The Recording Academy no doubt has oodles of tedium in the works for us at this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony. It is, after all, the golden anniversary of the granddaddy of music awards shows. If the show goes on (and as of this post, the WGA has decided not to picket), we can expect even more awkwardly assembled performances and a lot more montages and salutes to the likes of Clive Davis than ever before. (What’s unclear is whether or not Miss Amy Winehouse will be on hand to add an even bigger sense of unpredictability to the proceedings.) Economy has never been the Academy’s friend, but they’ve become increasing stingy when it comes to televised categories and a lack of writers might mean more trophies. Either way, we’ve decided to follow their lead and cherry-pick the categories we predict. Here are the 10 awards we found worth talking about:
RECORD OF THE YEAR
“The Pretender,” Foo Fighters
“Umbrella,” Rihanna featuring Jay-Z
“What Goes Around…Comes Around,” Justin Timberlake
“Rehab,” Amy Winehouse(Will Win)
Sal Cinquemani: Is it completely bonkers of me to think the Foo Fighters could benefit from an urban split a la Coldplay or Green Day? And more importantly, is it completely bonkers of me to use the word bonkers?
Eric Henderson: Only bonkers in the sense that Amy Winehouse would ever be considered “urban.”
Jonathan Keefe: Bonkers was far and away the lamest of the Disney Afternoon cartoons, so if for no other reason, I’m inclined to say yes. Possibly the only thing working against the Foo Fighters’ anti-urban angle is that “The Pretender” is neither a multi-format hit on par with “Clocks” or “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” nor obvious Grammy-bait like “Not Ready to Make Nice” or that comatose Ray Charles and Norah Jones duet.
Eric: It’s never wise to bet against the split, but call me optimistic. I’m pretty sure most Grammy voters can even up the score a bit by ditching Beyoncé (for unintentionally referencing her song’s disposable nature in the lyrics) and Justin Timberlake (for tardiness) and concentrating their votes on “Umbrella,” the most of-the-moment choice. That’s not, of course, to say she’s got a shot in hell at winning.
Jonathan: There’s a theory that NARAS hasn’t voted for an urban-leaning single in this category because they often lack live instruments. If there’s any truth to that, the killer live backing by the DAP Kings might give “Rehab” an edge. It’s a tough call, though, because there’s no way of knowing how much Wino’s attempt to out-train-wreck Britney has alienated conservative older voters.
Sal: Is it completely cynical of me to say that even if Kanye West didn’t have this in the bag already, his mom sealed the deal?
Jonathan: I’d say Bono sealed the deal when he outright told NARAS to vote for Kanye’s next album in his acceptance speech in this category two years ago. Lord knows they’ll do anything Bono tells them to do.
Eric: Vince Gill’s album may just be literally the biggest of the lot (though Kanye’s ego certainly makes his album feel like at least a double LP). Amy Winehouse is the only one with anything resembling hipster credibility in this lineup, but who are we kidding? This is the Grammys. With that in mind, I hope with that little piece of my heart that still beats blood instead of irony that Herbie Hancock is the one who steals this award from Kanye. I can’t think of a lamer or more opportunistic example of Starbucks one-stop-shopping, but Hancock’s musicianship and technical skill are still about the only thing worth celebrating in the context of Grammys, even under middlebrow duress.
SONG OF THE YEAR
“Before He Cheats,” Carrie Underwood
“Hey There Delilah,” Plain White T’s
“Like a Star,” Corinne Bailey Rae
“Rehab,” Amy Winehouse (Will Win)
“Umbrella,” Rihanna featuring Jay-Z
Jonathan: So I guess this is where I’m supposed to make my annual and ultimately incorrect case that the obligatory poorly-written pop-country nominee will win? But I just don’t see “Before He Cheats” having much of a chance here if it couldn’t land a nomination for Record of the Year, which would’ve made a hell of a lot more sense. “Umbrella” is the closest this line-up comes to a modern standard based on how frequently it’s been covered, but I have a hard time seeing the voters recognizing “ella ella ella eh eh eh” as the stupid-good hook that it is. “Delilah” is just gross, and it seems like the Blue Ribbon Committee are the only people in the world who really like Corinne Bailey Rae. Which leaves “Rehab,” the best-written song in the category, which is also about as far removed from the drippy optimism that typically wins. So, basically, I can think of reasons why each of these songs won’t win and no reasons why one of them has to. “Like a Star,” maybe? In addition to being the most inexplicable nominee, it’s the most conservative choice by far.
