The answer to that headline?
Alfonso Cuaron (above) is the best director favorite. And as “Best directors direct best pictures,” that makes “Roma” the best picture favorite.
But the Critics Choice Awards, handed out by the Broadcast Film Critics Association for decades now, have long been more concerned with “predicting the Oscars” than honoring the best work. It’s why they’ve broadened and broadened their categories (“Best Science Fiction/Horror Film, Best Action Film, Best Ensemble”) to the point that they toss this WIDE net over the Hollywood year, and then can say “SEE? We picked ‘Mission: Impossible: Fallout’ JUST LIKE the ACADEMY!”
They’ve taken on categories from the Golden Globes and SAG and found ways, this year, to honor “Roma” and “Fallout” and “A Quiet Place” that patronizing tripe “Crazy Rich Asians.”
It is to laugh.
But, for what it’s worth, they suggest “momentum” in several areas — not many of them encompassing “A Star is Born” or “Black Panther,” which have been all the rage on the interwebs this past week or so.
One sentiment I agree with that I am reading and hearing over and over again, “It’s WIDE OPEN this year.”
With Lady Gaga splitting best actress honors with Glenn Close, Close is almost certainly the Oscar favorite. The Academy is FAR larger in membership, and more diverse and younger than it has ever been. So Gaga has a shot. But Close, a screen legend, is now an even more likely Oscar winner — a Globe AND a Critics Choice Award, etc.
Christian Bale seems like a best actor lock for “Vice.” Mahershala Ali has best supporting actor in his tux pocket for “Green Book.”
Many pre-Oscar awards down the road, that’s how those look.
The brain trust that decided to campaign Olivia Colman as best actress and two Oscar winners — Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz — as competing supporting actresses in “The Favourite” are ensuring Colman has a shot at her award, but Stone and Weisz will split all the way down the line.
And that means Regina King, a fine actress who has been MUCH more interesting, varied and powerful in other films, is the supporting actress favorite for “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
The more disconcerting “Beale Street” robbery is that Spike Lee doesn’t seem to have a shot at an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for “BlackKklansman.” Barry Jenkins seems the likely winner.
Guilds will shift some of the ground under the Globes/Critics Choice winners. I’d like to think a better animated film that “Spider-Verse,” such as Wes Anderson’s delightful “Isle of Dogs,” has a shot, for instance.
“Roma” is but — wait for it — a dull looking “glib facisimile” of the classic black and white foreign films which it pays homage to. Fine for Netflix, but…
And I’ve said several times and will repeat it here, the night Oscar gives all its love to a Netflix movie, the game is up. Especially a Netflix foreign language film with no viable acting nominees, flatly shot and meandering but critically-adored because most critics didn’t see it on a big screen (I did.)
When the quite fine and risk taking “First Man” can only count on a shot at “best score,” when Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” has a shot at best original screenplay, and nothing else, when “Mary Poppins Returns” appears to have no shot at…anything…well.
Maybe the Globes and the Broadcast Critics got it Oscar “right,” and maybe they didn’t.