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2006 MTV Video Music Awards: Winner Predictions

Happy birthday, MTV. You’re 25. A little old to be playing with 12 year olds, doncha think?

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2006 MTV Video Music Awards: Winner Predictions

Happy birthday, MTV. You’re 25. A little old to be playing with 12 year olds, doncha think? But that’s exactly what the premier music channel is doing at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Now that the Breakthrough Video category is legal (it turned 18 last year), it seems MTV is no longer interested. And, for the first time, the channel is allowing its viewers to help pick the winners at the ceremony. This attempt at appealing to the interactive generation could spell disaster for what’s left of the award show’s credibility: Over the past few years, the VMAs have become more and more like a popularity contest than an acknowledgement of craft in the music video medium, and involving the TRL hyper-voting contingent could feasibly push things over the edge. It also makes predicting winners almost as difficult as naming all of the Pussycat Dolls. So we urge you not to place any bets using our predictions and instead simply bask in the joy of knowing that our picks for who should win are, as always, right on the money.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Christina Aguilera, “Ain’t No Other Man”

Madonna, “Hung Up” (Should Win)

Panic! at the Disco, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Dani California” (Will Win)

Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean, “Hips Don’t Lie”

Sal Cinquemani: Unless something goes awry (and it very well could), I’d place my bets on the two pioneers here, Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The three other times Madonna has been nominated in this category, the videos have been iconic (“Like a Prayer,” “Vogue,” and “Ray of Light”), so that puts “Hung Up” in nice company but that’s probably the award in and of itself. The video has a serious handicap since it’s the oldest one in all of the categories it’s nominated and it didn’t exactly stage a coup on the U.S. charts. RHCP have never won Video of the Year before, so this could be MTV’s chance to give the band props. Although I should mention that it just doesn’t feel right (this is not their big renaissance) and the video is mediocre at best.

Eric Henderson: Too bad they don’t give out awards for Costume Design, because I might give Christina Aguilera’s video much better odds if it were nominated for even one single tech category. But it was mysteriously snubbed for Director, Editing, Cinematography (dig those John Carpenter-esque horizontal lens flares), and even Art Direction. I’m not a huge fan of it, generally—it’s like a corny, forced version of the cover art for Missy’s The Cookbook—but, I mean, the thing has opening credits, people! I guess because RHCP’s video practically comes with footnotes that all say “rock history,” it’ll have an edge with people who can’t get past the fact that Xtina listens to her 78s on a silvery-sparkled wireless headset.

Ed Gonzalez: Yeah, I can’t get past the silvery-sparkled wireless headset, and if I were Mike D’Angelo, I wouldn’t give any of these videos higher than a 78. Xtina’s video is a po’ woman’s version of En Vogue’s “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” (the slapdash editing is embarrassing, betraying an otherwise attractive old-school vibe). The RHCP clip has none of the wit of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” and none of ecstasy that fueled OutKast’s “Hey Ya!,” but the MTV people seem to love it, and the band seems due for the top prize.

BEST MALE VIDEO

Busta Rhymes f/ Mary J. Blige, Rah Digga, Missy Elliott, Lloyd Banks, Papoose, & DMX, “Touch It Remix”

James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful”

Kanye West f/ Jamie Foxx, “Gold Digger” (Should and Will Win)

Nick Lachey, “What’s Left Of Me”

T.I., “What You Know”

EH: Remember what I just said about opening credits? Forget I said it. T.I. needs to give screen time to the name of the craft service coordinator, since they were the only ones doing their job on that set. On the other hand, Busta spreads the title card wealth for the entire duration of his video—superimposed, shouted out, worn on T-shirts. “Touch It Remix” even finds time for a funereal homily. More video than the skeletal song merits, but I’ll take any chance to see Rah Digga’s biceps I can get. That they show up in the proximity of a step dancing routine and what looks like a formal homage to the artistry of the ringtone ad just sweetens the deal. Sometimes having no ideas adds up to more than just one.

EG: I’m so bummed that Brooke’s hair doesn’t feature more prominently throughout the Busta video that I have to begrudgingly give my vote to Kanye West. Also, am I the only one who thinks James Blunt commits suicide at least four minutes too late in his video?

SC: It’s between the bling and the Blunt here, and rightfully so: “Gold Digger” and “You’re Beautiful” are the two best videos in the category. I’m surprised “Gold Digger” didn’t score a Video Of The Year nod; the simple red light district/pin-up vibe works well, and any video that downplays Jamie Foxx’s involvement gets my vote. “Touch It” is nice to look at but it doesn’t exactly beg for repeat viewings, and Nick Lachey has no business being here other than MTV making good on his solo reality show that never made it to the airwaves.

BEST FEMALE VIDEO

Christina Aguilera, “Ain’t No Other Man” (Will Win)

Kelly Clarkson, “Because Of You”

Madonna, “Hung Up” (Should Win)

Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland, “Promiscuous”

Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean, “Hips Don’t Lie”

EH: I like the mise-en-scène of this version of “Promiscuous” better than the original.

