Oscars 2019 Predictions: Our Winning Picks for All 24 Categories
With the 91st Annual Academy Awards going host-less for the first time since 1989, the focus will be on the natural suspense of the awards themselves — especially now that they’ve restored the four prizes they were planning to give out during commercial breaks!
So how are the big Oscar races shaping up? And who are the favorites and potential spoilers in each of the categories? We’ve got your answers — for all 24 awards — just in time for you to fill out your Oscar ballots on Sunday night!
Will Win: Roma
Also nominated: Green Book, Black Panther, BlackKkKlansman, A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Vice
Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Also nominated: Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman; Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite; Adam McKay, Vice; Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
This contest comes down to a face-off between Alfonso Cuarón for his deeply personal Roma, and Spike Lee for his resonant BlacKkKlansman, a film that draws uncomfortably resonant parallels to today. Cuarón seems to be the frontrunner since he captured the oft-predictive Director Guild’s top prize two weeks ago (plus BAFTA and Golden Globe awards). Meanwhile, the masterful Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X) has never won an Oscar in this category—or even been nominated until this year—whereas Cuarón nabbed this award in 2014 for Gravity. Could that hurt Cuarón this year? And will the Academy finally do the right thing and give 61-year-old Lee—once an audacious upstart, now a wily veteran—his just due for a magnificent career? It’s going to be close, but look for voters’ passion for Roma to push Cuaron over the top.
Will Win: Glenn Close, The Wife
Also nominated: Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born; Olivia Colman, The Favourite; Yalitza Aparicio, Roma; Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Pop superstar Lady Gaga was the frontrunner last fall, but like all things with A Star Is Born, she’s fallen back into the pack after stumbles throughout Oscar campaign season. Then Glenn Close, who plays the strong creative genius behind her famous author husband in The Wife, upset Gaga at the Golden Globes and delivered a rousingly memorable, emotion wallop of a speech that urged women to find personal fulfillment in their lives and to follow their dreams. It quickly rocketed the three-time Emmy winner to the front of the Oscar field. Sure, Colman, beloved for her television work in series like Broadchurch and The Night Manager and will play Queen Elizabeth II in the upcoming season of The Crown, has been gaining momentum, and some are predicting that Aparicio, a first-time actress, could spring an upset. But Close, a seven-time Oscar nominee (for performances in films including Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons) who’s never won before, is long past overdue, and her performance in The Wife feels especially resonant in the current moment. Look for her to triumph here.
Will Win: Rami Malek
Also nominated: Christian Bale, Vice; Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born; Viggo Mortensen, Green Book; Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Ethan Hawke was snubbed for one of the best performances of his career as a morally and emotionally conflicted minister in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. As a four-time Oscar nominee in acting categories, Cooper may earn some sympathy votes here considering he was overlooked for best director. Bale is also a four-time Oscar nominee and won in 2011 for his performance in The Fighter. He his usual full-bodied disappearing-act as he transforms into former President Dick Cheney, playing the Machiavellian political operator over the course of many decades. But will liberal Academy voters really give this trophy to an actor playing a man many consider beyond the pale, a prime example of how power corrupts? Which brings us to Malek and his engrossing, very toothy performance as Freddie Mercury, the gay, charismatic lead singer of rock band Queen, in the blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody. While the film has been dogged by sexual misconduct allegations against its director Bryan Singer, who was fired, and by critics for its soft-pedaling of Mercury’s homosexuality, the 37-year-old Malek has pushed past that to garner Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA honors for best actor. As an Emmy award winner in 2016 for his role as the psychologically fractured hacker Elliot Alderson in the USA series Mr. Robot, look for Malek to add an Oscar next to trophies already on his mantle.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Also nominated: Amy Adams, Vice; Rachel Weisz, The Favourite; Emma Stone, The Favourite; Marina de Tavira, Roma
The supporting acting categories are often the most volatile and rife with upsets. Stone and Weisz are both previous Oscar winners and could cancel each other out for their performances in The Favourite. Adams has a career six Oscars nominations (almost as many as Close!), but no trophies in her name. She could finally break through for her standout work as the ambitious manipulator, Lynne Cheney, behind her husband in Vice. There’s buzz that Weisz, who gives a delectable performance as a silver-tongued, string-pulling royal advisor who will stop at nothing to maintain the Queen’s favor, could score an upset. (Weisz won this prize in 2006 for The Constant Gardner.)
