Pete Hammond and Tom O’Neil, two considerably reliable Oscar pundits, seem to be split on whether to choose “Green Book” or “Roma” as their Best Picture front-runner.
Yes, “Roma” just won the top prize at the BAFTA’s, which holds a decent amount of Oscar voters in its voting body, but don’t be fooled by the win. “Green Book” was not eligible as it wasn’t a British production. As you can tell, I am with “Green Book” until the bitter end. Ever since I saw it at TIFF and soaked up the response from the enamored audience I saw it with, I told myself there just isn’t a better contender this year. My assertions were confirmed the following day when I attended the “Star is Born” premiere and the crowd felt more muted, less responsive, to Bradley Cooper’s movie.
As for “Roma,” don’t mistake Alfonso Cuaron’s film for anything but a major cinematic achievement, however it’s too artsy, too plotless so to speak, to win over a voting body which consists of many less-than-cultured movie watchers. I’ve heard people tell me “but Moonlight won, Birdman won, The Shape of Water won, The Artist won and those are all “artsy” pictures.” Yes, they are, except those films actually have a plot, “Roma” is driven by dreamy memories, rather than plot, moments which are supposed to linger in your head far beyond the lights coming back on at the multiplex or, given that this is a Netflix film, at the comfort of your own living room. It’s too arthouse, it’s like expecting an Antonioni film set in Mexico to win Best Picture. No chance, unless a decent amount of voters pick it on their ballot purely for political reasons - just to spite our anti-Mexican President, who will, most likely, call a state of emergency in the coming days/weeks/months to build his infamous wall. That could be a deciding factor, more so than “Roma” stealing the hearts of Joe and Jane popcorn voter.