Things got ugly this awards season, enough to give you pause about what might still lie ahead once Oscar nominations are announced next week. “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” etc. But as the phase one dust finally begins to settle, what does the landscape look like?
On the heels of a December critics’ awards circuit that saw one film, Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma,” positively dominate the proceedings, the industry’s guilds and other professional organizations chimed in over the last several weeks with various nominations announcements. The clear stand-out in that frame? Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born,” which received recognition from every single group save the Annie Awards (because, you see, it’s not a cartoon) and the Visual Effects Society (because unlike another musical drama in the mix this year, those were actual crowds watching Ally and Jackson Maine croon).
With all that in mind, it’s little wonder that both films lead the way with In Contention’s final assessment of the race going into next week’s announcement, which pretty much puts us right back where we started at the beginning of the race. We’re chalking up Cooper’s acclaimed remake and Cuarón’s personal exploration for 10 nominations apiece, with Yorgos Lanthimos’ British Academy favorite, uh, “The Favourite,” two steps back with eight.
A number of questions linger that only actors Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Elliss Ross — tapped by the Academy to announce this year’s nominees — will be able to answer. Does the recent pendulum swing for “First Man” indicate that it’s in for far more love than you would have suspected this time a month ago? Is “Black Panther” really going to be a dominant player or will that bubble finally pop? Was actual damage done to “Green Book” the week of voting or is it bulletproof? Did “If Beale Street Could Talk” find allies in the Academy ranks despite being largely ignored by guilds?
It’s been talked to death at this point. We’ll just have to find out together in a few short days. For now, here are guesses in each of the Academy’s 24 categories. Find out how right (or wrong) we were on Tuesday, Jan. 22.