Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Golden countdown

Oscars

Filled with confidence by my success picking Oscar winners last year, I’m pumping up my game this year.

I’ve already seen all eight Best Picture nominees and all but two films (which I’m planning on viewing this week) which will also give me a look at every nominated best actor, actress, supporting actor and actress, and director.

By Sunday, I’ll make and post here picks in each of these six categories, the movie or person I think will win, as well as my personal favorite, should it be different.

At the time of this writing, I’ve not seriously thought about which I’ll pick, instead allowing them to marinate a bit. However, I might be able to eliminate a few by running through the lists. Make notes as you go through these and then comment with your thoughts.

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Elliot, 74, seems to be well-loved and this is his first Oscar nomination, coming from “A Star Is Born.” That is to say, he may garner emotional support, but that’s the only way I can see him winning. Not due to any shortcomings on his part, but the role wasn’t worthy of a nomination.

Sam Rockwell is looking to repeat in this category, winning last year for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” That was the only pick from the top six that I missed (excusing one where I had not seen the movie), giving my nod to Woody Harrelson from the same flick. Not one to learn from my own mistakes, I’m tossing Rockwell aside again this year, not feeling his portrayal of George W. Bush in “Vice” is Oscar worthy.

Side note: I have nothing against people named Sam.

That leaves three in the running: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”; Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”; and Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Any of the three is deserving, but I’ll have it narrowed down before Sunday evening.

Best Supporting Actress

Of the 11 nominated movies I’ve seen so far, the only one I didn’t care for was “The Favourite,” and it has five nominations in the six categories I’m looking at here, including two – Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz – for supporting actress. I cannot knock their performances, but I can tell you right now neither will be my pick.

Remaining are Amy Adams, “Vice”; Marina de Tavira, “Roma”; and Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

Best Actor

This is Bradley Cooper’s fourth acting nomination, something which surprised me. He’s still looking for a win, though, which I think will still be true come the 2020 Academy Awards.

Still in the running are Christian Bale in “Vice”; Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”; Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”; and Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book.”

I’ve not yet seen “At Eternity’s Gate.

Best Actress

I’m not ready to dismiss any of the Best Actress nominees yet.

A practical mind says Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma,” cannot be a serious contender because this is the only role she’s ever played, but another could argue that such a performance without a meaty background must indicate her talent.

On the other hand, Glenn Close, “The Wife,” now has seven acting nominations without a win. I’ll tip my hand here: she’s currently my leader among this worthy group.

While I didn’t really like “The Favourite,” Olivia Colman’s performance of an emotionally challenged monarch was masterful. This is her first Oscars nomination.

I wasn’t expecting to be impressed by the acting of Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born,” even though she’s an established performer. I was. This is her first acting nomination.

It would be easy to feel Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” deserves a nomination simply for breaking so well from her lifetime comedic work. That wouldn’t be fair because she flat out did an amazing job. This is her second Oscars nomination.

Best Director

Here’s the second category where I’ve not yet seen them all. I’ll go ahead and drop Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite,” from consideration, even though the film has received a lot of vocal support.

Left in the running are Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”; Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”; Adam McKay, “Vice”; and Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War.” I have not yet seen “Cold War.”

Best Picture

There are eight nominations this year, six of which are based on real people. The exceptions are “Black Panther” and “A Star Is Born,” though the performing arts world is full of stories bearing some resemblances to the latter.

But that’s not why I’m dropping these two.

“Black Panther” was a great movie I enjoyed immensely and it’s still in the running for my personal favorite, but I don’t believe the Academy will award best film to a movie derived from comic books.

As for “A Star Is Born,” I can’t give this trophy to something that’s been done so many times before. Roughly the same story, with the same title, was filmed in 1937, 1954 and 1976. Only the first one was nominated as Best Picture and it lost to “The Life of Emile Zola.”

It won’t surprise you I’m also willing to drop “The Favourite,” leaving five finalists: “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Roma,” “Green Book” and “Vice.”

Leave a comment below telling me where I’ve already messed up by dropping out your favorite (even “The Favourite”). Also feel free to tell me who I should pick in any or all the categories. I’m at times incredibly impressionable.

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