Richard Roeper’s Oscar predictions: Watch ‘Black Panther’ be crowned the winner
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A hundred to one.
If you had asked me right after I saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” about the chances of the film receiving any Oscar nominations, I would have given you odds of 100-1.
A watered-down, clunky, clumsy, occasionally sitcom-y biopic of the great Freddy Mercury winning awards? Maybe a Razzie or two.
If you had asked me right after I saw “A Star Is Born” if Bradley Cooper would be hearing his name announced as one of the best director nominees, I would have told you: absolutely. Sure thing.
Here we are just a few weeks away from the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is nominated for best picture and Rami Malek is up for best actor. Meanwhile, although director-producer-star-co-writer Cooper is up for best adapted screenplay and the film has a total of eight noms, including best picture, Cooper’s directorial debut didn’t make the final five.
Last Saturday night at the Directors Guild Awards, Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade”) was the winner for first-time feature film, with Cooper once again on the outside looking in.
Don’t worry about Bradley Cooper. As he’d be the first to tell you, he’s blessed on about 47 different fronts and he’ll be OK.
Speaking of odds and favorites and underdogs, last week regulators in the state of New Jersey gave the go-ahead for the state’s sportsbook operators to take wagers on the Oscars.
This would have been a first in the United States — but less than a week after getting the green light, the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement told operators to take down the Oscar odds.
No bets after all!
Across the pond, where you CAN bet on the Oscars, British bookmakers have “Roma” as the favorite for best picture and director Alfonso Cuaron an overwhelming choice to win for best director. The bookies also have Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Glenn Close as the favorites for best actor and actress.
Ah, but where’s the fun in just going with the safe choices? In a number of major categories, I can see some serious upsets brewing.
Let’s mark our ballots!
“Roma” remains the favorite — and it’s my favorite film of the eight nominees.
I don’t see much of a chance for “Vice,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “A Star Is Born” or “Green Book” — but “BlacKkKlansman” or “The Favourite” could dart past “Roma” in the final vote.
But wait, that’s only seven films. What about the eighth nominee, “Black Panther”?
The oddsmakers say it’s a long shot and they’re probably right, but I’m going to inch way, way out here on this limb and predict “Black Panther” will be your best picture winner.
All indications are this is a two-person race between Glenn Close (“The Wife”) and Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”).
Never underestimate the Academy’s love for all things British and costume-y, not to mention Colman was spectacularly good in “The Favourite,” but I believe the seventh time’s the charm for Close.
As was the case with Al Pacino finally winning for “Scent of a Woman” and Paul Newman’s getting his long-overdue Oscar for “The Color of Money,” this will be as much of a lifetime achievement award as a recognition of the actual performance.
Rami Malek’s transformation into Freddie Mercury was easily the best thing about “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and he’s the slight favorite in this category — but I’m gonna go with Christian Bale’s even more startling transformation into Dick Cheney in “Vice.”
If you’re looking for a true upset, go with the popular veteran actor Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”).
Best Supporting Actress
It’s a cinematic crime “If Beale Street Could Talk” wasn’t one of the eight best picture nominees, but the film will get some love in the form of Regina King getting a well-deserved supporting actress Oscar for her searing and unforgettable work.
The wonderful Amy Adams garnered her sixth nomination in the last 13 years for her subtly powerful work as Lynne Cheney in “Vice,” but it’s not her year, not yet. Only a matter of time before Adams gets that first Oscar.
Best Supporting Actor
Maybe the closest race of all. It’s not out of the realm to consider Sam Elliott (“A Star Is Born”), Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”) and last year’s supporting actor Oscar winner Sam Rockwell (“Vice”) as legitimate contenders.
But I think it comes down to Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”) and Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”).
The enormously talented Ali took home Oscar a couple of years ago for “Moonlight.” This is the first nomination for the versatile, 61-year-old Grant. Given Ali already has an Oscar and could well have another one or two in his future, I’m predicting the trophy will go to Richard E. Grant.
There you have it. I’m sorta kinda maybe pretty sure of my choices.
But the odds are I’m going to be wrong in at least one of these categories.
My predictions in the remaining categories:
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”)
“A Quiet Place”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
LIVE ACTION SHORT