My Oscar Favorites

Anyone else excited about the upcoming Oscars on Sunday evening? No! Only me? 😁 I often listen silently when I hear acquaintances say that they have never seen any or have only seen one or two of the films nominated for the Oscars because invariably by the time the Oscar nominations roll around I have seen every single film nominated and am usually able to predict which films will be nominated for the coveted award as soon as I leave the movie theatre, or even while watching the movie, as was the case when I saw Rami Malek in his stellar portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie about the rise of the British rock band Queen.

I was so blown away by Malek’s performance that before I even left the movie theatre I texted my friend, Carmen, who is a big fan of Queen and told her that not only should Malek be nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his iconic performance at the Oscars this year but that he should also win.

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That’s Malek on the left, during my favorite scene in the movie, and the legendary Mercury on the right.

I had never even heard of the actor Rami Malek before watching Bohemian Rhapsody but I grew intrigued after seeing the film and did a little research. I watched a few YouTube videos of him being interviewed and his general presence is so endearing. What a humble and grateful guy. His humility alone makes me want him to win Best Actor.

Admittedly, the Best Actor race is pretty tough this year. Among them we have the likes of Christian Bale, who did an amazing portrayal of Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice and the always immaculate, absolutely gorgeous Bradley Cooper, who plays an unkempt, washed-up Country singer suffering from alcohol addiction in A Star is Born.

Cooper himself has been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar a total of 4 times (including this year’s nomination) and to date has never won. He is also the first actor to be nominated 3 years in a row, with a nomination in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook (among my top 5 favorite movies ever), in 2014 for American Hustle and again in 2015 for American Sniper. I wouldn’t be upset if Malek lost to Cooper since Cooper, who is an incredibly brilliant actor, has gone home empty-handed so many times, but my money is on Malek.

The other 2 Best Actor nominees are Willem Dafoe, who was fantastic, I mean really fantastic playing the tormented and troubled painter Vincent Van Gough in At Eternity’s Gate and Viggo Mortensen, whose most famous roles were in The Lord of the Rings and Captain Fantastic (another movie I loved), where he was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Lady Gaga has been bestowed with the honor of a nomination for Best Actress for her leading role alongside Cooper for A Star is Born. There is no doubt that there was undeniable chemistry between Gaga and Cooper in the movie, but steamy love scenes and impeccable vocals are not enough for her to take home the coveted Best Actress statue this Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I love Gaga, she is an incredibly talented musician and she played the hell out of Ally, her character in the movie, but compared to the other ladies she is up against in the Best Actress category I honestly don’t think her role was the best performance.

I would like to see either Glenn Close, who is nominated for her role in The Wife, which I reviewed in a past blog post you can read it here Let’s Go to the Movies! or Olivia Colman, who is nominated for her role as the eccentric Queen Anne, who was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1702 to 1714, for her role in The Favourtie.

Both actresses, Close and Colman, gave stellar performances in their respective movies, but if I had to pick just one I would go with Close since I have been a fan since she tormented the duplicitous and unfaithful Michael Douglas back in 1987’s Fatal Attraction. Close was a force to reckon with then and now 30 plus years later she’s still a force to reckon with. She is an accomplished actress, who has been nominated for an Oscar 7 times but still hasn’t taken home the coveted statue. If Lady Gaga gets an Oscar before Glenn Close I would not be pleased.

Glenn Close and Lady Gaga at The 2019 Critics’ Choice Awards, where they both won the Best Actress award. It was a tie.

Olivia Coleman, despite being an accomplished actress herself is pretty new to me. Further research has shown that she’s a British actress that came on the scene in 2000 with her most well-known role being that of the more mature Queen Elizabeth II in Season 3 of the popular Netflix series The Crown.

The other contenders for Best Actress are the newcomer, Yalitza Aparicio for Roma and the very funny and popular Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy has been nominated a few times and has won an Emmy for her role as Molly in the CBS hit sitcom Mike and Molly but this is only her second Oscar nomination, her first being for Supporting Actress back in 2012 for her laugh out loud, hilarious role in Bridesmaids, another one of my faves. McCarthy is nominated this year for her work in Can You Ever Forgive Me? A very gripping tale, the true story of Lee Israel, a reclusive, bestselling novelist who had to resort to illegal activities just to pay her rent when she was no longer able to get published. An excellent biographical film, which I truly enjoyed.

Richard E. Grant, McCarthy’s co-star in Can You Ever Forgive Me, is up for Best Supporting Actor. I like Richard E. Grant from his days of playing Simon in Downton Abby and I thought his performance as a lying yet endearing copycat and imitator in Can You Ever Forgive Me? is worthy of the Oscar nomination he has received, but I would like to see Mahershala Ali win for his role as the pompous, classical pianist Don Shirley in Green Book.

Mahershala Ali, who first came to my attention as Remi in the Netflix series House of Cards, has been on the rise ever since and was the Oscar winner just 2 years ago for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moonlight. I am hoping he does it again and delivers one of his insightful, very appreciative thank you speeches.

