It’s that time of year again, awards season is fast upon us. The Golden Globes have been and gone and now it’s time for the biggest ceremony of them all, The Oscars.
The Academy revealed its 8 nominations for the Best Picture category, with The Favourite and Roma leading with 10 nominations each.
A Star is Born and Vice also scored rather well, earning 8 nominations each, followed by Black Panther with 7, BlacKkKlansman with 6 and Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book with 5.
Here is an overview for each film:
Marvel’s Black Panther was bound to be a juggernaut success from the moment of its inception. The film has become a critical and financial success, holding the position for the 9th highest grossing film of all time. It tells the story of T’Challa who returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as King, but is soon challenged by a powerful enemy who puts the fate of the nation and the entire world at risk. The film stomped all over the cliché formula of what a typical superhero film should be like, fusing such tropes with a thoughtful and provocative exploration of race and imperialism. If the film takes home the golden statue, it will make history as being the first superhero film to ever win an Oscar. There is much hope for it to do so.
Spike Lee’s latest is based on a true story, about an African-American cop who miraculously infiltrated the KKK in the 1970’s. Starring John David Washington and Adam Driver, the film certainly strives to make a very strong connection to today's state of race relations in the US. The film has been critically lauded even before it received the widespread release, receiving something along the lines of a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes. The film is a first Best Picture nomination ever for Spike Lee, for which he has also received a nomination in the Best Director category. If anything, it’s a rather strong signal from the Academy that they ‘get’ what’s going on.
The highly anticipated Queen biopic never received the warmest reviews from critics, the majority stating that it was simply a mediocre film, with some standout scenes. In other words – it’s your bog-standard biopic. The film tries to pack a lot into its 2-hour runtime, telling the story of how Freddie Mercury came to join forces with Brian May and Roger Taylor, and how Queen quickly rose to international stardom. It occasionally falls short, however, Rami Malek is this film’s saving grace, giving an absolutely stand-out, engaging performance as the great Freddie Mercury. The film’s stellar box office performance coupled with the Golden Globe wins for Best Actor (Drama) and Best Motion Picture (Drama) is certainly suggesting that the film could well receive the same amount of Oscar love.
Fans of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer haven’t had to wait too long for the director’s latest directorial effort, The Favourite. The film is a comedic take on the rivalry between two cousins who strive to be the favourite of the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne. Arguably Lanthimos’ most mainstream film to date, it’s being absolutely hailed by critics to be a comedy that is ‘elegant, frequently dark and genuinely witty’. The performances from Olivia Colman (who won a Golden Globe for her role), Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz have all been highly praised from critics, therefore, it’s safe to say that the film is sure to win big.
Peter Farrelly unites Mahershala Ali as pianist Don Shirley and Viggo Mortensen as his driver Tony Vallelonga. The film revolves around their friendship as the two journey through the Deep South in the 1960s. It has quickly become a crowd pleaser, taking home Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Musical or Comedy) for Ali. Hailed as ‘engaging, funny, moving, and even inspiring’, Green Book is looking like a sure shot Oscar Contender.
Alfonso Cuarón’s last feature, 2013’s Gravity was one hell of astounding success. This time, he's taking it all back down to Earth with a tale about the year in a life of a family in Mexico City, set in the early 1970s. The film mostly follows one of the live-in housekeepers, Cleo, played by first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio who has even scored herself a nomination for her performance. The film, which is a Netflix release, is proof that the streaming giant is increasingly becoming a Hollywood power player. With several nominations and wins, Roma is sure to be a strong contender for the big Oscar prize.
A Star is Born:
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga join forces in the third remake of the legendary romantic musical drama, which Cooper has also directed as well as portraying a hard-drinking country star alongside Gaga’s struggling artist. The film received a very warm reception from critics and audiences, with much acclaim for Cooper’s direction and performance, and Gaga’s, as well as for the film’s soundtrack. Rather surprisingly, the film hasn’t won big at any of the awards so far, therefore, it shall be interesting to see what the Academy has in store for the film. Either way, it’s bound to take home at least one of the awards it has been nominated for.
Adam McKay returns with a biopic about former US Vice President Dick Cheney, portrayed by Christian Bale who once again went to the extreme to prepare for the role. The film also sports an impressive cast with Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell. Having received a rather mixed response from critics, but much praise for Bale’s performance, it shall be interesting to see how the film fairs on Oscar Sunday.
Who is most likely to win?
I believe it’s going to be a tie between BlackKklansman, Vice and Roma. These films have scored considerable nominations in highly significant categories, so it’s fair enough to say that they each have a strong chance of taking home the big prize.