EG: Madonna’s video almost convinced me that I could touch my toes for the first time in my life without bending my knees, but I like the mise-en-scène of this version of “Hung Up” better than the original.

SC: I prefer this one, but just for the costumes and choreography, not the “mise-en-scène.” Anyway, despite being the artist with the most wins in this category, Madge doesn’t have the greatest track record: this is her 12th nomination for Female Video but she’s only won three times. I think Christina will take this one based on the illusion that it’s original—like the song itself, there seems to be something missing. But she’s become somewhat of an MTV darling and her fanbase is rabid. Foaming at the mouth and all. And are those implants? Looks like baby’s been emulating Mariah a little too much.

BEST GROUP VIDEO

The All-American Rejects, “Move Along”

Fall Out Boy, “Dance, Dance”

Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy” (Should Win)

Panic! at the Disco, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” (Will Win)

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Dani California”

SC: If the Best Group Video should ideally incorporate the group members in an inventive, compelling way, then The All-American Rejects’ “Move Along” shouldn’t win, but the crafty clip certainly plays to that group’s strength: pretty-boy lead singer Tyson Ritter. It’s between RHCP and Gnarls Barkley, with a possible upset by Panic! at the Disco.

EG: What other things did you learn about Tyson Ritter after Googling his name?

SC: I didn’t Google his name, I got it from the poster on your wall.

EH: I think All-American Rejects are the dark horse in this one, not Panic! at the Disco. Don’t underestimate the sizable voting demographic who call Garden State the best movie ever made.

SC: Yeah, but they’re not watching MTV, are they? And they’re certainly not voting.

EG: True, Panic! at the Disco’s video may be a little too spastic for people trying to match their clothes with the wallpaper in their rooms, but I still think it’s between them and RHCP.

EH: I’ve been officially done with RHCP ever since they left behind George Clinton, so I can’t say I was all that impressed when the Mothership Connection was reduced to a linking device between acid and glam. Especially since the song itself makes “Under The Bridge” sound like “Psychoalphabetadiscobioaquadoloop.”

BEST RAP VIDEO

50 Cent, “Window Shopper”

Busta Rhymes f/ Mary J. Blige, Rah Digga, Missy Elliott, Lloyd Banks, Papoose, & DMX, “Touch It Remix” (Should and Will Win)

Chamillionaire, “Ridin’”

T.I., “What You Know”

Yung Joc f/ Nitty, “It’s Goin’ Down”

EH: The real question is: Who is Fiddy going to threaten in this line-up like he did Fat Joe last year?

SC: Watching two rappers with significant speech impediments (Fiddy and Mase) express frustration while talking to a European sales person during the intro to “Window Shopper” was comical to me, but the video goes downhill from there—and fast.

EG: The Busta and T.I. videos are the only ones that don’t seem to be advertising how much bling these rappers were able to acquire after signing record contracts. The race, though, is probably between Fiddy and Busta. I’ll give it to the latter: He’s never won before, and given the amount of people rapping alongside him, the video is this category’s Crash.

EH: Then which is this category’s Brokeback? The one about goin’ down or the one about ridin’?

SC: The one about shopping.

BEST R&B VIDEO

Beyoncé f/ Slim Thug, “Check on It”

Chris Brown, “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)”

Jamie Foxx f/ Ludacris, “Unpredictable”

Mariah Carey, “Shake It Off”

Mary J. Blige, “Be Without You” (Will Win)

Editor’s Note: We will be abstaining from choosing who should win in this category due to our inability to reach a consensus on which video is “least bad.”

SC: Mimi’s video fails on many levels, not least of which is her Fergie impersonation on the bleachers and that vintage Hollywood long-take that’s reminiscent of Janet’s ode to Touch of Evil in “When I Think Of You,” but it’s probably the best of the sorry lot here. Hype Williams’s clip for Beyoncé’s “Check on It” is a lot like the song itself: nauseating. Some Pepto might be in order.

EG: Just thinking about “Check on It” makes me want to go to the bathroom, only I’m afraid to because I might pee pink. To the video’s credit, the oceans of satin sheets do complement Beyoncé’s gyrations.

SC: The three-bar style worked much better on LL Cool J and J. Lo’s “Lose Control.” In light of the quality of most of these videos, I’m actually surprised that one didn’t get a nomination this year.

EH: “Check on It” may shriek pink, but I can’t get over how much the song sounds like “The Ballad Of The Green Berets.” Another notch in Beyoncé’s already sealed (or, rather, catering 2 u) reputation as the reigning queen of R&B for the epoch of Laura Bush.

SC: Speaking of overzealous dance moves, Chris Brown is like some creepy choreographer/stalker in his video.

EG: That kid is all teeth.

EH: I wouldn’t “next” him or anything, but he’s no Craig David.

SC: I wouldn’t even let either of them get on the Next bus.

EG: Speaking of getting on the back of the bus, Crash almost got as much love from MTV as it did from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Consider a victory for Mary J. Blige a consolation prize for Terrence Howard losing the Oscar.

