×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A Wild Oscar Race Is (Mostly) Taking Shape

As industry guilds continue to lay the groundwork, here's a look at how things seem to be playing out

It’s by no means time to start packing it in this awards season. Final ballots won’t even go out to Academy members until Feb. 12. But in the major categories, examining how the guilds have voted so far, some interesting battles appear to be taking shape. Underdogs are lurking and surprises can (and will) happen, but if you’re looking to place some bets, here’s a glance at how things seem to be shaking out.

Best Picture
Green Book” vs. “Roma

It makes sense for the producers and directors guild victors to be neck-and-neck. But even with “Green Book” director Peter Farrelly out of the Oscar running, his film is still beloved, and likely to perform well on a preferential ballot (even if it is divisive among the online commentariat). “Roma,” however, is the highbrow choice — the critics’ champ.

Director
Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”) vs. Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”)

Cuarón has seemingly had this prize locked up all season, but you never know how sentiment can sway the vote. Lee is finally an Oscar nominee for directing, and “BlacKkKlansman” is popular overall. If there’s a sense that Cuarón doesn’t need even more hardware that evening — he’s the frontrunner for cinematography and foreign film prizes — watch out.

Lead Actor
Christian Bale (“Vice”) vs. Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)

The Golden Globe winners nosed ahead as the race started coming together, and Malek’s portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury ultimately looks like the one to beat. This Oscar has gone to an actor portraying a real person 11 of the past 16 years, and both fill that requirement.

Lead Actress
Glenn Close (“The Wife”) vs. Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”)

It looks like Close is finally going to cross “Oscar” off her to-do list, but if anyone is a threat, it might be Colman for a fierce (and, like Close’s, Globe-winning) performance. “The Favourite” joined “Roma” in topping the list of per-film Oscar nominations with 10, so obviously there’s love for it throughout the Academy.

Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”) vs. Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

Ali is on a tear but there’s something equally endearing about the notion of Grant hearing his name called. Both have been delightful, charming presences on the awards circuit. This one could come down to whoever wins the British Academy prize, not unlike supporting actress. Speaking of which …

Supporting Actress
FREE-FOR-ALL!

Truly, you can’t boil this down to a two-horse race. There are shades of the 2016 supporting actor competition, when the SAG-AFTRA winner (Idris Elba in “Beasts of No Nation” then, Emily Blunt in “A Quiet Place” now) wasn’t even Oscar-nominated. Regina King was passed over by the union for her “If Beale Street Could Talk” performance, yet she might be considered the frontrunner due to her commanding string of critics awards. Of “The Favourite” duo, Rachel Weisz might be more of a threat than awards-watchers realize, while Amy Adams is, of course, on her sixth nomination with “Vice,” still looking for that first win. Even “Roma” star Marina de Tavira could shock in the way Marcia Gay Harden did for “Pollock” 18 years ago.

Adapted Screenplay
“BlacKkKlansman” vs. “A Star Is Born”

We’ll see what the writers guild says, but this is an interesting race with no clear frontrunner, (though “BlacKkKlansman” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” have pulled in the most critics awards). It’s a place for votes to pool around “A Star Is Born” if indeed that picture is out of play in most of the other categories, which would be sort of apt, as one of the many takes on the film is that it’s the best iteration of an ages-old classic.

Original Screenplay
“The Favourite” vs. “Green Book”

“The Favourite” and “Vice” are catnip for fans of the uproarious, though the former won far more critics prizes than any other screenplay in the category. “Green Book,” meanwhile, is a best picture frontrunner. This could be a flip of the coin. That’s the way it felt at the Globes, too, where “Green Book” won.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

  • Hereditary

    The Best Horror Films to Stream Right Now

    Good horror movies aren’t always easy to scare up, but with Halloween on the horizon, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best horror films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. NETFLIX Apostle Cult horror meets religious hypocrisy in this creepy gothic thriller, which follows prodigal son Thomas Richardson, who returns home [...]

  • Brett Gelman

    'Stranger Things' Star Brett Gelman Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse'

    Brett Gelman, best known for his scene-stealing roles in “Fleabag,” “Stranger Things” and “Love,” has joined Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith are also on board. Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known as John Terrence Kelly, a former Navy SEAL who [...]

  • US director Francis Ford Coppola holds

    Francis Ford Coppola Honored With Prestigious Lumiere Prize by Thierry Fremaux, Bong Joon Ho

    Francis Ford Coppola took the stage to claim the Lumière Festival’s lifetime achievement honor, the Lumière Prize, in a stirring celebration that marked the festival’s 10th edition on Friday night in Lyon, France. The four-time Academy Award winner accepted the prize after a series of video tributes, musical performances and testimonials from family, friends and [...]

  • 'Human Capital' Sells to Vertical Entertainment,

    Liev Schreiber, Maya Hawke's 'Human Capital' Sells Rights to DirecTV, Vertical Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV have jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to “Human Capital,” an official selection of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival from director Marc Meyers. The film stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Maya Hawke. The ensemble drama follows numerous interconnected stories surrounding a hit and run, [...]

  • Robert Zemeckis

    Robert Zemeckis in Talks to Direct Live-Action 'Pinocchio' for Disney (EXCLUSIVE)

    Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct Disney’s live-action “Pinocchio.” Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz will produce through their company Depth of Field with Weitz penning the script. “Paddington” director Paul King had originally been tapped to direct but had to leave the project for unknown reasons at the beginning of the year. David [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content