Oscar Watch: “A Star Is Born” is still the front-runner

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With every movie now screened, we can safely assess that Bradley Cooper's "A Star is Born" is officially in the driver's seat when it comes to winning the Oscar for best picture. 

Cooper's film has not only charmed critics but become a blockbuster at the box-office, having made $200M domestically. Many Oscar noms are forthcoming. The film is, by all accounts, the token definition of not just a Best Picture nominee, but a Best Picture winner. Not to mention that it is directed by a well-respected actor, something that's helped in the past such esteemed actors-turned-directors such as Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Ron Howard, Ben Affleck, and Robert Redford. 

It's just been an average year for Hollywood filmmaking. The major studio front-runners are "A Star is Born," "Black Panther," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Mary Poppins," doesn't that say everything you need to know about the state of Hollywood movies in 2018? Of course, if you look at the indie and foreign language circuit then it's a whole other story.

Back to "A Star is Born," yes, it has no political relevance to it, although some are trying to insinuate that Gaga being a queer icon means something but give me a break, the film is as vanilla as the pint of Ben and Jerry's I had yesterday evening. 'Star' is the third remake of the same story about a white privileged musician's rise and fall, his self-destructive behavior, and how that affects those closest to him.

The gurus over at Gold Derby are proclaiming that it's the film to beat, 21 out of 30 Gold Derby pundits are giving the edge to Cooper's film. *Sigh* I've all but given up on the notion that the actual best picture of the year wins the Oscar, that's something you tell yourself when you're young and too-naive-to-realize that it's a political game. Go ahead, Oscar, give the top prize to a remake of a remake of a remake of a remake. Whereas, Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma" Yorgo Lanthimos' and "The Favourite" will stand the test of time.

The first half of Cooper’s film is spectacular; musical, lively, energetic and infused with Matthew Libatique's beautifully wrought frames. The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga works, but it slowly disintegrates into cliches, Gaga starts to struggle with the more dramatic calls for her to actually, shock, act, and the liveliness that was so apparent earlier on is squashed by a pedantic by-the-numbers feel that the film can't escape. The film turns too self-important, when, in essence, it doesn't earn those stripes.

I thought Peter Farelly's "Green Book" had a shot at dethroning Cooper's movie, but the amount of backlash that movie has received has had pundits and critics almost too scared to even mention their admiration for the film for fear of being accused of being racist. Such are the times we live in, alas, maybe "Green Book" could win Best Picture via the "ghost vote," in ways very similar to how Trump won his presidency; those too-scared to announce their admiration for the film could just vent out their frustration at the ballot box. Wouldn't that be hilarious? Imagine all the haters shrieking in anger the day after Farelly's movie wins the Oscar. I still have faith in humanity, I still believe it's got a shot, it's by all accounts the most universally well-liked film of the contenders, even though there's a minority that would rather kill it off.

The Current Odds:

A Star is Born
Black Panther
Green Book
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Eighth Grade
First Man
If Beale Street Could Talk
First Reformed
Mary Poppins Returns
A Quiet Place
Can You Ever Forgive Me