortensen—Green Book
  5. Willem Defoe—At Eternity’s Gate

From big to bigger to biggest. Malik’s strangle-hold on this statuette is so white-knuckled that Bohemian Rhapsody received a SAG nomination for Best Ensemble... and no one can even remember another performance in the movie. Given his parent movie’s poor reviews, it almost feels like they nominated Rami Malik, not Bohemian Rhapsody, for Best Picture. Treating this performance like Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but that’s where we are.

Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Amy Adams—Vice
  2. Regina King—If Beale Street Could Talk
  3. Rachel Weisz—The Favourite
  4. Emma Stone—The Favourite
  5. Marina de Tavira—Roma

Besides Best Picture, this is my other truly off-the-rails pick. King has been the presumptive favorite for months, but wasn’t even nominated by her own peers at SAG, something that calls to mind Sly Stallone’s last second collapse for Creed a few years ago. As the BAFTA winner, Weisz would seem to be next in line, but she already has an Oscar, as does her co-star Emma Stone, and starring in the same movie might have caused a vote split anyway. That leaves Adams and her five previous nominations without a win to show for her efforts, representing a movie that Oscar obviously loves. Without a clear-cut choice, I’m betting on the “she’s due” narrative to win the day.

Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Mahershala Ali—Green Book
  2. Richard E. Grant—Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  3. Sam Elliot—A Star is Born
  4. Adam Driver—Blackkklansman
  5. Sam Rockwell—Vice

Ali has won literally everything leading up to tonight, and seeing him unseated would be stunning. That said, Grant has hit the campaign trail with a head full of steam, and is beloved within the industry. He’s a dark horse, but only if you squint.

Best Original Screenplay:
  1. The Favourite
  2. Green Book
  3. First Reformed
  4. Roma
  5. Vice

This will be one of the most telling moments of the night. Original Screenplay has been The Favourite’s to lose for months now, and it’s incredibly rare for a film with ten nominations to go home without a major award. That’s why a Green Book win here would be a neon sign pointing to my Best Picture upset predicted above. I’m still going with chalk, but wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see 2018’s Driving Miss Daisy steal this one at the last second. There’s also a left field chance that Paul Schrader, the never-before nominated writer behind Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, can sneak in for First Reformed, but a wouldn’t bet any currency on it.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Blackkklansman
  2. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  3. If Beale Street Could Talk
  4. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  5. A Star is Born

Spike Lee isn’t getting any younger, and if Oscar finally wants to send him home with something golden, this seems like the place to do it. Can You Ever Forgive Me?’s win at the WGA makes it a viable competitor, but this mostly seems like a lay-up in terms of avoiding bad press.

Best Foreign Feature:
  1. Roma
  2. Cold War
  3. Shoplifters
  4. Never Look Away
  5. Capernaum

Man, how crazy would it be if Roma, the presumptive Best Picture favorite, couldn’t win in this category? That said, Pawel Pawlikowski’s surprise Best Director nomination means Cold War is an Academy favorite, laying the groundwork for a shocking upset.

Best Documentary Feature:
  1. Free Solo
  2. RBG
  3. Minding the Gap
  4. Hale County This Morning, This Evening
  5. Of Fathers and Sons

Truly bizarre to not see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? or Three Identical Strangers on this list. With those two sizable omissions, Free Solo and RBG are the two remaining box office hits in the race, and the visceral, must-be-seen-in-theaters nature of the former should give it the slight edge. Minding the Gap’s status as a deeply beloved feature in some impassioned circles keeps its chances alive, but I’m playing it safe.

Best Animated Feature:
  1. Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse
  2. Incredibles 2
  3. Isle of Dogs
  4. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  5. Mirai

After Malik and Close, this is the biggest lock of the night. Incredibles’ Pixar branding makes it the obvious next in line, but there’s really no use over-thinking this pick.

Best Cinematography:
  1. Roma
  2. Cold War
  3. The Favourite
  4. A Star is Born
  5. Never Look Away

Roma is in the driver’s seat of the Best Picture race, and its cinematography is its single strongest element. Cold War and The Favourite are too gorgeous to count out, but either would represent a stunning upset.

Best Editing:
  1. Vice
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody
  3. Green Book
  4. The Favourite
  5. Blackkklansman

Much like Best Adapted Screenplay, this is a category to keep an eye on if the tides start to turn. Vice has the most editing, and most and best are often the same when it comes to the Oscars. Bohemian Rhapsody somehow won this award at the editor’s guild, making it next in line, but if Green Book, who has absolutely no business among these five, manages to steal this one, we might as well just hand it Best Picture.

Best Production Design:
  1. Black Panther
  2. The Favourite
  3. Roma
  4. First Man 
  5. Mary Poppins Returns

All signs point to The Favourite snagging this one, but I struggle to see Black Panther, after finally making the Superhero breakthrough at the Oscars, being sent home with nothing, and this and the next category are clearly its best chances.

Best Costume Design:
  1. The Favourite 
  2. Black Panther 
  3. Mary Poppins Returns 
  4. Mary Queen of Scots 
  5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

As implied above, this is a two horse race between The Favourite and Black Panther, and try as I might, I just can’t see the Academy passing up period costumes... like ever.

Best Make-Up and Hairstyling:
  1. Vice 
  2. Mary Queen of Scots 
  3. Border

What a stupid category; consistently having only three nominees when literally every other category (besides Best Picture) has five is just ridiculous, especially when only one nominee has serious representation in the rest of the show. I take back everything I said earlier; this is the true lock of the night.

Best Original Score:
  1. If Beale Street Could Talk 
  2. Blackkklansman 
  3. Black Panther 
  4. Mary Poppins Returns 
  5. Isle of Dogs

Listen, Terence Blanchard’s lack of Academy recognition after an incredible career keeps Blackkklansman in the conversation, but have you heard the Beale Street score? It practically melts in your ears.

Best Original Song:
  1. Shallow—A Star is Born 
  2. All the Stars—Black Panther 
  3. I’ll Fight—RBG 
  4. When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings—The Ballad of Buster Scruggs 
  5. The Place Where Lost Things Go—Mary Poppins Returns

Once upon a time, certain prognosticators, *cough* me *cough, thought Best Picture was A Star is Born’s to lose. Original Song appears to be all that’s left in the ashes of that dashed campaign, and while the Kendrick Lamar if it all made All the Stars seem like a hot upset pick, the fact that Black Panther’s entrant will be the only song not performed live tonight all but assure Bradley Cooper will receive the silliest consultation prize imaginable.

Best Visual Effects:
  1. Avengers: Infinity War 
  2. First Man 
  3. Ready Player One 
  4. Christopher Robin 
  5. Solo: A Star Wars Story

It’s almost unbelievable considering all of Black Panther’s nominations, but Marvel Studios have yet to win a single Oscar. Infinity War took home the grade prize at the effects guild, but it’s far from a lock given that this award almost always gets allotted to something less... let’s say... computer generated, making First Man the obvious sleeper

Best Sound Editing:
  1. A Quiet Place
  2. First Man
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody
  4. Black Panther
  5. Roma

This seems like such an obvious First Man win, but A Quiet Place has such a simple case to make (look mom, no noise!) that I can’t help but think voters will mark it down. It literally has volume in its name!

Best Sound Mixing:
  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. First Man
  3. Black Panther
  4. A Star is Born
  5. Roma

Essentially a movie musical with concert-level sounds and a deft blurring of Malik and Mercury’s voices; this might just be too good to pass up.