No host, no female directors and no nominations for Mister Rogers. Welcome to the 91st Academy Awards.
This year’s Oscars ceremony has had no shortage of controversies before the first award has been handed out.
First, comedian Kevin Hart notably dropped out of headlining the Oscars after some homophobic tweets of his resurfaced from the past, leaving the ceremony without a host for the first time in three decades.
The Academy then erroneously decided not to nominate "Won’t You Be My Neighbor?" for Best Documentary, much to the chagrin of Mister Rogers’ neighborhood.
Perhaps the most significant controversy the Academy has committed so far was removing Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing awards from its telecast, only to promptly walk back that decision several days later after a severe backlash from the film community.
Only one thing remains before the awards ceremony this Sunday, and that is who will go home with the gold.
The Spanish family drama film "Roma" has the most nominations (10) out of the eight Best Picture nominees. Its director, Alfonso Cuaron, has already won the Directors Guild of America Award and the Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Language Film. His film is likewise in the lead to win both the directing and Foreign-language feature Oscars as well, in addition to Best Picture and Best Cinematography.
Also in the running is the musical drama "A Star Is Born" and the nail-biting political biography, "Vice," which is an ego trip for either Christian Bale or Dick Cheney depending on whether you ask a Republican or a Democrat. Both movies are not expected to win many awards on Oscar night considering how the likes of "Roma" overshadows both of them.
Nevertheless, expect "A Star Is Born" to take home Best Original Song and Best Sound Mixing and "Vice" to take home Best Makeup and Best Film Editing.
Next up is the Marvel Comics superhero movie "Black Panther," which has earned seven nominations and marks the first time a superhero movie has ever been nominated for Best Picture. It isn’t likely to win, considering the Academy’s hesitancy to recognize superhero movies (it’s still a sham that "The Dark Knight" wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture in 2009).
Still, "Black Panther" is in the lead for the Best Production and Costume Design categories. If it doesn’t win, then the English drama "The Favourite" is, well, the next “favorite” to win.
For the acting categories, pay attention to Rami Malek for "Bohemian Rhapsody," Glenn Close for "The Wife," Mahershala Ali for "Green Book" and Regina King for "If Beale Street Could Talk." They’ve swept awards season so far from the Golden Globes all the way to the British Academy Film and Television Awards. They are also the most likely candidates to win in their respective acting categories at the Oscars as well.
For Best Animated Feature, look for the web-head to win the award with "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," which is not only one of the best superhero movies of the year but one of the best movies of the year, period. "Incredibles 2" might have had a better shot if it came out when I was closer to Dash’s age and not Bob Parr’s. What was it that Syndrome said in the first "Incredibles" in 2004? Something about being “15 years too late?”
"Won’t You Be My Neighbor?" would have and should have won Best Documentary if it was bloody nominated, but since it isn’t, vote for Ruth Bader Ginsberg in her documentary "RBG" instead. King Friday is sure to shake his felt-covered fist at the Academy from somewhere – probably on the next trolley out of the Dolby Theatre.