BEST HIP-HOP VIDEO

Black Eyed Peas, “My Humps” (Will Win)

Common, “Testify” (Should Win)

Daddy Yankee, “Rompe”

Kanye West f/ Jamie Foxx, “Gold Digger”

Three 6 Mafia, “Stay Fly”

SC: Unfortunately, I didn’t see Common’s “Testify” until the nominations were announced. Otherwise, it probably would have made my Top 10 last year.

EH: I’m no more a fan of “Testify” than I am of the album it came from (leave it to Common’s overstated omniscience to make something like Kanye/Foxx’s dapper duo look like a paragon of modesty), and I’d rather see “Gold Digger” win a Pulitzer before seeing one more rhinestone-encrusted quarter land in Fergie’s humpy drawers. Unfortunately, “My Humps” was willed into a hit single by (among others) iTunes customers. So there’s no reason now to lose faith in the perseverance of text message-happy retards on the Internet with too much time on their humps. Democrazy at work.

EG: I don’t know if the Black Eyed Peas song is trying to raise breast cancer awareness, but I would rather have sex with Jerri Blank than feel Fergie’s lump any day.

BEST DANCE VIDEO

Madonna, “Hung Up” (Should and Will Win)

Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland, “Promiscuous”

Pussycat Dolls f/ Snoop Dogg, “Buttons”

Sean Paul, “Temperature”

Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean, “Hips Don’t Lie”

SC: Evidently, Snoop Dogg can name all of the Pussycat Dolls, so maybe we should defer to him on who’s going to win.

EG: I feel really close to all 47 members of the Pussycat Dolls: In the past year, I think I’ve seen all of their snatches up close and personal on the pages of Perez Hilton. But, alas, my hips don’t lie, and Madonna’s “Hung Up” has changed the way I look at the grooves in the speakers of my Aiwa stereo system.

SC: Madonna has never won in this category, surprisingly enough. Her two most notable losses were in 1990 (“Vogue” lost to “U Can’t Touch This”!) and 1998 (“Ray Of Light” lost to another Jonas Akerlund-directed clip, Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up”). This would seem to be her one lock (it’s the only true “dance” song, after all), but recent winners have skewed urban.

EH: I dunno, Madonna does hump a Radio Raheem-sized boom box in this one. Which is one of the better things she’s done since Erotica and which might be enough to offset Karen Lynn Gorney’s wardrobe.

BEST ROCK VIDEO

30 Seconds To Mars, “The Kill”

AFI, “Miss Murder”

Green Day, “Wake Me Up When September Ends” (Should and Will Win)

Panic! at the Disco, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Dani California”

SC: Back-to-back wins are a frequent occurrence in this category, so Green Day’s mini-movie could score here. Then again, it doesn’t have the multiple nominations that RHCP and Panic! both have.

EG: I suppose MTV, especially Kurt Loder, thinks the Green Day video is really cunning, but I dug it a lot more when I thought the only thing Jamie Bell did to hurt Evan Rachel Wood’s feelings was have sex with her mother.

EH: Wake me up when this category ends.

BEST POP VIDEO

Christina Aguilera, “Ain’t No Other Man”

Madonna, “Hung Up”

Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland, “Promiscuous” (Will Win)

Pink, “Stupid Girls” (Should Win)

Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean, “Hips Don’t Lie”

EH: Dullest category, year in, year out. Even though the fact that Shakira’s is the only video nominated in the Viewer’s Choice line-up, portending a possible surge of popular support, it’ll probably just go to the dullest video of the lot.

SC: So…“Promiscuous” then? Pink’s “Stupid Girls” is the only video here not nominated for Best Female Video. I haven’t the faintest idea what that means but don’t be surprised if she’s thrown a bone for her lampooning of all things “pop.”

EH: Yeah, it’s nearly as good as Jessica Simpson’s way with a roller rink ice cream cone.

EG: The video pops all right, but certainly not as much as Nelly Furtado’s song or Shakira’s hips. A vote split could benefit Xtina and Madge, but I’ll give this one to Furtado by a pubic hair.

BEST NEW ARTIST

Angels and Airwaves, “The Adventure”

Avenged Sevenfold, “Bat Country”

Chris Brown f/ Juelz Santana, “Run It!”

James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful”

Panic! at the Disco, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” (Will Win)

Rihanna, “S.O.S.” (Should Win)

SC: This isn’t the Grammys, so James Blunt isn’t the shoo-in he’ll probably be with NARAS come winter.

EH: No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the VMAs don’t follow suit with the Grammys in awarding stuff that’s up for the top prize in lower categories. And, since the moment for “You’re Beautiful” passed when one of Blunt’s former lovers revealed he didn’t, um, measure up, that leaves the field clear for Panic! Six million YouTube hits don’t lie.

EG: Rihanna all the way, because I haven’t been so thrilled by a scene inside a hall of mirrors since Lady in Shanghai.

EH: Nice to see flash done correctly. I haven’t been so thrilled by a masturbation-referencing dance routine involving mirrors since “The Pleasure Principle.”

