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2015 Oscar Nomination Predictions



2015 Oscar Nomination Predictions

The critics have spoken. The guilds have spoken. The Golden Globes have spoken. And here we are feeling the ennui of another three months’ worth of Mondays weighing unusually heavy this year, though it really shouldn’t be. Not all Oscar seasons boast presumptive frontrunners as stubbornly unique and personal as Boyhood or The Grand Budapest Hotel, both of which seem at this point like they would’ve cracked the lineup even in the old (and correct) days of five-deep best picture slates we’ll be telling our grandchildren about. Not all Oscar seasons are gifted by the original, cantankerous spirit of the National Society of Film Critics, which is to say the spirit of the group as it was initially conceived, as a staunch, vanguard opponent to staid groupthink. (Try to ignore the remaining instances of “ditto” among their roster of winners and savor everyone flipping their shit over Godard’s surprise victory.) So why aren’t we in a better mood than usual? Probably because we’ve seen it all go south in so many horrifying ways time and time again, and thus this year’s left us feeling a bit like the Witch staring down the “Last Midnight.” Oscars aren’t good, they’re not bad, they’re just nice. We’re not nice, we’re the hitch, and we’re definitely right.



The recent BAFTA nominations certainly offered a sobering reminder of what Oscar races always seem to do at this point in the season when Dumb and Dumber To—The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game—raced to the front of the pack with a downright hostile 10 and nine nominations, respectively. While neither are necessarily the worst biopics to pollute Oscar races in recent years, their endurance throughout the season testifies to a reflexive syndrome among a certain strain of awards-show voters, one sent up nicely by Nick Pinkerton in Film Comment: “These sorts of movies are popular for the same reason that fat tomes of historical fiction by the likes of James Clavell, James A. Michener, and Leon Uris used to be the only fiction that you’d find in houses otherwise devoid of books: there is a significant segment of the American public that thinks this business of making characters and stories up out of thin air is a little suspicious and possibly effeminate.”

In that sense, the only silver lining is that these two films are going to face off against The Grand Budapest Hotel, one of the most delightfully effeminate arguments on behalf of making stories up out of thin air, and Birdman, one of the most suspicious. Those four plus Boyhood would’ve made for a five-slot best picture race virtually anyone could’ve predicted, especially since the controversy erupting over Selma has gone to prove that, yes, people think it’s fine to make stories up out of thin air about certain real people (gay Brits) and not others (LBJ).

Selma remains a safe bet for a nomination, though, since the Academy has yet to prove to us that their current system won’t always result in nine nominations. Whiplash will probably slip into the lineup despite its pitiful box office, and Gone Girl because of its robust one. (Among comparable hits, Unbroken would have to survive its luke-cold reviews, and Into the Woods Oscar’s recent aversion to musicals in the main drag.) While American Sniper seems just square enough to round out the category, for the final slot, we prefer the chances of Nightcrawler, a ridiculous but undeniably beloved late-emerging sleeper. If there’s any movie in the race that’s got word-of-mouth heat behind it, it’s that one.

Will Be Nominated: Birdman, Boyhood, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Nightcrawler, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash

Closest Runners-Up: American Sniper, Into the Woods, Mr. Turner


Ava DuVernay

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Richard Linklater, and Wes Anderson have all been nominated for either directing or screenwriting Oscars, but not both. This year should change that, and those three are without a doubt the frontrunners in this race. The remaining slots are basically a free for all among at least a half dozen other hopefuls, including contenders you can truly never count out with this branch no matter how well their movies were or weren’t received—namely Mike Leigh and David Fincher. But given González Iñárritu alone hogged up just about all the baton-twirling, firecracker-tossing directorly acrobatics this category can typically handle, odds seem good that the last two slots will break more toward the Tom Hooper side of the fence. (Sorry, Damien Chazelle and Dan Gilroy.) For directing The Imitation Game with maximum taste and minimum personality, Morton Tyldum fits that profile to the letter. And the fact that she’s been forced to answer for her choices more overtly than any other director out there this year means that Selma’s Ana DuVernay is consistently on the forefront of voter’s minds.

