With the Toronto International Film Festival wrapping up this weekend, the field for the Academy Awards is beginning to become clearer.
From “A Star Is Born” to “Roma” to “First Man,” many of the major contenders have begun to be shown to audiences. And it seems it’s going to be a fun (and crowded) award season.
Here we take a small glimpse at the race for four of the major Oscar categories:
There are a lot of worthy filmmakers who can be in this category, and TIFF didn’t help narrow the field. Felix Van Groeningen should certainly be in the conversation for his achingly real look at addiction with “Beautiful Boy.” You can bet money Damien Chazelle will be back on Oscar night for his work on “First Man.” The movie is a thrilling look at the Space Race but also an intimate exploration of one man’s loss. Bradley Cooper has surprised many with how great he delivered on “A Star Is Born.” But no one is surprised by how great “Roma” is, as master of storytelling Alfonso Cuarón has used his childhood to make a movie that might not just be the one he’s remembered for, but could earn Netflix its first-ever major Oscar win.
Bradley Cooper will likely get both best director and best actor Oscar nods. His performance as a washed-up rocker is a career best. Hugh Jackman is also another lock, as his performance as senator Gary Hart in “The Front Runner” is the kind of performance Oscar voters historically love. For the actors in “Beautiful Boy” it will come down to which Amazon believes has the best chance of winning. Both Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet could be considered the leads of this movie, but only one will get the campaign. The other will more than likely receive a supporting actor nod. And Ryan Gosling‘s portrayal of Neil Armstrong in “First Man” will once again get him to Oscar night.
In her first dramatic role in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,”Melissa McCarthy is getting rave reviews for playing author Lee Israel and that will likely pay off with an Oscar nomination. Viola Davis, who won an Oscar for 2016’s “Fences,” certainly gives the performance in “Widows” to get her back to Oscar night. Lady Gaga rocks it both singing and acting in “A Star Is Born,” and it’s almost a lock she’ll be recognised for it with a nomination. “Roma” actress Yalitza Aparicio, in her first acting role, delivers a powerful performance that deserves a spot with the major stars on Hollywood’s big night.
The latest version of “A Star Is Born” is going to be a crowd pleaser and Oscar voters should feel the same way. The Chazelle/Gosling combination in “First Man” will certainly help, but honestly, Universal just has to throw Oscar voters in front of an IMAX theatre and just let the lush photography do the rest. Netflix has not had luck in this category, namely because it will not give its movies a traditional theatrical release, but if it does give “Roma” a proper one, it will be very hard to keep it out of the category. And let’s not leave out “Black Panther.” It didn’t play at TIFF, but it was on the minds of many at the fest parties when folks were handicapping the best picture race. There’s no doubt Disney will make sure that the movie stays in the Oscar conversation for the rest of the year.
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