SC: I was just about to cry foul and say that Rihanna’s technically not a new artist, but her debut wasn’t released in time to qualify for the 2005 VMAs. Incredibly, she’s managed to squeeze out two albums since last year’s ceremony.

BEST DIRECTION

10 Years, “Wasteland” (Director: Christopher Sims)

AFI, “Miss Murder” (Director: Marc Webb)

Common, “Testify” (Director: Anthony Mandler)

Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy” (Director: Robert Hales) (Should Win)

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Dani California” (Director: Tony Kaye) (Will Win)

EH: I’ve got nothing against videos with fractured-unto-faux-profound titles like “Former Yugo…SLAVE,” but I feel like Christopher Sims forgot to include a shot of Djimon Hounsou with a graphic reading “Give! Us! Free!”

SC: Since there are no big names here, decisions will either be based on popularity or quality, so it’s a race between Tony Kaye’s rock-through-the-ages homage and Hales’s ink-blot clip, respectively.

EH: There’s really nothing in the Adobe After Effects style of “Crazy” that doesn’t feel completely cliché now that every cable network’s bumper spots use it. But there remains something inherently personal in the program—it’s the laptop equivalent of a mixtape, and coupling that with the Rorschach patterns adds up to a deft if obvious visual accompaniment to the song’s casually tossed-off DSM-IV sentiments.

EG: What he said.

SC: What did he say? I didn’t understand a word of it.

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Christina Aguilera, “Ain’t No Other Man”

Madonna, “Hung Up” (Should Win)

Pussycat Dolls f/ Snoop Dogg, “Buttons” (Will Win)

Sean Paul, “Temperature”

Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean, “Hips Don’t Lie”

EG: The Pussycat Dolls are all pelvic thrust. This is a good thing, but given all the love for “Hung Up” this year, I imagine MTV’s base would rather have Madonna teasing their cocks. Still, Xtina’s video probably hits the desired overlap of “originality” and craftiness to carry it to victory.

EH: Unless Nomi Malone presents the award this year, in which case both Xtina and Madonna should start worrying about losing this one to the Pussycat Dolls.

SC: Are we still calling Christina Aguilera Xtina just to piss her off? Like calling Madonna the Material Girl?

EG: Yes.

SC: Rules are made to be broken, especially on MTV, but it’s worth noting that it’s been over a decade since the winners in this category and Best Dance Video have aligned. The Material Girl’s update of the Saturday Night Fever dance moves might not be considered original enough, and are crumping and parkour, the other two styles of dance featured in the video, really choreographed?

EH: Okay, I could’ve choreographed “Hips Don’t Lie.” Of course hips don’t lie! How can they when all they’re doing is demonstrating the physics of a fulcrum? The step dance in “Touch It Remix” has more choreography than this whole category.

SC: And Shakira’s disembodied hips could’ve choreographed “Buttons”! It’s just sexy walking. But that Nicole Scherzinger—yes, I named one of the Pussycat Dolls, but I had to call Snoop first—is like a bionic stripper. She should win a Moon Man for those indubitable chair tricks alone.

EH: Well there’s some architecturally pleasing poses thrown in with the Cats’ feigned prowling and one-upmanship. The video’s like an episode of Next directed by Bob Fosse.

EG: Did you know that there are as many “hips don’t lie” jokes and references to Orson Welles films in this article as there are Kubrick homages in this year’s lot of nominees?

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS

Angels and Airwaves, “The Adventure”

Beck, “Hell Yes”

Missy Elliott, “We Run This”

Pearl Jam, “Life Wasted” (Should and Will Win)

U2, “Original Of The Species”

EH: There always seems to be a Peter Gabriel video struggling to get out of every Missy Elliot clip. But in a weird twist of fate, Pearl Jam (of all artists) has upstaged Missy’s shtick.

EG: Funny, I thought the Peter Gabriel video was trying to get out of the U2 clip.

SC: And I thought the Peter Gabriel video was rolling its stop-motion eyes, wondering where the fuck the Breakthrough Video category went.

EH: Why wasn’t Beck’s “Hell Yes” nominated for choreography?

SC: It should have been! At the very least, it’s the best video in this category, but it admittedly doesn’t have the best special effects.

BEST ART DIRECTION

10 Years, “Wasteland”

Common, “Testify”

Panic! at the Disco, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Dani California” (Will Win)

Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean, “Hips Don’t Lie” (Should Win)

EH: Does hubris count as art direction? If so, my vote is a tie between Common and the Chili Peppers.

SC: Do little creepy mummy midgets count for art direction? If so, my vote goes to Shakira.

EG: I think Suri Cruise is inside that mummy suit. But seriously, it seems strange that this could be Shakira’s best chance at a victory. The video’s fusion of Latin and Haitian cultural styles is more appealing than Panic! at the Disco’s annoying No Doubt-meets-Deadwood aesthetic, but then there are the RHCP, whose video could sweep.

SC: Yeah, sweep up the trash in the theater after the show.