Eric: I haven’t gone back to check the stats or anything, but I feel like the one which made the smallest impact on the pop charts is the one that usually wins. That and the notion that Corinne Bailey Rae’s star arguably rose thanks to her previous Grammy nods (hello, perceived relevance!) are working in her favor for sure.
Sal: I guess I’m going to have to completely disagree with you guys here. I just don’t see Corinne Bailey Rae winning this. I don’t even know why she was nominated…again. But maybe that means I’m just out of touch with the out-of-touchers.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Amy Winehouse (Will Win)
Eric: Well, this category should be pretty easy to pick. Never bet against the fledgling female soloist…Oh, shit.
Jonathan: Nightmare scenario, which I don’t think is at all far-fetched: Voters who want to vote for someone legitimately talented (sorry, Paramore!) that they’ve actually heard of (sorry, Ledisi!) but who are put off by Wino’s meltdown defect to Feist, resulting in a split-vote that ends up benefiting those who go for the one act in the group who’s been able to move a shit-ton of shit records. Honestly, it’s not even a matter of comparing relative degrees of badness, like saying that Ashanti has a marginally better voice than Ciara, and I know that she’s a child and all, which makes it mean to say so, but Taylor Swift is just awful.
Sal: God moved to Nashville? That explains a lot. Taylor Swift is like a country version of Avril Lavigne.
Jonathan: She can’t sing, and the fact that she’s a teenager isn’t an excuse for the fact that her songs make Jewel sound like Dolly Parton. My only hope is that she turns out like Felicity—once she cuts her mop of curly hair, her audience of teenage girls will realize they didn’t like her for the reasons they thought they did and move on to something better. So I’m really hoping that Winehouse hasn’t alienated too many people.
Sal: Wino doesn’t seem to have a firm grip on much these days, but it’s pretty safe to say that she snagged this award about a year ago.
Eric: She shagged this award last year too. I think Feist has the iPhone demographic locked up, which means she should probably come in fourth.
BEST FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Candyman,” Christina Aguilera
“Big Girls Don’t Cry,” Fergie
“Say It Right,” Nelly Furtado
“Rehab,” Amy Winehouse (Will Win)
Jonathan:: I think this one is Winehouse’s safest bet, and she’d get my vote, though I like both Furtado and Feist’s tracks quite a lot too. And even “Candyman” is relatively subdued by Mama Aguilera’s throat-shredding standards.
Sal: Based solely on the literal interpretation of this category title (which we know is not the way the academy actually votes), I’d give it to Feist. It’s certainly not my favorite song of hers, but she displays a nice range and really effective use of different tones throughout. But obviously Amy’s “no, no, no” is a refusal that will be hard to refuse. Unless, you know, you’re actually Amy Winehouse, and then it’s something like “Um, okay, yeah, I guess.”
Jonathan:: So…same situation as Best New Artist, but with Fergie as the beneficiary this time? It’s possible, but “Big Girls Don’t Cry” isn’t as memorably bad as this:
Sal: All I have to say about that is, thank God for crystal meth.
Eric: Maybe they’ll vote for the one who exerts the most effort to overcome her lack of talent. Of course, by that reasoning, Fergie would also be a frontrunner for best supporting actress in Planet Terror.
BEST DANCE RECORDING
“Do It Again,” The Chemical Brothers
“Love Today,” Mika
“Don’t Stop the Music,” Rihanna (Will Win)
“LoveStoned/I Think She Knows,” Justin Timberlake
Sal: This category is filled entirely with squeaky voices and falsetto. I have no idea what that means, but perhaps the most masculine of the bunch will win. So, congratulations…Rihanna?
