Oscars 2018 was possibly the most unpredictable race ever (only in terms of Best Picture). So, it was a little disappointing that it ended with a whimper. ‘The Shape of Water’ was the most conventional and predictable choice that the Academy could have gone with. And in the end, despite all its unpredictability, the Oscar 2018 season ended on a predictable note, so much so, that I was able to predict 23 out of 24 winners correctly. Anyway, it is time to move on and look what lies ahead.
Update 5th Sep, 2018: Two major film festivals, Telluride and Venice, just got over. And even though both the festivals were low key compared to past years, there were more than a few movies that emerged to be the top Oscar contenders. While there were familiar titles, that most of the Oscar pundits, expected to do well — like ‘Roma’ and ‘First Man’ — there were also movies like ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me’ and ‘The Favorite’ that emerged as surprise contenders. At this point, you might be wondering what about the films that nobody has seen yet? It is true that we have yet to see some major titles scheduled to release late in the year, but don’t forget that majority of the Best Picture winners of last few years premiered at Telluride. While I am tempted to declare that the race to Best Picture will ultimately be between ‘Roma’ and ‘First Man’, I will hold off that judgement for a few weeks till things settle down.
Update 17th Sep, 2018: The biggest film festival as far as Oscars are concerned, just got over. While the films that were carrying buzz from Telluride and Venice — like Roma, A Star is Born and First Man — continued their good show at TIIF, there were also several new titles that threw their hat in the race. The two that emerged to be the strongest contenders out of TIFF are Green Book and If Beale Street Could Talk. The former won the highly sought after TIFF’s People Choice Awards. Just in case you were wondering what does People Choice Award has to do with Oscars, let me remind you that prior winners include the likes of La La Land and The King’s Speech. So, that puts Green Book squarely into the mix of Best Picture conversation.
Update 6th Dec, 2018: A lot has changed since the last time I made an update to my predictions. The reason I waited for so long to move things is because of two reasons: 1. I wanted to see some of the prospective contenders that had skipped the film festival circuit 2. I also wanted to wait for how major critics group awards and Golden Globes nominations play out.
So, the question remains: what has changed? First, a couple of months back I was almost certain that Roma is the Best Picture frontrunner, but after all that has transpired since then, I am no longer sure of that. Why? Because there are now more than one serious contenders for the top prize. Apart from Roma, there are two films that are steadily climbing the Oscar charts: A Star is Born and Green Book. Then, considering the fact that Oscars are nowadays more about making political statement than rewarding “the best”, I wouldn’t discount Blackkklansman and Black Panther either. Yes, you read that right. Black Panther is now a serious Best Picture contender.
Second, some of the serious contenders are almost out of the race.. or are they. The first one to suffer the brunt happens to be one of my favorite films of the year: First Man. I am surprised by the cold reception the film is receiving. Its poor box-office performance almost sealed its fate. Another film that I had high hopes with, Mary Queen of Scots, also doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The film was received positively by the critics, but it really needed overwhelmingly positive response to catapult it into the Oscars race.