RECORD OF THE YEAR
“We Belong Together,” Mariah Carey
“Feel Good Inc.,” Gorillaz featuring De La Soul
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” Green Day (Will Win)
“Hollaback Girl,” Gwen Stefani
“Gold Digger,” Kanye West
Sal Cinquemani: “We Belong Together” earned its title long before this year’s nominations were even announced. I hesitate to say that it “deserves” to win (it’s in surprisingly worthy company), but unless voters decide to deny Mariah Carey a general field category (and they might), this trophy is Mimi’s to lose…emphasis on the lose. Being the sole rock entry in this category helped Coldplay’s “Clocks” win two years ago but it didn’t do much for Green Day’s “American Idiot” last year. The less politically divisive “Boulevard,” on the other hand, is the kind of sweeping rock ballad the academy likes to get behind. It would be an opportunity to bestow a major award on the band after they went home with only one trophy last winter.
Eric Henderson: The Grammys had a few opportunities to award Green Day last year, but you could hardly blame the voters for jumping into Ray Charles’s time machine in order to avoid actually coping with the outcome of the presidential election. If Kanye “black people” West’s anti-Bush tirade is still ringing in the ears of voters, it’s only because it was the most conspicuous reflection of political discontent in a year when music seemed ready to declare tomorrow another day, a day in which you wish your girlfriend was hot like me. Kanye’s impromptu Howard Beale moment could ironically help give Green Day’s more carefully considered political messages a leg up on the four-way splitting and, more specifically, the still-looming ghost of Charles reincarnated by Jamie Foxx in the single by…Kanye West. Oh, what a twisted web Grammy weaves. Of course, if Mariah wins (like she probably will), it’ll be bubble-headed business as usual.
Jonathan Keefe: If Mariah does take this one, it’ll be because Gorillaz have enough appeal with the “rock” voters to siphon off enough of Green Day’s support, not because NARAS is suddenly feeling recalcitrant for having rewarded Mariah with a scant two trophies over the course of her career and not because they’re at all inclined to assume that the year’s biggest radio hit is also the year’s best single (right, Usher and Beyoncé?). Still, the line-up is just too similar to 2003’s, with four nominees culled from the increasingly blurred line between pop and hip-hop squaring off against one Hot AC ballad, not to think that “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” will prevail.
Ed Gonzalez: Given the conspicuous Bush bashing that goes on at Slant, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the White House is spying on us right now. If NARAS voters feel their own boulevard of dreams is being similarly tapped, I’m sure they’ll want to rally behind Green Day.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The Emancipation of Mimi, Mariah Carey
Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, Paul McCartney
Love. Angel. Music. Baby. , Gwen Stefani
Late Registration, Kanye West (Will Win)
SC: Not only is Mariah’s The Emancipation of Mimi the biggest-selling album in this category, it was the biggest-selling album of 2005, and sales can often equal votes come Grammy night. That said, she’ll have to beat the old-fart factor (Paul McCartney) and Kanye’s critical favor (while I’d love to see voters punish him for his ego, I’m not holding my breath). Perennial favorites U2 haven’t won in this category since The Joshua Tree and if they couldn’t score for the dreadful, middle-of-the-road All That You Can’t Leave Behind, I don’t see them doing it for the marginally better How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
EG: Kanye West…because NARAS doesn’t want to give him, or his savior Jesus, the impression they hate black people.
EH: Kanye’s sophomore album lacked that “dig me!” self-aggrandizement that made The College Dropout the album you hated to love last year. And, “Gold Digger” aside, Late Registration also lacked that LP’s string of smash hits (so far, anyway). But the “hit machine” electorate is split down the middle between Mimi (the year’s biggest hits) and Hollaback (the most enduring). And between McCartney and U2, Grammy’s fogey contingent will still be scratching their asses trying to decide long after the ballots are due. The only question mark on the category is whether West’s acceptance speech will be on CBS’s trigger-happy time delay.
JK: By shooting his mouth off about how he’s the most deserving nominee because he worked harder—since he actually sat in on McCartney’s and Stefani’s recording sessions and all—and by saying that he actively wants to win Album Of The Year, Kanye probably did enough to secure this win, drawing attention to himself while more or less giving NARAS a handjob. Not even his ego can compare to their bloated sense of self-importance: They’ll vote for whoever goes on record to state that he thinks the Grammys really do matter. Well played, Kanye. Well played.