BEST EDITING

The All-American Rejects, “Move Along” (Should and Will Win)

Angels And Airwaves, “The Adventure”

Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy”

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Dani California”

U2, “Original Of The Species”

EH: Though the rhythms of the quicksilver animation in “Crazy” is seamless…um, just that. There are no seams, hence no edits. Odd nomination for a slate that didn’t make room for a single dance-oriented video. Rihanna’s clip, for one, would’ve brightened this dour category up.

SC: “S.O.S.” should have been nominated for Best Lighting. “Move Along” is the obvious pick here, and it probably should win, but MTV has occasionally been known to go with subtler choices in this category.

EG: I’m tired of picking Red Hot Chili Peppers.

EH: I’m wondering if the same might not be true of the voters. You know, those famous MTV attention-spans and all? Maybe this could tip favor to an even more self-congratulatory group rocking their dotage.

SC: You’re talking about Angels And Airwaves, right?

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

AFI, “Miss Murder”

Ashlee Simpson, “Invisible”

James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful”

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Dani California” (Should and Will Win)

Prince, “Black Sweat”

EH: Prince? Who do the VMAs think they are, the AMAs?

EG: Isn’t it sad that Ashlee Simpson had to cut part of her nose off in order to get a nomination in this category?

EH: Does the nominating committee just take it for granted that “black and white” is congruent with “best”? Simpson’s desecration of Million Dollar Baby, in which the less butch boxette gets the chance to get up from the canvas and finish the job, trashes Clint Eastwood’s carefully coordinated colors schemes (which provide no easy compass for moral alignment) for a video that is black and white in the worst sense of the phrase. RHCP ditch monochrome as a way of signaling progress. As for Prince, the word “ashy” comes to mind.

SC: Okay, fine. RHCP deserve this one, although MTV should take it away from them the following day just because of that Kurt Cobain thing. I would rather have seen them impersonate themselves circa 1994—you know, back when silver body paint was considered a “breakthrough”?

BEST VIDEO GAME SOUNDTRACK

“Final Night Round 3” (Electronic Arts)

“Burnout Revenge” (Electronic Arts) (Will Win)

“NBA 2K6” (2K Games)

“Driver: Parallel Lines” (Atari) (Should Win)

“Mark Ecko’s Getting Up”

EG: Tempted as I was to download these soundtracks, I chose instead to compare their GameSpot scores to determine the victor here. With a scorching 8.8—a 0.4 lead over “Mark Echo’s Getting Up”—this will be “Burnout Revenge”’s award to lose.

EH: I don’t play any other video games aside from The Sims, so I had to turn to Wikipedia to see what songs accompanied these games. “Mark Ecko” has that Nina Simone song other Slant writers can’t get enough of (“Sinnerman”). “Burnout Revenge” has the highest percentage of songs nominated for other VMAs, so it’s got that going for it. But Grandma Henderson dropped the controller long enough to inform me that the soundtrack for the 1978 half of “Driver: Parallel Lines” is, quote, “her jam.”

SC: Red Hot Chili Peppers.

BEST VIDEO GAME SCORE

“Hitman, Blood Money” (Jesper Kyd)

“Ghost Recon, Advanced Warfighter” (Tom Salta)

“Dreamfall, The Longest Journey” (Even “Magnet” Johansen)

“Elder Scrolls IV, Oblivion” (Jeremy Soule) (Should Win)

“Electroplankton” (User Generated Soundtrack) (Will Win)

EG: It’s tempting to pick “Electroplankton” given its ostensibly innovative music-based construction, but gamers seem to appreciate it more as an application than a game. “Oblivion” could win since it’s supposed to be one of the best RPGs ever made.

EH: Hey, I’ve played “Electroplankton”! Man, my soundtrack to that game was fantastic. Give me the award.

SC: Beep. Beep. Boop. Bop. Beep. Blip. Boink. Geek.

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Awards

2019 Oscar Nomination Predictions

How has Oscar royally screwed things up this year? Let us count the ways.

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Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

How has Oscar royally screwed things up this year? Let us count the ways. The hastily introduced and unceremoniously tabled (for now) “best popular film” Oscar. The impending commercial-break ghettoization of such categories as best cinematography and best film editing, but most certainly not best song and best animated feature. The abortive attempts to unveil Kevin Hart as the host not once, but twice, stymied by the online backlash over years-old anti-gay Twitter jokes and leading AMPAS to opt for George Glass as this year’s master of ceremonies. The strong-arming of its own membership to deter rank-and-file superstars from attending competing precursor award shows. If these end up being the last Oscars ever, and it’s starting to feel as though it should be, what a way to go out, right? Like the floating island of plastic in the Pacific, the cultural and political detritus of Oscar season has spread far beyond any previous rational estimates and will almost certainly outlive our functional presence on this planet. And really, when you think about it, what’s worse: The extinction of mankind or Bohemian Rhapsody winning the best picture Oscar? In that spirit, we press on.

