Film, Television

91st Academy Awards: Our Staff Oscar Picks

Posted: February 22, 2019 at 2:45 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

It’s Oscar time again which means it’s time for me (Brad) to look foolish once again in my picks to take home the gold.

This year, however, I’ve managed to wrangle in my friends and fellow ReviewSTL.com writers to join in on the fun. Any blurbs written below are my thoughts and opinions on the category. Following those blurbs (some will have them, some won’t), will be my pick as well picks from Jeremy, Kevin, and Steve. Are you watching the Oscars this year? Who do you think is going to win?

Best Picture

|| “Black Panther” || “BlacKkKlansman” || “Bohemian Rhapsody” || “The Favourite” ||

|| “Green Book” || “Roma” || “A Star Is Born” || “Vice” ||

The Best Picture race this year is quite interesting and has seen a number of momentum shifts throughout the awards season. A number of these films were quite an emotional journey for me. While A Star is Born had me leaving the theater heartbroken, Bohemian Rhapsody had me feeling jubilant (I mean how can you not when listening to Queen?). While I left Green Book feeling inspired by the companionship of Tony Lip and Dr. Don Shirley, I left BlacKkKlansman feeling sick to my stomach with anger regarding the story told and its parallels to the world today. I mostly enjoyed all of the films nominated (I didn’t see Vice), but if I’m picking one to win Best Picture this year, I’m going with The Favourite. I didn’t get to review it for the site, but I made sure to check it out as soon as I could with the buzz surrounding it and I couldn’t have been happier that I did. The three women leading this comedy driven period piece are on top of their game (and all three nominated below) and director Yorgos Lanthimos provides a thoroughly entertaining and stylistic film that is worthy of Hollywood’s biggest prize. I won’t be surprised, however, if it goes to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, and unfortunately for Black Panther, I think the win here is breaking the barrier for superhero films to be nominated here. It’s clear the Academy wanted to recognize the highest grossing movie (domestically) of 2018 with all of the asinine talks of a future Best Popular Film category (also see Bohemian Rhapsody), but neither of them has a chance of winning here.

Brad’s Pick: “The Favourite”

Jeremy’s Pick: “A Star Is Born”

Kevin’s Pick: “A Star Is Born”

Steve’s Pick: “Green Book”

Lead Actor

|| Christian Bale, “Vice” || Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born” || Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate” ||

|| Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody” || Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book” ||

If you were to ask me in September or October who was going to win this, I’d have told you Bradley Cooper for  A Star is Born. While his is still probably my favorite performance of the bunch, the front runners at this point seem to be Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice and Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody and I’m going with the latter. If it weren’t for Malek’s performance accompanying the already fantastic Queen library of music, Bohemian Rhapsody wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining as it turned out to be. Then again, and as noted above, I haven’t seen Vice. Consider it a toss-up for me, but I’m going with Rami.

Brad’s Pick: Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Jeremy’s Pick: Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Kevin’s Pick: Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”

Steve’s Pick: Christian Bale, “Vice”

Lead Actress

|| Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma” || Glenn Close, “The Wife” || Olivia Colman, “The Favourite” ||

|| Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born” || Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” ||

This is a tough one for me to pick. My heart is with Gaga after her amazing performance in A Star is Born, but I feel like it would be such an Academy thing to do to give it to a long overdue Glenn Close for her powerful performance in The Wife. That’s not to say she isn’t deserving, as well. Close’s performance alongside Jonathan Pryce is truly remarkable and easily the most mesmerizing thing about the film. With six nominations behind her, I think this is her year. I’d be ecstatic for an Olivia Coleman surprise win for her performance in The Favourite, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

Brad’s Pick: Glenn Close, “The Wife”

Jeremy’s Pick: Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”

Kevin’s Pick: Glenn Close, “The Wife”

Steve’s Pick: Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”

Supporting Actor

|| Mahershala Ali, “Green Book” || Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman” || Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born” ||

|| Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” || Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

If there was a lock in the acting categories this year, this category would be it. This is Mahershala Ali’s to lose. Sam Elliott didn’t get a lot of love during the awards season, but one of the most powerful scenes in A Star is Born belongs to him, so I’m happy to see him recognized here. It’s nice to see Adam Driver on the nominee list as well for his work in BlacKkKlansman. Though I don’t think it’s his year, I definitely see him a repeat nominee and/or winner in years to come.

