Welcome To Oscar Week

Awards season is the time when Hollywood pulls and strains muscles patting itself on the back. It reaches its zenith this weekend with the Oscars. Forget mini-controversies over hosts,visas, and announcing some categories during commercials. It’s all just filler until we have winners and losers to talk about.

This week I’m looking at the “Big Six” categories: the four acting categories, director, and picture.

Ladies First

Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress offer up some big names, new faces, and some head scratching.

It’s not about who’s worthy at this point. Average performances in sub-average movies don’t make it this far. That’s what the People’s Choice Awards are for.

Oscar weekend is about who did the work before, during, and after shooting. And it’s the after that could tip the scale Sunday night.

Nominees in the Best Actress category are Yalitza Aparicio in Roma, Glenn Close in The Wife, Olivia Colman in The Favourite, Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born, and Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy falls squarely into the “it’s an honor just to be nominated” crowd. The movie didn’t do big box office, was liked but not loved (and certainly not fawned over a la A Star Is Born) and never got any real traction. She has a much better shot of going home with a Razzie, where she’s nominated for her work in The Happytime Murders and Life of the Party.

Playing Favourites

Olivia Coleman is nominated in the wrong category. Her role as Queen was really more supporting to the exploits of Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, who are both nominated in the Supporting category. Olivia and the girls should swap categories.

Yalitza is a relative unknown in America, but turned in a strong performance in Roma. The Netflix film has tons of critical buzz, but hasn’t ingratiated itself into the cultural zeitgeist. But if the movie is on the way to a sweep, she could get caught up and be gripping gold early in the evening.

A Close Call

But the real race is between Glen Close and Lady Gaga. Close seemingly came out of nowhere to snag the Golden Globe, and followed up with a win at the Screen Actor Guild Awards. They split the honor at the dubiously important Critic’s Choice awards.

And I’m going with Glen to complete the sweep, no ties, this weekend. During a weekend in Los Angeles last month, a publicist was talking about how to wage a successful Oscar campaign. It involves talking to everyone.The entertainment correspondent from MyNetwork TV in Missoula? Give her five minutes. The gospel radio station from outside Albuquerque sent their intern? Give him the interview of his life! The message is to get out and promote promote promote! If you want the award, you have to work double overtime from December through mid-February.

Lady Gaga is not doing this. She was an early favorite when A Star Is Born came out, and did a mega-promotional blitz. But word in Hollywood is she feels the work can speak for itself. At this point, she may not even win for Original Song!

Meanwhile, Close is a tinsel town veteran and consummate pro. It will be a Sunday Funday for her

Looking For Support

This is a category that is too close to call. The nominees are Amy Adams in “Vice,” Marina de Tavira in “Roma,” Regina King in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz in “The Favourite.”

As I mentioned before, emma and Rachel are both in the wrong category. Tavira could pull out a win if it’s Roma’s night. It all depends on how deep her Hollywood and industry connections go.

Amy Adams was strong in Vice, she’s loved in the industry, and has been here before.If her name is called I wouldn’t drop my drink. But the best performance was Regina in Beale Street. She brought her character to live, connected with the material, and endeared herself to the audience. Also, she was almost killed at a Knicks game last week. Give her a break.. and an Oscar!

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

Cider. It was the Favourite drink in the time of Queen Anne in the 1700s, and it’s a Favourite of mine still today!

Cheers!

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