Eric: I’m glad we’re covering this category instead of dance album, where a bona fide rock album is apparently competing. As someone whose favorite song to neck-snap to last year was by !!!, and as someone who thinks the average Grammy voter is more likely to get their 4/4 on over in the polka categories, I still say this points to a certain lack of vitality in the scene.
Jonathan: I liked Mika a whole lot better when he was stripping off his skin and throwing it at a bunch of rollerskating models. If Basement Jaxx can win a Grammy and LCD Soundsystem can manage a couple of nominations, I think the voters are hip enough to give this to Justice. Who, incidentally, did a great remix of “LoveStoned.”
BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCALS
“It’s Not Over,” Daughtry
“Working Class Hero,” Green Day
“If Everyone Cared,” Nickelback
“Instant Karma,” U2 (Will Win)
“Icky Thump,” The White Stripes
Sal: I’d like to think that Green Day and U2 paying homage to John Lennon for Darfur would create a split in favor of the White Stripes, but why do I think Nickelback will benefit most?
Jonathan: Nickelback, though, will lose some votes to Jesusy, Bald Nickelback. So there are two sets of split-votes here—Green Day and U2’s appeals to Baby Boomers and Don Cheadle, and then Nickelback versus Daughtry. Leaving the only sane choice: the White Stripes.
Eric: U2 covers a Beatle and you guys are arguing it’s not an instant winner?
Jonathan: On principle, yes. But…um…I can’t think of a single counter-argument to Eric’s point.
Sal: Aside from the fact that Lily Allen’s Alright, Still… is possibly my least favorite album of last year, its inclusion in this category is dubious at best. Björk is fast becoming less a problem child than a complete disappointment, so my pick is Neon Bible. If they couldn’t beat the White Stripes in this category two years ago, though, can they do it now?
Jonathan: Yeah, as far as category fraud goes, Lily Allen is to the Grammys as Casey Affleck is to Oscars. Except that I can see why people like what Affleck did. The Shins should also have been submitted in the Pop field, but it’s nice to see them earn some two-albums-overdue recognition. Arcade Fire are no longer as off-the-mainstream-radar as they were when Funeral lost in this category to Get Behind Me Satan two years ago, so I think they’re a good bet to take this.
Eric: Thanks, Grammys, for reminding me that Björk never won this award in the 1990s…you know, when she deserved to. Considering the timetable most artists are on when they actually do win this award, I wouldn’t rule her completely out. Then again, this award hasn’t been won by a female (or even a female-fronted group) since Sinead O’Connor won the category’s charter award in 1990—not by Björk, not by Tori Amos, not by PJ Harvey, not by Fiona Apple. Some alternative.
BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION
“I Wanna Love You,” Akon featuring Snoop Dogg
“Kiss, Kiss,” Chris Brown & T-Pain
“Let It Go,” Keyshia Cole featuring Missy Elliott & Lil’ Kim
“Umbrella,” Rihanna featuring Jay-Z (Will Win)
“Good Life,” Kanye West featuring T-Pain
Sal: The most obvious pick here ironically has the least collaboration. Rihanna allegedly didn’t even know Jay-Z had tacked on his verse to the beginning of the track as a “gift” until the producers played the final product for her.
Jonathan: All I ask for is a reaction shot from Beyoncé if they present this one to Rihanna and Jay-Z on the telecast.
Eric: Another classic case of the song I like best in multiple categories winning probably its only award of the evening, and doing it in the one category where I actually like other another candidate more. “Umbrella” was one of the only things that kept my ears momentarily away from house and Maurice Ravel in 2007, but I’ll still bump it to “Let It Go” long into 2008.
BEST FEMALE COUNTRY VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Simple Love,” Alison Krauss
“Famous in a Small Town,” Miranda Lambert
“Nothin’ Better To Do,” LeAnn Rimes
“Before He Cheats,” Carrie Underwood (Will Win)
“Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love,” Trisha Yearwood
Sal: Again, if we’re talking actual Vocal Performance, Alison Krauss’s understated “Simple Love” would be my pick, but LeAnn Rimes obviously tried to swallow the microphone on “Nothin’ Better To Do,” which also happens to be the best produced track here.
