Place your bets

With au­tumn herald­ing the start of Os­car sea­son, Team Em­pire of­fer their tips — and pick their favourites

Empire (UK) - - PRE.VIEW - HE­LEN O’HARA

AVENGERS: WHAT SHOULD WIN: IN­FIN­ITY WAR

The Academy may have ditched that silly pop­u­lar film cat­e­gory (for now), but In­fin­ity War is no less vi­able a ‘proper’ Best Pic­ture than the likes of Gla­di­a­tor, Brave­heart or The Re­turn Of The King. It is a vast, epic spec­ta­cle, fea­tur­ing a strong en­sem­ble cast, which tack­les a big, eth­i­cal ques­tion (at what cost the greater ‘good’?) and deals emo­tional gut-jabs while or­ches­trat­ing all its cos­mic ac­tion. DAN JOLIN

WHAT WILL WIN: ROMA

Al­fonso Cuarón’s mem­ory movie of grow­ing up in ’70s Mex­ico ticks so many Os­car boxes with­out con­sciously try­ing. It is deeply au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal, mixes the per­sonal and po­lit­i­cal in a way that wins over the lib­eral base, boasts nat­u­ral­is­tic per­for­mances that will res­onate with the act­ing block, and has tech­ni­cal raz­zledaz­zle for the craft folk. IAN FREER

WHO SHOULD WIN: RYAN COOGLER (BLACK PAN­THER)

You need as much skill, ded­i­ca­tion and artistry to make art within a huge stu­dio ma­chine as to make a low-bud­get, in­ti­mate drama, and it’s time the Os­cars ac­knowl­edge that. Ryan Coogler’s Black Pan­ther swag­gered into the MCU with un­de­ni­able style and per­son­al­ity, and smug­gled in a thought­ful dis­cus­sion of race, iden­tity, colo­nial­ism and de-colo­nial­ism. The superheroes are just win­dow dress­ing.

WHO WILL WIN: AL­FONSO CUARÓN (ROMA)

The Mex­i­can mae­stro has Os­car form, win­ning Best Di­rec­tor in 2014 for gi­ant-can­vas space thriller

Grav­ity. Since then he’s been busily work­ing on his fol­low-up. It has no stars, no ac­tion scenes and only one in­stance of zero-g — but is just as boldly con­ceived and mas­ter­fully ex­e­cuted. NICK DE SEMLYEN

WHO SHOULD WIN: ROBERT RED­FORD (THE OLD MAN & THE GUN)

Crime com­edy The Old Man & The Gun is the per­fect swan­song for the leg­endary movie star, and quite lit­er­ally the per­for­mance of a life­time, his char­ac­ter (real-life law­breaker For­rest Tucker) re­flect­ing on past glo­ries in tan­dem with the ac­tor. It’s hard to think of a more de­serv­ing win­ner. JOHN NU­GENT

WHO WILL WIN: BRADLEY COOPER (A STAR IS BORN)

At the Venice pre­miere of A Star Is Born, light­ning struck the cin­ema. It’s up to you whether you choose to take this as di­vine in­di­ca­tion that A Star Is Born will sweep the board in Fe­bru­ary, but the mo­men­tum is there. Cooper’s first stab at di­rec­tion is im­pres­sive, but his act­ing might be his best yet. JOHN NU­GENT

BEST AC­TRESS TONI COL­LETTE WHO SHOULD WIN: (HERED­I­TARY)

Ari Aster’s Hered­i­tary is hardly lack­ing in mo­ments that haunt, but one that per­sis­tently spooks is that full-frame, close-up of Toni Co­lette’s face as she looks at us in pure, ab­ject ter­ror. This isn’t a per­for­mance of ‘scream queen’ lung work­outs, but one of in­sid­i­ous dis­tress, and Co­lette sells it per­fectly. DAN JOLIN

WHO WILL WIN: LADY GAGA (A STAR IS BORN)

Her ap­pear­ances in Robert Ro­driguez’s Ma­chete-verse and Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story aside, Lady Gaga makes an ar­rest­ing act­ing de­but proper with a stel­lar per­for­mance in Bradley Cooper’s mu­si­cal. The Academy’s love of a rein­ven­tion story (see also: Cooper’s bid for Best Di­rec­tor) bodes well for Gaga’s chances, cou­pled with the fact that she’s, well, gen­uinely great. BEN TRAVIS

BEST SUP­PORT­ING AC­TOR WHO SHOULD WIN: MICHAEL B. JOR­DAN (BLACK PAN­THER)

As ground­break­ing as Black Pan­ther was for its rep­re­sen­ta­tion, it’s also note­wor­thy in over­com­ing Mar­vel’s vil­lain prob­lem. In Erik Kill­mon­ger, Michael B. Jor­dan cre­ated a nu­anced, lay­ered and re­lat­able an­tag­o­nist, im­bu­ing him with the fury to make him for­mi­da­ble but enough pain and re­sent­ment to make him wholly hu­man. JAMES DYER

WHO WILL WIN: TIMOTHEÉ CHA­LA­MET (BEAU­TI­FUL BOY)

Miss­ing out af­ter Call Me By Your Name, this looks set to be Ti­mothée Cha­la­met’s year. Os­car loves a heart­throb do­ing unglam­orous, and his per­for­mance as Nic Sh­eff, de­scend­ing into crys­tal meth ad­di­tion, is re­lent­lessly com­mit­ted in its pur­suit of dark­ness and tragedy. The Academy’s now younger vot­ing base will help, too. IAN FREER

BEST SUP­PORT­ING AC­TRESS WHO SHOULD WIN: TILDA SWIN­TON (SUS­PIRIA)

As Madame Blanc, Tilda Swin­ton is fairly ex­tra­or­di­nary, equally ter­ri­fy­ing as a dance teacher and a mur­der­ous witch. As Dr Josef Klem­perer, how­ever, the mys­te­ri­ous el­derly man cred­ited to un­known ac­tor ‘Lutz Ebers­dorf’ but widely ru­moured to be Swin­ton, she gives an un­real dual per­for­mance. (At least, we as­sume she does.) JOHN NU­GENT

WHO WILL WIN: CLAIRE FOY (FIRST MAN)

Claire Foy, you may well have no­ticed, is hav­ing some­thing of a mo­ment. And while her role in First Man may never be the thing you’ll most as­so­ciate her with, it is the ob­vi­ous choice for the Academy. She’s su­perb in it — es­sen­tial even, pro­vid­ing the heart and warmth op­po­site Ryan Gosling’s emo­tion­ally with­drawn Neil Arm­strong. JONATHAN PILE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.