Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The Academy Awards — at its best, a beacon of cinematic prestige and, at its worst, a three-hour snobbish back-patting of Hollywood’s brightest stars — have become a headline mainstay in recent months for all the wrong reasons. A new category meant to honor the year’s most “popular” film was announced, an obvious effort to appease audiences who were hoping blockbuster smash “Black Panther” would nab a coveted Best Picture nomination. Kevin Hart was tapped to host the ceremony, only for his homophobic jokes and refusal to apologize for said abhorrent jokes to taint the job to such a degree that the Academy decided there would be no host at all. Just in the last week, it was announced that four crucial awards — Cinematography, Film Editing, Live-Action Short Film and Makeup and Hairstyling — would be given out during commercial breaks. Surely, the only way the situation could get any worse would be if the ceremony was moved from the Dolby Theatre to an Applebee’s restaurant. (You know, to spice things up!)
Although the Academy appears to have realized these desperate attempts at modifying its awards structure are useless and flat-out disrespectful to the art of filmmaking and rescinded all of these awards decisions, there is almost no point in trying to salvage this year’s ceremony. Several nominees have massive amounts of controversy attached to them — hello “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” — and predictions for viewership are even more abysmal than last year’s rock-bottom ratings. Trying to predict who and what will take home Oscars after so many genuinely baffling decisions is an exercise in futility. But so is trying to trim this show down to under three hours, so let’s give it a whirl anyway.
Best Picture: “Green Book”
If “Crash” can take home Best Picture in a year where its competition included “Brokeback Mountain” and “Capote,” then surely “Green Book” can pull off a play worthy of “The Blind Side” and snag this award in spite of its messy tone and unrepentant dismissal of the real-life events it was inspired by. The film has seen great success so far this season and its warm-fuzzy message about overcoming racial differences (“I don’t see color!” the producers will doubtlessly declare when they accept the award) is Oscar-bait so perfect that even “Driving Miss Daisy” is jealous.
Best Director: Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
This might just be wishful thinking, but one can only hope the Academy will try to atone for its decades-long snubbing of Lee’s work and finally reward him for the explosively entertaining and accessible “BlacKkKlansman.” The win would be worth it just to hear the acceptance speech Lee has had 20 years to prepare.
Best Actor: Christian Bale, “Vice”
He put on prosthetics to look like Dick Cheney. He altered his voice to sound like Dick Cheney. He has the same birthday as Dick Cheney. Bale’s dedication to the role makes him a shoo-in for the win.
Best Actress: Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Colman has deservedly been enjoying an awards sweep this season for her leading role in “The Favourite” and an Academy Award seems like the logical conclusion to this journey for her (although how incredible would it be if Glenn Close won for “The Wife,” a film that nobody on Earth — not even Glenn Close, presumably — has seen?)
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
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Ali has also been enjoying an awards sweep for “Green Book” and appears poised to secure Best Supporting Actor, which would give him two statuettes for his shelf, having taken the award home two years ago for “Moonlight.” He turned in a solid enough performance, but the award really should go to the ghost of Doctor Don Shirley for showing admirable restraint in not haunting Nick Vallelonga and Peter Farrelly for twisting his life into a story where structural racism gets solved because a black man teaches a white man how to write.
Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite” (or Emma Stone)
Somewhere in Hollywood, a room full of Academy members are blindfolding each other and taking turns throwing darts at Rachel Weisz’s and Emma Stone’s headshots to determine which one will win. (Stone has Academy Award experience to spare, but Weisz turned in the better performance of the two. Only the darts can decide now.)
Best Foreign Language Film: “Roma”
It seems odd to have “Roma” compete for both this award and Best Picture, but perhaps this is the Academy’s attempt to have its cake and eat it too when it inevitably denies this gorgeous film a Best Picture win and hands it a Best Foreign Language Film award instead. This is a shame given this category is absolutely stacked this year with pictures like “Cold War” and “Shoplifters” that will inevitably be passed over.
We had originally planned to write about all 24 awards, but in an effort to keep this article under 800 words, we have decided not to predict the rest of the awards. Winners will instead be announced during this article’s ad break.