Brad’s Pick: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

Jeremy’s Pick: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

Kevin’s Pick: Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Steve’s Pick: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

Supporting Actress

|| Amy Adams, “Vice” || Marina de Tavira, “Roma” || Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk” ||

|| Emma Stone, “The Favourite”|| Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”||

I’m picking against the buzz here and going with Rachel Weisz for The Favourite. All signs point to Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk, and it very well could be her. I just enjoyed Weisz and The Favourite more. I’m kind of surprised to see the Marina de Tavira nomination here for Roma, in which I didn’t think she was in the film enough nor had a powerful enough scene to warrant a nomination. I’m not saying she isn’t talented, but I do think it’s the Academy overcompensating their love for Roma. Though I didn’t see Vice, Amy Adams’ nomination doesn’t surprise me. This is her sixth nomination, but she likely won’t find gold here. She will get hers one day though. I’m sure of it.

Brad’s Pick: Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Jeremy’s Pick: Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Kevin’s Pick: Emma Stone, “The Favourite”

Steve’s Pick: Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Director

|| Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman” || Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War” ||  Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite” ||

|| Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma” || Adam McKay, “Vice” ||

Another tough tough category. Given how I don’t know how the Academy is going to vote this year, I had a hard time picking here. I picked The Favourite to win Best Picture, so the obvious choice would be Yorgos Lanthimos for Director, as those aren’t often split. I can’t help but feel though that Cuarón might get his second Director win here for Roma, and it’d be very much deserving. Cuarón’s direction and camerawork in Roma is outstanding and one of the most compelling things about the film and I think it’s enough to probably push it ahead of Lanthimos. Let’s not forget about Spike Lee though. It would be a huge win for longtime director Spike Lee to take home a Directing Oscar, but I think his chances are far better in Original Screenplay.

Brad’s Pick: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Jeremy’s Pick: Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”

Kevin’s Pick: Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”

Steve’s Pick:Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”

Animated Feature

|| “Incredibles 2” ||  “Isle of Dogs || “Mirai” || “Ralph Breaks the Internet”

|| “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” ||

What’s typically dubbed “The Disney Award” isn’t going to either nominated Disney film this year. Last summer’s Incredibles 2 was the frontrunner until Sony Pictures Animation came web-slinging its way into theaters with its smash hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which was even better than anyone could have imagined. I had a lot of fun last spring with the stop motion animation in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, but it won’t find a win here this year.

Brad’s Pick: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Jeremy’s Pick: “Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson

Kevin’s Pick: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Steve’s Pick: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Animated Short

|| “Animal Behaviour” || “Bao” || “Late Afternoon” || “One Small Step” || “Weekends” ||

Unlike previous years, I didn’t get a chance to seek these out. So, I’m going with the one that I did see before Incredibles 2Bao.

Brad’s Pick: “Bao,” Domee Shi

Jeremy’s Pick: “Bao,” Domee Shi

Kevin’s Pick: “Weekends,” Trevor Jimenez

Steve’s Pick: “One Small Step,” Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas

Adapted Screenplay

|| “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” || “BlacKkKlansman” || “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” ||

|| “If Beale Street Could Talk” || “A Star Is Born”

I think this one is between BlacKkKlansman and If Beale Street Can Talk, and since Beale Street missed a Best Picture and Director nomination, it’s Spike Lee’s to lose.

Brad’s Pick: “BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee

Jeremy’s Pick: “BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee

Kevin’s Pick: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty

Steve’s Pick:“BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee

Original Screenplay

|| “The Favourite” ||  “First Reformed” || “Green Book” ||

|| “Roma”  || “Vice” ||

Tough category. I’m happy to see First Reformed get some love here since Ethan Hawke missed in Actor. I think it’s between award darlings The Favourite and Roma. I’m going with The Favourite here because I simply found it more compelling. Don’t count out Green Book though.

Brad’s Pick:  “The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara

Jeremy’s Pick: “Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly

Kevin’s Pick: “The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara

Steve’s Pick: “Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly

Cinematography

|| “Cold War,” Lukasz Zal || “The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan || “Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel ||

|| “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón || “A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique ||

When I think of Roma, I can’t help but think of Cuaron’s abilities behind the camera. He’s showcased his remarkable cinematography in every single one of his films and Roma is no different. Look for another win for him here.

Brad’s Pick: “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón

Jeremy’s Pick: “A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique

Kevin’s Pick: “A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique

Steve’s Pick: “A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique

Best Documentary Feature

|| “Free Solo” || “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” || “Minding the Gap” ||

|| “Of Fathers and Sons” || “RBG”  ||

I gotta be honest, I’m quite bummed my favorite documentary of 2018, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, didn’t make the list. If I’m being even more honest, I haven’t seen any of the ones nominated. I’ve heard great things about Free Solo and my girlfriend saw RBG when I was out of town and really liked it. So, I’m going with that one.