Jonathan: I love the idea of you voluntarily listening to five country songs, Sal. But if you were ever going to listen to a set of five, you could do a whole lot worse than this line-up, which is the strongest since at least 1992. Lambert, who should’ve broken into the boys’ club Best Country Album category, is the longest-shot here, but “Gunpowder and Lead,” her fastest-rising single to date, will likely put her in good position to win next year. Yearwood would, hands down, be my pick for giving the best vocal performance of the lot, but the single wasn’t as big a hit as it deserved to be. Still, she really should have won this category for more than just “How Do I Live.” Rimes has come a long way since her version of that same song lost to Yearwood’s, but a win with “Nothin’ Better to Do,” which really is a great single, would be a major upset. That leaves the two frontrunners—Krauss, nominated for yet another reiteration of the kind of lovely, tasteful-to-a-fault performance that she always gives and that NARAS evidently doesn’t mind hearing repeatedly, and Underwood, nominated for the biggest hit of the group. It’s foolhardy to bet against Krauss at the Grammys—I imagine there are going to be quite a few surprised pop fans when she and Robert Plant beat Beyoncé and Shakira for Pop Collaboration—and the bottom eventually has to fall out of Underwood’s lengthy awards-show dominance, but “Before He Cheats” is just too massive not to win.
Sal: I wouldn’t mind seeing Plant and Krauss take Pop Collaboration for “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On).” I caught a glimpse of the video the other night on CMT. And then it was followed by Trace Adkins’s “I Got My Game On” and I decided that my tryst with country music would be shorter-lived than a coed’s bisexual phase.
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.
2019 Tony Nominations: Hadestown and Ain’t Too Proud Lead Field
Both shows were joined in the Best Musical category by Beetlejuice, The Prom, and Tootsie.
Nominations for the 73rd Tony Awards were announced this morning, with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King and actors Bebe Neuwirth and Brandon Victor Dixon revealing the nominees in the top eight categories. Leading the pack with 14 nominations Hadestown, followed by Ain’t Too Proud—The Life of the Temptations with 12. Both shows were joined in the Best Musical category by Beetlejuice, The Prom, and Tootsie.
See below for a full list of the nominations.
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations
Choir Boy by Tarell
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
What the Constitution Means to Me
Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
The Boys in the Band
The Waverly Gallery
Best Revival of a Musical
Kiss Me, Kate
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Bryan Cranston, Network
Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
Adam Driver, Burn This
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show
Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate
Best Book of a Musical
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations, Dominique Morisseau
Beetlejuice, Scott Brown and Anthony King
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin
Tootsie, Robert Horn
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Be More Chill, Joe Iconis
Beetlejuice, Eddie Perfect
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin
To Kill a Mockingbird, Adam Guettel
Tootsie, David Yazbek
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Bertie Carvel, Ink
Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
André De Shields, Hadestown
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
Bunny Christie, Ink
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Jan Versweyveld, Network
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Peter England, King Kong
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
David Korins, Beetlejuice
Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Clint Ramos, Torch Song
Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Michael Krass, Hadestown
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Ink
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Bradley King, Hadestown
Peter Mumford, King Kong
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice
Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, Ink
Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fitz Patton, Choir Boy
Nick Powell, The Ferryman
Eric Sleichim, Network
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
Peter Hylenski, King Kong
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown
Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, Ink
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman
Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ivo van Hove, Network
George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Best Direction of a Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom
Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
David Neumann, Hadestown
Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown
Simon Hale, Tootsie
Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories
Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Special Tony Awards
Jason Michael Webb
Regional Theatre Tony Award
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Broadway Inspirational Voices
Joseph Blakely Forbes
FDNY Engine 54
Tony Nominations by Production
Hadestown – 14
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations – 12
Tootsie – 11
The Ferryman – 9
To Kill a Mockingbird – 9
Beetlejuice – 8
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – 8
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus – 7
The Prom – 7
Ink – 6
Network – 5
Choir Boy – 4
Kiss Me, Kate – 4
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons – 3
Burn This – 3
The Cher Show – 3
King Kong – 3
Bernhardt/Hamlet – 2
The Boys in the Band – 2
Torch Song – 2
The Waverly Gallery – 2
What the Constitution Means to Me – 2
Be More Chill – 1
Hillary and Clinton – 1
King Lear – 1
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.
