MOVIE BUFF: Oscar nominations prompt early picks

The 91st Academy Awards nominations, released last Tuesday, featured a few surprises and a few perceived snubs, but all in all, it’s hard to complain too much about the field selected by the various guilds that comprise the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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The nominations for each category are selected by the guilds associated with each category with the exception of Best Picture, which all voting members may vote for nomination.

All voting members are eligible to vote in each of the categories in the final balloting, and the winners will be announced in the ceremony, televised by ABC on Feb. 27.

It’s a pretty dry process, but it’s still fun to guess who might be the winners. While the Oscar ceremony is almost a month away, here’s my too early guesses who might bring home the hardware in the major categories.


Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born, and Vice.

The buzz is the that “Roma,” a film with a very limited theatrical release but one that has been playing for a couple of months on Netflix, is the favorite. Personally, I’d vote for “BlacKkKlansman.” I hope the third remake of “A Star is Born” doesn’t win. The movie isn’t bad, but it is slight, and in my opinion botches the ending despite strong performances from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.


Nominees: Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman; Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War; Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite; Alfonso Cuarón – Roma; Adam McKay – Vice.

While I’m definitely not a fan of the latest version of “A Star is Born,” I get why some were upset when its director/star Bradley Cooper wasn’t nominated in this category. However, when you consider that directors vote for the nominations, it’s easy to understand why a first-timer like Cooper didn’t make the cut.

My vote would go to Spike Lee for “BlacKkKlansman.” I think it’s his best movie since “Do the Right Thing,” but most of the bloggers and YouTube talking heads believe Alfonso Cuarón is a shoo in for “Roma.”


Nominees: Christian Bale – Vice; Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born; Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate; Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody; Viggo Mortensen – Green Book.

Willem Dafoe is a great actor and surprise nominee, but no one’s talking about his film “At Eternity’s Gate,” which has yet to play in Northwest Arkansas.

To me, it looks like the race is between rock-star performances by Bradley Cooper in “A Star is Born” and Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Malek was solid as Mercury, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a lot of fun, but as much as I dislike the ending to “A Star is Born,” Cooper did give a charismatic and engaging performance. Shut out of the director’s race, I think Cooper gets his Oscar here. He’s probably who I’d vote for, too.


Nominees: Yalitza Aparicio – Roma; Glenn Close – The Wife; Olivia Colman – The Favourite; Lady Gaga – A Star is Born; Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

This seems like Lady Gaga’s award to lose, and she did give a stirring performance in “A Star is Born.” The only thing is sometimes once a film gets rolling at the Oscars, it’s hard to stop. “Roma” is getting that type of buzz, so don’t be surprised if Yalitza Aparici takes home the hardware. Glenn Close is also one of the frontrunners for “The Wife.” This could be the time when the respected actress gets her Oscar. As for me, I’d probably vote for Gaga.


Nominees: Mahershala Ali – Green Book; Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman; Sam Elliot – A Star is Born; Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Sam Rockwell – Vice.

It’s ridiculous Sam Rockwell was nominated for his role as George W. Bush in “Vice.” It was basically a “Saturday Night Live” parody performance, and a true weak spot in the film.

I like Adam Driver as a performer, but he was a bit too stiff in “BlacKkKlansman” to get my vote. Likewise, Sam Elliot’s role was just too small in my view point to garner serious consideration, but he’s been a favorite of mine for decades. I’d vote for Richard E. Grant for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” There doesn’t seem to be much buzz about this category.


Nominees: Amy Adams – Vice; Marina de Tavira – Roma; Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk; Emma Stone – The Favourite; Rachel Weisz – The Favourite.

This award is Regina King’s. That’s the buzz, and her performance is more than worthy and you know if you’ve seen “If Beale Street Could Talk.” I think King winning the award is the closest thing to a lock in the major categories. Weisz and Stone are excellent in the “Favourite,” and Adams gives strong support to Christian Bale in “Vice,” but it’s going to be King’s night.

Classic Corner

Wizard of Oz


I love old movies, but few films from the golden age of Hollywood could open up today and captivate an audience like it did upon its premier.

Sensibilities and expectations are just too different.

However one film that absolutely could is MGM’s 1939 version of “The Wizard of Oz.” It truly is a timeless piece of filmmaking that still has the power to enchant children and adults.

Maybe it’s because the bulk of the film is set in the fantasyland of Oz, which still shines as bright in all its Technicolor glory as any modern-day CGI setting.

Maybe it’s because talent is talent no matter the time period. Judy Garland (Dorthy Gale) would have just as much wattage today as she did in her hey day.

Though there are modern versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that are quite pleasing, Garland’s version is the one all others will always be judged by.

There is no maybe about Margaret Hamilton’s performance as the Wicked Witch of the West and Almira Gulch. She’s still gives me shivers of delightful fright when she screeches, “I’ll get you my pretties!” And her blue-hued flying monkeys are straight out of a nightmare.

The film, directed by Victor Flemming and based on the works of Frank L. Baum, once was an annual springtime viewing tradition for many families, airing on CBS around Easter from 1956 well into the 1980s, but the advent of home video robbed the movie of that special once-a-year designation.

However, the Malco Razorback Cinema and Grill will hold two showings of the film on the big screen at 2 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Wednesday.

For decades the movie has been played and enjoyed by fans almost on demand, and that convenience does make the movie seem a little less special, but the opportunity to see it on the big screen as intended is a fantastic way to celebrate the movie’s 80th anniversary.