Kurland On Film Editorial: The 2019 Oscars - What Is Going On?!?!?!

By Scott Kurland

                Usually this is the time of year that I compile my list of annual Oscar picks, but I’m going to try something different….complaining! Don’t worry, I’m including my predictions; but not in great detail as I have in previous years.

Best Actress will likely go to Glenn Close or Olivia Colman. Close has been nominated several times already is long overdue for a win, yet Colman did win the BAFTA; a strong indicator that she will take the Oscar. I myself want Close to win, but I wouldn’t be upset if Colman was this years Best Actress for her stellar performance in “The Favorite”.

As for Best Actor, it will likely be Rami Malek. Everyone of late has had Freddie Mercury fever. It’s a great performance, one that allows the audience to revisit the highs and lows of Mercury’s life. Even so, I don’t think it deserves the Oscar. In my opinion, the best performance of the year was Bradley Cooper for “A Star Is Born.” He added depth and heartbreak to what was once a two-dimensional role. Malek has won everything from the BAFTA, the Globe, and the SAG award, but its Cooper that deserves the Oscar. Sadly, even if Malek doesn’t win, Coopers performance will be eclipsed by Christian Bale for playing Dick Cheney.

Director and Cinematography are easy because Alfonso Cuaron for “Roma” will take both. What that man achieved on such a small budget was incredible. Cuaron is an Academy Favorite and he will clean up big on Oscar night. Now…here’s where things get tricky for Cuaron. A few weeks ago, I’d have said say Best Picture was “Roma’s” for the taking, but that might not be the case anymore. Since “Roma” will likely be taking Best Foreign film, there’s a chance the Academy won’t reward it with Best Picture. This year will be a photo finish between five films for Best Picture: “Green Book,” “The Favourite,” “Roma,” “BLACKkKLANSMAN,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Rhapsody and Green Book won the Globes, but “the Favourite” has been gaining momentum and winning the last couple of award shows. If you narrow it down, the safe bets this year are “Green Book, “ “The Favourite,” and “Roma.”

Supporting Actor is a repeat. Mahershala Ali has swept this award season, but don’t be shocked if Adam Driver steals it away for “BLACKkKLANSMAN.” He’s been gaining the push from the studio, but Ali is the smart choice. I still would like to see Driver or Sam Elliot win, but “Green Book” has become this season’s performance winner.

Animation will easily go to “Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse.” It was the most original and one of the few animated films that wasn’t a sequel As much as I would like to see, “Isle Of Dogs” win, it was released in March and the Academy tends to favor the movies that come out later in the year.

The final and most tricky category is Best Supporting Actress. Two months ago, I would have predicted Regina King for “If Beale Street Could Talk.” That prediction has since changed as Rachel Weisz has been winning more and more these last few weeks. It will most certainly be a photo finish between King and Weisz. King wasn’t nominated for the SAG, and in Oscar history, only two people have won best Supporting with no SAG nomination. A third might be tricky.

NOW, ON TO THE COMPLAINING! I say this every year, the Academy has 10 spots to fill for Best Picture. Why-oh-why must every year consist of only 8 nominees!? Films like “Leave No Trace” or “First Reformed” deserve those two spots! Hell, nominate some comedies like “Crazy Rich Asians” or “Eighth Grade.” I would even settle for the “Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse” to get a nomination for Best Picture as Pixar films seem to on occasion. I don’t know why the Academy is not filling the 9th and 10th slot. Use it or lose it!

Furthermore, why wasn’t John David Washington nominated for Best Actor for “BLACKkKLANSMAN?” Willem Dafoe did not need the nomination for “At Eternity’s Gate.” Washington was fantastic and is the titular character. I am not too keen on the overall choices for nominations this year. The biggest insult was Documentary. I know I’ve lost most of you by now, but how is it that the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” wasn’t nominated!? It seems that the nominations were tilted so that “RGB” or “Free Solo” would win. This years awards are all over the place and I am disappointed by some of the decisions of the Academy. If you want to take my picks as gospel you can, but I am not as confident as I have been in the past. This year is an off year, plain and simple. But don’t take my word for it… watch the Oscars and find out for yourself.

scott kurland