Predict the Oscars

This has been a horrible year for movies for me: I haven’t seen a single movie in any of the categories below. (My poor excuse: I’ve been traveling a lot.) Ergo, I can’t weigh in on the Oscars, and I don’t think my nephew Steven, a movie buff, has made his annual list of “Golden Steves“—his own list of nominated movies. (Steven’s is inevitably more highbrow—and better—than the movies up for Oscars.)

So, as I have some pressing work to do today (some journalism for which I’ll actually get paid), I’ll let the readers weigh in by voting. If you wish, you can note your personal nominations in these Six Big Categories in the comments. The first person to guess them all correctly will win a prize: either an autographed book by yours truly or a cat book of my choice.

So guess—and comment.








  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Saw none of them.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Peak Oscar for me was Christoph Walz winning BSA for Inglourious Basterds (sic).

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Holy moses! None of you skeptics and secularists have seen First Reformed???? One of the best American movies ever made. But too serious and too intelligent and too full of actual ideas for American tastes. It got one nomination for best script (Paul Schrader
      wrote and directed it). Ethan Hawke is great as usual. But the topic…..check it out for yourself. Great scene in diner: clergyman Hawke with polluting corporate executive says something about God’s creation. executive says aggressively: You got a direct line to God???Great moment. One of many. Authentic without polemics or pandering.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:03 am | Permalink

        I enjoyed the utter starkness of First Reformed — the bleak upstate NY wintertime exteriors, the stripped down interiors, the utter lack of any soundtrack or score, the dark Paul Schrader stamp of it.

        I found the abrupt switch to magic-realism in the third reel a bit jarring. It was a flawed film, I think, but one of the most interesting and unique efforts of the year.

        I think Ethan Hawke got robbed with the best actor snub and hope Schrader wins for best original screenplay.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I would like to nominate They Shall Not Grow Old for probably the best documentary category. Went well out of my way just to see it this past weekend. It appears here and there at theaters. You have to look online for where and when. I was completely floored at this achievement. Everyone should try to see it!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Good to know – I’d love to see this on The Big Screen but alas, an iPhone may have to do…

      • Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Try and see it on a big screen if you can. And try to see it in company. The shared experience is quite something–the gasp when the soldiers become fully human (you’ll know whne you see it) and the shocked silence at the end are all things I’d never experienced an audience do before.

        • Geoff Toscano
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          I managed to see it on the big screen in 3D. Very moving.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink


    • Terry Sheldon
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      In my area (central PA) it was only shown on two days in December and perhaps this past Monday, the 21st. There don’t seem to be any more showings scheduled, but it is a film that I really want to see.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        I just saw somewhere that it is showing this week in about 5 states in the U.S., and I think Pennsylvania was one of them… somewhere. so you could search for it.

  4. Blue
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Most not for whom I actually believe should win,
    but thus for Dr Coyne’s contest:

    film: Roma
    director: Cuarón, Alfonso
    lead actress: Colman, Olivia
    lead actor: Bale, Christian
    supporting actress: King, Regina
    supporting actor: Elliott, Sam


  5. kieran
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I will be watching some of these films as they get released over here.

    Of the ones I’ve seen BlacKkKlansman is just better. A star is born is not a brilliant film, it’s a competent retelling of a story which has been done twice before.

    I’ll go with Spike Lee for best director, once again I haven’t seen all of them yet with Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite” a close second, enjoyed the favourite.

    Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody” he did a great job playing the part. Haven’t seen green book or vice yet so can’t say for certain.

    Olivia Colman, “The Favourite” she’s just brilliant in the role

    Mahershala Ali, “Green Book” wild guess

    Amy Adams, “Vice” 6th nomination is my entire reason

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Of these, I saw BlacKkKlansman on dvd, and I thought it very good.

    • eric
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      I liked BlacKkKlansmen too, and would not be at all upset if it won a few awards.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      I agree about A Star is Born. It was pleasant, and predictably weepy, but not over-the-top great. It won for best song at the Gold Globes, which only tells me that there aren’t many good songs in movies anymore.

  6. davidintoronto
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Guilty pleasure (?) – I see a fair number of the superhero movies. And I was decidedly underwhelmed by Black Panther. It wasn’t bad by any means; just rather formulaic. I’m surprised at all the accolades it’s received.

  7. Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Roma started out slow but was a great movie. Such realistic portrayals!

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      I agree! I love that movie and it has a long shot chance to win for best picture. The only other nominated movie I’ve seen so far is Black Panther. I think Bohemian Rhapsody will win.

      • Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Even if Roma doesn’t win, it’s chances are more than a “long shot”. In fact, it won on this website’s poll, at least at the time I voted. It also is the kind of movie the Academy seems to prefer.

        • Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I dithered over its odds, given that it’s unusual in a number of ways. It would be a very pleasant surprise if it does win.

          • Posted January 23, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

            (I hadn’t seen the polls before I dithered. 🙂 )

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen all the best-picture nominees this year except for Bohemian Rhapsody (which played at the local cinema when I was outta town) and Roma (which I very much look forward to seeing).