SONG OF THE YEAR
“Bless the Broken Road,” Rascal Flatts (Will Win)
“Devils & Dust,” Bruce Springsteen
“Ordinary People,” John Legend
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own,” U2
“We Belong Together,” Mariah Carey
SC: Mariah Carey is second only to Aretha Franklin in total Grammy nominations for female artists, and yet the woman has only won two—and that was 15 years ago. Lambs everywhere can rejoice in the fact that she’s sure to add a few to her tally in ’06…this just won’t be one of them. If senile voters confuse “Bless The Broken Road” with “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” then it’s a lock.
EH: Springsteen and U2—earnest and earnester—could easily cut into Flatts’s tally. Which can only help John Legend, whose tunes have that sort of self-evident “writerliness” that should appeal to R&B-devoted voters who can’t quite feel out a strong melody in Carey’s minimalist song.
EG: It warms my heart that Bruce Springsteen seems to have finally passed his “We Are The World” kidney stone. “Devils & Dust” is the best song here, but its fire-and-brimstone imagery isn’t going to be an easy sell with Rascal Flatts’s more amiable “Driving Miss Daisy Theme” in contention.
JK: Since “schmaltz” routinely trumps “songcraft” in this category, “Bless The Broken Road” will win for being the most obvious wedding song on the list.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Fall Out Boy
John Legend (Will Win)
SC: The last time a solo male won Best New Artist was also the same year Mariah Carey last won a Grammy (1991), which bodes well for John Legend, who is in a three-way tie with none other than Mariah and mentor Kanye West for the artist with the most nominations this year. Sadly, The Killers peaked too late to compete with the likes of Kanye and Gretchen Wilson last year and they’re ineligible this year, and for that Keane and Fall Out Boy can thank them. Don’t count out Sugarland though—this is fast-becoming Grammy’s most surprising category and the Atlanta trio, who’ve got two #2 country hits under their belts, are probably hoping to break their runner-up status with a win on Grammy night.
EH: Shouldn’t Mimi be in this category? Ordinary money is on Legend, but after last year’s win for Maroon 5, rock-oriented guy groups aren’t hopelessly out of contention for the BNA trophy. Fall Out Boy aren’t as ubiquitous as Adam Levine’s back-up models (nor are they as droolworthy), but if enough grizzled, senile execs let their grandnieces and nephews fill out their ballots, it’ll put them into serious contention.
JK: It would be easier to take Sugarland, who have the best balance of commercial and critical stats of the five nominees, as a serious threat here if they’d managed to score any of the nominations they were expected to earn in the Country field. Since they were completely shut out, it’s clear that their support isn’t strong enough to pull an upset in one of the major categories. Fall Out Boy doesn’t have the VH1 heavy rotation that Maroon 5 used to their advantage last year, and if Coldplay didn’t score any nominations in the General Field, there’s no reason to think that the Coldplay-lite of Keane will manage to win. Ciara’s other nominations are all for her collaborations with Missy Elliott, and, of course, there’s the fact that the girl just can’t sing. The category’s history notwithstanding, this one’s Legend’s in a walk.
EG: If Keane kidnaps a little girl in one of their songs and takes her to Port Authority, I want them to win.
BEST FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“It’s Like That,” Mariah Carey
“Since U Been Gone,” Kelly Clarkson
“Good Is Good,” Sheryl Crow
“I Will Not Be Broken,” Bonnie Raitt
“Hollaback Girl,” Gwen Stefani (Will Win)
EH: I seem to remember once upon a time Bonnie Raitt being the go-to girl whenever the pop categories threatened to get too pop. And if “Hollaback Girl” is as much a frontrunner as we all know it is, that could spur whatever reactionary machinery kicked in when Raitt defeated Paula Abdul (“Straight Up”) and, ahem, Mariah Carey (“Emotions”) into action. Kelly Clarkson’s ubiquitous pop-rock bonbon would be the logical compromise, but I wonder whether there aren’t some voters who still feel a little conflicted about throwing trophies toward American Idol winners. Especially considering that the recent Season 5 premiere reacquainted us with the show’s tin-eared initial hook.