Despite getting left out of the SAG nominations entirely, Regina King us the frontrunner for her beautifully modulated performance as a compassionate mother fighting for justice in this adaptation of the landmark James Baldwin novel. The film from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins was overlooked for Best Picture. But King, whose scored three Emmy awards in a four-year span her powerhouse television work in American Crime and Seven Seconds, could rectify that with an expected triumph here.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Also nominated: Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born; Sam Rockwell, Vice; Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman; Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rockwell won this award last year for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Former Girls star Driver nabbed his first nomination for playing a police officer going undercover within the KKK in 1970s Colorado, at the direction of a black detective. Taciturn Hollywood veteran Sam Elliott (Tombstone, Conagher, Buffalo Girls, Netflix’s The Ranch) scored his first Oscar nomination for Star Is Born and a win for the 74-year-old would be much deserved, but all the momentum seems to be behind Ali for his portrayal of the genre-breaking, musical genius Don Shirley. Sure, Ali won this prize just two years ago for Moonlight, but expect him to capture his second with what might be the surest bet on Oscar night.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, and Kevin Willmot, BlacKkKlansman
Also nominated: Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk; Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters and Eric Roth, A Star Is Born; Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Lee could lose the Best Director trophy to Cuarón, but fans of the auteur director can take solace that he and his co-writers will likely come out on top for co-writing the screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, which would be his first competitive Oscar laurel ever (Lee was bestowed an Honorary Oscar in 2015). Holofcener and Whitty’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? pulled a big upset at the Writers Guild Awards last weekend, throwing this race into doubt, but we’re still predicting Lee and Co. will win the Oscar.
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Also nominated: Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, and Nick Vallelonga, Green Book; Alfonso Cuarón, Roma; Paul Schrader, First Reformed; Adam McKay, Vice
Schrader, who wrote the landmark Martin Scorsese-directed films Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, had never been Oscar-nominated before this year—and is woefully overdue, but isn’t the frontrunner. While the Green Book has its partisans, its problematic white savior script is divisive, and the film has been buffeted by more controversies than we care to name. Therefore, look for Davis and McNamara’s bitingly witty screenplay for The Favourite, a profane and absurd comedy of royal manners about two female advisors fighting each other for Queen Anne’s devotion, to emerge victorious.
Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Also nominated: Matthew Libatique, A Star Is Born; Caleb Deschanel, Never Look Away; Robbie Ryan, The Favourite; Lukasz Zal, Cold War
Nearly all of Cuarón’s previous films, including Children of Men and Gravity, were shot by his longtime friend Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki, a three-time Oscar winner who captured this award in consecutive years (2013, 2014, and 2015). But Lubezki wasn’t available this time, so Cuarón assumed cinematography duties himself and is the favorite to nab this trophy for his visually ravishing work on Roma. Deschanel, father of TV stars Zooey (New Girl) and Emily (Bones), has been nominated six times before without winning, but if there’s an upset in this race, look for Zal’s gorgeous lensing of Cold War. Side note: How was Black Panther’s Rachel Morrison, who last year became the first female cinematographer to earn an Oscar nomination, left off the list this time around?
Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: Roma
Also nominated: Cold War, Shoplifters, Never Look Away, Capernaum
There are several intriguing questions here: Could Roma score both the best picture and best foreign language film prizes? Will voters naming Roma for best picture split the vote and name Cold War, which could pull an upset here, as their foreign language film choice as a way to share the wealth? That would hurt Roma’s chances here. Or will voters who prefer Green Book, Black Panther or another film for best picture (but also admire Roma) want to bestow Roma the this prize instead? Like Roma, Cold War is a deeply personal film for Pawlikowski, with the couple in the film inspired by his own parents and their tempestuous real-life relationship. Pawlikowski (and nominating country Poland) won this award in 2015 for Ida, so that could hurt their chances this time around.
Best Documentary Feature
Will Win: RBG
Also nominated: Free Solo; Of Fathers and Sons; Minding the Gap; Hale County This Morning, This Evening
One of the most egregious Oscar nomination snubs was the omission of the beloved Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Going into the nominations, Oscar prognosticators felt that Neighbor would win this award—if it actually scored a nod. Some people rightly predicted it could miss out. The reason? The Academy’s documentary branch determines the five nominees, but the entire Academy gets to vote for the winner. Our guess is that this prize will go to Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s hit about another beloved public figure, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the feminist icon who fans have dubbed "The Notorious RBG."