Picture

Vice

There will be plenty of time, too much time, to go deep on the many ways Green Book reveals the flawed soul of your average, aged white liberal in America circa 2019. For now, let’s just admit that it’s as sure a nominee as The Favourite, Roma, and A Star Is Born. (There’s snackable irony in the fact that a movie called The Front Runner became very much not an Oscar front runner in a year that doesn’t appear to have a solid front runner.) And even though few seem to be predicting it for an actual win here, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman has an almost spotless precursor track record, showing up almost across the board among the guilds. Predicting this category would’ve been easy enough when Oscar limited it to five films, but it’s strangely almost as easy this year to see where the line will cut off between five and 10. Adam McKay’s Vice may be without shame, but you don’t have to strain hard to see how people could mistake it for the film of the moment. Bohemian Rhapsody is certainly lacking in merit, but, much like our comrade in chief, Oscar has never been more desperate for people to like and respect him, and a hit is a hit. Except when it’s a Marvel movie, which is why Black Panther stands precariously on the category’s line of cutoff, despite the rabid enthusiasm from certain corners that will likely be enough to push it through.

Will Be Nominated: BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, and Vice

Closest Runners-Up: If Beale Street Could Talk and A Quiet Place

Should Be Nominated: BlacKkKlansman, Burning, First Reformed, Let the Sunshine In, and Zama

Best Director

Yorgos Lanthimos

Everyone can agree that Bohemian Rhapsody will be one of the best picture contenders that doesn’t get a corresponding best director nomination, but virtually all the other nominees we’re predicting have a shot. Including Peter-flashing Farrelly, whose predictably unsubtle work on Green Book (or, Don and Dumber) netted him a widely derided DGA nomination. The outrage over Farrelly’s presence there took some of the heat off Vice’s Adam McKay, but if any DGA contender is going to swap out in favor of Yorgos Lanthimos (for BAFTA favorite The Favourite), it seems likely to be McKay. As Mark Harris has pointed out, Green Book is cruising through this awards season in a lane of its own, a persistently well-liked, well-meaning, unchallenging throwback whose defiant fans are clearly in a fighting mood.

Will Be Nominated: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), and Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)

Closest Runners-Up: Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk), and Adam McKay (Vice)

Should Be Nominated: Lee Chang-dong (Burning), Claire Denis (Let the Sunshine In), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Lucrecia Martel (Zama), and Paul Schrader (First Reformed)

Best Actress

Yalitza Aparicio

Had Fox Searchlight reversed their category-fraud strategizing and flipped The Favourite’s Olivia Coleman into supporting and Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone into lead, the five best actress slots would arguably have been locked down weeks, if not months, ago, unless Fox’s bet-hedging intuits some form of industry resistance to double female-led propositions. As it stands, there are four locks that hardly need mention and a slew of candidates on basically equal footing. Hereditary’s Toni Collette has become shrieking awards show junkies’ cause célèbre this year, though she actually has the critic awards haul to back them up, having won more of the regional prizes than anyone else. The same demographic backing Collette gave up hope long ago on Viola Davis being able to survive the Widows collapse, and yet there by the grace of BAFTA does she live on to fight another round. Elsie Fisher’s palpable awkwardness in Eighth Grade and winning awkwardness navigating the Hollywood circuit have earned her an almost protective backing. But we’re going out on a limb and calling it for the rapturously received Roma’s Yalitza Aparicio. Voters could, like us, find it not a particularly great performance and still parlay their good will for her into a nomination that’s there for the taking.

Will Be Nominated: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), and Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Closest Runners-Up: Toni Collette (Hereditary), Viola Davis (Widows), and Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)

Should Be Nominated: Juliette Binoche (Let the Sunshine In), Toni Collette (Hereditary), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Regina Hall (Support the Girls), and Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Actor

John David Washington

Take Toni Collette’s trophies thus far in the competition and double them. And then add a few more. That’s the magnitude of endorsements backing First Reformed’s Ethan Hawke. And his trajectory has the clear markings of an almost overqualified performance that, like Naomi Watts’s in Mulholland Drive, cinephiles decades from now will wonder how Oscar snubbed. If Pastor Ernst Toller and Sasha Stone are right and God is indeed watching us all and cares what the Academy Awards do, Hawke’s nomination will come at the expense of John David Washington, whose strength in the precursors thus far (SAG and Globe-nominated) is maybe the most notable bellwether of BlacKkKlansman’s overall strength. Because, as with the best actress category, the other four slots are basically preordained. Unlike with best actress, the bench of also-rans appears to be one solitary soul. A fitting place for Paul Schrader’s man against the world.

Will Be Nominated: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), and John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

Closest Runners-Up: Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)

Should Be Nominated: Yoo Ah-in (Burning), Ben Foster (Leave No Trace), Ethan Hawke (First Reformed), Meinhard Neumann (Western), and John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

Supporting Actress

Emily Blunt

Every Oscar prognosticator worth their bragging rights has spent the last couple weeks conspicuously rubbing their hands together about Regina King’s chances. The all-or-nothing volley that’s seen her sweep the critics’ awards and win the Golden Globe, and at the same time not even get nominations from within the industry—she was left off the ballot by both SAG and the BAFTAs—are narrative disruptions among a class that lives for narratives and dies of incorrect predictions. But despite the kvetching, King is as safe as anyone for a nomination in this category. It doesn’t hurt that, outside the pair of lead actresses from The Favourite, almost everyone else in the running this year feels like a 7th- or 8th-place also-ran. Except maybe Widows’s Elizabeth Debicki, whose fervent fans probably number just enough to land her…in 7th or 8th place. Vice’s Amy Adams is set to reach the Glenn Close club with her sixth Oscar nomination, and if she’d only managed to sustain the same loopy energy she brings to Lynne Cheney’s campaign-trail promise to keep her bra on, she’d deserve it. Which leaves a slot for supportive housewives Claire Foy, Nicole Kidman, and Emily Blunt. Even before the collapse of Mary Poppins Returns, we preferred Blunt’s chances in A Quiet Place.

