The Oscars are on Sunday night, which means opinions abound. We got five of The Gavel’s biggest movie buffs in one GroupMe, and transcribed the conversation (with light edits for clarity), for your reading pleasure:
Nico Borbolla (Associate Features Editor): The Oscars are this Sunday, and this year's crop of movies is interesting. There's no real clear winner, and many movies have been hit with controversy.
Let's start with Best Actor. Patrick, who's your pick?
Patrick Carpenter (Sports Editor): My prediction for Best Actor is Rami Malek, for "Bohemian Rhapsody." I think this category is basically between Malek and Christian Bale, and I could see either of them taking it home. But hearing the opening piano chords of Bohemian Rhapsody as Malek heads to the stage to pick up his Academy Award for Best Actor is too much of an Oscar-worthy moment to pass up.
Ellen Gerst (Editor-in-Chief): The only Oscar "Bohemian Rhapsody" deserves is costume and makeup for those teeth honestly.
Nico: The big question here is Bryan Singer. Does anyone think that will affect it?
Jinoo Song (Managing Editor): Considering that happened a while ago, and even since then Malek has won the Drama Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA (I think?), I think the Academy will also vote for Malek.
Ray Cai (Culture Editorial Assistant): Just judging from precedents in the history of the Academy Award, it doesn’t seem like it's going to have an impact—see Roman Polanski and Woody Allen, for example. However, in today’s political climate it would be interesting to see how it turns out.
Ellen: I think the Bryan Singer thing probably won’t affect it much.
Nico: The Oscars do have a tendency to latch onto social movements only when it benefits them.
Jinoo: I personally think Bale's performance was better than Malek's, but the Oscars generally have a thing against comedies, and Freddie Mercury's just such a huge role that I think ultimately voters will choose Malek.
But lowkey like Bale deserves it.
Ray: Same, I think it’s about time Bale got the nod.
Ellen: I guess I do realistically but I would love to see Willem Dafoe for "At Eternity’s Gate." Not the greatest film overall, but he’s a sensational Van Gogh.
Nico: Willem is a sensational actor. But also: the Academy loves fat-suits and face transformations (see: Gary Oldman).
Ellen: Picking Bale would also be a political move for the Academy.
PCarp: He'd definitely be a dark horse in this one. Dafoe, that is.
Jinoo: Love the mellower not-so-batshit characters Dafoe's been playing lately.
Ellen: Same. Did he win Supporting for "The Florida Project" last year?
Ray: Great picture.
Nico: Lost to Sam Rockwell, who's nominated again this year for "Vice." "The Florida Project" was snubbed bad.
Jinoo: On that note, should we move on to Supporting?
Nico: I'm reallyyy ambivalent about Supporting Actor this year. But I've got Adam Driver.
Ray: He was a fabulous choice for his role.
PCarp: Supporting Actor I think is going to go to Mahershala Ali. But I agree with you, Nico—this isn't exactly an exciting category this year for me.
Ellen: I have Mahershala Ali as an easy choice for the Academy. Most exciting guy in this category is Richard Grant. I watched "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" recently and he is very good.
Jinoo: I have Mahershala Ali. He and Viggo have good chemistry.
PCarp: My low-key candidate for this one is Sam Elliot, but I think that "A Star is Born" is going to get shut out of all the major awards in the end.
Nico: Sam Elliott said "it's about damn time I got nominated" or something like that.
Jinoo: It lowkey is.
Ellen: Agreed, he’s so slept on.
Nico: I feel like Sam Elliott only ever plays Sam Elliott though.
Ray: Sam Elliott was instrumental in the movie, but I agree with Patrick. "A Star is Born" is probably going to walk away with maybe only one win in Best Original Song.
Nico: I read “Patrick Star is born.”
Ray: I would actually pay to see that if someone made it.
Jinoo: My only problem is Ali is kinda a lead. Like he and Viggo have almost exactly the same screen time.
Ellen: That might work in his favor though.
Nico: Is "Green Book" the white-savior (or as The Onion put it "Italian-Savior") story it's made out to be?
Ray: Has anyone seen the honest trailer for it? It described Viggo’s character as “one of those cartoon Italian chefs on a pizza box.”
Jinoo: There are times Viggo comes in and does literally save Ali.
Nico: What about Don Shirley's estate saying the story inaccurately portrays the relationship?
Ellen: I mean it’s a movie, you gotta expect that.
Jinoo: Does anyone think someone else might win?
Nico: Mahershala Ali is just such a good actor I really can't be mad if he wins. Even if "Green Book" does nothing but say "racism is bad."
PCarp: If Ali doesn't win this one, it seems like the rest of this category could be pretty up in the air.
Jinoo: I just hope (since he won for Supporting for "Moonlight" literally only two years ago) that people don't see him as a "supporting" character actor. Because he is an amazing enough actor to be a lead on his own. If Ali doesn't win, I say Elliot.