SC: I was surprised to see Clarkson missing from some of the bigger categories this year, so maybe there isn’t as much love for her among the academy as I suspected there would be. Still, if this award is indeed given for the best vocal performance then “Since U Been Gone” will be hard to beat. Mariah was nominated for the wrong song and, while Grammy voters love them some Sheryl Crow, the lovely “Good Is Good” might be a little too subtle a performance for even the most discerning academy member. Clarkson’s only competition is “Hollaback”: the academy clearly views Gwen Stefani as more of an “artist” than Clarkson (see Album and Record Of The Year nods) and she’s already won two pop performance awards with No Doubt.
EG: I like Gwen Stefani but hate “Hollaback Girl,” and “It’s Like That” only makes me think of Mariah’s dirty panties. American Idol won’t mean a damn since most people see the show as a trip to Crystal Lake, with Simon Cowell as its Jason and Clarkson as the only survivor to have ever gotten out with her dignity (and possibly even her virginity) in tact. (Props to Crow, though, for a memorable, albeit distant, second-place finish.)
JK: What’s tricky about this category is that there’s no way to predict how the voters are going to interpret the word “vocal” in any given year. Technically, it’s only in the category name because what’s nominated has to include vocals on at least 51% of its running time, but there are always people who argue that it should go to the performance with the best vocal technique. Because the best possible way to increase the Grammys’ credibility is by getting bogged down in a semantics debate. That might hurt Stefani here, since “Hollaback Girl” is already a divisive single, and most of its proponents would likely admit that what works about it doesn’t hinge on her vocal performance. So the question is whether or not that will play enough of a role to allow either Clarkson or Crow to win. Crow generally fares better in the Rock field, and her album hasn’t sold particularly well, but she does have the “They’re selling it at Starbucks” appeal that has worked for Norah Jones, Coldplay, and Ray Charles. Clarkson can take consolation in the fact that “Since U Been Gone” seems poised to win Pazz & Jop, since the Grammys do have that air of would-be “legitimacy” that makes it hard to see them going for an American Idol, however deserving she might be. Heart says Clarkson, but brain says that Stefani’s too popular not to win anything, and this one’s her best shot.
BEST MALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,” Jack Johnson
“Fine Line,” Paul McCartney
“Walk on By,” Seal
“Lonely No More,” Rob Thomas (Will Win)
“From the Bottom of My Heart,” Stevie Wonder
SC: Women ruled 2005 and this largely hitless category proves it. Seal? Come now. I’d put my money on Rob Thomas’s “Lonely No More,” the biggest hit here, or that British guy who used to be in that pop band.
EG: “Lonely No More” reminds me of that hit Enrique Iglesias had where he sings about being in love with Amadou Diallo. I think “Fine Line” will win here. It’s not only the best song in the group but it’s sung by a Beatle.
EH: Stevie Wonder hasn’t been nominated for quite this many Grammys in a single year since Original Musiquarium and his duet with McCartney, “Ebony And Ivory,” effectively wrote the epilogue to his fertile period, for better and worse respectively. But though his six nods represent the strongest showing here, he rolled snake eyes on seven nominations in ’83. If Wonder had been up for his Hurricane Katrina anthem “Shelter In The Rain,” that might’ve put him over the top. Ivory doesn’t really have much of a shot, either, which leaves this category to the one-shot nominees. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack Johnson rides to a victory on the backs of his small but passionate fanbase.
JK: Yeah. Rob Thomas wins for his Maroon 5 impression, barring the slight chance that the voters mistake choosing Jack Johnson for “hip.”
BEST POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP
“Don’t Lie,” The Black Eyed Peas
“Mr. Brightside,” The Killers (Will Win)
“More Than Love,” Los Lonely Boys
“This Love [Live],” Maroon 5
“My Doorbell,” The White Stripes
EH: I could almost picture Grammy voters sticking with what they know and giving this to previous winners Los Lonely Boys or last year’s losers Maroon 5, especially considering that their nomination here feels like a re-do for picking the wrong song last year. Speaking of the wrong song, what is up with the Black Eyed Peas’ nod? Say whatever mean, nasty things you will about “My Humps” and “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” (no, please, do), at least they were hits, meaning somebody somewhere actually liked them. Call it wishful thinking, but I could see The Killers emerging victorious from out of this reheated line-up.
JK: That “My Doorbell” was actually placed in the correct category is easily my favorite nomination this year, and it’s not inconceivable that The White Stripes’ proven Grammy clout could give them the win. It’s just more likely that the biggest/only radio hit in the line-up, from a band that even NARAS’s conservative older members can mistake for edgy, will prevail. Though I’d love to see “My Doorbell” pull the upset, “Mr. Brightside” was just too big a multi-format hit not to win.