Will Be Nominated: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman; Richard Linklater, Boyhood; Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel; Morton Tyldum, The Imitation Game; Ava DuVernay, Selma

Closest Runners-Up: Clint Eastwood, American Sniper; David Fincher, Gone Girl, Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner; Damien Chazelle Whiplash


Marion Cotillard

Let’s get one thing clear. This category doesn’t want for legitimate contenders. But to see it described at any given Oscar-prognostication station, Oscar voters are going to have to bend over backward not to include this year’s critical darling: Marion Cotillard. The former winner’s biggest hurdle isn’t that she has two completely acclaimed performances to choose from (buzz seems to have broken decidedly toward her performance in Two Days, One Night over her role in The Immigrant), or that it’s difficult to imagine this category—which found room for a Michel Haneke headliner two years ago—including a performance from a film by the Dardennes. Nope, Cotillard’s biggest threat remains this particular category’s notable resistance toward taking anything other than the easy road, embodied this year by not just Julianne Moore’s ever-reliable cry face, but even more so by Felicity Jones, whose role as Mrs. Stephen Hawking almost single-handedly turned “Supportive Wife” into this year’s “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” But even we’re hard pressed to say anything happens completely by default, so consider this our one moment of reckless optimism.

Will Be Nominated: Jennifer Aniston, Cake; Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night; Julianne Moore, Still Alice; Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Closest Runners-Up: Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything


Jake Gyllenhaal

Now here’s a category that’s legitimately more historically open to at least comparatively risky nominations. So even though there are no fewer than three slots that seem all but rubber-stamped on behalf of biopics (as Pinkerton said, these films almost always “perform well with awards tribunals, particularly in those hard-to-quantify acting categories”), and even possibly a fourth slot depending on how much you’re willing to give in to Birdman’s meta antics surrounding Michael Keaton’s career, there’s every reason in the world to think that fifth slot isn’t going to be lazily filled by Steve Carell’s putty nose. Being a comedian in a “transformative” role didn’t work for Jim Carrey, and the satisfying implosion of the cold and pretentious Foxcatcher’s overall award hopes won’t exactly help Carell out here either. Timothy Spall’s brilliant central performance in Mr. Turner (technically a, gulp, biopic) should’ve been a lock, and one would’ve hoped the momentum behind The Grand Budapest Hotel would’ve made Ralph Fiennes’s charming turn another. But all signs point toward Jake Gyllenhaal’s scary-funny media parasite in Nightcrawler—who manages to make you forget he lost all that weight instead of drawing constant attention to it, Dallas Buyers Club style—cashing this check.

Will Be Nominated: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler; Michael Keaton, Birdman; David Oyelowo, Selma; Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Closest Runners-Up: Steve Carell, Foxcatcher, Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner


Jessica Chastain

It’s legitimately tough to remember the last time the supporting categories haven’t been a nonstop tag-team rampage, with two people winning literally everything in sight. Well, actually that’s not entirely true, since this year saw Patricia Arquette actually failing to pick up a supporting actress award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association…because they instead opted to promote her to best actress instead. Maybe the unintended effect of having such obvious winners-elect is that voters are too distracted to cast their nets wide. (Or maybe the nature of the beast is that they never do.) In any case, neither race seems ripe for surprise; there’s really no other explanation for Keira Knightley’s unblemished run of nominations (SAG, BAFTA, Globes) for giving a performance that makes Felicity Jones’S interpretation of wallpaper look nuanced. But at least on the distaff side of things, it’s at least plausible to imagine a few last-minute twists to business as usual: Rene Russo, Tilda Swinton, or maybe even Ida’s Agata Kulesza.

