In the lead-up to the Oscars, different groups are split on the best movie of 2018. The Golden Globes went with "Bohemian Rhapsody," Screen Actors Guild favored "Black Panther," the Directors Guild chose "Roma," and the Producers Guild supported "Green Book." That's unheard of. 

So it means the race is wide open for Sunday night's Academy Awards. Most of the eight nominees have a legitimate pathway to the win, but all of them have a little stink on them that could be a deal breaker.

At first glance, "The Favourite" looks like traditional Oscar bait. It's a period piece with lavish costumes and great actors. Then you watch it and see it's pretty dark, kinky and weird - too much for some voters.

Similarly, "BlackKklansman" is far too edgy - although, if the politically-minded voters want to send a message, this is the one - definitely more than "Vice," which is little more than a liberal take-down of a controversial political figure that feels about a decade too late. Plus, the Academy doesn't usually go for comedies, although it might with "Green Book," which is a likable movie with a lot of support. But the family of one of the characters has gone public saying the movie is full of lies, and one of the screenwriters put out some anti-Muslim tweets. 

I think the bad press around "Bohemian Rhapsody" will inevitably sink it. Director Bryan Singer was fired mid-production and faces a slew of sexual harassment accusations. The Academy wants no part of the #MeToo mess.  Money talks, though, and the Queen bio-pic was a huge hit. But so was "A Star is Born," and I can't figure out why this Oscar-friendly movie somehow fizzled out this Awards season. Bradley Cooper not being nominated for Best Director is a crime, and it probably indicates the movie won't win. 
    
"Black Panther" is the movie I think should win. It's hard to argue that it's not at least the most important movie of the year - a cultural milestone for representation, timely in its political message, and a multi-billion dollar hit. Yeah, it's a superhero movie, but it also fits in the Hollywood tradition of big epics winning the top prize - even fairly recently with "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" and "Gladiator."  

But I suspect the Academy doesn't want to validate the Disney/Marvel monster and will instead pick the movie they feel they have to vote for - the "eat your vegetables" movie. That's "Roma," a deeply personal portrait of Mexico by its well respected Mexican director, Alfonso Cuaron. I found it a bit of a slog, but it's certainly beautifully made, and it would be the first foreign language film to win. Its only downside: the Academy would have to admit Netflix is a real thing now, and that maybe movie theaters don't matter so much.

I think "Roma" wins, but what do I know? I've been wrong the last three years.