EG: “My Doorbell” shames every song in this category, but because talking is the new singing, The Killers will take this one.
BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM
Extraordinary Machine, Fiona Apple
Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson
Wildflower, Sheryl Crow
Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, Paul McCartney (Will Win)
Love. Angel. Music. Baby. , Gwen Stefani
SC: It’s a two-way race between Paul McCartney and Gwen Stefani in this category. I’d give Paul the edge, though I’d love to see Kelly Clarkson bring this one home due to a split-vote.
EH: Yeah but, unlike with Wonder, McCartney doesn’t usually win many from the continuing torrent of Grammy nominations post-relevance. I see this as being Stefani’s to lose with a few smart and/or anti-industry votes turning Apple into the spoiler.
JK: Apple’s anti-industry saga isn’t going to win her many fans in NARAS: they’re not going to cut their nose off to spite their face, as it were. Clarkson’s sales stats aren’t going to convince them that Breakaway is a great artistic statement. The Grammys seem immune to the criticisms of their own irrelevance, so it’s not like they’re going to second-guess voting for McCartney, but they also don’t have to worry about Stefani, either, since she’s already a repeat winner with No Doubt. Since, with the exception of La Timberlake’s win, this category has skewed more “mature” recently (Steely Dan, Sade, Norah Jones, and Ray Charles are the other four winners since 2000), I’ll give McCartney the edge.
BEST DANCE RECORDING
“Galvanize,” The Chemical Brothers featuring Q-Tip
“Say Hello,” Deep Dish
“Wonderful Night,” Fatboy Slim & Lateef
“Daft Punk Is Playing at My House,” LCD Soundsystem
“I Believe in You,” Kylie Minogue (Will Win)
“Guilt Is a Useless Emotion,” New Order
SC: LCD Soundsystem might be the critical darling here, but I can see New Order taking this one home just for sheer nostalgia (they’ve never won a Grammy). I’m probably wrong—in fact, I’d put money on that. There’s no denying the retro appeal of “I Believe In You” (co-written by Babydaddy & Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters, for added hipster appeal), but Kylie Minogue’s annual presence in this category is curious at best. Credit the wasteland that is American dance music. Or credit the academy’s…good taste?
EH: I’ll credit habit, diva worship, and the fact that most of them never step foot on a dance floor. Which doesn’t explain why they expanded this category to six nominees for…Deep fucking Dish. You’re probably right that New Order is a safe bet, especially since most of the other usual suspects have their shot in the Dance Album category.
JK: Not to put too crass a point on it, especially since I like both her and the single she’s nominated for, but I wouldn’t bet against Minogue simply on the basis of her breast cancer story—Melissa Etheridge’s bald head, after all, was arguably the talking point of last year’s show. I’m also the only would-be hipster who really isn’t impressed at all by “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House,” just to lay out all of my biases.
EG: My body can’t dance to “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House”—thrash, maybe, but certainly not dance—but it’s not like any of these songs “let the dogs out” anyway. I want to say only gay men know Kylie has cancer, but in spite of Billboard keeping regular tabs on the singer’s chemo appointments, my Number One Fag Hag still managed to miss the memo. Still, if Parkinson’s gave Michael J. Fox the edge in the 2000 Emmy race, I suppose cancer can do the same for Kylie here. Not that I’m complaining—next to “Galvanize,” it’s the best song in the bunch.
BEST ELECTRONIC/DANCE ALBUM
Push the Button, The Chemical Brothers
Human After All, Daft Punk
Palookaville, Fatboy Slim
LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem (Will Win)
SC: The inclusion of the word “dance” in this category is pretty deceptive if you ask me. It’s about as confused as Billboard’s “Top Electronic Albums,” which includes artists like Depeche Mode and Gorillaz alongside D.H.T. and DisneyRemixMania. I know Eric thinks the Chems’s Push The Button is underwhelming but there’s only one bad track on the entire album, and it’s my favorite of the bunch here. As for which one will win, I don’t think anyone in this country could really care less.
EH: If New Order could win in the other category, I suppose that means the even more influential, even more nostalgic Kraftwerk can’t be ignored here, even if the album is just a rote greatest hits/live performance hybrid. The Chems are just as overdue. I relish the thought of Daft Punk winning for their album-length “fuck you” to the moribund dance world. Though, considering my reading of that album is minoritarian (to say the least) and I couldn’t fathom someone applying the same “it’s bad on purpose” theory to Fatboy Slim’s god-awful Palookaville, maybe I should just exercise good karma and give LCD my endorsement.
