Annie, are you okay? The Annie Awards, which are handed out by animators to animators, gave what by almost any measure is the most highly-regarded film of the year (animated or otherwise) the cold shoulder, instead showering the cute-but-no-cigar Kung-Fu Panda with a record-setting haul. Sorta makes you wonder whether animators might be a tad tired of hearing the standard mantra people tend to repeat whenever a new Pixar movie is released: “It’s more than just a cartoon.” That, or they really are just a bunch of furries that have lucked into a harmonious vocation. I’ve heard a few people explain WALL-E’s Annie shutout is testament to animators’ affinity for traditional cartoon-character renderings, that it’s far more difficult for animators to get excited about what registers as cinematic to your average layman film-fan. Thus, they can naturally be expected to endorse Panda’s motley selection from the animal kingdom over WALL-E’s movie-movie pleasures (WALL-E dipping his metal claw into a streak of stardust). Never mind. Oscar voters are strictly fans when it comes to this category, and with Waltz with Bashir and its tempting political pull out of the running in favor of the potentially vote-splitting traditional character animation of Bolt, WALL-E won’t be going home empty-clawed here.
Will Win: WALL-E
Should Win: WALL-E
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Costume Design
Honestly, we’re so gobsmacked by AMPAS’s skullduggery that we can’t even see what’s right in front of us.
In less than a week, AMPAS has successfully stoked the anger of just about every creative in Hollywood, and perhaps sensing a widespread boycott of the Oscar telecast in response to the banishment of four awards to commercial breaks, the academy has now “clarified” its latest attempt to reboot the Oscars for the TL;DR generation. Yesterday, in a letter signed by the academy’s board of governors—which includes president, director of photography, and hater of cinematography John Bailey—members were assured that the four winning speeches will in fact be included in the broadcast, but with all the walking and talking that it takes to announce the winners edited out. Also, those four categories may or may not be given the short shrift in 2020, as apparently there’s a “rotation” system in place that will, I guess, leave the door open for us to not see Lady Gaga walk on stage next year to accept the best actress award for her performance accepting the Golden Globe this year for “Shallow.”
Honestly, we’re so gobsmacked by AMPAS’s skullduggery that we can’t even see what’s right in front of us. Case in point: When I sat down to write this article, I thought this award was going to be a slam dunk for Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody, but as it turns out, the film isn’t even nominated for its costumes. Because sanity prevailed when voters decided they didn’t find any kind of magic in Brian May pulling out his old Queen outfits for the making of Bryan Singer’s film, maybe it will prevail again and AMPAS will take the Oscars off its planned keto diet. And if it doesn’t, we’ll take some solace in three-time Oscar winner Sandy Powell—who for the third time in her career has been nominated twice in the same year—collecting this award for her gloriously ostentatious, stitch-perfect garbs for The Favourite.
Will Win: The Favourite
Could Win: Black Panther
Should Win: The Favourite
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Actor
Throwing questions of artistic merit out the window, opponents of a Rami Malek win have dutifully cast doubt on his ideological purity.
Given how this accursed Oscar season has thrown one obscenity after another at everyone who has any investment whatsoever in the institution of the Academy Awards, it’s as though AMPAS is inviting the world to burn the Dolby Theater down on Oscar Sunday, as Mélanie Laurent’s Shosanna does to the Cinema Le Gamaar at the climax of Inglourious Basterds. And at this point, considering that one of the four awards being banished to commercial breaks is cinematography, and that AMPAS president John Bailey is himself a cinematographer, the presumption of self-sabotage seems credible.
Such are the affronts to progress toward anything other than ABC-Disney’s maniacal bottom line to reverse the show’s declining ratings, and the deadening effect every bad idea has had on our souls, that Rami Malek winning the best actor Oscar for leading with his teeth throughout Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody slots toward the bottom of our shit list. Malek, who cemented his frontrunner status with a BAFTA win last weekend, may be taking a page, if not the whole ream, from Eddie Redmayne’s shamelessly charming campaign playbook. But in the category’s absence of Ethan Hawke, who ran the table with critics for his performance in First Reformed, is anyone’s reserve of outrage bottomless enough to howl about the inevitable results here, beyond wounded fans of A Star Is Born? (Though, don’t get us wrong. We’re happy to give Bradley Cooper the award if it keeps him from going behind the camera again.)
Throwing questions of artistic merit out the window, opponents of a Malek win have dutifully cast doubt on his ideological purity. You don’t have to flash back to Casey Affleck to regard this tack as a grisly mistake, even if you don’t happen to believe Malek got Bryan Singer kicked off of Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody for preying on underage boys. This is an Academy that nominated Green Book for five awards. Good intentions are still more than enough, and what you say is still as important, if not more so, than what you do. And if portraying Freddie Mercury as a misguided homosexual who just needed to find Britain’s one good gay somebody to love leaves a pretty foul taste in our mouths, at least Malek has managed to avoid letting the N-word slip from his mouth on the promotional circuit.
Will Win: Rami Malek, Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody
Could Win: Christian Bale, Vice
Should Win: Any actor willing to publicly stand up in support of airing all 24 categories.
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Production Design
We’re well passed the halfway point in our Oscar prediction cycle and we’re struggling to sustain what little excitement we have for this enterprise.
We’re well passed the halfway point in our Oscar prediction cycle and we’re struggling to sustain what little excitement we have for this enterprise in the wake of AMPAS’s misguided and insulting decision to announce the winners of four Oscar categories—cinematography, film editing, live-action short, and makeup and hairstyling—during the February 24 telecast’s commercial breaks. There’s absolutely nothing good about this—and, yes, we’ve taken into account that we’ll be seeing one less clip reel of Rami Malek’s teeth-forward performance in Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Just about the only thing fueling us at this point is a mix of anger, exasperation, and paranoia. As many have already pointed out, all four demoted categories don’t feature a single film by ABC’s parent company, Disney, and cinematography, film editing, and makeup and hairstyling just so happen to be the lowest-grossing tech categories of the year. We’re six days away from final voting closing and almost every hour brings news of creatives in the field, some not even Oscar-nominated this year, decrying the academy’s decision. Will AMPAS members boycott the voting process? If so, what films will be hurt as a result?
Any boycott that targets a film rather than AMPAS stewardship would be unfortunate. But it’s ironic that AMPAS’s season of blunders began with a transparent attempt to make the Oscars all about Black Panther by ensuring its victory in a “best popular film” category and now looks to end with a debacle that could sink the film’s chances in all six of its nominated categories. That would be a shame, as Black Panther’s vividly detailed rendering of Wakanda is the film’s strong suit. But Black Panther was probably always destined to be an also-ran in this category, which certainly favors best picture nominees but usually ones that are also ostentatious period productions. And only one film here, The Favourite, fits that bill to a tee.
Will Win: The Favourite
Could Win: Black Panther
Should Win: The Favourite