Academy Award for Best Picture up for grabs
It’s perhaps a shade ironic that the Academy Awards flirted with having a most-popular-film Oscar this year to get more eyes tuned into the Feb. 24 ceremony, and the best-picture slate might be inundated with hits anyway.
“Crazy Rich Asians,” with Constance Wu and Henry Golding, is 1 of 5 films in the mix for the golden statuette.
Oscar best pictures aren’t always the biggest box-office powerhouses. But the 2019 list of Producers Guild Award nominees – a bellwether for Oscars – offers up five films that have made more than $174 million (“Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “A Quiet Place” and “A Star Is Born”).
Even though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences temporarily shelved a popular-film Oscar, next month’s ceremony looks to star some audience-approved entries. With no apparent front-runner yet heading into the Oscar nominations on Jan. 22, here are five cinematic smashes (in alphabetical order) that could take Hollywood’s biggest prize.
Key nominations from the Globes, PGA, Writers Guild Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards make a best-picture nomination all but certain for 2018’s superhero powerhouse. The fact that it’s critically acclaimed and made $700 million help at a show that has honored blockbusters before. Add in the movie’s universal goodwill and a younger, more diverse academy voting contingent, and Marvel’s first Oscar might be a memorable one.
Love it or hate it, the ode to Freddie Mercury isn’t going anywhere. The Golden Globes win plus a Screen Actors Guild best-cast nomination solidifies its place as a contender. “Rhapsody” also has a strong leading man in Rami Malek, who won a best-actor Globe. A “Rhapsody” best-picture win might have been laughable to some Oscar watchers a week ago – now, it doesn’t seem so stone-cold crazy.
‘Crazy Rich Asians’
Of the likely best-picture nominees, the all-Asian romantic comedy is probably the biggest throwback to oldschool Hollywood, and its ostentatious vibe and feel-good nature could play well for Oscar voters still into the classics. “Asians” has the right resume, and as with “Black Panther,” its emphasis on representation will appeal to a crop of changing Oscar voters.
‘A Quiet Place’
John Krasinski’s popular horror film is a true dark horse compared with the other four here, since “A Quiet Place” is sitting on the fence waiting to see if it’ll get invited to the party. But it has ratcheted up an impressive awards campaign, earning nods from the Producers Guild and the Writers Guild. It also could score nominations in technical categories with its innovative use of sound (and lack thereof). If no one or two films break from the pack, “A Quiet Place” could make some noise.
‘A Star Is Born’
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s built-for-Oscar musical love story won just one Globe out of a possible five – and lost to “Bohemian Rhapsody” for best drama and actor, which sent some heads spinning. Don’t panic: The Globes aren’t historically the greatest indicator for Oscar success, and “Star” remains the closest thing to a favorite there is this year. There’s a good chance it’ll earn a swath of high-profile nominations, and it’s a well-regarded redo of one of the quintessential Hollywood tales. So no reason to throw away those acceptance speeches yet, Bradley and Gaga.
Rami Malek stars in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” winner of a pair of major awards at the Golden Globes.
“Black Panther,” starring Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman and Danai Gurira, could be Marvel’s first big Oscar winner.