Will Be Nominated: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year; Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game; Emma Stone, Birdman; Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Closest Runners-Up: Rene Russo, Nightcrawler, Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer


Mark Ruffalo

Beyond the trio of J.K. Simmons, Ethan Hawke, and Edward Norton lies the clear borderline of enthusiasm in this already closed race. Mark Ruffalo looks to be the only one emerging from Foxcatcher unscathed, in part because he’s the only one who got to play a human being. That leaves two veterans duking it out for the last slot, both representing movies that aren’t exactly beloved across the board. Josh Brolin gobbling pot and mouth-harassing a frozen banana in Inherent Vice are among the year’s foremost highlights, but most of his best scenes occur long after one imagines most voters will have already tuned out. Expect Robert Duvall’s Crash-y performance in The Judge to turn that movie into the unequivocal worst to earn a nod in the top eight categories.

Will Be Nominated: Robert Duvall, The Judge; Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; Edward Norton, Birdman; Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher; J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Closest Runners-Up: Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice


Mr. Turner

While it still seems likely that Selma will stave off total meltdown in a number of categories, this category looks to be one of its high-profile misses. As I saw someone point out on a message board, it’s not that the liberties the script takes with history are an insurmountable debit, but rather that the movie itself falls into a dead zone. It’s either the edgiest square contender of the year, or the safest hip contender, and neither position is likely to earn it many first-place votes. And if there’s any Oscar category where edgy trumps staid, it’s this one. So, in addition to the unavoidable trio of Birdman, Boyhood, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, expect this to be another tic in Nightcrawler’s column. And because Mike Leigh managed to show up here even when all of eight people saw Another Year in theaters, expect him to do the same with Mr. Turner.

Will Be Nominated: Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mr. Turner, Nightcrawler

Closest Runners-Up: Ida, A Most Violent Year, Selma


Inherent Vice

Whiplash would’ve been nominated regardless of whether it had been categorized as original (which it almost certainly is) or adapted (which is what the Academy says it is). Happily for Damien Chazelle, he looks a lot more likely for a win over here than he would’ve facing off against Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater. Beyond that and the compulsory nod for The Imitation Game, guessing the remaining nominees in this category is probably the biggest crapshoot among any of the majors. Gone Girl knee-jerked enough think pieces out of defensive menfolk to make it a likely bet, and we’re betting there are enough writers impressed by Paul Thomas Anderson wrestling with Pynchon to earn Inherent Vice at least this one nod. As for that last slot? Take your pick from dreary, drearier, and dreariest.

Will Be Nominated: American Sniper, Gone Girl, The Imitation Game, Inherent Vice, Whiplash

Closest Runners-Up: The Theory of Everything, Unbroken, Wild



Oscars 2019: Complete Winners List

The 91st Academy Awards are now behind us, and the telecast told us just about nothing that we don’t already know about AMPAS.



Green Book
Photo: Universal Pictures

The 91st Academy Awards are now behind us, and the telecast told us just about nothing that we don’t already know about AMPAS. Which isn’t to say that the ceremony wasn’t without its surprises. For one, whoever decided to capture Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s performance of “Shallow” from A Star Is Born in one single take that would end with the pair sitting side by side, rapt in each other and framed in Bergman-esque repose, should hereby be responsible for every Oscar ceremony moving forward.

For some, though not us, Green Book’s victory for best picture came as surprise. As our own Eric Henderson put it in his prediction: “Those attacking the film from every conceivable angle have also ignored the one that matters to most people: the pleasure principle. Can anyone blame Hollywood for getting its back up on behalf of a laughably old-fashioned but seamlessly mounted road movie-cum-buddy pic that reassures people that the world they’re leaving is better than the one they found? That’s, as they say, the future that liberals and Oscar want.”

In the end, the awards went down more or less as expected, with the only real shock of the evening being Oliva Colman’s stunning upset over Glenn Close in the best actress race. (Glenn, we hope you are on the phone right now trying to get that Sunset Boulevard remake to finally happen.) Black Panther proved more indomitable than expected, winning in three categories (none of which we predicted), and Free Solo pulling a victory over RBG that was the first big sign of the evening that, then and now, AMPAS members vote above all else with their guts.

See below for the full list of winners from the 2019 Oscars.