But I'm 90% sure its gonna be Ali.
Nico: Agreed. Adam Driver's time will come, no doubt.
Ellen: Just for context I'm doing this all in the produce section of Star Market.
Nico: How about Supporting Actress? It's my favorite field this year.
PCarp: I agree @Nico Supporting Actress is a good one. Who do you have?
Ray: I have Amy Adams. "Vice" wouldn’t be the same without her. Adams has been nominated six times so the Academy might decide to give her the nod, seems like a safe choice for them.
Jinoo: Regina King.
Nico: I've got Rachel Weisz.
Ellen: I have Amy Adams, but I want Rachel Weisz.
PCarp: I have Rachel Weisz as well.
Nico: Rachel Weisz was my favorite. Haha.
Ellen: Regina King could take it though and I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
PCarp: I could see Regina King winning it for sure; "Beale Street" got shut out of nominations for a number of other categories.
Nico: I wish "Beale Street" got more attention.
Nico: Anytime Barry Jenkins points a camera at a face its so frickin pretty.
Ellen: Same, it was so incredible. Wish it got more acting nods.
Nico: I really want "Beale Street" to win score. Nicholas Britell's score deserved the win for "Moonlight," and he scored "Succession," which is an under-watched TV show.
PCarp: I agree. I thought it would get more especially considering how Jenkins' "Moonlight" won big a couple years ago.
Rachel Weisz had my favorite performance of "The Favourite" though, so I'm rooting for her to win this one.
Nico: So it looks like we're between Weisz and King, with Ray holding out for Amy A.
Let's go to Best Actress. Who's got Colman?
Ellen: Olivia Colman full stop.
Jinoo: Nah. Glenn.
The case is Glenn Closed let's move on.
PCarp: I have Glenn Close as well.
Ray: Yes Colman.
PCarp: Although I think it'd be great to see Colman win too. Anyone think that Lady Gaga has a shot?
Jinoo: They'll give her OG song.
PCarp: I don't really think so either.
Nico: She sing good though.
Glenn Close is the Gary Oldman of this year.
Olivia Colman won the Golden Globe.
If Glenn close doesn’t win it it’ll be tragic. She already has seven nominations with no wins.
PCarp: That is true. Globes don't predict Oscars that well though.
Ellen: You GUYS if Olivia Colman doesn’t win it’s such a snub.
Nico: Wait no I lied. Glenn Close won it.
No I lied.
PCarp: They both won!
Ellen: Thought that was BAFTA? Pretty sure Close won the Golden Globe.
Nico: Close won the Drama Globe, Colman the Comedy Globe.
PCarp: Personally I'll be rooting for Colman during the show, but I still think Close is going to win.
Jinoo: But like, of course Coleman won BAFTA.
Nico: Alright well we'll all say a prayer for Colman and watch it go to Glenn.
Screenplay time. Who do you have for Adapted?
Jinoo: I'm going with the four people who wrote "BlacKkKlansman." I don't remember all their names.
Nico: "Beale Street."
Ellen: Hmmm. Buster Scruggs would be huge for Netflix, but I don’t think it’s realistic.
PCarp: I'm with Jinoo, I'm going to say "BlacKkKlansman."
Ray: "BlacKkKlansman." Actually, I think it depends on how it performs in the other categories.
Nico: It was very funny.
Jinoo: There's no way Buster Scruggs winning.
Nico: What about Original?
PCarp: "The Favourite."
Nico: This is where we can get some redemption for "First Reformed."
Jinoo: For Original I'm gonna go with "Green Book." I feel like the Academy eats that kinda dialogue up.
Ellen: Hope to God its "First Reformed." I think about that movie every day.
But yeah, "The Favourite" would be good for Original. Wish it was a screenplay Lanthimos had written himself but whatever.
Nico: This is the one category I think "Roma" is pretty weak.
Ray: I think "Roma" might actually get it if it wins big in other categories also.
Nico: Do we realize Alfonso Cuarón could literally go up four separate times to get four separate Oscars?
Jinoo: You know what should have been nominated for OG Screenplay and win? "Sorry to Bother You." I felt so attacked watching the movie, I was pressed. Like, I have had supervisors like those in my life who I swear have said that same exact things to me.
PCarp: I see "Roma" winning big in other categories, but not necessarily this one.
Ray: Yes, especially with the awards win big or nothing voting tradition.
Jinoo: "Roma"'s not winning this.
Nico: I want "The Favourite" to take it then.
Wait no. Paul Schrader.
PCarp: Same here.
Jinoo: I'm gonna go with "Green Book" and "The Favourite" as an alternative.
PCarp: What's next Nico?
Nico: Animated. I think this is pretty unanimous.
PCarp: Ahh yes.
Nico: Does anyone not have "Spider-Man"?
Ray: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse."
PCarp: Unanimous yeah, but this is a stacked category honestly.
Ray: "Isle of Dogs" was great too but not as groundbreaking as "Spider-Man." A lot of strong contenders this year for sure.
