Gay drumroll, please. The winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture will most likely be Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, about a Mexican housekeeper who, over the course of many years, inspires and uplifts those around her with her simple decency. This is a beautifully crafted film, not to mention a timely rebuke to Trump’s ridiculous wall project. A towering work of art, Roma would be the first foreign film to win Best Picture since The Artist (which was silent, except for music). It should also handily nab Foreign Film, Director, and Cinematography.
Runner up: Green Book, a gratifying buddy film, road movie, and period excursion into battling race and homophobia. Green Book might not be quirky enough for Oscar voters’ tastes, but Roma could prove too challenging for some of the voters—the slow types who might very well rip the screener out of their machines, saying, “She’s just scrubbing a lot!”
Glenn Close will finally nab Best Actress for the very hetero The Wife. Glenn is terrific, the movie has come to represent talented women who deserve more attention, and it’s her turn. It’s far from incisive as a film, but Glenn anchors it by simmering and reacting and eventually exploding in some Oscar-worthy flareups. The movie is even about the winning of an award! And Glenn can finally step out from Meryl Streep’s shadow and claim her own golden boy.
As for the more gay-friendly Lady Gaga, she’s very good in A Star Is Born, but it’s her first film, and it’s not quite as dazzling a debut as Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl. (Babs tied for Best Actress with Katharine Hepburn in 1969.) Besides, Judy Garland controversially lost for the same title way back in the 1950s, and gay Academy members would have to hang their heads in shame for giving the award to someone else in the role.
For Best Actor, I predict the winner will be Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. He was terrific as the kind of fabulous but conflicted, doomed but amazing gay character the Academy likes. It complicates things that Bryan Singer directed most of the film, then was fired after conflicts erupted between Singer and the studio. (He also had creative differences with Malek, though Singer says that’s not why he was let go.)
As for a separate issue, Singer is the subject of various sexual allegations, which he denies. As a result of all this, the film’s approach originally was to not mention Singer at all when winning awards, even though he ended up nabbing a directing credit. But for a time, it was an award-winning film without a director! But then Malek started speaking up, saying he didn’t know about the sexual allegations when they started the film and adding that he feels for any possible victims, who should be emboldened to come forward. So this is a gay film that hired a gay guy with sexual allegations, then fired him for reasons having nothing to do with the allegations, and now is expressing concern for any potential victims. Will Oscar buy it? Believe it or not, probably.
Green Book’s Mahershala Ali will win Best Supporting Actor for playing real-life musician Don Shirley, who admits in the film that he tried to be a straight husband, but failed, if you catch his drift. Mahershala will be only the second black actor to win two Oscars (Denzel Washington being the other), whereas a whopping 40 white actors have won twice or more. You can also add winners like Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (Animated), Free Solo (Documentary), BlaKkKlansman (for Adapted Screenplay), The Favourite (for eye-popping costumes), and Vice (for Hair & Makeup). And “Shallow” will win for Best Song, in the same way that Barbra walked away with one Oscar for 1976’s A Star Is Born, for co-writing “Evergreen.”
Gaga’s win here will prove that Oscar has a rather short memory. After all, just three years ago, Gaga and Diane Warren were nominated for the song “Til It Happens To You” (from The Hunting Ground) and it was the favorite to win, until a rival songwriter let it rip that Gaga had only written at most a few words of the song. It lost. I guess this time they’re sure she really co-wrote “Shallow”? Hey, forget that old Judy Garland grudge I mentioned. There’s no way anyone but me remembers it. Anyway, see you Sunday at the Oscars! There’s no host, but hopefully there will be a few viewers.