Sam Rockwell, who currently holds the most recently awarded Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, is nominated again this year for his portrayal of George Bush Jr. in the movie Vice. If he wins this year then he would be the second actor in the history of the awards ceremony to win consecutive Oscars for Best Supporting Actor. The only other actor to have done so was Jason Robards, remember him?

The 2 other contenders for Best Supporting Actor is Adam Driver from HBO’s Girls fame, who is nominated for his performance in BlacKkKlansman and Sam Elliot for A Star Is Born.

I am disappointed that Driver’s fellow co-star in BlacKkKlansman, John David Washington, son of Denzel Washington, did not pick up a nomination for his brilliant leading role in the movie. I thought for sure he would have been nominated for lead actor.

For Best Supporting Actress the contenders are Amy Adams, who gave a masterly performance as Lynn Cheney in Vice. I am a huge fan of Adams and was rooting for her the other 6 times she was nominated for an Oscar, especially for her nominations for Doubt and American Hustle but this year I am going with my girl, Regina King, for her candid Mama Bear performance in If Beale Street Could Talk. Loved the book, liked the movie, loved Regina King in the movie.

Regina King happily accepting her Golden Globe earlier this year for her role in “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

I have been a fan of King since her days on the TV sitcom 227 and later on when she played the annoying next-door neighbor in the hit movies Boyz in the Hood and again in Friday. King has been cleaning up on the awards circuit this year bringing home both the Golden Globe and the Critics’ Choice Awards for her Beale Street role, here’s hoping she does it again on Sunday night at the Oscars.

The other nominees for Best Supporting Actress are Marina de Tavira, whom I have never heard of but liked her acting in Roma and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz both of whom played alongside Olivia Colman in the historical period piece, The Favourite. Stone and Weisz are extremely talented actresses in their own right, Stone has been nominated for an Oscar 3 times already and has won once, for her role in La La Land, a movie I thoroughly hated. I like Stone though and think she should have been nominated last year when she played the role of tennis great Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes. While Weisz won an Oscar for her 2005 supporting role in The Constant Gardener, a movie I still haven’t seen.

There are 8 movies nominated for Best Picture this year, all of them very good films, despite being very different from each other. This year we have our first superhero film nominated for Best Picture, it was the highest grossing film of 2018 and perhaps the most popular film of 2018. I loved Black Panther, saw it in the movie theater not once, not twice but three times. In as much black pride as I was filled with watching Black Panther I don’t think it deserves to win Best Picture, simply because it’s a movie about make-believe and fantasy in general.

BlacKkKlansman, the true to life story of a black man who was able to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan is the movie that deserves the Best Picture award. Brilliantly acted, well written, with some laugh out loud funny lines, and relatable experiences permeate the entire plot of this must-see film. Spike Lee, who is one of the producers and the director of BlacKkKlansman, has been in the movie-making industry for decades and this is his first nomination from the Academy. It would be a joy to watch him take home both the Best Picture and Best Director statutes on Sunday night, if not both, then one or the other.

Spike Lee is nominated for his first Oscar this year.

My other favorite to win Best Picture is The Favourtie. Period pieces are some of my favorite films and this was a remarkable movie. This film had 3 powerhouse actresses, Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz sharing equal screen time playing off of each other in a very dramatic story filled with unbelievable twists and turns, which made The Favourite a very entertaining film. It’s up for Best Director as well and leads this year’s Oscars with 10 nominations alongside Roma, that also has an equal 10.

The other Best Picture nods are A Star Is Born, which in my opinion shouldn’t win since it lacks originality. This is the 4th time A Star Is Born has been made. I enjoyed the movie but enough already. We also have Vice, which is an excellent political drama. It’s very one-sided in its liberalistic story-telling but a good movie nonetheless. Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book and Roma round out the Best Picture list, of which Roma has also been nominated for Best Director.

Roma, a Netflix movie, was the last of the nominated films that I watched. It’s a subtitled Spanish film done entirely in black and white, with excellent cinematography. It tells the story of Cleo, a Mexican maid (the role is played by Yalitza Aparicio, nominated for Best Actress), and the trauma she endears in 1970s Mexico City. The story also parallels the life of her white employee played by Marina de Tavira, who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

Roma, which is directed by Oscar-winning Alfonso Cuaron, has been doing well on the awards circuit this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if they also cleaned up at the Oscars. Despite being a decent film it’s not my favorite to win in any category. The Academy has been known to blaze its own trail and not necessarily follow the choices of the Golden Globes, The Critics Choice or even the SAG awards. Let’s hope this rings true for this year as well as it relates to Roma.

The movie-junkie in me is excited for Sunday night and I can’t wait to see who this year’s winners will be. Let’s hope I won’t be as disappointed as I was last year when, as my friend so eloquently puts it “the movie about the strange fish in the water” won for Best Picture. She was referring to the Shape of Water. Oh, what a stupid movie that was!