Oscars 2019 Predictions

An Oscars without a host seems fitting for one of the toughest years of Oscar prognosticating in a long while. Among all the various indicators used to determine how the big night will go, which includes critics groups and pre-Oscar award shows, there is a good amount of disagreement, especially in categories not covered in this post (i.e. Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, etc.)

As I’ve done in years past, you’ll see percentages of the chance each nominee has to win based on various factors, some of which is based on previous awards won, and some of which is based on my own observation.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

  • “Black Panther” (5%)
  • “BlacKkKlansman” (17%)
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2%)
  • “The Favourite” (12%)
  • “Green Book” (24%)
  • “Roma” (30%)
  • “A Star is Born” (7%)
  • “Vice” (3%)

This is a doozy of a year. If the typical sign posts are to be seen as the main indicators of Oscar gold, “Green Book” would seem to be the pick. It won a Golden Globe and the coveted Producers Guild Award. But the PGA Award has been a coin flip lately, only aligning with Best Picture 2.5 of the last 5 years (there was a tie back in 2014). Part of this is certainly due to the Academy shifting to a preferential ranking system for Best Picture in 2009, a system which favors consensus (winners must have the majority of first place votes, not simply the most first place votes) and there doesn’t seem to be consensus this year.

This system favors the film that the most voters love, and whether that can help a crowd-pleaser like “Green Book” remains to be seen. Keep in mind the rest of the field has crowd-pleasers and box-office hits too, more than most years. And films like “Green Book” have been Oscar-nominated before (“Hidden Figures,” “The Help”) but never seemed to have a serious chance over more prestigious pictures. The interesting thing about this year is that there’s only one consensus “prestigious” picture, and that’s “Roma.” (You could argue “The Favourite” too, but the arts crowd is picking “Roma” every time)

Hands down the biggest cinematic achievement of the year, “Roma” deserves any award you want to throw at it, but it definitely carries the “artsy” stigma and is not suited to general audiences. It stands in stark contrast to its competition, and that will either be what allows it to easily earn the most first-place votes, or be its downfall. I’m envisioning most voters will not have a clear preference among which “popular” film they think is best, so I think that benefits “Roma.”

Then there’s the “X” factor for “Roma” — Netflix. The streaming giant winning a Best Picture is not something the other distribution titans of the industry want, and who can say what sort of influence those big studios have over the Academy base.

I could also see a scenario in which the push-and-pull between the artsy “Roma” and the popular films leaves an opening for “BlacKkKlansman.” That film received plenty of critical praise, but also found a little bit of footing with mainstream audiences. It’s the kind of film that could benefit if “Roma” or “Green Book” can’t get enough first place votes.

Best Achievement in Directing

  • Alfonso Cuarón – “Roma” (80%)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos – “The Favourite” (5%)
  • Spike Lee  – “BlackKkKlansman” (12%)
  • Adam McKay – “Vice” (1%)
  • Pawel Pawlikowski – “Cold War” (2%)

The Best Picture debate is one thing, but Cuarón’s work on this film is indisputable. His Directors Guild Award was a given and voters who don’t pick “Roma” for Best Picture will be even more inclined to recognized his masterful visuals.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

  • Christian Bale – “Vice” (30%)
  • Bradley Cooper – “A Star is Born” (10%)
  • Willem Dafoe – “At Eternity’s Gate” (2%)
  • Rami Malek – “Bohemian Rhapsody” (40%)
  • Viggo Mortensen – “Green Book” (18%)

Best Actor is an unusual race this year. The award normally goes to veterans in powerhouse roles, especially to actors who “deserve it,” but that’s happening in Best Actress this year instead. That opens up an opportunity for an exciting newcomer in Malek, who received a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for his magnetizing performance as Freddie Mercury. Some will be drawn to Bale’s latest transformation, and you can’t discount a veteran who gets lost in a character, but he’s already gotten awarded for doing that kind of thing, and “Vice” isn’t an especially beloved film that he can ride to victory.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

