2019 Oscar Predictions

This has been something of a whirlwind awards season given not only the tumultuous time the Academy itself has had trying to adapt to the ever-evolving cinematic and social landscape, but also in regards to the fact most of the second-tier awards shows leading up to the big night have put what is, at least for me, the most exciting film of the season on the back-burner. Going into the fall film festival season and then further into the rush of prime awards contenders being released it seemed A Star is Born was destined to go all the way and while eight Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture on top of $423 million worldwide on a budget of $36 million ain't too shabby, it was thought A Star is Born would be the most heavily favored film of the night, but when Sunday night comes and goes it wouldn't be surprising if Bradley Cooper's directorial debut goes home with only Best Original Song. Why A Star is Born went from pre-determined favorite to nearly flaming out completely is anybody's guess and could be attributed to voters disregarding the third re-make of a film to the highlights of other favored winners throughout awards season. It's somewhat depressing considering A Star is Born was one of my favorite films of 2018, but it will undoubtedly serve the film well in the years to come as it will be remembered more as a deserving film that got little love rather than an admirable film that received more than it deserved. Of course, the big winner of the night is expected to be Alfonso Cuarón's Roma as it garnered ten nominations and it wouldn't surprise me if it ended up taking home Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Foreign Language Film (as predicted below) among others (Cinematography seems to be a lock as well), but given Paweł Pawlikowski's director nod for Cold War it's entirely possible Roma takes Best Picture and Cold War takes Foreign Language. Other than this though, there isn't much by way of drama or uncertainty as to who will be accepting statues Sunday night and thus the reason I've not only included who I think will win in the predictions below, but who I think should win. Hit the jump for my full list of predictions.

Best Picture
Fortunately, this may end up being the most interesting race of the night. Most Oscar prognosticators have Roma taking the top prize, but others still believe Green Book has a shot despite director Peter Farrely not receiving a Best Director nomination. Given the actors branch is the biggest in the Academy though, many are still holding their breath that Black Panther might take home the biggest award of the night and given it won the SAG award for Best Ensemble there might be a genuine shot for it to win. Why Black Panther winning Best picture is against the odds though, is the fact it has no nominations in any of the other major categories; had Michael B. Jordan maybe got a nod in Best Supporting Actor or if Ryan Coogler had been included in Best Director this might be a completely different story, but given most of Black Panther's other nominations are largely in technical categories and for Original Song I don't actually see this panning out. While I think A Star is Born should win the film that has the best chance of beating Roma seems to be Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman. Roma did not receive an editing nomination and as most gamblers and Academy Award handicappers have long known most Best Picture winners also score a nomination in this category. Per Variety, since editing became an Oscar category in 1934, only ten films have won best picture without at least a nomination for editing; the last was 2015's Birdman and before that it was 1980’s Ordinary People. Of the sixty-six films that have won Best Picture since 1952, 32 have won the editing statuette as well. On the other hand, BlacKkKlansman  is the only film among the eight Best Picture nominees to also be nominated for picture, direction, screenplay and editing. It’s also the most socially aware Best Picture nominee, with an urgent message about race and hatred, so it's not crazy and it's definitely not impossible.

Best Director 
One of the biggest snubs of the year was Cooper not getting a nomination in this category, but he likely didn't stand a chance anyway as this is Cuarón's to lose at this point. Cuarón has won all of the top Oscar precursors this year including Best Director awards at the Golden Globes, Critics' Choice Awards (where Roma also won Best Picture), and the Directors Guild Awards. The DGA is almost always an indicator for someones Oscar chances as, this decade, the only time the DGA didn't align with the Oscars was in 2012 when the Academy infamously snubbed Ben Affleck for Argo. Lee has something of a rocky past with the Academy and his lack of wins in the precursor awards don't bode well for his chances here. Honestly, if Cuarón doesn't take home his second Best Directing Oscar this year, it will be one of the biggest surprises of the night.

Best Actor
You know how I said Cooper was snubbed in the Best Director category this year? One would think that in light of this the Academy would deliver Cooper some kind of recognition for not only writing, directing, producing, starring, and singing in (not to mention writing songs for) one of the best films of last year, but in reality Cooper isn't even in the conversation for Best Actor. For much of the race it was thought Christian Bale had this category all sealed up after winning both the Golden Globe for Best Actor - Comedy or Musical and the Critics' Choice Award for Best Actor, but it's the loss at SAG that puts him at a disadvantage. While it still blows my mind that something as mediocre as Bohemian Rhapsody is nominated for Best Picture, Rami Malek's portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has more or less already won him this award. The film itself won Best Picture - Drama at the Golden Globes and earned Best Picture nominations from not only the Oscars, but the Producers Guild. Malek picked up several wins this awards season, including Best Actor - Drama at the Golden Globes as well as the SAG award for Best Actor. While Malek was unable to take home a win at the Critics' Choice Awards, his prospects after the SAG win look more than promising given that since 2004, SAG and Oscar Best Actor winners have aligned 13 times.

Best Actress

Lady Gaga will get hounded time and time again for having played "herself" in A Star is Born and therefore not being worthy of such an honor while Glenn Close will receive this year's award as something of a "lifetime achievement" win. Don't get me wrong, I like The Wife and Close's performance in particular. The truth is though, that Lady Gaga played the opposite of who she is in the public eye by disregarding her extravagant stage image to portray this humble, down-to-Earth aspiring artist that had more or less given up on herself. Gaga has said many times in many interviews how she was nothing like Ally in this regard and while this may have been just as much an attempt to emphasize how much of a performance this truly was as it is true the fact of the matter is while having been nominated for the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG awards in the Best Actress category, her only big win on the circuit has been a tie at the Critics' Choice Awards. She of course tied with...Glenn Close. Close is essentially the surest bet you can make this year as she's won Best Actress at the Golden Globes, Critics' Choice Awards, and SAG, as well as having been passed multiple times by the Academy making this a long overdue reward.

