Published On: Fri, Feb 22nd, 2019

Oscar Odds: Why BlacKkKlansman might win Best Picture

This week we’re handicapping the prospects of the eight Best Picture contenders at Feb. 24’s Academy Awards. Today: BlacKkKlansman.

Quick pitch: Spike Lee’s strange-but-true story of Black cop Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who infiltrated the Colorado chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Set in the late 1970s but informed by the here and now, it’s fuelled by righteous anger against racial hatred and anti-Semitism.

John David Washington, left, and Laura Harrier in BlacKkKlansman.
John David Washington, left, and Laura Harrier in BlacKkKlansman.  (David Lee / AP)

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace and Laura Harrier.

Directed by: Spike Lee

Nominations: 6

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Key early kudos: Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix; BAFTA Best Adapted Screenplay; African-American Film Critics Association Best Actor (Washington) and Best Screenplay.

Box office (domestic, U.S. dollars): $ 48.7 million

Ladbrokes odds: 20/1

William Hill odds: 25/1

Why it could win: It has wide industry respect, being the only film among the Best Picture eight to be nominated in all of the major precursor industry contests and also to land Oscar nods for picture, direction, screenplay and editing. It’s also the most socially aware Best Picture nominee, with an urgent message about race hatred.

Why it might not: Despite all those earlier nominations, wins to date have been few. Spike Lee’s spiky past attitude toward the Academy might not help him, either, but he’s been on his best behaviour for this Oscars round.

Howell’s line: A Spike Lee joint finally gets some academy love, but is it for real?

Peter Howell is the Star’s movie critic based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @peterhowellfilm

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Oscar Odds: Why BlacKkKlansman might win Best Picture