PCarp: I think "Spider-Man" will win too but I loved "Incredibles 2" and "Isle of Dogs."
Nico: OK. Director?
PCarp: Director is definitely going to be Cuarón.
Ray: Ya Cuarón.
Nico: Mexicans winning 5/6 times. V proud.
Jinoo: V proud for you @Nico. Mexican excellence.
Nico: But tbh, also a great category.
PCarp: And no Bradley!
Ellen: You think its a snub?
Ray: Bradley did gud but no.
PCarp: Very fair. I think it's a little bit of a snub. Could've been in over Pawlikowski or Adam McKay.
Nico: It's weird though. In the same year where "Black Panther" beat out "Beale Street," Pawel Pawlikowski beat out Bradley Cooper. It’s like the Oscars can’t decide if they wanna go for popular movies or artsy ones.
Ellen: Anyone see "Cold War"?
Jinoo: No I haven't seen "Cold War." I'll get around to it.
Nico: I saw the trailer.
Ray: I haven’t seen it but the trailer looks beautiful. And heard great things from ppl who have seen it.
I have it for cinematography.
Nico: Bold move Ray. I think Cuarón’s got cinematography.
PCarp: Over "Roma"? Cinematography’s going to Cuarón too, I agree.
Nico: Alright, let's do Best Picture and finish this up. Can anything beat "Roma"?
PCarp: I have "Roma."
Ray: Yes "Roma."
Nico: Counterpoint: my roommate fell asleep during "Roma" but said "The Favourite" was one of his favorite movies ever.
PCarp: "Roma"'s in the lead for Best Picture but I think "The Favourite" might be able to take it.
Jinoo: Can I be honest? "The Favourite"'s like alright.
PCarp: It'd be quite the big night if "Roma" (and Cuarón) wins Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, and Foreign Language.
Nico: "Burning" was snubbed bad for Foreign Language.
Jinoo: @Nico "BURNING" WAS SNUBBED AND I’M STILL PRESSED.
But on another note "Roma" is winning.
Ellen: I loved them both but a win for "The Favourite" would be so huge for Yorgos. He’s kinda been toiling on the lower circuit for a while, but he is such a genius.
Nico: Yorgos hasn't really made a bad movie.
PCarp: But is he too weird and out there to win big at the Oscars?
Nico: That's what I'm feeling.
Ellen: Might be, but "The Favourite" is pretty mainstream comparatively.
PCarp: Definitely more mainstream than his other movies.
PCarp: "The Favourite" definitely has a better chance than his earlier movies, but it still feels like somewhat of a reach.
Ray: Does the anyone find the fact that "Roma" was released on Netflix a potential setback?
Nico: Netflix has been pumping sooo much money into "for your consideration" campaigns.
Ellen: I think the Netflix thing is so interesting; it could be a chance for the Academy to signal they’re open to change and recognize how movies are just seen different now.
Ray: I’m actually really happy with the way Netflix has been handling its stuff. Very diverse. Artistically.
PCarp: Netflix has definitely been making some good stuff. But I was really happy that I got to see "Roma" in the theater. Rather than on my computer.
Nico: If "Roma" wins does that mean the 2029 oscars will have five or six streaming only Best Picture nominees? Like is that where the industry is headed?
Ellen: Might be, but that could be good for filmmaking, in a sense.
Ray: Very true.
PCarp: That's a good question. You'd have to talk about the future of movie theaters too.
Ellen: Having to adapt and try new things to bring people back into theaters. See: "Spider-Verse."
Ray: Ya I just hope the environment stays competitive, but healthy.
Nico: I think it's a good thing in that it forces people to make actually good, original content.
PCarp: The Academy wants to become more accessible and popular with more people, too. Like how they wanted to add the popular movie category.
Ellen: Yeah, but the problem a lot of the time is shitty studio movies, and a lot of them.
Nico: Such a weird category.
PCarp: So they could nominate/pick more mainstream movies? Hopefully not.
Nico: The Oscars struggle with classism a lot, I think. Like when Jimmy Kimmel would bring in the “peasants” from the street to mingle with the Oscar “noblesse.”
Ray: Lol throwback. I would love to see more independent films.
Nico: Yeah. "Mortal Engines" is Movie of the Year 2018.
The Gavel’s Oscar Predictions 2019:
Best Picture: "Roma"
Best Actor: Rami Malek for "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Best Actress: Split between Glenn Close for "The Wife" and Olivia Colman for "The Favourite"
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali for "Green Book"
Best Supporting Actress: Toss-up between Regina King for "If Beale Street Could Talk," Rachel Weisz for "The Favourite," and Amy Adams for "Vice"
Best Original Screenplay: Split between "First Reformed" and "The Favourite"
Best Adapted Screenplay: "BlacKkKlansman"
Best Animated Film: "Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse"
Best Cinematography: Split between "Roma" and "Cold War"