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actor may be the most frustrating category of the night as I could have made a ballot of five actors who each truly deserve this award and would have been happy with any of them winning. This would have been a perfect place to give Black Panther another above-the-line nomination for Michael B. Jordan's performance. Brian Tyree Henry also deserved to be here if not for his most prestigious role of the year in If Beale Street Could Talk, but for his supporting role in Widows (which has shamelessly been ignored this awards season). The man also provided voice work in this year's likely Best Animated Picture winner in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Either would have been more worthy of the nomination than Sam Rockwell as Rockwell's nod here feels more like a filler than something deserved (and again, I feel like one of the few who advocated for Vice). Mahershala Ali was always going to be in the conversation though as this awards season has seen him walk away with Best Supporting Actor wins from the Golden Globes, SAG awards, and the Critics' Choice Awards. If history is on his side-and it seems to be-then Ali will be walking away with his second Oscar in three years. Of course, my pick would be for Sam Elliot to finally grab an Oscar win after this somehow being his first nomination. In addition to winning Best Supporting Actor at the National Board of Review, Elliot received nominations from SAG and Critics' Choice while being snubbed by the Golden Globes. It's a long shot that Elliot gets a "long overdue" Oscar, but that driveway scene alone will have me rooting for him. 

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams will continue not to win an Oscar this year (she should have won for Arrival even though the Academy failed to nominate her at all) even though this year's Best Supporting Actress category is possibly the most uneventful of the pack. Like Best Actress, this is one of the surest bets of the night as Regina King is more or less a lock to walk away with her first win after her first ever nomination. While King was famously snubbed at the SAG awards at the beginning of awards season she has since gone on to win at the Golden Globes, Critics' Choice Awards, and National Board of Review, a trifecta that very much establishes her as one to beat. Also, her competition just isn't that interesting as two of her fellow nominees (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz) are in the film that will end up being one of those heavily nominated, but will go home with little to no actual win contenders, Marina De Tavira of Roma which was something of a shock considering she'd been absent from awards season prior to this, and then Adams who, while strong in Vice, just doesn't have the momentum this year. And while I personally think Henry is a more deserving supporting performance in Beale Street, Barry Jenkins' James Baldwin adaptation was one of my favorite films last year and has been severely overlooked this awards season meaning I'm more than supportive of King grabbing it some publicity through her winning streak.

Best Animated Feature Film

Let's go ahead and take The Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet out of the discussion as neither of those sequels have been a source of awards chatter this season. The other two nominees besides the presumed winner are Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs-a possible winner, but this stop-motion follow-up to his Oscar-nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox seems to have come out too early last year to really garner it any kind of awards chances. Also, GKids earned its 11th nomination with Mirai, the time-traveling fantasy from Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda that I have unfortunately not been able to see. This is Spider-Man's to lose though for, despite the popularity and success of Incredibles 2 (with its record $608.5 million domestic gross), Spider-Verse has the momentum. It has earned all of the awards acclaim, including the Golden Globe and Producers Guild prizes.

Best Documentary Feature

The category with the biggest snub of the year as Morgan Neville's superb Mr. Rogers documentary, Won't You Be My Neighbor?, was left out of the nominations in favor of Hale County This Morning, This Evening and Of Fathers and Sons-two films I hadn't heard of prior to their nominations. And while it was shocking that Neighbor was left out I was even more upset by the fact Three Identical Strangers and Whitney (which admittedly never stood a real shot) were left out of the nominations as both were some of my favorite films of last year. Also, did The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling not qualify as a feature documentary or what? And so, while having only seen three of the five films ultimately nominated this year the best film out of that crop was RBG-a chronicling of the life and times of Ruth Badger Ginsberg-despite the fact Free Solo possibly giving the film a run for its money.

Best Foreign Language Film

I haven't seen any other nominees in this category besides Roma, so that is where my prediction goes given its strong momentum this awards season, but it's completely possible Paweł Pawlikowski's Cold War takes this award if Roma does in fact end up winning Best Picture.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Academy will likely make up for not giving BlacKkKlansman any of the other major awards it was nominated for a win by handing over the Best Adapted Screenplay statue. There is some stiff competition in A Star is Born and If Beale Street Could Talk, but this is truly Ron Stallworth's moment to shine.

Best Original Screenplay

The Favourite tied with Roma for the most nominations this year (ten), but it will likely go home with only one major win (it will also likely take home Best Costume Design and Production Design). As with most of these nominees, I was a general fan of the favored film and found The Favourite to be especially well-written if not elevated by its direction from Yorgos Lanthimos. The film is a witty royal-court dramedy based on real historical figures with three excellent lead performances, beautiful set and costume designs, and all the makings of an "Oscar movie", but Paul Schrader’s long-overdue nomination for First Reformed is the one I'd like to see walk away with a win, but never will. First Reformed was one of the best films of 2018 and was so largely in part due to the conversations held between its characters-difficult, layered, and complex conversations straight from the mind of Schrader. I think Green Book is a fine film for what it is, but if it wins in this category I'll be furious.


Best Cinematography: Roma

Best Costume Design: The Favourite

Film Editing: Vice

Makeup and Hairstyling: Vice

Original Score: If Beale Street Could Talk

Original Song: “Shallow” (A Star Is Born)

Production Design: The Favourite

Sound Editing: First Man

Sound Mixing: Bohemian Rhapsody

Visual Effects: Avengers: Infinity War

The 91st Academy Awards air Sunday night, February 24th at 7 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

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