    I went with The Favorite for best flick, in what wasn’t a particularly strong year for film. The surprise category nomination for me was Olivia Colman for best actress. Ms. Colman’s character did the most scenery-chewing and she gave a helluva performance in The Favorite, but, as I recollect, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz seemed to play the leads. I went with Glenn Close in The Wife in that category.

    My sentimental favorite among all categories this year is Sam Elliott for supporting actor. He’s long done yeoman’s work, getting the max out of often typecast roles, and deserves some love from The Academy (although the best supporting performance this year, I think, was actually Mahershala Ali’s in Green Book).

    Per usual, I’ll skip the tv broadcast, except maybe for the last coupla minutes, if I can’t resist the urge to see what wins Best Picture.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Just to toss my hat in the ring for Jerry’s prize, in the other categories I’ll go with The Favorite‘s Yorgos Lanthimos for director, Amy Adams in Vice for supporting actress, and, for best actor, Viggo (who played a very credible New York paisan in Green Book, and played it BIG, which the Academy loves).

    • BJ
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      The Favorite is my personal best of the year. Mr. Lanthimos has become the most interesting and exciting writer/director of the last few years (he didn’t write The favorite, but he wrote his previous two directorial efforts, both of which were phenomenal). He’s brilliant.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I thought this year featured a lot of films that were actor-driven rather than the big, director-driven CINEMA!-type films made over the years by the directors I love best (sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing, but always striving — and I know you know the ones I’m talking about, BJ).

        I thought The Favorite fell into this actors-medium category, too, but Lanthimos damn well managed to put his own distinctive stamp on it.

        • BJ
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          Considering Lanthimos’ other films, I think he should always receive some credit for the performances, even though he has been receiving some sterling casts.

          What did you make of the ending of The Lobster?

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

            Haven’t seen it, or Dogtooth yet, Beej, but I plan to, soon.

            I’ve heard good things about them.

            • BJ
              Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

              DUDE, come on. I can’t believe I can’t talk to you about the ending.

              You’re seriously slacking off, Ken. I’m very disappointed and demand you remedy this situation. You’ll be receiving a notice of intention to sue from my lawyer for emotional and punitive damages. I don’t know what law this will be based on, but he’ll find something.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

                Sue me if you will, BJ, but don’t spoil the ending yet. First time I see a flick, I like to see it cold, knowing as little as possible, let the experience wash right over me.

                I’ll try to watch it this week. Will let you know, so we can discuss.

                Lobster first, or Dogtooth?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

                Oh, and as no less than Mr. Sam Elliott himself has said, “Dude” is a name no one would self-apply where I come from. 🙂

              • BJ
                Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

                Well, that ol’ rambler was from another time…

                I would never spoil anything about a movie! Never ever. I don’t think the order in which you view them matters, but I personally like The Lobster more.

                I will say no more than that.

  9. Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Black Panther was okay but it wasn’t even in my top three Marvel movies this year, let alone worthy of an Oscar.

    • BJ
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Yeah, but it’s Black Panther, so we all knew it was going to be nominated 😛

    • BJ
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      By nominating it, this is basically what the Oscars are saying:

      • Harrison
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        I’ll be less cynical: This is the Academy trying to correct for its well-established bias toward melodrama and away from popular entertainment. It won’t win, but they’ll give it a nod just to show that Best Picture isn’t strictly reserved for the likes of Crash.

        • BJ
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          But it’s not even a particularly good movie. They’ve definitely been doing what you’ve said for some time now — ever since they expanded the category to ten films and nominated The Dark Knight. But TDK was a legitimately very good action film, and BP doesn’t hold a candle to it.

          I think it’s a mixture of what I said in my previous comment and an attempt to show how much they care about Diversity!.

  10. dabertini
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    What about Free Solo? I know you have expressed a desire to see that movie. Have you gotten a chance to see it yet PCC(e)?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      It’s nominated in the best documentary category, I believe.

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      No, it was in Chicago on one day and I couldn’t go then. But I am absolutely determined to see it.

  11. Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    BORAP is the only one I’ve seen and the only one I have any interest in seeing.

    I voted purely based on my best guess of how all the SJWs in Hollywood vote nowadays, which has little to do with the actual artistic merits of nominees.

  12. Anthony
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    For the contest

    film: Roma
    director: Alfonso Cuarón
    lead actor: Rami Malek
    lead actress: Glenn Close
    supporting actor: Sam Elliott
    supporting actress: Amy Adams

  13. darrelle
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Who I think will win.

    Best Picture: A Star is Born
    Director: Cuarón
    Lead Actor: Dafoe
    Lead Actress: Close
    Supporting Actor: Elliot
    Supporting Actress: Adams

    I’m not a movie buff and I haven’t seen several of the movies in question so my picks are largely influenced by what I have heard about these films and performances by others from experts to folks like me.

    Of the movies I have actually seen I think I would personally vote for BlacKkKlansman, though I do think A Star is Born was also very good and on another day I might vote for it.