JK: As someone who falls into the “No, it’s just straight-up bad” camp on Human After All, I have to agree that it’s still better than Fatboy Slim’s album. But if Basement Jaxx’s Kish Kash could win last year despite the Grammys’ historically weirdass definitions for dance music, I’ll say that LCD Soundsystem can win this year.
EG: Anyone who thinks the Chems are no longer interested in reinventing their sound is a fool. Their big beats are as muscular, propulsive, and exhilarating as ever—sometimes spiritually and politically so—but I imagine Grammy voters will once again take them for granted. LCD Soundsystem isn’t quite my idea of great dance music, but it’s still hella fine, and in terms of electronic thrills and wispy drones, I concede that it may have Push the Button beat. Pity “Disco Infiltrator,” “On Repeat,” or “Great Release” weren’t nominated for Best Dance Recording.
BEST ROCK SONG
“Best of You,” Foo Fighters
“Beverly Hills,” Weezer
“City of Blinding Lights,” U2
“Devils & Dust,” Bruce Springsteen (Will Win)
“Speed of Sound,” Coldplay
SC: I think the fact that U2 was nominated for a different song for Song Of The Year speaks less to their quality and diversity as songwriters and more to the complete arbitrariness and obligatory nature of the band’s nominations. Do you guys think voters actually listen to the U2 songs they nominate or do they just randomly pick tracks with titles that sound like anthems for Bono’s latest goodwill pilgrimage?
EH: iTunes has to figure into it somehow. Weezer’s massive hit is probably Coldplay’s strongest competition—I mean, for anyone fickle enough to feel guilty about calling Coldplay the new Radiohead back in ’01. That “Beverly Hills” is a fist-pumping rawk anthem and pays lip service to ignoring trendiness (while still being secretly hipster than thou) seals its viability as the anti-Coldplay vote.
JK: The fact that this is Weezer’s first ever Grammy nomination makes my hair hurt; they’ve been a great singles band for over a decade, and “Beverly Hills” would be their worst radio single if not for the other two singles from Make Believe. Springsteen wins this since his is the only song with broad enough support to land the nomination for Song Of The Year in the General Field, thanks to the odd split between the U2 songs. Coldplay’s shut-out for the major awards suggests that their backlash, which is hardly unearned, may actually have figured into the voting, and I think they’ll go home empty-handed.
EG: Like Million Dollar Baby, “Devils & Dust” is told with the spirit of someone who regularly chugs down jiggers of scotch, and yet it isn’t harsh on the ears. Springsteen doesn’t write as well as Leonard Cohen (who does?), but his voice is more agreeable. His song seems like the logical compromise for anyone who might be annoyed by Foo Fighters and Weezer’s perpetual whines and U2 and Coldplay’s persistent ear-nibbling.
BEST ROCK ALBUM
In Your Honor, Foo Fighters
A Bigger Bang, The Rolling Stones
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2 (Will Win)
Prairie Wind, Neil Young
SC: Unwritten Grammy rules state that academy members must vote for any album nominated for Album Of The Year regardless of the quality of the competition in its respective genre field. So, sorry, Neil (although for a split second I thought Prairie Wind could be a pleasant upset). And it should be noted that this is the first year Coldplay is nominated in Rock rather than Alternative Music, which means they’re no longer “gay” now that frat boys across the country have adopted them as their new arena rockers of choice. Will that break their winning streak? Hopefully.
EH: Frat boys are such pussies these days.
JK: On Facebook, Dave Matthews Band still has a slight edge over Coldplay as the most popular music act. Of course, The Notebook is also the most popular movie on Facebook, so I’m not going to argue that the frat boys aren’t pussies. But they’re also not voting here, so U2 will win. Young should’ve been nominated for Traditional Folk Album, instead.
EG: I know little about Coldplay other than their ties to Apple, which saddens me that I can’t join in the hipper-than-thou bullying. Oh, wait, I just did! The Grammys don’t like The Rolling Stones very much and Neil Young has never won a Grammy in his entire career (poor guy joined Crosby, Stills and Nash too late to savor the group’s 1969 Best New Artist victory)—besides, who knew they had albums this year? This will be Bono’s consolation for not having won the Nobel Peace Prize.
