Oscar Nominations Provide Few Surprises And Fierce Competitions

“Black Panther’ made history Tuesday morning, becoming the first-ever superhero movie nominated for Best Picture.

The Marvel Studios film, hailed as a cultural watershed moment for its African-American cast and themes when released a year ago, earned seven nominations including best costume design, production design, sound editing and mixing, original score and original song.

Also, legendary actor-director Spike Lee finally scores nominations in both the directing and Best Picture categories.

While “Black Panther’ broke new ground, “Roma’ and “The Favourite’ dominated the nominations with 10 each, including Best Picture nominations for both.

Among the most notable snubs: Bradley Cooper was not nominated for Best Director for “A Star is Born;’ neither was Peter Farrelly (“Green Book’) or Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther’). Ethan Hawke was left out of Best Actor nominations. Other notable also-rans in acting categories: John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman’), Claire Foy (“First Man’), Margot Robbie (“Mary Queen of Scots’) Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place’ and “Mary Poppins’) and Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy’).

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor,’ the acclaimed documentary on Mister Rogers, also was overlooked as well as total shutouts for “Crazy Rich Asians,’ “Eighth Grade,’ and “The Rider.’

For weeks, several sportsbooks, including 5Dimes, BetOnline, Bet365, BetCris, Bovada, Pinnacle, My Bookie, Sports Interaction and Ladbrokes, have offered wagers on the major categories without the benefit of having the final list of nominees. Expect those wagers to be whittled down to just the nominees.

We’re going to make preliminary picks today in a few categories, but we reserve the right to change our mind when we do our official picks in all major categories soon.

As for Best Picture, “Roma,’ the black-and-white coming of age drama, also nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film, is the frontrunner, competing with “The Favourite,’ “BlacKkKlansman,’ “Black Panther,’ “Bohemian Rhapsody,’ “Green Book,’ “A Star Is Born’ and “Vice.’

Our Pick: “Roma’ has taken the lion’s share of awards but “Green Book’ just won the “Oscar tell’ honor from the Producers Guild. We’re going to go out on a limb with “Green Book’ and let “Roma’ take home the Best Foreign Film honor.

The best acting categories are stacked with great performances and fierce competition especially in Best Actor with Christian Bale for his performance as former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in “Vice’ vs. Rami Malek’s morphing into Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.’ Also nominated, Bradley Cooper in “A Star is Born,’ Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate’), and Viggo Moretensen (“Green Book’).

Our Pick: It’s Christian Bale’s award to lose. He seems a shoo-in after the Golden Globes and Critic’s Choice Awards.

The Best Actress category is a who’s who, with stellar performances by Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma’), Glenn Close (“The Wife’), Olivia Colman (“The Favourite’), Lady Gaga (“A Star is Born’) and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?’).

Our Pick: Yeah, Lady Gaga would be the upset in the category, so she better be happy with Best Song. This award comes down to Close and Colman and we’re going with Glenn Close. It’s her year, it’s her time.

It is equally as competitive in the Best Supporting Actress category: Amy Adams (“Vice’), Marina de Tavira (“Roma’), Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk’), and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz (“The Favourite’).

Our Pick: Regina King for her fierce performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk.’ King won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for this role, but Amy Adams is close behind.

As for Best Supporting Actor, can we just say how thrilled we are that Sam Elliott is finally getting his due. Hooray. Other than that this is all Mahershala Ali in “Green Book.’ Also nominated: Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman’), Elliott (“A Star Is Born’), Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?’), and Sam Rockwell (“Vice’).

Our Pick: Mahershala Ali, hands down.

As for Best Director, there is one noticeable absence – Bradley Cooper, who was expected to get a nomination. We’re also thrilled to see Spike Lee finally get Oscar recognition in this category for “BlacKkKlansman.’ Also nominated: Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma’), Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite’), Adam McKay (“Vice’), and Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War’).

Our Pick: Alfonso Cuaron for “Roma.’

Another unexpected takeaway from watching the Academy Award nominations, announced live Tuesday morning, is that Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross should host the Oscars.

The pair was the perfect combo of wit and pacing – pretty good for 5:30 a.m. on the West Coast.

The awards ceremony will be held on February 24.