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.
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?
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
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (WINNER)
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
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
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
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico) (WINNER)
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
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
BlacKkKlansman, Barry Alexander Brown
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Ottman (WINNER)
Green Book, Patrick J. Don Vito
The Favourite, Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Vice, Hank Corwin
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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.
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
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.
“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
Should Win: BlacKkKlansman
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay
After walking back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing here.
Eric and I have done a good job this year of only selectively stealing each other’s behind-the-scenes jokes. We have, though, not been polite about stepping on each other’s toes in other ways. Okay, maybe just Eric, who in his impeccable take on the original screenplay free-for-all detailed how the guilds this year have almost willfully gone out of their way to “not tip the Oscar race too clearly toward any one film.” Case in point: Can You Ever Forgive Me? winning the WGA’s adapted screenplay trophy over presumed Oscar frontrunner BlacKkKlansman. A glitch in the matrix? We think so. Eric and I are still in agreement that the race for best picture this year is pretty wide open, though maybe a little less so in the wake of what seemed like an easy win for the Spike Lee joint. Nevertheless, we all know that there’s no Oscar narrative more powerful than “it’s about goddamn time,” and it was so powerful this year that even the diversity-challenged BAFTAs got the memo, giving their adapted screenplay prize to Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott. To bamboozle Lee at this point would, admittedly, be so very 2019, but given that it’s walked back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing.
Will Win: BlacKkKlansman
Could Win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Should Win: BlacKkKlansman
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay
This season, Hollywood is invested in celebrating the films they love while dodging the cultural bullets coming at them from every angle.
You know, if it weren’t for the show’s producers effectively and repeatedly saying everything about the Academy Awards is terrible and needs to be changed, and the year’s top-tier contenders inadvertently confirming their claims, this would’ve been a comparatively fun and suspenseful Oscar season. None of us who follow the Academy Awards expect great films to win; we just hope the marathon of precursors don’t turn into a Groundhog Day-style rinse and repeat for the same film, ad nauseam.
On that score, mission accomplished. The guilds have been handing their awards out this season as though they met beforehand and assigned each voting body a different title from Oscar’s best picture list so as not to tip the Oscar race too clearly toward any one film. SAG? Black Panther. PGA? Green Book. DGA? Roma. ASC? Cold War. ACE? Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Even awards-season kryptonite A Star Is Born got an award for contemporary makeup from the MUAHS. (That’s the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild, not the sound Lady Gaga fans have been making ever since A Star Is Born’s teaser trailer dropped last year.)
Not to be outdone, the Writers Guild of America announced their winners last weekend, and not only did presumed adapted screenplay frontrunner BlacKkKlansman wind up stymied by Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but the original screenplay prize went to Eighth Grade, which wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. Bo Burnham twisted the knife into AMPAS during his acceptance speech: “To the other nominees in the category, have fun at the Oscars, losers!” In both his sarcasm and his surprise, it’s safe to say he speaks on behalf of us all.
As is always the case, WGA’s narrow eligibility rules kept a presumed favorite, The Favourite, out of this crucial trial heat. But as the balloting period comes to a close, the question remains just how much enthusiasm or affection voters have for either of the two films with the most nominations (Roma being the other). As a recent “can’t we all just get along” appeal by Time’s Stephanie Zacharek illustrates, the thing Hollywood is most invested in this season involves bending over backward, Matrix-style, to celebrate the films they love and still dodge the cultural bullets coming at them from every angle.
