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And winner is likely to be... the Oscar buzz surrounding closest-run race for years

PUBLISHED: 17:49 22 January 2019

Olivia Colman in a scene from the film

Olivia Colman in a scene from the film "The Favourite." On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, Colman was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her role in the film. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 24. (Atsushi Nishijima/Fox Searchlight Films via AP)

The Oscar nominations have been announced. We take a look at the contenders and the controversies.

Alfonso Cuaron, left, and Yalitza Aparicio on the set of Alfonso Cuaron, left, and Yalitza Aparicio on the set of "Roma." On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, Cuaron was nominated for an Oscar for best director for his work on the film. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 24. (Carlos Somonte/Netflix via AP)

And so the Oscar nominations have been unveiled and as expected Alfonso Cuarón’s 70s-set Roma is vying with black comedy/Royal bio-pic The Favourite for the majority of the top prizes.

The pair have both collected an impressive 10 nominations but this is no guarantee that either will go home with any. Films like Taxi Driver, The Shawshank Redemption, The Colour Purple and ET have gone home empty-handed before now.

Giving Roma and The Favourite a run for their money will be the much-loved A Star Is Born remake and the lauded political satire Vice who have both collected eight nominations.

Bradley Cooper, left, and Lady Gaga in a scene from Bradley Cooper, left, and Lady Gaga in a scene from "A Star is Born." The film may be the lead nomination-getter Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, when nominations to the 91st Oscars are unveiled. (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP, File)

If last year’s Oscar ceremony was dominated by the #MeToo campaign, this year everyone is talking about the Netflix controversy which started in Cannes and has been rattling around the various film festivals and awards ever since.

The basic problem revolves around critics favourite Roma, which has been financed by streaming service Netflix. The film is not available for viewing in cinemas and can be only accessed online. Many influential voices with the film industry, including Steven Spielberg, do not think this tale of life in Mexico City in the 1970s should be eligible for an Academy Award but as with The Golden Globes and BAFTA before it, the Oscar committee has decided to recognise quality and the changing times by allowing the film to compete for the most prestigious film awards of the year.

A quick glance at the nominations suggests that we are unlikely to have any runaway hits this year. It’s a very strong year with a wide variety of good quality movies drawn from a many different genres. In these circumstances its rare to have just one film sweep the board.

Glenn Close in a scene from Glenn Close in a scene from "The Wife." On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, Close was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her role in the film. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 24. (Graeme Hunter/Sony Pictures Classics via AP)

When A Star Was Born was first released last autumn it was immediately a front-runner. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga not only made a fabulous pair but their performances were both honest and very emotional. More than that Bradley Cooper was also making his directorial debut. But, as the months drifted by and films like Roma and Vice started to gain critical plaudits, A Star Is Born started to fade in the bookies front-runner lists, something confirmed by the fact that Bradley Cooper was overlooked in the best director nominations.

This means that A Star Is Born is now unlikely to win Best Picture. The battle for that all-important Best Picture win is now likely to be between Roma, The Favourite and Vice. Black Panther was hugely praised last summer but is now yesterday’s popcorn. Also, not to be snobby about things, but when was the last time a superhero movie won a Best Picture Oscar?

The tide is with Roma. It has won all the major awards so far and Hollywood loves director Alfonso Cuarón who flips between mainstream movies like Gravity and the Harry Potter series and foreign language fare like Roma and Y Tu Mamá También.

Lady Gaga in a scene from the latest reboot of the film, Lady Gaga in a scene from the latest reboot of the film, "A Star is Born." On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, Lady Gaga was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her role in the film. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 24. (Clay Enos/Warner Bros. via AP)

It will be a major upset if Roma doesn’t win Best Picture and Cuarón Best Director. The only thing which is likely to divert Roma’s tidal surge to mainstream Oscar glory is the fact that Roma is also up for the Best Foreign Film Oscar and they may hesitate to give two Best Film trophies to the same movie.

The Best Actor and Best Actress categories are also very interesting.

Olivia Colman is the clear favourite to win the BAFTA for her outstanding and quirky performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite but it is by no means certain that this will automatically follow across to the Oscars.

Christian Bale portrays Dick Cheney in a scene from Christian Bale portrays Dick Cheney in a scene from "Vice." On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, Bale was nominated for an Oscar for best actor for his role in the film. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 24. (Greig Fraser/Annapurna Pictures via AP)

She faces tough competition from both Glenn Close, who won a Golden Globe for her role in The Wife, a story about an unacknowledged ghostwriter of her husband’s novels, and Lady Gaga for her breakthrough role as an undiscovered hit singer in A Star Is Born. Gaga won the Best Actress award from the National Board of Review earlier this month and then tied with Glenn Close for the Critics Choice award.

Best Actress is going to be tough category to win but my money’s on Glenn Close because Hollywood is a sentimental town and they have just woken up to the fact that, although Glenn Close is a much-loved performer, up until her Golden Globe win, and despite dozens of nominations, she had never won a trophy before. She is fantastic and very dignified in The Wife and I think Tinsel Town will be looking to put things right.

Best Actor is also three horse race between Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Rami Malek. This is also difficult to call. Malek is very charismatic as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody but Bradley Cooper went that extra mile and learnt to sing and play guitar for A Star Is Born. This always impresses Academy voters meanwhile Christian Bale went full Gary Oldman (last year’s winner) and disappeared under layers of latex to portray political bogeyman Dick Cheney in the much admired satire Vice.

Gwilym Lee, from left, Rami Malek and Joe Mazzello in a scene from Gwilym Lee, from left, Rami Malek and Joe Mazzello in a scene from "Bohemian Rhapsody." On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, the film was nominated for an Oscar for best picture. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 24, 2019. (Alex Bailey/Twentieth Century Fox via AP)

It’s a toss up between Cooper and Bale but I think it will probably go to Bradley Cooper for his dazzling portrayal of the drunken Jackson Maine.

It would be lovely if Richard E Grant took the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Can You Ever Forgive Me but I think the trophy all ready has Sam Elliott’s name written on it for A Star Is Born. Emma Stone is a popular figure in Hollywood and has gained fantastic reviews for her role in The Favourite and must be considered a front-runner for Best Supporting Actress but Regina King could easily repeat her Golden Globe win and carry off the Oscar for her part in If Beale Street Could Talk.

Whoever wins, after a couple of years of so-what Oscar races, this year looks like being a hard-fought battle between people and movies the public actually want to see.

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in a scene from Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in a scene from "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, Grant was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in the film. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 24. (Mary Cybulski/Fox Searchlight Pictures via AP)

The Oscar winners are announced on February 24

Emma Stone from the film Emma Stone from the film "The Favourite." On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, Stone was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in the film. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 24. (Fox Searchlight Pictures via AP)

The main nominations:

Best picture

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

A Star is Born

Vice

Best director

Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)

Adam McKay (Vice)

Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)

Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)

Best actor

Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)

Christian Bale (Vice)

Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)

Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)

Best actress

Glenn Close (The Wife)

Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)

Olivia Colman (The Favourite)

Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)

Best supporting actor

Mahershala Ali (Green Book)

Richard E Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)

Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)

Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Best supporting actress

Emma Stone (The Favourite)

Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Amy Adams (Vice)

Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)

Marina De Tavira (Roma)

Best adapted screenplay

If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)

A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters and Eric Roth)

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty)

BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)

Best original screenplay

Green Book (Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga)

The Favourite (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara)

Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)

Vice (Adam McKay)

First Reformed (Paul Schrader)

Best animated feature

Incredibles 2

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

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