Brad’s Pick: “RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen

Jeremy’s Pick: “Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

Kevin’s Pick: “Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

Steve’s Pick: “Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

Best Documentary Short Subject

|| “Black Sheep” || “End Game” || “Lifeboat” ||

|| “A Night at the Garden” || “Period. End of Sentence.” ||

Brad’s Pick: “End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

Jeremy’s Pick: “End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

Kevin’s Pick: “Period. End of Sentence.” Rayka Zehtabchi, Melissa Berton

Steve’s Pick: “A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry

Best Live Action Short Film

|| “Detainment” || “Fauve” || “Marguerite” || “Mother” || “Skin” ||

Brad’s Pick: “Detainment,” Vincent Lambe

Jeremy’s Pick: “Detainment,” Vincent Lambe

Kevin’s Pick: “Marguerite,” Marianne Farley, Marie-Hélène Panisset

Steve’s Pick: “Marguerite,” Marianne Farley, Marie-Hélène Panisset

Best Foreign Language Film

|| “Capernaum” (Lebanon) || “Cold War” (Poland) || “Never Look Away” (Germany) ||

|| “Roma” (Mexico) || “Shoplifters” (Japan) ||

Roma. Lock it in.

Brad’s Pick:  “Roma” (Mexico)

Jeremy’s Pick: “Roma” (Mexico)

Kevin’s Pick: “Roma” (Mexico)

Steve’s Pick: “Roma” (Mexico)

Film Editing

|| “BlacKkKlansman” || “Bohemian Rhapsody” || “Green Book” || “The Favourite” || “Vice” ||

Brad’s Pick: “The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis

Jeremy’s Pick: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman

Kevin’s Pick: “The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis

Steve’s Pick: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman

Sound Editing

|| “Black Panther” || “Bohemian Rhapsody”|| “First Man” || “A Quiet Place || “Roma” ||

Brad’s Pick: “First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan

Jeremy’s Pick: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst

Kevin’s Pick: “First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan

Steve’s Pick: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst

Sound Mixing

|| “Black Panther” || “Bohemian Rhapsody” || “First Man” || “Roma” || “A Star Is Born” ||

Brad’s Pick: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin, John Casali

Jeremy’s Pick: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin, John Casali

Kevin’s Pick: “Roma,” Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio García

Steve’s Pick: “A Star Is Born,” Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder, Steve Morrow

Production Design

|| “Black Panther” || “First Man” || “The Favourite” ||

|| “Mary Poppins Returns” || “Roma” ||

Brad’s Pick: “The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton

Jeremy’s Pick: “Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler

Kevin’s Pick: “The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton

Steve’s Pick: “The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton

Original Score

|| “BlacKkKlansman” || “Black Panther” || “If Beale Street Could Talk” ||

|| “Isle of Dogs” || “Mary Poppins Returns” ||

It still bums me out that Justin Hurwitz’s score for First Man was missed completely here. His Golden Globe WIN should have at the very least landed him a nomination, but no such luck here. With him being out of the picture, I think my best guess is Terence Blanchard for BlacKkKlansman.

Brad’s Pick: “BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard

Jeremy’s Pick: “Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson

Kevin’s Pick: “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell

Steve’s Pick: “Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat

Original Song

“All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA

“I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

She may not win Best Actress, but you’d have to be off the deep-end to think anyone other than Lady Gaga is getting the Original Song Oscar for Shallow.

Brad’s Pick:  “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

Jeremy’s Pick: “All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA

Kevin’s Pick: “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

Steve’s Pick: “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

Makeup and Hair

|| “Border” || “Mary Queen of Scots” || “Vice” ||

Brad’s Pick: “Vice” Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney

Jeremy’s Pick: “Vice” Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney

Kevin’s Pick: “Mary Queen of Scots” Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks

Steve’s Pick: “Mary Queen of Scots” Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks

Costume Design

|| “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” || “Black Panther” || “The Favourite” ||

|| “Mary Poppins Returns” || “Mary Queen of Scots” ||

Brad’s Pick: “The Favourite,” Sandy Powell

Jeremy’s Pick: “Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter

Kevin’s Pick: “Mary Queen of Scots” Alexandra Byrne

Steve’s Pick: “The Favourite,” Sandy Powell

Visual Effects

|| “Avengers: Infinity War” || “Christopher Robin” || “First Man” ||

|| “Ready Player One” || “Solo: A Star Wars Story” ||

Brad’s Pick: “First Man”

Jeremy’s Pick: “Avengers: Infinity War”

Kevin’s Pick:  “Avengers: Infinity War”

Steve’s Pick: “Ready Player One”

What are your thoughts on our choices? Who do you think is the closest? Comment below with anything you think we may have missed!

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