Maybe it’s just tunnel vision from the cultural vacuum Oscar voters all-too-understandably would prefer to live in this year, but doesn’t it seem like The Favourite’s tastefully ribald peppering of posh-accented C-words would be no match for the steady litany of neo-Archie Bunkerisms spewing from Viggo Mortensen’s crooked mouth? Especially with First Reformed’s Paul Schrader siphoning votes from among the academy’s presumably more vanguard new recruits? We’ll fold our words in half and eat them whole if we’re wrong, but Oscar’s old guard, unlike John Wayne, is still alive and, well, pissed.
Will Win: Green Book
Could Win: The Favourite
Should Win: First Reformed
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing
For appealing to voters’ nostalgia for drunken karaoke nights of yore, one film has the upper hand here.
Given what Eric wrote about the sound editing category yesterday, it now behooves me to not beat around the bush here. Also, it’s my birthday, and there are better things for me to do today than count all the ways that Eric and I talk ourselves out of correct guesses in the two sound categories, as well as step on each other’s toes throughout the entirety of our Oscar-prediction cycle. In short, it’s very noisy. Which is how Oscar likes it when it comes to sound, though maybe not as much the case with sound mixing, where the spoils quite often go to best picture nominees that also happen to be musicals (Les Misérables) or musical-adjacent (Whiplash). Only two films fit that bill this year, and since 2019 is already making a concerted effort to top 2018 as the worst year ever, there’s no reason to believe that the scarcely fat-bottomed mixing of Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody will take this in a walk, for appealing to voters’ nostalgia for drunken karaoke nights of yore.
Will Win: Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody
Could Win: A Star Is Born
Should Win: First Man
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Sound Editing
If it were biologically possible to do so, both Ed and I would happily switch places with A Quiet Place’s Emily Blunt.
If it were biologically possible to do so, both Ed and I would happily switch places with A Quiet Place’s Emily Blunt, because we’d much rather give birth in a tub while surrounded by murderous blind creatures than have to once again write our predictions for the sound categories. As adamant as we’ve been that the Academy owes it to the nominees to air every category, which they agreed to after an extended “just kidding,” it might have given us pause had the sound categories been among the four demoted by Oscar. But no, we must now endure our annual bout of penance, aware of the fact that actually knowing what the difference is between sound editing and sound mixing is almost a liability. In other words, we’ve talked ourselves out of correct guesses too many times, doubled down on the same movie taking both categories to hedge our bets too many times, and watched as the two categories split in the opposite way we expected too many times. So, as in A Quiet Place, the less said, the better. And while that film’s soundscapes are as unique and noisy as this category seems to prefer, First Man’s real-word gravitas and cacophonous Agena spin sequence should prevail.
Will Win: First Man
Could Win: A Quiet Place
Should Win: First Man
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Actress
Sometimes it’s important to just step back and pay your respects to a remarkable actress.
Sometimes it’s important to just step back and pay your respects to a remarkable actress for having given a performance that, while not your, um, favourite nominated one, is still deserving of an Oscar victory lap. Now, if only others felt the same. Very early on in the awards season, there was already a sense that this award could become a career-achievement coronation for the six-time losing Glenn Close—and that people were going to have a problem squaring that with the fact that her Oscar would be tied to a film perceived to be a piffle. That’s not an inaccurate perception, but it’s difficult to remember a time when critics have used that as an excuse to not do their homework.
In short, have you seen The Wife? Indeed, until the awards-media system’s attention shifted full time into covering AMPAS’s A Series of Unfortunate Oscar Decisions, it seemed as if every day brought us a new article by some pundit about the Oscar race in which it strangely sounded as if the The Wife was still a blind spot for the writer. Which is shame, because Close gives good face throughout the film. Certainly, few Oscar-nominated films this year are as absurd as The Wife, but I’ll do battle with anyone who thinks Close is getting by on her legend alone. Close’s triumph is recognizing The Wife’s inherent ludicrousness and elevating it, and without condescension, with a kabuki-like verve that seeks to speak to the experiences of all women who’ve been oppressed by their men. It’s a turn worthy of Norma Desmond.