  14. Christopher
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The only movie I saw in theaters over the last year was the third Johnny English movie. Not as good as the first two, neither of which won any Oscars.

  15. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    My nominee for most glaring Oscar omission goes to Dominic West for his performance as “Willy” in Colette.

    For my money, Mr. West (or “McNulty,” as my sons and I still call him whenever we see him on the screen) has become one of the best, and most versatile, actors in the Anglophone world.

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I didn’t see “Colette” but McNulty gets two thumbs up from me. I always enjoy West’s performances, especially those in “The Wire”, the best TV show ever made.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Agreed on The Wire. It had, as you know, a huge (and hugely talented) ensemble cast, and multiple, interweaving plot-lines, but I always felt that Jimmy McNulty was in some sense the flawed, human soul of the show.

        The last scene of the final episode suggested that the writers and show-runners felt that way, too, I think.

        • Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          Agreed. Also the very first scene with McNulty getting the story on why the dead kid was named Snot Boogie.

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard great things about Colette from family members.

  16. Jon Mummaw
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The Rider by filmmaker Cloe Zhao is part documentay part drama, shot on the Pine Ridge Reservation on the plains of South Dakota. The actors, residents of the reservation, play versions of themselves in the film. Blockbusters are often beautiful but lack authenticity. The Rider has both. (I read somewhere that Zhao was influenced by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s film, Close-Up.)

    “I think we live in a culture that celebrates the winners. If a super hero loses his power he usually gets it back by the end of the film, but that’s not how life works. There’s a lot of great spirit in these young people. They keep fighting on. And people in general, just any walk of life and I want to celebrate that.” Choe Zhao

  17. Damien
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    A golden statue for Lead Actor ?

    Alchemy !

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Puns based on elements 79 and 82 of the Period Table always slay me! 🙂

      • Damien
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        You’re generous. Thank you. 🙂

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Well, easier to do that than for an actor known to be wooden!

  18. Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m just guessing for most of these:

    film: Roma
    director: Alfonso Cuarón
    lead actor: Rami Malek
    lead actress: Yalitza Aparicio
    supporting actor: Mahershala Ali
    supporting actress: Amy Adams

  19. revelator60
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Roma will win but it deserves to, because it’s the only one of the nominees that is a near-masterpiece. It’s a transcendent epic about domestic life. Bravura filmmaking.

    The Favourite is fun but has a rather limited view of human nature—everyone is bitchy and conniving.

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Cuarón’s one of my favourite directors but I haven’t seen Roma yet.

      • Posted January 23, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        It’s on Netflix!

        • revelator60
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          But if you have the opportunity to see it on the big screen, do take it!

          • Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

            I probably won’t see it again, even though it’s very good. Too much to see and do!

  20. Dragon
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    film: Green Book
    director: Alfonso Cuarón
    lead actor: Rami Malek
    lead actress: Glenn Close
    supporting actor: Mahershala Ali
    supporting actress: Amy Adams

  21. Posted January 23, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    This is a bit of a shock but, of all the options in all the categories, I’ve only seen Black Panther, which was fine but not even the best Marvel film I’ve seen this year.

    Anyway, I think Olivia Coleman may be the best actor of any gender working today, so I hope she wins.

  22. Ray Little
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I got 5/6 & I haven’t seen half the pictures. Goes to show how political the selections are when I can predict with such accuracy. By the way, ‘the Wife’ was a terrible picture, tho Close was good.

  23. paablo
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I guessed:
    1. Favourite
    2. Lee
    3. Cooper
    4. Aparicio
    5. Ali
    6. Adams

  24. mfdempsey1946
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Of the nominated films, I have been able to see only “Roma”, “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs”, and “First Reformed” thus far.

    Each is superb in its own distinctive way, offering ideas and emotions and beauties that will repay several viewings and testify to the many diverse riches that great filmmaking has to offer.

    But, for me, the film event of the year has been, at long, long last, the completion of the late Orson Welles’s “The Other Side Of The Wind” after being lost for decades in the wilderness of grotesque mishaps and delays connected with dismaying interference from the realms of financing and politics.

    The wait has been worth it, if also sad because the film’s primary creator never came close to experiencing this belated triumph.

    Several Welles collaborators who worked on the shooting of the film, along with other new collaborators, labored with persistent dedication to complete it in keeping with the filmmaker’s surviving instructions.

    Thanks to them, we now have a wondrous masterwork resurrected from apparent death, one that proves to be an exhilarating eruption of diverse forms of creativity by not only Welles but also those who worked with him long ago, plus dedicated people he never got to meet. The restored film simply explodes with so many different forms of creativity in twenty or more different directions that are surely impossible to take in fully during just one screening.

    As for the Academy Awards, of course one hopes for the good films among the nominees to bag a statue or two or more. But the Oscars pretty much remain what George C. Scott called them when he refused his Best Actor prize for “Patton”: “a meat parade”. Their relationship to artistic quality is pretty much an accident when it does, as sometimes happens, find a way to exist.

    So — for me at least — glory to film and its many wonderful artists of all types, but to the Academy Awards, meh.

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