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
Funeral, The Arcade Fire
Plans, Death Cab for Cutie
You Could Have It So Much Better, Franz Ferdinand
Get Behind Me Satan, The White Stripes (Will Win)
SC: The absence of Coldplay means it’s an open playing field and critical darlings the Arcade Fire could score.
EH: Yeah, but “critical favorites” as you’re using the term (meaning “vanguard-but-still-underexposed” as opposed to “let’s pretend that Radiohead and Wilco aren’t automatic Pazz & Jop top tenners every year they’re eligible”) don’t usually win this category. In any case, look at this backlog of candidates two years overdue! I’d actually taken it for granted that Coldplay hadn’t been winning this category for the last five years running, and was surprised that The White Stripes have been awarded already. Beck, however, hasn’t won in awhile, and Guero’s Odelay Part Dos sheen might carry him to a win. But if I know Grammy history in this category, I’m betting on the “new but not that new” Franz Ferdinand for the win.
JK: Cross Beck off the list first, since he’s been a Grammy favorite in the past but couldn’t manage to score any of the other nominations with Guero that his previous albums have. If Coldplay has fallen out of favor, Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans, which plays like diminished returns on A Rush of Blood to the Head, won’t win either. The Arcade Fire actually shouldn’t be nominated, since Funeral wasn’t released during the eligibility period, but the fact that the Grammys caught up to Pitchfork in just over a year’s time is astonishing. That Funeral is the best nominee in a strong list (only Plans doesn’t hold its own) doesn’t mean it’ll win, though, since The Arcade Fire is still awfully far off the mainstream radar. Get Behind Me Satan might only be the White Stripes’ third-or-fourth best album, but they’ve won in this category before, so they’re a safer, if slightly less deserving, bet than the second outing for Franz Ferdinand.
BEST R&B SONG
“Cater 2 U,” Destiny’s Child
“Free Yourself,” Fantasia
“Ordinary People,” John Legend
“Unbreakable,” Alicia Keys
“We Belong Together,” Mariah Carey (Will Win)
EH: “Cater 2 U” made me grateful I’m not attracted to women-lampreys. “Ordinary People” made me glad that I’m special. “We Belong Together” made me happy in isolation. “Free Yourself” turned my ears into prisoners. How odd that the sloppy, underthought “Unbreakable” managed to break my long-standing resistance to the no longer humorless Alicia Keys.
EG: Alicia Keys is doing comedy now? Is she as good as Mariah Carey was on Dick Clark’s Strokin’ New Year’s Eve special?
BEST R&B ALBUM
Illumination, Earth, Wind and Fire
Free Yourself, Fantasia
Unplugged, Alicia Keys
Get Lifted, John Legend (Will Win)
A Time 2 Love, Stevie Wonder
EH: The only thing helping Stevie here is the fact that Earth, Wind and Fire’s album is even more dire, and only fleetingly features the band in the first place. (At least Stevie’s album is all him.) Residual love for the flowering, looser Keys aside, ain’t no way John Legend’s self-important album can lose this one.
EG: If you threw cold water on Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder’s albums, they’d scarcely produce steam. Not that John Legend, Fantasia, or Alicia Keys’s music packs much heat, but they still got sass. Since Legend’s brand seems to be less abrasive than Fantasia’s and only slightly less snootily off-putting than Keys’s, he has the edge here.
SC: Yeah, I’d say Legend’s got this pretty locked up. Although I wouldn’t be totally shocked if NARAS decided to give it to his female counterpart…for a live album no less. Sometimes they just can’t resist.
BEST CONTEMPORARY R&B ALBUM
The Emancipation of Mimi, Mariah Carey (Will Win)
Destiny Fulfilled, Destiny’s Child
Turning Point, Mario
SC: By this point, it’s safe to say Mimi has been vindicated, err, emancipated. Definitely not emaciated though.
EH: I think that the fact Omarion managed to survive the London bombings and let his fans know he was all right so swiftly is really its own reward. Which means that Mariah’s only competition is the prorating of Destiny Fulfilled in light of the fact that it’s now the group’s swan song.
BEST RAP SONG
“Candy Shop,” 50 Cent featuring Olivia
“Diamonds from Sierra Leone,” Kanye West (Will Win)
“Don’t Phunk With My Heart,” The Black Eyed Peas
“Hate It or Love It,” The Game featuring 50 Cent
“Lose Control,” Missy Elliott featuring Ciara & Fat Man Scoop
SC: Oh, that’s cute. The Black Eyed Peas are still considered rap!
