The Oscars, a preview

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The Oscars, a preview

Jonah Charlton, Sophia Weglarz, and Evan Finder

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Best Picture

By Jonah Charlton

What should win: A Star is Born

Yes, it’s a remake. Sure, it’s predictable. It’s definitely quintessential Hollywood. But Bradley Cooper’s rendition of this old-time love story between two talented, yet struggling, artists is fresh and different in more ways than one. Lady Gaga’s melodramatic performance mixed with Cooper’s disconnectedness proves the perfect combination in both dialogue and Grammy Award winning hit Shallow. While the previous three versions have failed to do so, Cooper and co. masterfully integrate the original music into character development. On top of it all, the exquisite use of color and light in both the massive amphitheatre scenes and intimate ‘love story’ moments make this film is as visually compelling as any in this year’s race.

What will win: Roma

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s autobiographical monochrome look into what it meant to grow up in Mexico City of the 1970s, Roma, seems to be the belle of the Academy’s ball. Roma serves as Cuaron’s directorial crowning achievement, even with the seven Oscar wins in 2014 for Gravity, and seems to be the surefire Best Picture winner given its overwhelming success at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and SAGs.

By Sophia Weglarz

What should win: Black Panther

If ever was there a good contender for a Best Picture nominee winning not only on its merit but also on its impact on society, Black Panther would be that contender. The thing is, there’s a reason for the film’s critical praise, and it stems from the film’s brilliant production. The film, beyond being an overwhelmingly positive representation for the black community and breaking the mold for a “superhero movie”, tells of the true meaning of the black diaspora, while weighing in on the age-old question regarding isolationism vs internationalism.

What will win: Roma

The abundance of awards and accolades for this film is nothing short of deserved. Cuaron serves as a stunning, neorealist helping of his childhood, where he offers up the cross-section between aesthetic and emotion. On top of this, Roma is more than just visually pretty, as it also provides a deeply-personal tableau of a 1970s Mexico City painted in dozens of tones of black and white.

By Evan Finder

What should win: The Favourite

What will win: Roma

The Favourite and Roma stand out as two excellent films in an otherwise lackluster selection, especially considering that the two other best films of the year (Sorry to Bother You and If Beale Street Could Talk) were snubbed in this category.  Frankly, either Roma or The Favourite would be deserving of taking home the big prize. Both are masterfully shot, with authentic atmospheres and memorable compositions that bring their settings to vivid life. Roma is the likely winner due to its consistent wins in the director category. By a thin margin, however, The Favourite is my pick, as it not only manages to be as visually arresting as Roma, but is also exceptional on a narrative level, with a script that manages to incorporate absurdist humor, dry wit, excruciating tragedy and political intrigue into a story of three unforgettable characters.

Best Actor

By Jonah Charlton

Who should win: Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

As both director and co-star, Bradley Cooper shines as easily the most nuanced male lead of any of this year’s Best Actor nominees. Cooper is by no means ‘showy’ in his role as spiraling rocker Jackson Maine, yet that’s exactly where the strength of his performance stems from. He serves as the perfect compliment to Lady Gaga’s robust vocals through his reserved and poignant emotion.

Who will win: Christian Bale, Vice

Christian Bale’s performance, or should I say embodiment, as former Vice President Dick Cheney makes Vice somewhat tolerable. Bale himself is just above average but the prothstesis and makeup job truly make him shine. The Academy has an affinity towards its Best Actor choices portraying historical men as 11 of the last 17 winners have won for their roles as real people. Rami Malek has a shot in this category for his work as Freddy Mercury, but with the controversy surrounding Bohemian Rhapsody, the Academy is likely to take Bale who represents the safer choice.

By Sophia Weglarz

Who should win: Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

While his role in this most recent adaptation of a Hollywood favorite has been portrayed three separate times prior, it’s Cooper’s take on the much-redone role that takes the cake. Perhaps it’s the character’s detached melodrama or the glints of pain and trauma in his eyes, Cooper’s tear-inducing embodiment of a man riddled with addiction is well worth the watch alone.

Who will win: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

The enjoyability of Bohemian Rhapsody solely comes from Malek’s performance alone which is a true zeitgeist of the late-70s and 80s, one that positively oozes with a sense of nostalgic electricity that only someone as tragically eccentric as Freddie Mercury could embody. In addition to this, this would grant Malek first Oscar win, a key feature that might make him more appealing to the Academy over other category heavyweights like Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper.

By Evan Finder

Who should and who will win: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

The prediction for who will win can easily be boiled down to Bale vs. Malek. Both performances show the actors transforming into their real-life characters and inhabiting them with skill and gravitas. Bale seemed to be the frontrunner early on, as the Academy seems to love appearance-changing performances. However, I would argue that Bale’s transformation into Dick Cheney is as much the make-up as it is the acting. Malek, on the other hand, had to almost single-handedly bring out the charisma, energy and tragedy that was required in his portrayal of Freddie Mercury. It seems now that awards’ voters agree with this consensus, as Malek has beaten Bale for lead actor at both the SAG and BAFTA awards.

Best Actress

By Jonah Charlton

Who should and who will win: Glenn Close, The Wife

In its only nomination, The Wife seems to be a near infallible choice to take home the Oscar for Best Actress. Glenn Close’s understated yet exquisite role as the true author behind her husband’s feigned success carries the film making it difficult to imagine anyone else coming out on top.

By Sophia Weglarz

Who should and who will win: Glenn Close, The Wife

Glenn Close paints a portrait of a woman who has endured decades of her husband’s abuses: his lustful, adulterous endeavors outside of their bedroom, his fragile bouts of egomania and his incessant yet covert emotional manipulation. What makes Close a shoo-in for the Oscar falls in the subtlety of her performance; behind this supposedly great man is a woman, a woman who is truly a brewing storm of resentment. This resentment all culminates in one of the best performances of 2019, and, as Close wistfully looks onto the viewer in the last shot of the film, you know she’s already won the Oscar.

By Evan Finder

Who should win: Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Who will win: Glenn Close, The Wife

Close has taken home most of the big awards thus far, so this category seems to be hers to lose. Lady Gaga has a shot, considering the Academy also loves musical performances, yet her performance was overly melodramatic and generally unconvincing, making a hypothetical win completely undeserved. Colman, however, elicited disgust, pity and sympathy from the audience in equal measures, giving a performance that would have seemed caricaturesque in the hands of a lesser actress. Her performance is the most memorable of the nominees.