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The Envelope Please: Your Guide to the Oscars

For black cast films, including “BlacKkKlansman,” “Black Panther,” “Green Book” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” 2018 was a banner year. 

Might Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”) finally win the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars that have eluded him over the course of his 40-year career? Not likely, despite the Academy’s history of rewarding overlooked legends more for their body of work than for their latest offering.

How about “Black Panther, the highest-grossing ($1.34 billion) superhero movie of all time? It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, but only in one major category, Best Picture. None of its actors were recognized. The snub is reminiscent of how in 2001 none of :Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s” cast members received nominations, although the film landed 10 overall.

“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins’ critically-acclaimed adaptation of the James Baldwin novel of the same name, wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture, though Regina King is the favorite to win for Best Supporting Actress. The crowd-pleaser “Green Book” might have had a shot at Best Picture were it not for the Mexican drama “Roma.”

It looks like the semi-autobiographical, black & white adventure, written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, is destined to garner the most glory on Oscar night, including Best Picture and Best Director. Why the Academy lavished “Roma” with 10 nominations and “Crazy Rich Asians” with none is beyond the ken of this critic. Two of my other faves, “Eighth Grade” and “Private Life,” were also totally ignored.

I’ve listed my pick to win in each major category, followed by which nominee is the most deserving, followed by the best pictures and performances not even nominated. 

The Oscars will air live on Sunday, February 24 at 7 p.m. CT on ABC-TV. The show will have no host, since the producers couldn’t find a replacement for Kevin Hart, who withdrew in the wake of condemnation for some homophobic tweets.

Best Picture

Will Win: “Roma”

Deserves to Win: “Green Book”

Overlooked: “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Eighth Grade,” “Private Life”

Best Director

Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)

Deserves to Win: Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”)

Overlooked: Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade”), Tamara Jenkins (“Private Life”)

Best Actor

Will Win: Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)

Deserves to Win: Rami Malek

Overlooked: Chadwick Boseman (“Black Panther”), Paul Giamatti (“Private Life”), Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”)

Best Actress

Will Win: Glenn Close (“The Wife”)

Deserves to Win: Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”)

Overlooked: Viola Davis (“Widows”), Elsie Fisher (“Eighth Grade”), Nicole Kidman (“Destroyer”)

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”)

Deserves to Win: Mahershala Ali

Overlooked: Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther”)

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)

Deserves to Win: Regina King

Overlooked: Michelle Yeoh (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Letitia Wright (“Black Panther”)

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: “The Favourite”

Deserves to Win: “Green Book”

Overlooked: “Eighth Grade,” “Private Life”

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: “BlacKkKlansman”

Deserves to Win: “BlacKkKlansman”

Overlooked: “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Black Panther”

Other Predictions 

Animated Feature: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Foreign Language Film: “Roma”

Documentary Feature: “Free Solo”

Cinematography: “Roma”

Costume Design: “The Favourite”

Production Design: “The Favourite”

Film Editing: “Vice”

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Vice”

Original Score: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Best Song: “Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”)

Sound Editing: “First Man”

Sound Mixing: “A Star Is Born”

Visual Effects: “Avengers: Infinity War”

Animated Short: “Marguerite”

Documentary Short: “Black Sheep”

Live Action Short: “Bao”

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