EH: I think they’re confused because Fergie isn’t actually hitting any of the notes.
EG: You’d have to be phunking retarded to give Best Rap Song to The Black Eyed Peas. Missy should win here but I can’t imagine the Grammys passing up the opportunity to award a song that not only makes explicit reference to its own ceremony but acknowledges that Shirley Bassey’s Grammy-less voice is foreva-eva.
BEST RAP ALBUM
The Cookbook, Missy Elliott
The Massacre, 50 Cent
Late Registration, Kanye West (Will Win)
SC: I’ve accepted the fact that Missy Elliott is never going to win an award for best album, in any category. Even when she was nominated for Album Of The Year in 2003, she still lost this award (albeit to another AOTY nominee, OutKast). 50’s The Massacre is the biggest-selling album here, but Kanye is unbeatable. You didn’t need us to tell you that though. He’ll do it himself.
EH: If voters get tired of seeing Kanye’s name by the time they get to this category, I could see Common emerging as a reasonable alternate. Especially because his album is even more Downy soft than Late Registration.
BEST COUNTRY SONG
“Alcohol,” Brad Paisley
“All Jacked Up,” Gretchen Wilson
“Bless the Broken Road,” Rascal Flatts (Will Win)
“I Hope,” Dixie Chicks
“I May Hate Myself in the Morning,” Lee Ann Womack
SC: Rascal Flatts may have excised “God” from the title of their hit “Bless The Broken Road,” but it still garnered enough votes from the heartland to make it a contender for the Song Of The Year, so it’s a safe bet here.
JK: Whatever goodwill the academy picked up by having the good sense to nominate “Alcohol” is squandered by the fact that it’s going to lose, hard, to the free goo of “Bless The Broken Road.” And that it was written by members of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band means that no one’s going to feel even the least bit bad about themselves for voting for it, either, even though its melody is awkward and its lyrics are a diabetic’s nightmare.
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
Fireflies, Faith Hill
Lonely Runs Both Ways, Alison Krauss and Union Station
Time Well Wasted, Brad Paisley (Will Win)
All Jacked Up, Gretchen Wilson
Jasper County, Trisha Yearwood
JK: The surprise here is that Lee Ann Womack’s critically tongue-bathed There’s More Where That Came From was snubbed. As one of the few people relatively unimpressed by it—all Womack did was dig up one of Tammy Wynette’s old wigs and then re-record her own first album—it’s still hard to feel good about what was nominated in its place. Fireflies is the frontrunner here, but just barely; I’m hardly the only person to call bullshit on it, but it’s the biggest seller in the category by almost 500k units, and the Grammys have been nursing a hard-on for Hill for years. Next in line, obviously, is the other embarrassment to the genre, Wilson’s All Jacked Up, which could win in the entirely likely event that the Grammy voters want to apologize to Wilson for their uncharacteristic use of good taste and discretion last year, when her Here For The Party lost in this category to Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose. What hurts Wilson is that the album hasn’t sold nearly as well as predicted, and it simply hasn’t been reviewed as well as her debut. Krauss has won eleventy billion Grammys and is hard to bet against, and Lonely Runs Both Ways has sold well, even without a “for her” qualifier. But it’s also an uneven album that she and Union Station could’ve recorded in their sleep. The same can be said for Yearwood’s Jasper County, which is just impossible to think of as the album that will finally score her a win in this category. It’s probably just wishful thinking on my part, but I’m going to say that the right album will actually win two years in a row, and that Hill and Wilson will split the votes of the people who simply vote for the biggest “name” on the list regardless of quality, allowing Paisley’s Time Well Wasted to take advantage both of being the only male nominated and having what’s a legitimately great country record.
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
Steve Lillywhite (Will Win)
SC: I’m never quite sure what criteria academy voters use to decide who should win in this category—Babyface won three years in a row for Christ’s sake. The fact that Pharrell charges $2 million a track doesn’t help the Neptunes here, and though Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis share the most credits of all the producers nominated, it’s been years since I could even identify one of their songs in a lineup. Could edgy voters peripherally award Danger Mouse for last year’s renegade Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up?