  • Yalitza Aparicio – “Roma” (1%)
  • Glenn Close – “The Wife” (57%)
  • Olivia Colman – “The Favourite” (22%)
  • Lady Gaga – “A Star is Born” (10%)
  • Melissa McCarthy – “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (10%)

Nobody saw “The Wife,” but it doesn’t matter. Close has lived up to her name at the Oscars with seven nominations and no wins. None of the other nominees have nearly the same clout, but if someone else is going to win it’ll be Colman, who won a Golden Globe.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams – “Vice” (10%)
  • Marina de Tavira – “Roma” (1%)
  • Regina King – “If Beale Street Could Talk” (63%)
  • Emma Stone – “The Favourite” (10%)
  • Rachel Weisz – “The Favourite ” (15%)

Regina King didn’t even receive a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, but she swept critical accolades and won the Golden Globe. Helping her cause is that Stone and Weisz are going to split a lot of votes, and while fans are clamoring for Adams to win an Oscar (she’s at six noms already), “Vice” just isn’t the film/role that’ll do it.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali – “Green Book” (43%)
  • Adam Driver – “BlacKkKlansman” (12%)
  • Sam Elliot – “A Star is Born” (8%)
  • Richard E. Grant – “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (34%)
  • Sam Rockwell – “Vice” (3%)

Another tough contest. Grant was the apple of critics’ eyes for his robust and fearless performance in “CYEFM?” but Ali has won all the major awards. The edge here has to go to the more popular film (and an actor who is just killing it right now … “True Detective” is probably working in his favor).

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

  • “The Favourite” – Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara (39%)
  • “First Reformed” – Paul Schrader (18%)
  • “Green Book” – Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly (33%)
  • “Roma” – Alfonso Cuarón (7%)
  • “Vice” – Adam McKay (3%)

With Bo Burnham winning the Writers Guild Award in this category for “Eighth Grade,” it makes this category tough to call. The Golden Globes loved “Green Book” and so that won, and truth be told, history suggests “Green Book” will need this win to have a chance at Best Picture. Schrader’s film is adored by critics and he has an outside chance, but “The Favourite” has gotten just as much critical praise and this seems like the film’s best chance to get recognized in the major categories. A tough race.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

  • “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” – Joel and Ethan Coen (18%)
  • “BlacKkKlansman” – Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz, Spike Lee & Kevin Willmott (41%)
  • “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” – Nicole Holofcenter & Jeff Whitty (32%)
  • “If Beale Street Could Talk” – Barry Jenkins (7%)
  • “A Star is Born” – Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters (2%)

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” made a huge leap in this contest when it won the WGA Award, which otherwise was expected to go to “BlacKkKlansman.” With Lee assuredly not winning Best Director, voters will look to reward his best film in many years in this category and give him his first Oscar win, thereby opening the door for the film to steal Best Picture.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

  • “Incredibles 2” (12%)
  • “Isle of Dogs” (28%)
  • “Mirai (1%)
  • “Ralph Breaks the Internet” (4%)
  • “Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse” (55%)

This is so much easier to pick when Pixar has no competition, but “Incredibles 2” falls on the commercial side of the studio’s filmography, leaving the door open to Wes Anderson’s latest stop-motion work of genius or the incredibly innovative animated “Spider-man.” All the animation awards have largely gone “Spider-man’s” way, but “Isle of Dogs” was good enough that the percentages should look a little more even.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

  • “Cold War″ – Lukasz Zal (39%)
  • “The Favourite” – Robbie Ryan (5%)
  • “Never Look Away” – Caleb Deschanel (1%)
  • “Roma” – Alfonso Cuarón (50%)
  • “A Star is Born” – Matthew Libatique (5%)

The American Society of Cinematographers shocked everyone who assumed Cuarón would coast to this award by giving their top honor to Lukasz Zal. If more voters caught up with “Cold War” between nomination time and now, it could certainly surprise, but the wise thing to do would be assume love for “Roma” and astonishment that he both directed and shot/lit this stunning film will still be enough to put Cuarón over the top.


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