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book (WINNER)
A Star Is Born

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma (WINNER)
Adam McKay, Vice

Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (WINNER)
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

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

Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Green Book (WINNER)
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (WINNER)
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Adapted Screenplay
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee (WINNER)
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins
A Star Is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters

Original Screenplay
The Favourite, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
First Reformed, Paul Schrader
Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter Farrelly (WINNER)
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
Vice, Adam McKay

Foreign Language Film
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico) (WINNER)
Shoplifters (Japan)

Documentary Feature
Free Solo, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (WINNER)
Hale County This Morning, This Evening, RaMell Ross
Minding the Gap, Bing Liu
Of Fathers and Sons, Talal Derki
RBG, Betsy West and Julie Cohen

Animated Feature
Incredibles 2, Brad Bird
Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson
Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda
Ralph Breaks the Internet, Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman (WINNER)

Cold War, Lukasz Zal
The Favourite, Robbie Ryan
Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón (WINNER)
A Star Is Born, Matthew Libatique

Film Editing
BlacKkKlansman, Barry Alexander Brown
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Ottman (WINNER)
Green Book, Patrick J. Don Vito
The Favourite, Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Vice, Hank Corwin

Production Design
Black Panther, Hannah Beachler (WINNER)
First Man, Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas
The Favourite, Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton
Mary Poppins Returns, John Myhre and Gordon Sim
Roma, Eugenio Caballero and Bárbara Enrı́quez

Original Score
BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard
Black Panther, Ludwig Goransson (WINNER)
If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman

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

Costume Design
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Mary Zophres
Black Panther, Ruth E. Carter (WINNER)
The Favourite, Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns, Sandy Powell
Mary Queen of Scots, Alexandra Byrne

Visual Effects
Avengers: Infinity War, Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, and Daniel Sudick
Christopher Robin, Chris Lawrence, Mike Eames, Theo Jones, and Chris Corbould
First Man, Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles, and J.D. Schwalm (WINNER)
Ready Player One, Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler, and David Shirk
Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, and Dominic Tuohy

Sound Mixing
Black Panther, Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor, and Peter Devlin
Bohemian Rhapsody, Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin, and John Casali (WINNER)
First Man, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee, and Mary H. Ellis
Roma, Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan, and José Antonio García
A Star Is Born, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder, and Steve Morrow

Sound Editing
Black Panther, Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Warhurst (WINNER)
First Man, Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
A Quiet Place, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
Roma, Sergio Diaz and Skip Lievsay

Makeup and Hairstyling
Border, Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer
Mary Queen of Scots, Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher, and Jessica Brooks
Vice, Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, and Patricia Dehaney (WINNER)

Live Action Short Film
Detainment, Vincent Lambe
Fauve, Jeremy Comte
Marguerite, Marianne Farley
Mother, Rodrigo Sorogoyen
Skin, Guy Nattiv (WINNER)

Documentary Short Subject
Black Sheep, Ed Perkins
End Game, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Lifeboat, Skye Fitzgerald
A Night at the Garden, Marshall Curry
Period. End of Sentence., Rayka Zehtabchi (WINNER)

Animated Short
Animal Behaviour, Alison Snowden and David Fine
Bao, Domee Shi (WINNER)
Late Afternoon, Louise Bagnall
One Small Step, Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas
Weekends, Trevor Jimenez

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Oscars 2019: Who Will Win? Who Should Win? Our Final Predictions

No one is okay with the Academy Awards the way they are, and everyone seems sure that they know how to fix them.



Photo: Netflix

No one is okay with the Academy Awards the way they are, and everyone seems sure that they know how to fix them. Cut out the montages, bring back honorary award presentations, give stunt performers their own category, let ranked-choice voting determine every category and not just best picture, overhaul the membership ranks, hold the event before the guilds spoil the surprise, find a host with the magic demographic-spanning mojo necessary to double the show’s recent audience pools, nominate bigger hits, nominate only hits. Across the last 24 days, Ed Gonzalez and I have mulled over the academy’s existential crisis and how it’s polluted this year’s Oscar race so thoroughly that it feels eerily similar to the 2016 election cycle all over again. We’re spent, and while we don’t know if we have it in us to do this next year, we just might give it another go if Oscar proves us wrong on Sunday in more than just one category.

