It’s that time of year again – where your missus talks about how good looking everyone is on the red carpet and you just want everyone to sit down, so you can see awkward comedy and multi-millionaires clap at each other.
And if you think that’s a big load of pretentious sh*te, you can at least cash in on their excess.
Following back-to-back shocks in recent years, with Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ and Barry Jenkins’ ‘Moonlight’ surprising audiences all over the world, no other market quite screams to avoid the short-priced favourites like this one.
After all, and whisper this – entertainment is subjective – and awards for such are stupid. But the show must go on …
The oods-on favourite is Roma (1/4), directed by Alfonso Cuaron and produced by – wait for it – Netflix. Already, we have a problem. While we can accept that the Academy is a pile of rich white people shouting at each other in a room for a few hours, we must also use that fact when considering their most likely winner.
Roma, while clearly a strong story with masterful direction and gorgeous cinematography, is carried by an online streaming service.
Given that theatre is the biggest graphical representation of what the Oscars stand for, I’m not so sure that a streaming-rights holder lifting the little golden statue would make a statement those in power are comfortable with.
Aesthetically, this would be a calamity.
Despite what the price tells you, there are certainly alternatives in a year what boasts diversity.
We can probably discount four films in particular from this category. Realistically, Vice is too comedic and is one of those filler nominations that gives a reason to directors to still make satirical political commentaries.
A Star is Born did a lot right, but everyone will remember the soundtrack and nobody will really pay much attention to Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. Its pacing and its ability to gloss over important moments is bizarre.
Still, Lady Gaga. What a performer.
Bohemian Rhapsody may be the weakest nomination to this category in the last decade. Apart from an astonishing acting performance from Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, this offers nothing only weird comedy and uncomfortable narrative.
And finally, there’s more hope of your mother and father’s secret wedding-night tape winning Best Picture than Black Panther. It’s a superhero film, for god’s sake.
That leaves us with three viable opposition bets and each of the three have their own flaws.
BlackKklansman deals with racial tension very well, seamlessly implementing it into the modern setting before running a knife through the current White House incumbent.
And while Adam Driver and John David Washington are spectacular, Donald Trump is a billionaire and money does not publicise criticism for other money.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite is magical. Olivia Colman is joined by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in a tug of war for the Queen’s attention.
All three were nominated for awards for their respective roles and rightly so.
But the dark, crude nature of this tale is hard to stomach for the majority of audiences and a historical period drama containing this is probably best left out of the spotlight.
Lanthimos is, after all, the man who directed ‘The Lobster’. Next.
That leaves us with Green Book. Mahershala Ali might be the best actor in the world right now and his teaming-up with Viggo Mortensen of Lord of the Rings fame was always going to command attention.
Mortensen acts as a driver for Ali’s character, who is a talented black musician, who must navigate a racially-fuelled tension that has engulfed the deep south during the 1960s.
As the film progresses, prejudices and presumptions fade to naught and a working-class recollection of a discussion that happened countless times in the United States at this time is produced, to keep viewers engaged.
I don’t like the term ‘Oscar-bait’, but this features every aspect of the so-called criteria, while maintaining its credibility, thanks to a director who wasn’t afraid to stage the awkwardness for us.
Selection: Green Book @ 4/1
*Odds correct at time of posting