EH: I’d love if Danger Mouse won and, immediately afterward, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow chose to deliver his annual screed against music piracy. Steve Lillywhite might win, though. Unlike any of his other nominees, he’s got more than one album under his belt this year.
JK: Danger Mouse was a brilliant cartoon. Given the history of this category, that may well be enough to secure the win.
EG: I give this one to Steve Lillywhite, whose nominated work—his latest U2 session and Jason Mraz’s Mr. A-Z—suckered frat boys and sorority girls alike.
BEST REMIXED RECORDING
“Fever (Adam Freeland Remix),” Sarah Vaughan
“Flashdance (Guetta & Garraud Fuck Me I’m Famous Remix),” Deep Dish
“Mr. Brightside (Jacques Lu Cont’s Thin White Duke Mix),” The Killers (Will Win)
“Superfly (Louie Vega EOL Mix),” Curtis Mayfield
“What Is Hip? (T.O.P.R.M.X.), Tower Of Power
SC: Stuart Price (a.k.a. Jacques Lu Cont) is undoubtedly the producer/remixer with the most buzz right now. Madge’s producer du jour won last year for his remix of No Doubt’s “It’s My Life” and it helps that “Mr. Brightside” is the highest profile track here.
EH: If Price wins, it won’t be because the Killers are favorites elsewhere or because he’s got the best 12” cred this year. It’s because the rest of the category is clogged with tracks from those hopelessly middlebrow remix collections, the result of unleashing a cabal of B-list techno producers into the vaults of Verve and Warner Brothers’ back catalog.
EG: “What Is Hip?” can only win here if the Grammy voters in this category are self-conscious enough to want to ironically respond to accusations about their ineptitude. None of these remixes particularly reinvent the wheel, except for—and I hate to say this—the “Fuck Me I’m Famous” remix, which pads “Flashdance” with some ominous textures, if only to give the gay boys at the NYC clubs something to X out to. But that’s too sinister a thought for these voters, who, unlike myself, would rather kiss the lead singer of The Killers than punch him in the neck.
JK: Far as I can tell, the Grammys have never given an award to anything with “fuck” in the title, and if they ever get around to detonating the f-bomb, it’s not going to be with a remix of “Flashdance.”
BEST SHORT FORM MUSIC VIDEO
“Lose Control,” Missy Elliott featuring Ciara & Fat Man Scoop (Missy Elliott & Dave Meyers)
“Feel Good Inc.,” Gorillaz featuring De La Soul (Pete Candeland & Jamie Hewlett) (Will Win)
“Feels Just Like It Should,” Jamiroquai (Joseph Kahn)
“God’s Will,” Martina McBride (Robert Deaton & George Flanigen)
“World on Fire,” Sarah McLachlan (Sophie Muller)
EH: The surprise Record of the Year contenders Gorillaz will get their booby prize here, even if the simultaneously incendiary and cute “Dirty Harry” was their real music video revelation. The trendy glossiness of Dave Meyers and Joseph Kahn representing nothing more interesting than glittery, spinning rims on wheels that are otherwise spinning in place. In fact, the empty vulgarity of both could end up helping venerated (and Grammyless) vet Sophie Muller’s incendiary anti-bling “World on Fire” emerge as an underdog favorite.
SC: Ooooh, you’re right. Grammy can’t resist Sarah McLachlan’s Ovaltine goo. And NARAS needs to stop nominating Martina McBride in this category. Gotta love the placement of that American flag.
JK: Seriously, McBride doesn’t need any more encouragement to pinch off songs and videos like “God’s Will,” which stakes a claim as the worst music video ever made. McLachlan’s video is the pinnacle of subtlety in comparison. And with two “message” videos to cancel each other out, “Feel Good Inc.” will win for its nifty Howl’s Moving Castle design.
EG: I met Martina McBride’s “Ode to a Forrest Gump” on a cold January morning and it smelled like a bag of steaming pooh. “World On Fire” thinks beyond its own Creation—literally so—but it too courts self-righteousness. The video tells us, via on-screen text that moves too quick even for a person with a Mensa-approved IQ to read, how the filmmakers siphoned money out of their production budget in order to heal Third World catastrophes—female circumcision, apparently, not included. Only time will tell us if McLachlan will be sharing a hoagie with Sally Struthers, but history instructs that VMA carryovers typically prevail here. That means “World On Fire” and “Lose Control” will lose, again, to “Feel Good Inc.,” MTV’s choice for Breakthrough Video of 2005.
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