Oscars Best Picture slugfest: Tom O’Neil picks ‘Green Book’ as winner

Gold Derby founder and editor-in-chief Tom O’Neil wrote the book on the Oscars — literally. He’s the one who bravely called that Eddie Redmayne would win Best Actor for “The Theory of Everything” long before the rest of us did. And this time last year he warned us that “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was a sleeping giant. So now when he says that “Green Book” is the front-runner for Best Picture, it’s smart to listen to him. Watch our Oscar slugfest above where he tries to convince executive editor Paul Sheehan and senior editor Daniel Montgomery that he’s right.

“‘Green Book’ is the movie the Oscar voters discover, and they walk out of there elated,” O’Neil argues. “It’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ It’s ‘Rocky.’ It’s that Best Picture potential winner that has the audience on its feet cheering.” Montgomery agrees that it’s a top player. Though he’s currently on the “A Star Is Born” bandwagon, he thinks “Green Book” could potentially over-perform in categories like Best Sound Mixing, Best Editing and Best Costume Design, in addition to above-the-line races for writing, acting and directing.

Sheehan, on the other hand, is boldly picking “Black Panther” to win the top Oscar. “It’ll be the most liked,” he predicts. “It doesn’t have to be beloved by a few, it has to be liked by a lot.” That’s because Best Picture is decided by a preferential ballot where voters rank their choices from best to worst instead of just picking one winner. That favors broadly appealing consensus movies over more divisive contenders. Then again, Sheehan concedes that “Green Book” could also end up being that consensus choice.

But “Green Book” is also structured as a pretty by-the-book road movie, so O’Neil admits that it lacks “the snob appeal” of other recent artier winners like “12 Years a Slave” (2013), “Birdman” (2014), “Moonlight” (2016) and “The Shape of Water” (2017). Nevertheless, though a lot could yet change in the Oscar race in the coming months, he thinks “the momentum is actually heading in that path” and that “Green” will take the gold.

One thought on “Oscars Best Picture slugfest: Tom O’Neil picks ‘Green Book’ as winner”

  1. Clearly, the AMPAS has not learned its lesson from last year. We, the public, did not like the “Billboard” movie! We loved “The Shape of Water,” a science fiction, creature feature. Likewise, we do NOT like “Green Book” or the 15th-million remake of “A Star is Born.” We love “Avengers: Infinity War” and to a lesser extent “Black Panther.” You have already noticed that viewer-watching is down, and will continue to be “down” until AMPAS starts recognizing what the public is watching/enjoying. It shouldn’t take a team of accountants to reveal two of the most seen movies last year, “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther.” We viewers want to see our films recognized. We could care less about Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. None of us liked that film, and wouldn’t go see it, even if the studio screened it for free. It’s been done already, many times, and we’re not going to spend good money on remakes. Similarly, I’m sure “Green” is a good movie; it will likely be playing on Netflix in another month. Give out the Oscars to films that truly deserve it…like “Avengers: Infinity War.” In terms of sweep and creativity, no film is going to overtake it. We’ve been saying for years, and you’re not listening. “2001” should have been Best Picture in 1968; “Star Wars” in 1977, etc. Both of those films had grand vision and sweep and creativity…certainly better than “Oliver!” and “Annie Hall.” Who even remembers those films? Time to start listening to the real viewers.

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UPLOADED Nov 12, 2018 11:03 am