Gaga

Lady Gaga is gonna win an Oscar.

That movie is "A Star Is Born," and it opens at just about every theater in Omaha this week. 

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Yes, I know, the Oscars are a long way off. The nominations for the 91st Academy Awards won’t be announced until Jan. 22 of next year, and the ceremony itself isn’t until Feb. 24.



To predict the Oscar nominations and winners this far in advance would be an absurd exercise, a foolish act of hubris. It would be, in a word, stupid.

But I’m gonna do it anyway because while everyone knows that predicting the Oscars months in advance is absurd/cocky/dumb, what this article presupposes is … maybe it isn’t?

Here's the thing. About five months ahead of the ceremony, the early contenders are already getting buzz and exposure on the film fest circuit, and an awards season narrative has already taken shape. The short version? It’s the Lady Gaga movie vs. the Netflix movie.

“A Star Is Born” and “Roma” became this year’s best picture front-runners shortly after they premiered at the Venice Film Festival last month. In this matchup, we can already see the classic Oscar narrative at play: the mainstream favorite vs. the artistic masterwork.

The Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga “A Star Is Born” remake burst out the gate faster and stronger than any awards contender in recent memory, earning shockingly great reviews, Gaga’s performance getting unanimous acclaim.

Alfonso Cuarón’s Netflix-distributed drama “Roma” is set in 1970s Mexico City and is receiving the best reviews of any movie this year. It’s notable for being Cuarón’s first movie since his Oscar win for “Gravity,” and for being the first Netflix movie to get best picture heat.

But there are dozens of other contenders in the mix, as well, many of which have been seen and scored raves — including the Ryan Gosling Neil Armstrong movie, “First Man,” and Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” follow-up, “If Beale Street Could Talk.” And don’t count out “Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman” or the upcoming Dick Cheney biopic, “Vice,” starring Christian Bale under heavy prosthetics as the former vice president.

Here’s my best guess on how this is all gonna shake out next winter, with my predictions on the most likely nominees and winners. Let this also serve as a kind of prestige movie preview, everything you should be sure to see if you want to keep up with this awards season.

Best Picture

The front-runners

“BlacKkKlansman”

“The Favourite”

“First Man”

“Green Book”

“If Beale Street Could Talk”

“Roma”

“A Star Is Born”

“Vice”

“Widows”

Longshots I’m rooting for: “Eighth Grade,“Leave No Trace,” “The Old Man & the Gun,” “First Reformed,” “Crazy Rich Asians”

The most likely winner: “A Star Is Born”

Or: "Roma"

This is an atypically strong and diverse crop of best picture contenders. Moviegoers can justifiably be thrilled. There’s a lot of great stuff yet to come this year.

On paper, you’d think the Damien Chazelle movie about Neil Armstrong (“First Man”) would be the safest bet, but then Warner Bros. launched its aggressive awards campaign for Cooper’s “A Star Is Born.” The rags-to-riches premise, movie-star director and old-fashioned Hollywood filmmaking make it the movie to beat.

Best Director

Damien Chazelle (“First Man”)

Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”)

Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)

Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”)

Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”)

Could also be here: Steve McQueen ("Widows"), Spike Lee ("BlacKkKlansman")

Longshots I’m rooting for: Boots Riley (“Sorry to Bother You”), Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade”), Debra Granik (“Leave No Trace”), Paul Schrader (“First Reformed”), David Lowery (“The Old Man & the Gun”)

Winner: Cuarón

Or: Cooper

Tough call here. Cuarón already won this award for “Gravity,” but his work in “Roma” sounds too masterful to ignore. There’s always a possibility, however, that “Star Is Born” has enough momentum to push it toward a sweep of the four biggest awards.

Best Actress

Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”)

Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”)

Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”)

Felicity Jones (“On the Basis of Sex”)

Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

Could also be here: Viola Davis (“Widows”), Glenn Close (“The Wife”), Carey Mulligan (“Wildlife”), Keira Knightley (“Colette”), Saoirse Ronan (“Mary, Queen of Scots”)

Longshots I’m rooting for: Toni Collette (“Hereditary”), Charlize Theron (“Tully”), Elsie Fisher (“Eighth Grade”), Regina Hall ("Support the Girls")

Winner: Gaga

Or: Colman

You are very, very likely going to see Lady Gaga deliver an Oscar speech early next year. The pop star and meat-dress fashion icon seems to have enough momentum to carry her on through to victory next year, though Colman reportedly gives a legendary performance as a crazy queen in “The Favourite.”

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)

Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”)

Ryan Gosling (“First Man”)

Ethan Hawke (“First Reformed”)

Christian Bale (“Vice”)

Could also be here: Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”), Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”), Robert Redford (“The Old Man & the Gun”), Lucas Hedges (“Boy Erased”)

Winner: Dafoe

Or: Gosling. Or Cooper?

