My Best Picture Prediction
In a way all awards ceremonies are the same from the Annual Meat Supplier of the Year to the British and American Academy Awards (although the latter always had a certain arrogance – for years the media wasn’t allowed to refer to them as ‘The Oscars’). They’re not about rewarding excellence but being seen to reward a specific idea of excellence. The films that usually win look and feel like Films. In other words, they fit the classic Hollywood definition of a film, with design, cinematography and stars to match.
In this way, the extraordinary ‘Atlantics’, an unnerving Dakar-set parable about rich and poor, migration and loss that takes a supernatural twist to make its point, is doomed on every level. Yet this year could be the year that changes the game, because one film, ‘Parasite‘, does something not entirely dissimilar while conforming to the unspoken Hollywood rules. Bong Joon Ho is one of my favourite directors. His films can be hit and miss but here he hits every beat.
Unfortunately it’s up against several crowd-pleasers, the obvious trio being ‘1917’, ‘Little Women’ and ‘Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood’. The bleak honesty of ‘Marriage Story’ stayed with me long after the end of the film, but it’s hard to love, and ‘Jojo Rabbit’ continues to divide audiences (I cheered it). ‘Joker’ is an audience favourite, although it felt like a rip-off from any number of 1970s films, and is an ultra-violent take on a children’s comic book character.
My guess is that the Tarantino will drop out and it’ll be a straight fight between ‘1917’ and ‘Little Women’, with Bafta going for the British film.
How Best Picture can be separated from Best Director has always been a mystery to me. I have a feeling that ‘The Irishman’ will get nod here for Scorsese’s diligence. There’ll be one other test; ‘I Lost My Body’ had better win best animation or there’s no justice in the world. It’s not the best animated in technical terms, but for story and power it beats the competition hands down.