2018 was a fantastic year for film, and how better to celebrate this than to rifle through the nominees for the 91st Academy Awards. Here, Impact’s Francis takes a look at this year’s nominees for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as provide their predictions for who will and should win each category.
|Bohemian Rhapsody||The Favourite|
|A Star is Born||Vice|
Ah, the coveted Best Picture. While the Academy have been know to throw some fairly rogue nominees into this category in the past, this year’s selection seems fairly reasonable.
On first glance, the film to beat is Roma. Alfonso Cuarón’s deeply personal and lovingly constructed tale of Mexico in the 1970s feels like the natural choice – and would be the first Netflix Original to claim to prize. Yet there are more than a few worthy contenders.
The Favourite is this year’s perennial British favourite (no pun intended), and while it didn’t claim Best Film at the BAFTAs, it left with just about every other award. Green Book, too, has seen award success, with Best Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild of America Award. BlacKkKlansman would be a welcome win, and (while I myself wasn’t a fan) the critical response for A Star Is Born is undeniable.
Despite the strong cultural influence of Black Panther, it seems unlikely that the Academy will give the award to a superhero flick; Vice feels like too political a move; and Bohemian Rhapsody is the least likely winner given its troubled production and allegations being levied over director Bryan Singer. But a win for Roma would be the perfect way to honour one of the most beautifully crafted films of this decade.
Will Win: Roma
Should Win: Roma
Dark Horse: Green Book
Best Original Screenplay
|Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara
|Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, & Peter Farrelly
Each of these five screenplays deliver in terms of overall storytelling and carefully crafted dialogue, and would all be worthy winners.
“[I]n my opinion, The Favourite narrowly holds the edge in terms of snappy exchanges and overall characters arcs.”
Green Book seems to have resonated the most with audiences, and its recent win at the Golden Globes for Best Screenplay. The interplay between the characters is fantastic, and the more serious issues are also handled deftly.
However, in my opinion, The Favourite narrowly holds the edge in terms of snappy exchanges and overall characters arcs. Winning this category at the BAFTAs may also put The Favourite on a level playing field going into the night.
It’s also not wise to rule out Vice – a biopic that toyed with convention to craft a film which was entirely unique, although perhaps too controversial to secure a win. Roma’s beauty lies in its simplicity, yet the sparsity of dialogue will likely mean that Cuarón chances of claiming Original Screenplay are slim. Finally, this marks First Reformed’s only nomination (despite its critical acclaim), and having won this category at the Critics Choice Awards it stands a decent shot at victory.
Will Win: Green Book
Should Win: The Favourite
Dark Horse: Vice
Best Adapted Screenplay
|Joel & Ethan Coen
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
|Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, & Spike Lee
|Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
If Beale Street Could Talk
|Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, & Will Fetters
A Star is Born
The stories that inspired each of these films are as remarkable as they are both varied, and realised exceptionally well on screen.
Barry Jenkins’ rendering of James Baldwin’s classic 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk stands the greatest chance at victory – the film manages to retain beauty despite navigating a non-linear structure, and Jenkins has previously won in the category for his work on 2016’s Moonlight.
However, even with its prominent discussion of race issues in America, I believe that Beale Street is surpassed by its fellow nominee BlacKkKlansman. The insane true story of a black police officer infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan is mesmerising, and hits the tone as a quirky black comedy perfectly. Furthermore, the Academy may also seek a chance to honour the noteworthy career of Spike Lee – who serves not only as the director, but one of the film’s writers too.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? fuses witty dialogue and dramatic irony that really allows chemistry between actors McCartney and Grant to pop, yet as a whole the film doesn’t appear to have made a big enough impact to claim the award on the night.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is holds all the nuances you would expect from a Coen Brothers script (the line “First time?” being a particular highlight – watch it and you’ll see why), but it’s definitely not the finest film to be released by the cinematic siblings in recent years – although it’s always nice to see them get a nod. Finally, A Star Is Born is the only script here adapted from a previously released film (two, to be exact – from 1954 and 1976), yet despite retaining the title is assuredly unique. The lyricism of the script is well-handled, as are the character arcs of the two leads, but certain times events in the film seem too rushed to be fully satisfying.
Will Win: If Beale Street Could Talk
Should Win: BlacKkKlansman
Dark Horse: BlacKkKlansman
It’s always difficult to determine exactly what will win at the Oscars, but 2018 offered an exciting selection of incredibly varied films – and hopefully the Academy will reward those that deserve award success.