Will Be Nominated: Amy Adams (Vice), Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), and Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Closest Runners-Up: Claire Foy (First Man), Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased), and Margot Robbie (Mary, Queen of Scots)

Should Be Nominated: Sakura Ando (Shoplifters), Zoe Kazan (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Rachel McAdams (Disobedience), and Haley Lu Richardson (Support the Girls)

Supporting Actor

Timothée Chalamet

The same people who’re curiously doubting Regina King’s nomination chances seem awfully assured that Sam Elliott’s moist-eyed, clearly canonical backing-the-truck-up scene in A Star Is Born assures him not only a nomination but probably the win. Elliott missed nominations with both the Golden Globes and BAFTA, and it was hard not to notice just how enthusiasm for A Star Is Born seemed to be cooling during the same period Oscar ballots were in circulation. Right around the same time, it started becoming apparent that BlacKkKlansman is a stronger draw than anyone thought, which means Adam Driver (who everyone was already predicting for a nod) won’t have to suffer the representationally awkward fate of being the film’s only nominee. Otherwise, the category appears to favor previously awarded actors (Mahershala Ali and Sam Rockwell) or should have been previously awarded actors (Chalamet). Leaving Michael B. Jordan to remain a should have been previously nominated actor.

Will Be Nominated: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), and Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Closest Runners-Up: Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born) and Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)

Should Be Nominated: Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Hugh Grant (Paddington 2); Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), and Steven Yeun (Burning)

Adapted Screenplay

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Get beyond the best picture hopefuls BlacKkKlansman and If Beale Street Could Talk, which seem deservedly locked, and A Star Is Born, which is even more deservedly iffy, and you’ll see the screenwriters’ branch deciding just how seriously to take themselves this year, and whether they’re feeling like spiritually reliving the moments that found them nominating Bridesmaids and Logan. If so, then expect Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther to factor in here. If they most definitely don’t feel frisky, then maybe the foursquare First Man has a shot at reversing its overall downward trajectory. If they’re seeking that “just right” middle ground, then Can You Ever Forgive Me? and The Death of Stalin are in.

Will Be Nominated: BlacKkKlansman, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, The Death of Stalin, If Beale Street Could Talk, and A Star Is Born

Closest Runners-Up: Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and First Man

Should Be Nominated: BlacKkKlansman, First Man, Leave No Trace, The Grief of Others, and We the Animals

Original Screenplay

First Reformed

It’s not unusual for some of the year’s most acclaimed movies whose strength isn’t necessarily in their scripts to get nominated only in the screenwriting categories. First Reformed, which even some of its fiercest defenders admit can sometimes feel a bit like Paul Schrader’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” greatest-hits package, stands to be another of them. But it’ll be a close call, given the number of other equally vanguard options they’ll be weighing it against, like Sorry to Bother You, which arguably feels more urgently in the moment in form, Eighth Grade, which is more empathetically post-#MeToo, and even Cold War, which had a surprisingly strong showing with BAFTA. Given the quartet of assured best picture contenders in the mix, First Reformed is going to have to hold off all of them.

Will Be Nominated: The Favourite, First Reformed, Green Book, Roma, and Vice

Closest Runners-Up: Cold War, Eighth Grade, and Sorry to Bother You

Should Be Nominated: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Bodied, First Reformed, Sorry to Bother You, and Western

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Awards

2018 Tony Nominations: Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical Lead, Followed by Angels in America

The Tony nominations were announced Tuesday morning, with Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants: the Musical leading the way with 12 nominations.

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2018 Tony Nominations: Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical Lead, Followed by Angels in America
Photo: Helen Maybanks

Nominations for the 72nd Tony Awards were announced this morning by Katharine McPhee and Leslie Odom Jr. Leading the pack with 12 nominations each is Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, followed by The Band’s Visit, Angels in America, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel, all three with 11. And with 10 nominations is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two and the revival of My Fair Lady. The awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 10 on CBS.

See below for a full list of the nominations.

