Academy Award Predictions: Roma vs. Green Book vs. Black Panther?

All good things must come to an end, though based on your personal opinions this awards season may not have been a good thing. Films came and went (First ManMary Poppins ReturnsFirst Reformed) and others (Bohemian Rhapsody, Green BookThe Favourite) stayed to varying degrees of anger or pleasure. A Star Is Born kicked off the season as the de-facto frontrunner and fumbled when things started to get competitive; it hasn’t been able to regain any of the lost momentum as the season has drummed along. 

Roma has seemingly taken its place, but there’s still a bunch of uncertainty swirling around its chances as an actual winner. With wins at the Golden Globes, the PGA and TIFF’s People’s Choice Award, Green Book is seemingly next in line despite a ton of controversy and valid criticisms against the film. Also not a stranger to controversy, Bohemian Rhapsody‘s success both financially and awards wise despite it being a terrible film continues to confound even the most tenured Oscar watchers. Do people really love Queen that much? Evidently, yes. The heat around Vice was extinguished the moment the embargo was let up. Eight nominations is nothing to balk at, but nobody seems to be rushing to give this Frankenstein of a movie any awards. There seems to be a lot of love for The Favourite, but it doesn’t sound like it translates into the widespread kind of love needed to succeed on the preferential ballot. 

And then there’s Black Panther, which has both the box office receipts, critical acclaim to and a SAG ensemble win that makes it a worthy Best Picture winner. But a disappointing nomination count, despite a win at the Screen Actors Guild, is giving me pause from thinking it’s as big of a threat as the other aforementioned films. 

With each film having their own list of pro’s and con’s, it feels like a huge toss up in predicting who will win. Nevertheless, I take a stab at it below. 

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Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” Named Best Film at New York Film Critic’s Circle

The New York Film Critics Circle have announced their winners for their annual awards, swinging big for Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma. Cuarón’s follow up to 2013’s Gravity was named Best Film, and won two additional prizes for Director and Cinematography. After winning the top prize at Venice Film Festival this past fall, it’s hard to not consider it the film to beat. 

Other big winners include Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Regina King (hot off her win at the National Board of Review) and Ethan Hawke (hot off his win at the Gotham Awards). 

Take a look at the full list of winners (with some brief commentary) below.

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Making Sense of the SAG Nominations: “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” and “Three Billboards” Soar

This morning the Screen Actors Guild named their annual nominees for excellence in acting. Much like with the Golden Globes, we saw a lot of the usual suspects, such as Sally Hawkins from The Shape of Water, Timothée Chalamet from Call Me By Your Name and Mary J. Blige from Mudbound pop up, with a few surprises like Steve Carrell from Battle of the Sexes in the Supporting Actor category and a complete shut out of Steven Spielberg’s late release heavy hitter The Post; not even Meryl Streep managed a nomination in Best Actress.

Three films emerged this morning as the strongest: Lady BirdGet Out and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. All three nabbed a nomination in Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture (SAG’s equivalent to Best Picture) with individual nominations for its principal actors. As the largest voting block in the Academy, SAG definitely just shifted the race. 

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Saoirse Ronan Soars in Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird”

“I just want you to be the best version of yourself.”

“What if this is the best version?”

Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird, is about a lot of things. It’s a coming of age story about a high school senior coming into her own, although she hasn’t quite figured out who she’d like to be yet. It’s an earnest and honest portrait of growing up with aspirations and dreams yearning to break through the restrictive boundaries of your small, familiar town. But first and foremost, it’s about a mother and a daughter, their complicated love for one another and how similar they are despite their insistence that they couldn’t be more different. Gerwig has taken one of film’s oldest tropes and made it feel brand new.

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“I, Tonya” Review: “But Do You Really Know?”

It’s actually kind of unbelievable that it’s taken this long for the story of Tonya Harding to make it to the big screen. As one of the characters in I, Tonya says at one point, the story has all the makings of a movie; it was the story that (pre-O.J. Simpson) captured everyone’s attention, and gave us one of history’s most infamous underdogs turned anti-heroes. 

Working from a script written Steven Rogers (Hope FloatsStepmom), director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) attempts to let Tonya’s hear side of the story, and if she has anything to say about it, she wants you to know that none of it was her fault. Much like the woman at the center of it all, I, Tonya is anything but conventional. It’s rigid, unapologetically sloppy but undeniably fascinating and entertaining; I dare you to try and look away. The humor is biting and dark in a way that may make you second guess your laughter. But don’t worry, Gillespie knows everyone is in on the joke and makes sure that you are too.  

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“Manchester By The Sea” is By Far the Year’s Most Frustratingly Overrated Film

For months I’ve been hearing nonstop talk about Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea, which seemed to be the only film out of Sundance that could, at the time, find any coverage outside of Nate Parker’s Birth Of A Nation. As the year has gone on, Manchester has chugged along and slowly been building steam as one of the three Oscar heavyweights. It was named Best Picture by the National Board of Review, with lead actor Casey Affleck winning Best Actor honors from both the Gotham Independent Awards and New York Film Critic’s circle.

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Watch the New, Powerful “Fences” Trailer

We’re still about a month away from the premiere of Denzel Washington’s Fences, but Paramount isn’t wasting any time getting the film out in front of people.

After a splashy premiere at the AFI fest and several industry screeningsFences has moved up into the Oscar race in a big way.With so much of the Academy comprising of actors, Fences should have no problem raking in a bunch of nominations. The only question now is just how big will Fences be? And can it win Washington a Best Actor Oscar, making it his third trophy?

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