Now that our heads have stopped spinning from the recent Golden Globes, we can focus on this week’s upcoming Oscar nominations.
There are really just two burning questions: One is whether “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a surprise winner at the Globes, will be nominated for best picture. Another is whether “Black Panther,” the rare superhero movie to become both a critical and commercial smash, might strike a blow for populism with a best picture nomination of its own. At the moment, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looks a little clueless and chaotic, thanks to its embarrassing “best popular film” proposal last year and its loss of Kevin Hart as a host this year. The right mix of Oscar nominations could help.
Here’s what to look for during Tuesday’s announcement of the 91st Academy Award nominees.
A quick theory about how this Freddie Mercury biopic stole the Golden Globe for best dramatic film: Despite mixed-to-savage reviews in the United States, “Bohemian Rhapsody” earned high marks from audiences and performed well overseas — and remember, the Globes are voted on by foreign journalists. Looking toward the Oscars, it’s worth noting that the movie known as “Bo Rhap” is a Producers Guild of America nominee, an almost sure sign that it will be a best picture nominee as well. Look for its star, Rami Malek, to show up in the best actor category, too.
There seems little doubt that this groundbreaking, deep-reaching comic-book movie featuring Chadwick Boseman as the first black superhero to anchor his own Disney-Marvel movie will earn a best picture nomination. (If it doesn’t, prepare for an all-out riot on Twitter.) As for other nods, acting and directing may be out of reach, but adapted screenplay, art direction and costume design seem likely.
Alfonso Cuarón’s latest, a likely best picture nominee, is a heartfelt ode to his childhood in Mexico. But has anyone seen this Netflix production — either in theaters or at home? That’s hard to say since Netflix does not release box-office receipts or viewership numbers. In late December, IndieWire hazarded a guess of $2.2 million in tickets sales, which would make “Roma” a classic example of an Oscar nominee: rapturously reviewed, little seen. Look for “Roma” to show up in the foreign language film category, too.
For a straightforward comedy-drama with an anti-racist message, Peter Farrelly’s film starring Mahershala Ali as a black musician and Viggo Mortensen as his white chauffeur has become a polarizer. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a cliched civil rights story with the same old stereotypes, or a well-acted film that both entertains and illuminates. After it led the Globes with three wins, screenwriter Nick Vallelonga came under new scrutiny for old anti-Muslim tweets, adding more fuel to the overall debate. (He has since apologized.) “Green Book” seems sure to earn nominations for best picture, actor (Mortensen), supporting actor (Ali, who won a Globe for this performance) and original screenplay. Farrelly could get a nod for best director, too.
'A STAR IS BORN'
Few movies could feel more Hollywood than this, the fourth iteration of an 82-year-old classic about a famous entertainer (this time a country singer, played by Bradley Cooper) who falls for a rising new talent (Lady Gaga, in her first major film role). Cooper’s directorial debut wowed critics and audiences alike; it’s got music, romance, drama, you name it. Look for this film to lead the best picture category.
Another safe bet is a best actor nod for Cooper, who radiated such tragic charisma in “A Star Is Born.” He’s also likely to show up in two other categories. One is best director (not too shabby for a first-timer) and the other is adapted screenplay (Cooper wrote it with Eric Roth and Will Fetters). As for best original song, for “Shallow,” Cooper isn’t eligible. He performed it, but that Oscar is for songwriters.
Few could have predicted that a veteran actress in an art-house drama would take the Globe away from Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born,” but Close did it. There were some hints: Close earned awe-struck reviews for her performance in “The Wife” (she plays a woman who ghostwrites her husband’s novels) and received oodles of accolades, including a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild. Close seems certain to receive an Oscar nod on Tuesday. Look also for Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born,” Olivia Colman in “The Favorite” and Melissa McCarthy in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
This lesser-known actress from the literary drama “If Beale Street Could Talk" became an awards-season contender back in November, when both the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle named her best supporting actress. Then came King’s win at the Golden Globes. She’s likely to lead the supporting actress Oscar race, which should also include Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, both of “The Favorite.”