The race to be awarded the 2019 Oscar for Best Picture promises to be one of the most fiercely fought in recent years, with numerous movies holding a genuine chance of scooping the prestigious prize.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed during December that 347 feature films are eligible to contend for the award, with up to 10 in line to receive a nomination. Interest in this year’s event is huge, sparking a big increase in the number of people placing a bet on the Oscars.
Read on as we look at four films that should be nominated for the Best Picture award.
Gaga & Cooper set to shine
Bradley Cooper’s stunning directorial debut movie A Star is Born is the fourth version of a classic 1930s story, but it is undoubtedly head and shoulders above any of its predecessors.
Featuring brilliant performances from Cooper and Lady Gaga, the film’s superb supporting cast drags the latest making of Star onto a whole new level.
Cooper is Jackson Maine, a country music star playing to sell-out crowds while struggling to deal with drug and drink addictions. Maine witnesses a performance by Ally (Gaga), a waitress who can sing for fun but doesn’t believe she has the star quality to make it in the business. He disagrees and transforms her into a star.
They fall in love, but as her career takes off he falls deeper and deeper into darkness. Cooper keeps things simple, transforming himself from the lout from The Hangover and delivering the performance of his career.
Gaga’s transformation from a meat-wearing shock magnet to big screen star is even more amazing and, with the pair ably backed by the magnificent Sam Elliott, Star shines brightly at every turn.
The movie is the birth of a star director in Cooper and a star actress in Gaga. Star is favorite in the betting market and rightly so.
Roma aims to make history
The Academy Awards have never seen a Best Picture winner in any language other than English. However, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma is second favorite to make history at the 91st ceremony.
The Spanish/Mixtec language drama appears nailed on to win the Best Foreign Language prize and has emerged as the closest challenger to A Star is Born in the betting for the top film award.
Roma tells the story of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a maid to a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City and a mere employee and something of an afterthought to them. As the family go through a tough time, Cleo becomes a guardian angel to them. The movie is semi-autobiographical for Cuaron, who photographed and edited the film himself and was the only member of the crew to see the script before shooting.
Roma gives a great insight into Mexican life, but also reminds people of the bond that can be established between humans when they open up to each other. The film breaks through the language barrier via this important message, but whether that will quite be enough to topple Star is debatable.
Green Book is in the game
Directed by Peter Farrelly, Green Book stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen as an African American pianist and his Italian American driver/bodyguard as they travel across the deep south on a concert tour.
The film won the People’s Choice award at the Toronto film festival, but its Oscars chances were thought to have been harmed after Mortensen upset audiences by using a racial slur during a panel discussion.
Mortensen used the n-word in full when talking about the movie, trying to make the point about how the word was casually used in the time period in which the movie takes place. However, he was widely criticized for using the word himself and has since apologized. Despite the row, the film is worthy of a nomination due to the powerful message it sends.
Ali and Mortensen are superb, while Farrelly proves he can produce something classier than Dumb and Dumber. Green Book could be worth checking out in some of the other betting markets for the Oscars, but the Best Picture prize looks set to go elsewhere.
The Favourite is a lively outsider
The Favourite is loosely based on the true story of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, competing with her cousin Abigail, Baroness Masham, for Queen Anne’s favours.
Olivia Colman is brilliantly funny in the lead role, while Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone provide excellent support.
Humor has always crept into the films of director Yorgos Lanthimos and he goes full-pelt for comedy effect in The Favourite. The movie borders on being deranged at times, yet Lanthimos expertly manages to keep it just the right side of the humor line. The film turns gender on its head, with the three women at the heart of the film shooting guns, devouring food and plotting each other’s demise, while the men serve as eye candy in the background.
All three women are in fine form in the film, with their deadpan delivery of the superb script worthy of an Oscar nomination.
The Favourite is unlikely to scoop the top award, but its hilarious offbeat brilliance certainly deserves recognition.