Best Book of a Musical
The Band’s Visit, Itamar Moses
Frozen, Jennifer Lee
Mean Girls, Tina Fey
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, Kyle Jarrow

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Angels in America, Music: Adrian Sutton
The Band’s Visit, Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek
Frozen, Music & Lyrics: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Mean Girls, Music: Jeff Richmond, Lyrics: Nell Benjamin
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, Music & Lyrics: Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper & Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! at the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani & Lil’C

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
Tom Hollander, Travesties
Jamie Parker, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Mark Rylance, Farinelli and The King
Denzel Washington, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Glenda Jackson, Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women
Condola Rashad, Saint Joan
Lauren Ridloff, Children of a Lesser God
Amy Schumer, Meteor Shower

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Tony Shalhoub, The Band’s Visit
Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Lauren Ambrose, My Fair Lady
Hailey Kilgore, Once On This Island
LaChanze, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Katrina Lenk, The Band’s Visit
Taylor Louderman, Mean Girls
Jessie Mueller, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Michael Cera, Lobby Hero
Brian Tyree Henry, Lobby Hero
Nathan Lane, Angels in America
David Morse, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Susan Brown, Angels in America
Noma Dumezweni, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Deborah Findlay, The Children
Denise Gough, Angels in America
Laurie Metcalf, Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady
Alexander Gemignani, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Grey Henson, Mean Girls
Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Ari’el Stachel, The Band’s Visit

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Ariana DeBose, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Renée Fleming, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Lindsay Mendez, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Ashley Park, Mean Girls
Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women
Jonathan Fensom, Farinelli and The King
Christine Jones, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Santo Loquasto, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh
Ian MacNeil and Edward Pierce, Angels in America

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Dane Laffrey, Once On This Island
Scott Pask, The Band’s Visit
Scott Pask, Finn Ross & Adam Young, Mean Girls
Michael Yeargan, My Fair Lady
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jonathan Fensom, Farinelli and The King
Nicky Gillibrand, Angels in America
Katrina Lindsay, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Ann Roth, Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women
Ann Roth, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Mean Girls
Clint Ramos, Once On This Island
Ann Roth, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Paule Constable, Angels in America
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh
Paul Russell, Farinelli and The King
Ben Stanton, Junk

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Once On This Island
Donald Holder, My Fair Lady
Brian MacDevitt, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Tyler Micoleau, The Band’s Visit

Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, Travesties
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Angels in America
Gareth Fry, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Tom Gibbons, 1984
Dan Moses Schreier, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Kai Harada, The Band’s Visit
Peter Hylenski, Once On This Island
Scott Lehrer, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Brian Ronan, Mean Girls
Walter Trarbach and Mike Dobson, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott, Angels in America
Joe Mantello, Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women
Patrick Marber, Travesties
John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
George C. Wolfe, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh

Best Direction of a Musical
Michael Arden, Once On This Island
David Cromer, The Band’s Visit
Tina Landau, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady

Best Choreography
Christopher Gattelli, My Fair Lady
Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Steven Hoggett, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
Justin Peck, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel

Best Orchestrations
John Clancy, Mean Girls
Tom Kitt, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
AnnMarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin, Once On This Island
Jamshied Sharifi, The Band’s Visit
Jonathan Tunick, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel

Best Play
The Children, Author: Lucy Kirkwood
Farinelli and The King, Author: Claire van Kampen
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, Author: Jack Thorne
Junk, Author: Ayad Akhtar
Latin History for Morons, Author: John Leguizamo

Best Musical
The Band’s Visit
Frozen
Mean Girls
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Revival of a Play
Angels in America
Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women
Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh
Lobby Hero
Travesties

Best Revival of a Musical
My Fair Lady
Once On This Island
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Chita Rivera
Andrew Lloyd Webber

Special Tony Awards
John Leguizamo
Bruce Springsteen

Regional Theatre Tony Award
La MaMa E.T.C. New York City

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
Nick Scandalios

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Sara Krulwich
Bessie Nelson
Ernest Winzer Cleaners

Tony Nominations by Production
Mean Girls – 12
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical – 12
Angels in America – 11
The Band’s Visit – 11
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel – 11
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two – 10
My Fair Lady – 10
Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh – 8
Once On This Island – 8
Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women – 6
Farinelli and The King – 5
Travesties – 4
Frozen – 3
Lobby Hero – 3
The Children – 2
Junk – 2
Summer: The Donna Summer Musical – 2
Children of a Lesser God – 1
Latin History for Morons – 1
Meteor Shower – 1
1984 – 1
Saint Joan – 1

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Awards

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions

This is a complete list of our predicted winners at the 2018 Academy Awards with links to individual articles.

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

This is a complete list of our predicted winners at the 2018 Academy Awards with links to individual articles.

Picture: Get Out
Director: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Actor: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Original Screenplay: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Adapted Screenplay: Call Me by Your Name
Foreign Language: A Fantastic Woman
Documentary Feature: Icarus
Animated Feature Film: Coco
Documentary Short: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Animated Short: Revolting Rhymes
Live Action Short: The Eleven O’Clock
Film Editing: Dunkirk
Production Design: The Shape of Water
Cinematography: The Shape of Water
Costume Design: Phantom Thread
Makeup and Hairstyling: Darkest Hour
Score: The Shape of Water
Song: “Remember Me,” Coco
Sound Editing: Dunkirk
Sound Mixing: Dunkirk
Visual Effects: War for the Planet of the Apes

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