The Howler’s 2019 Oscars predictions: the award goes to…
With the 91st Academy Awards airing on Feb. 24, The Howler predicts the Oscar winners and recaps the year’s best in Hollywood (note: readers’ discretion for spoilers).
“Roma,” directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Synopsis: Cleo, a servant of a rich white family in the Roma Neighborhood of Mexico City, goes through life changing events such as her pregnancy with her abandoned boyfriend and the political turmoil of the ever changing country.
This movie has beautiful cinematography that makes use of various unique angles such as the 360-degree camera pan. Other elements of the film, such as the strong allegories to art such as the Pietà, the raw emotion and the intense character development of Cleo truly elevate the film to another level. While Cuarón’s style seems repetitive of his other work “Children of Men” as the camera takes moments to leave the foreground and focus on random people in the background, his visual style is one of the most artistic films of the year, thus deserving this title.
Viggo Mortensen as Frank Vallelonga from “Green Book”
Synopsis: Inspired by true events, world-class pianist Dr. Don Shirley employs Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga to drive and protect him in the South and overcome differing backgrounds to become good friends.
At first glance, the film seems like an obvious reach for an Oscar and its “feel-good” movies, but Mortensen’s heartfelt performance as pianist Don Shirley’s driver, escort and bodyguard truly brought out a successful and dramatized representation of what transpired in Shirley’s journey through the Deep South. His partnership with Shirley (Mahershala Ali) brings a touching performance that carries the film beyond its powerful script and lands Mortensen this award.
Lady Gaga as Ally from “A Star is Born”
Synopsis: Artist Jackson Maine gets into a relationship with Ally, which eventually leads her to fame. As time passes on, their love turns the wrong way as Maine faces problems with sobriety and suicide.
In one of the more emotionally tolling yet profound films of the year, Lady Gaga is able to direct her musical and acting talents to carry a powerful story exceeding those of other actresses this year. In addition to the authenticity with which she conveys her character’s backstory, her chemistry with Bradley Cooper makes her a prime candidate for Best Actress. The scenes are packed with powerful and compelling artistry on her part, carrying the film to a level otherwise unachievable without the practice of an accomplished actress. In the memorable final moments of the film, Lady Gaga’s closing number channels raw passion and emotion to conclude an amazing performance.
Best Animated Feature
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” directed by Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr. and Rodney Rothman
Synopsis: Miles Morales, a teen who has a secret job as Spider-Man, meets his counterparts from other realities, hoping to team up to fight the existential threat to all.
The integration of comic-book print, artwork, animation and sound design all contribute to the recognition of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” With what resembles a comic book brought to life with a discotheque color scheme and immensely creative artistry, the movie presents itself as a family-friendly and intense movie. The film’s unforgettable soundtrack featuring numerous hip-hop artists and an equally impressive score pad the movie with an ethereal landscape similar to the one presented visually. A nearly flawless movie even without considering sound production or visual effects, directors Ramsey, Persichetti and Rothman construct a Spider-Man movie we didn’t know we needed right now, yet is primed for the awards it deserves.