Today, the most reliable Oscar narrative is the overdue performer. And if you take stock in that narrative, then you’ll understand why I texted Eric, my fellow Oscar guru, the following on the morning of November 29: “I think Close is going to Still Alice at the Oscars.” After that morning, when the New York Film Critics Circle officially kick-started the Oscar season (and gave their award for best actress to Regina Hall in Support the Girls), no actress ran the table with the critics and guilds, but most of the cards that matter did fall into place for Close, and much as they did for Julianne Moore ahead of her winning the Oscar for Still Alice.
This was a done deal when Close won the Golden Globe, received a standing ovation, and gave the night’s most impassioned speech, immediately after which Eric conceded that my instincts had been right. Of course, that was no doubt easy for him to admit given that, by that point, the oxygen had already seeped out of A Star Is Born’s awards campaign, leaving only Olivia Colman in Close’s way. Colman has worked the campaign trail in spectacular ways, giving speeches that have been every bit as droll as this, but in the end, she doesn’t have the SAG, and as bold and subversive as her performance certainly is, it isn’t sufficiently big enough to convince enough AMPAS members that Close should continue waiting for Oscar.
Will Win: Glenn Close, The Wife
Could Win: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Should Win: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Film Editing
Sigh, can we just edit this whole Oscar season from our memories?
Sigh, can we just edit this whole Oscar season from our memories? AMPAS has officially brought more queens back from the brink than this year’s season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars. Now that the academy has reneged on its plans to snip four categories from the live Oscar telecast, after first attempting damage control and assuring members that it will still run those four awards as not-so-instant replays in edited-down form later on in the show, we can once again turn our attention to the other editing that’s so vexed Film Twitter this Oscar season. We yield the floor to Twitter user Pramit Chatterjee:
People, actual fucking people, are watching scene after scene like this and are saying “bruuuh! best. movie. of. the. year”?
This is objectively bad. Someone with no idea about editing will notice it. My brain is on fire thinking that this is an OSCAR NOMINATED MOVIE! FUCK! pic.twitter.com/QVDCxe2iaf
— Pramit Chatterjee 🌈 (@pramitheus) January 26, 2019
Very fuck! The academy would’ve been shooting itself in the foot by not airing what’s starting to feel like one of this year’s most competitive Oscar categories—a category that seems like it’s at the center of ground zero for the voters who, as a fresh New York Times survey of anonymous Oscar ballots confirms, are as unashamedly entertained by a blockbuster that critics called utterly worthless as they are feeling vengeful against those who would dare call a film they loved racist. Interestingly enough, the New York Times’s panel of voters seems palpably aware that Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is the nominee this year that’s going to go down in history as the “right thing” they’ll be embarrassed for not “doing.” No arguments from this corner. Lee’s film is narratively propulsive and knotty in ways that ought to translate into a no-brainer win here. (My cohort Ed recently mused that he’d give the film the Oscar just for the energy it displays cutting back and forth during phone conversations.)
We’re glad that the academy walked back its decision to not honor two of the most crucial elements of the medium (editing and cinematography) on the live Oscar telecast, but what we’re left with is the dawning horror that the formless flailing exemplified by the clip above might actually win this damned award. Guy Lodge sarcastically mused on the upside of Pramit’s incredulous tweet, “I’ve never seen so many people on Twitter discussing the art of film editing before,” and honestly, it does feel like Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody getting publicly dog-walked like this stands to teach baby cinephiles-in-training the language of the cut as well as any of the myriad montages the show producers intended on airing in lieu of, you know, actually awarding craftspeople. But only a fraction of the voting body has to feel sympathy for John Ottman (whose career, for the record, goes all the way back with Bryan Singer), or express admiration that he managed to assemble the raw materials from a legendarily chaotic project into an international blockbuster. The rest of the academy has their ostrich heads plunged far enough into the sand to take care of the rest.
Will Win: Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody
Could Win: BlacKkKlansman
Should Win: BlacKkKlansman