This one is still pretty wide open. Willem Dafoe seems to be the tentative front-runner for now. He plays Vincent van Gogh in the artist biopic. A win would be the least the Academy could do for snubbing the thrice-nominated actor for his “Florida Project” performance. But Gosling? Cooper? Bale? All possibilities.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams (“Vice”)

Claire Foy (“First Man”)

Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)

Emma Stone (“The Favourite”)

Rachel Weisz (“The Favourite”)

Longshots I’m rooting for: Thomasin McKenzie (“Leave No Trace”), Michelle Yeoh (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Kathryn Hahn (“Private Life”)

Winner: King

Or: Foy

This one will likely be a tight race between King and Foy, both of whom just won an Emmy. Per the early raves, each actress walks away with her respective film.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”)

Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”)

Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther”)

Sam Rockwell (“Vice”)

Could also be here: Sam Elliott (“A Star Is Born”), Daniel Kaluuya (“Widows”), Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”), Russell Hornsby (“The Hate You Give”), Russell Crowe (“Boy Erased”)

Winner: Chalamet

Or: Grant

Chalamet plays a young man struggling with addiction in “Beautiful Boy,” and early clips of his performance give one the feeling that he’s probably got this in the bag. I’m really hoping they give Jordan a nomination for his villainous turn in “Black Panther.” If he does get nominated, it will be the first nomination for a performance in a comic book movie since Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight.”

Best Adapted Screenplay

“BlacKkKlansman”

“Can You Ever Forgive Me”

“First Man”

“If Beale Street Could Talk”

“A Star Is Born”

Could also be here: “Black Panther,” “The Death of Stalin,” “Widows,” “Crazy Rich Asians”

Longshot I’m rooting for: “Leave No Trace”

Winner: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Or: “BlacKkKlansman”

Best Original Screenplay

“Eighth Grade”

“The Favourite”

“First Reformed”

“Roma”

“Vice”

Could also be here: “Green Book,” “A Quiet Place,” “Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (the Coen brothers Western shot partially in Nebraska)

Longshot I’m rooting for: “Sorry to Bother You”

Winner: “The Favourite”

Best Animated Feature

“Incredibles 2”

“Isle of Dogs”

“Ralph Breaks the Internet”

Plus two foreign films you’ve never heard of

Winner: “Incredibles 2”

Best Documentary

“Crime + Punishment”

“Free Solo”

“RBG”

“Three Identical Strangers”

Longshot I’m rooting for: “Minding the Gap”

Winner: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Or: “Three Identical Strangers”

When the Oscar movies are coming to Omaha

“A Star Is Born” (Oct. 5)

Bradley Cooper writes, directs and stars in an update of “A Star Is Born,” with Lady Gaga playing the star who is born. This will be the winner for best picture.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95 percent

 

“Colette” (early October)

In this period dramedy, Keira Knightley plays a woman who writes popular novels under her husband’s name and decides she wants to make her talents known.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89 percent

 

“First Man” (Oct. 12)

Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong in “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle’s tense drama about the space mission that led to that one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87 percent

 

“The Old Man & the Gun” (Most likely Oct. 19 or the following week)

David Lowery (“A Ghost Story”) directs Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek in this rustic throwback drama about the true story of an aging bankrobber who refuses to retire.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86 percent

 

“Beautiful Boy” (late October or early November)

Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet star as a father and his drug-addicted son in this harrowing tale of recovery and relapse.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 73 percent

 

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (early to mid November)

Melissa McCarthy stars as Lee Israel, a down-on-her-luck celebrity biographer who turns to fraud to get back in the game. She enlists the help of her friend, played by Richard E. Grant.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

 

“Bohemian Rhapsody” (Nov. 2)

Rami Malek stars as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in this troubled production that traces the band’s meteoric rise.

Not yet screened for critics.

 

“Widows” (Nov. 16)

“Twelve Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen helms this gritty heist thriller, starring Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo, Elizabeth Debicki and Michelle Rodriguez as widows who must finish the job their dead criminal husbands started.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

 

“Green Book” (Nov. 21)

In this 1962-set drama, Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen play a world-class black pianist and the Italian-American bouncer hired to drive him on a concert tour into the deep South. Directed by none other than Peter Farrelly (“Dumb and Dumber”), “Green Book” is poised to be one of the year’s big Oscar movies.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

 

“Boy Erased” (likely late November or early December)

Lucas Hedges plays a gay 19-year-old whose Baptist parents (Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman) give him an ultimatum: he can be exiled from the family or he can attend a gay conversion therapy program. Joel Edgerton writes and directs the film, and stars as the program’s lead therapist.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83 percent

 

“The Favourite” (early to mid December)

The twisted latest from Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster”) is an 18th century-set comedy that sees two women (Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz) competing for the favor of the mad Queen Anne (Olivia Colman).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96 percent

 

"At Eternity's Gate" (early to mid December)

Willem Dafoe stars as painter Vincent van Gogh. 

Rotten Tomatoes score: 73 percent

 

“Roma” (Dec. 14 on Netflix)

Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity,” “Children of Men,” “Y Tu Mama Tambien”) makes his masterpiece, a black-and-white drama set in 1970s Mexico City, where a domestic servant works for a middle-class family amidst politically tumultuous times.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98 percent

 

“If Beale Street Could Talk” (sometime around Christmas)

Barry Jenkins follows up “Moonlight” with a superb adaptation of a James Baldwin novel, about a young woman in 1970s Harlem trying to prove the innocence of her incarcerated fiance.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92 percent

 

“Vice” (sometime around Christmas or later)

Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) tells the story of Dick Cheney, here played by Christian Bale, who packed on pounds and wore heavy makeup to portray the most powerful vice president in modern times. The cast is .. somethin’. Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell.

Not yet screened for critics.

“On the Basis of Sex” (Christmas Day)

Felicity Jones plays young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she brings a groundbreaking case to the U.S. Court of Appeals, long before she would become a Supreme Court justice. Co-stars Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux and Kathy Bates.

Not yet screened for critics.

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