Below are our final Oscar predictions. Want more? Click on the individual articles for our justifications and more, including who we think should win in all 24 categories.

Picture: Green Book
Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Actor: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Actress: Glenn Close, The Wife
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Original Screenplay: Green Book
Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman
Foreign Language: Roma
Documentary Feature: RBG
Animated Feature Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Documentary Short: Period. End of Sentence
Animated Short: Weekends
Live Action Short: Skin
Film Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Production Design: The Favourite
Cinematography: Cold War
Costume Design: The Favourite
Makeup and Hairstyling: Vice
Score: If Beale Street Could Talk
Song: “Shallow,” A Star Is Born
Sound Editing: First Man
Sound Mixing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Visual Effects: First Man

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Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Picture

The industry’s existential crisis has polluted this race so thoroughly that it feels eerily similar to the 2016 election cycle all over again.



Green Book
Photo: Universal Pictures

“I’m hyperventilating a little. If I fall over pick me up because I’ve got something to say,” deadpanned Frances McDormand upon winning her best actress Oscar last year. From her lips to Hollywood’s ears. No one is okay with the Academy Awards the way they are, and everyone seems sure that they know how to fix them. Cut out the montages, bring back honorary award presentations, give stunt performers their own category, let ranked-choice voting determine every category and not just best picture, overhaul the membership ranks, hold the event before the guilds spoil the surprise, find a host with the magic demographic-spanning mojo necessary to double the show’s recent audience pools, nominate bigger hits, nominate only hits.

But first, as McDormand herself called for during her speech, “a moment of perspective.” A crop of articles have popped up over the last two weeks looking back at the brutal showdown between Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare In Love at the 1999 Academy Awards, when Harvey Weinstein was at the height of his nefarious powers. Every retrospective piece accepts as common wisdom that it was probably the most obnoxious awards season in history, one that indeed set the stage for every grinding assault we’ve paid witness to ever since. But did anyone two decades ago have to endure dozens of weekly Oscar podcasters and hundreds of underpaid web writers musing, “What do the Academy Awards want to be moving forward, exactly? Who should voters represent in this fractured media environment, exactly?” How much whiskey we can safely use to wash down our Lexapro, exactly?

Amid the fox-in-a-henhouse milieu of ceaseless moral outrage serving as this awards season’s backdrop, and amid the self-obsessed entertainers now wrestling with the idea that they now have to be “content providers,” all anyone seems concerned about is what an Oscar means in the future, and whether next year’s versions of Black Panther and Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody have a seat at the table. What everyone’s forgetting is what the Oscars have always been. In other words, the industry’s existential crisis has polluted this race so thoroughly that it feels eerily similar to the 2016 election cycle all over again, and Oscar’s clearly splintered voting blocs may become ground zero for a Make the Academy Great Again watershed.

In 1956, the Oscars took a turn toward small, quotidian, neo-realish movies, awarding Marty the top prize. The correction was swift and sure the following year, with a full slate of elephantine epics underlining the movie industry’s intimidation at the new threat of television. Moonlight’s shocking triumph two years ago was similarly answered by the safe, whimsical The Shape of Water, a choice that reaffirmed the academy’s commitment to politically innocuous liberalism in artistically conservative digs. Call us cynical, but we know which of the last couple go-arounds feels like the real academy. Which is why so many are banking on the formally dazzling humanism of Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and so few on the vital, merciless fury of Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.

And even if we give the benefit of the doubt to the academy’s new members, there’s that righteous, reactionary fervor in the air against those attempting to “cancel” Green Book. Those attacking the film from every conceivable angle have also ignored the one that matters to most people: the pleasure principle. Can anyone blame Hollywood for getting its back up on behalf of a laughably old-fashioned but seamlessly mounted road movie-cum-buddy pic that reassures people that the world they’re leaving is better than the one they found? That’s, as they say, the future that liberals and Oscar want.

Will Win: Green Book

Could Win: Roma or BlacKkKlansman

Should Win: BlacKkKlansman

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