Oscar nominations predictions — the sure bets, snubs and surprises

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Oscar season kicks into another gear on Tuesday when the Academy Awards nominations are announced, giving film lovers and experts alike snubs and surprises to mull over. Until then let’s look at the major Oscar categories and break down the contenders from the pretenders.

BEST PICTURE

The best: Although its biggest win to date is Lady Gaga tying for a Critics’ Choice best actress honor, “A Star Is Born” is a shoo-in for a best picture nomination, having already received nods from 11 different movie guilds, including an important one for SAG cast. Directors Guild of America nominees have all ended up in the race for best picture since 2012, which is good news for “Star,” “Roma” (which won Critics’ Choice best film), “Green Book” (the Producers Guild’s best film), “BlacKkKlansman” and “Vice.”

The rest: “Bohemian Rhapsody” upsetting “Star” for best drama at the Globes and the Queen biopic being in the SAG ensemble category – another key bellwether – gives it a fighting chance to make the cut. The category can have up to 10 films, so SAG nominees “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Black Panther” have a leg up on the others clawing for the remaining spots: Producers Guild nominees “The Favourite” and “A Quiet Place,” as well as “If Beale Street Could Talk” (which got a Globe nomination for best drama).

ACTOR

The best: Three of the five slots seem pretty set. Christian Bale (“Vice”) and Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) won acting honors at the Globes, Bradley Cooper is likely to make it in off the goodwill for “A Star Is Born,” and all of them are in the SAG actor category.

The rest: Fellow SAG and Globe nominees Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”) and John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman”) also are poised to make it in, though if one or both are snubbed, Ethan Hawke (“First Reformed”) and Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”) are potential dark horses. Or maybe retiring Hollywood legend Robert Redford (“The Old Man & the Gun”) gets one for the road.

ACTRESS

The best: Glenn Close (“The Wife”) has never won an Oscar in six tries, and a seventh chance is pretty much a lock. She unexpectedly upended Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”) at the Globes – and unleashed a spectacular speech, which never hurts – and they tied for a Critics’ Choice award. Expect them to be joined by Globe winner Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”) and fellow SAG nominee Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

The rest: Emily Blunt’s (“Mary Poppins Returns”) chances aren’t practically perfect, but she could sneak into that last slot thanks to her SAG and Globe nominations. At the same time, Yalitza Aparicio could ride in off a wave of support for “Roma,” though don’t discount the appealing precociousness of Globe nominee Elsie Fisher (“Eighth Grade”).

Published in Today’s Muslim, January 22nd 2019.