By Kam Williams
2018 was a banner year for Black cast films, including “BlacKkKlansman” “Black Panther”, “Green Book” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Might Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”) finally win the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars which have eluded him over the course of his 40-year career?
Not likely, despite the Academy’s history of rewarding overlooked legends more for their body of work than for their latest offering.
How about “Black Panther”, the highest-grossing ($1.34 billion) superhero movie of all time? It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, but only in one major category, Best Picture.
None of its actors were recognized. The snub is reminiscent of how in 2001, none of the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” cast members received nominations, although the film landed 10 overall.
“If Beale Street Could Talk”, Barry Jenkins’ critically-acclaimed adaptation of the James Baldwin novel of the same name, wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture, though Regina King is the favorite to win for Best Supporting Actress. The crowd-pleaser “Green Book” might have had a shot at Best Picture were it not for the Mexican drama, “Roma”.
It looks like the semi-autobiographical, black & white adventure, written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, is destined to garner the most glory on Oscar night, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Why the Academy lavished “Roma” with 10 nominations and “Crazy Rich Asians” with none is beyond the ken of this critic. Two of my other faves, “Eighth Grade” and “Private Life”, were also totally ignored.
These are my picks to win in each major category, followed by which nominee is the most deserving, followed by the best pictures and performances not even nominated. The Oscars will air live on Sunday, February 24th at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT on ABC-TV. The show will have no host, since the producers couldn’t find a replacement for Kevin Hart, who withdrew in the wake of condemnation for some homophobic tweets.
Will Win: Roma
Deserves to Win: Green Book
Overlooked: Crazy Rich Asians, Eighth Grade, Private Life
Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Deserves to Win: Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Overlooked: Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade), Tamara Jenkins (Private Life)
Will Win: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Deserves to Win: Rami Malek
Overlooked: Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Paul Giamatti (Private Life), Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians)
Will Win: Glenn Close (The Wife)
Deserves to Win: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
Overlooked: Viola Davis (Widows), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer)
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Deserves to Win: Mahershala Ali
Overlooked: Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Deserves to Win: Regina King
Overlooked: Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians), Letitia Wright (Black Panther)
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: The Favourite
Deserves to Win: Green Book
Overlooked: Eighth Grade, Private Life
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: BlacKkKlansman
Deserves to Win: BlacKkKlansman
Overlooked: Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther
Predictions for the Rest of the Categories
Animated Feature: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Foreign Language Film: Roma
Documentary Feature: Free Solo
Costume Design: The Favourite
Production Design: The Favourite
Film Editing: Vice
Makeup and Hairstyling: Vice
Original Score: If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Song: “Shallow” (A Star Is Born)
Sound Editing: First Man
Sound Mixing: A Star Is Born
Visual Effects: Avengers: Infinity War
Animated Short: Marguerite
Documentary Short: Black Sheep
Live Action Short: Bao