Best Animated Feature
Will Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Also nominated: Isle of Dogs, Incredibles 2, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Mirai
The stop-motion animation and Kurosawa influences in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, an adventure story with a political message and some deeper questions percolating beneath the surface, probably won’t pull the upset. Disney-Pixar-produced films have dominated this category, but the Pixar’s Incredibles 2 is facing some stiff competition in the form of Spider-Man. Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, the film recasts the iconic webslinger as a multi-ethnic Brooklyn street artist while giving the story a fresh spin with a multi-verse of Spideys jumping into action. Look for Spider-Man to catch Oscar in its web.
Best Original Song
Will Win: "Shallow," A Star Is Born
Also nominated: "All the Stars," Black Panther; "I’ll Fight," RBG; "The Places Where Lost Things Go," Mary Poppins Returns; "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings," The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
This is a race with some heavy hitters—Jennifer Hudson singing Diane Warren’s "I’ll Fight" in RBG and Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s "All the Stars" from Black Panther. But support for “Shallow” runs deep. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper are slated to sing the song, written by Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomondo and Andrew Wyatt during the broadcast, and it already won a Golden Globe and two Grammys. A Star Is Born may get shut out in the other six categories in which it’s competing, but the Oscar for best original song should be a slam dunk.
Best Original Score
Will Win: Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk
Also nominated: Ludwig Goransson, Black Panther; Terence Blanchard, BlacKkKlansman; Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs; Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns
The Academy overlooked Justin Hurwitz’s revelatory work on First Man. So this is shaping up as a face-off between Britell’s ravishing score for If Beale Street Could Talk and Goransson’s compositions on Black Panther. Grammy award-winning jazz composer and trumpeter Terence Blanchard, Spike Lee’s longtime musical collaborator, earned his first Oscar nomination, but probably won’t spring the upset for his work on BlacKkKlansman.
Best Costume Design
Will Win: Sandy Powell, The Favourite
Also nominated: Mary Zophres, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Ruth Carter, Black Panther; Sandy Powell, Mary Poppins Returns; Alexandra Byrne, Mary Queen of Scots
The Academy loves a period costume drama, but The Favourite is a brilliantly foul-mouthed and twisted take on that familiar genre, and three-time winner Powell’s costume designs are melodramatically divine. Though don’t count out Ruth Carter for Black Panther as a potential winner here.
Best Production Design
Will Win: The Favourite or Black Panther
Also nominated: Roma, Mary Poppins Returns, First Man
Another race that comes down to The Favourite’s ostentatious period design vs. Black Panther’s vivid rendering of the fictional Wakanda. This one could be a photo finish.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Will Win: Vice
Also nominated: Border, Mary Queen of Scots
Last year, the Darkest Hour makeup and hairstyling team captured the Oscar for transforming Gary Oldman into a portly Winston Churchill. This Greg Cannon, Kate Biscoe, and Patricia Dehaney are the heavy favorites for helping Christian Bale with his full-bodied metamorphoses into former Vice President Dick Cheney as he ages from a lost, wayward young man to a greying, powerful, Machiavellian political operator in Vice.
Best Visual Effects
Will Win: Avengers: Infinity War
Also nominated: First Man; Solo: A Star Wars Story; Ready Player One; Christopher Robin
The effects-heavy Avengers has nabbed most of the precursor visual effects prizes. But the subtle yet powerful work in Damien Chazelle’s man-on-the-moon drama First Man has the potential to play spoiler.
Best Film Editing
Will Win: Vice
Also nominated: The Favourite, Bohemian Rhapsody, BlacKkKlansman, Green Book
Bet on Hank Corwin’s kinetic, cut-happy editing of Vice, directed with fast-paced inventiveness by The Big Short’s Adam McKay, to win the day.
Best Sound Editing
Will Win: First Man
Also nominated: A Quiet Place, Roma, Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther
Roma’s sound editing is revelatory, but many people didn’t see this movie in a theater where it could be fully appreciated. First Man’s story of the first manned mission to the Moon, centered on Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong, is a thrill ride of mesmerizing visuals and ferocious, disorienting sound. It will likely beat out the boundary-pushing post-apocalyptic horror flick, A Quiet Place, in which sound plays a pivotal role.
Best Sound Mixing
Will Win: A Star Is Born
Also nominated: Roma, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, Black Panther
Despite being overlooked for a Best Picture nomination, First Man could win both sound awards. But one of the music-heavy pictures, Star or Bohemian Rhapsody, will probably triumph here.
Best Live Action Short
Will Win: Marguerite
Also nominated: Skin, Detainment, Fauve, Mother
Best Animated Short
Will Win: Bao
Also nominated: Weekends, Animal Behavior, One Small Step, Late Afternoon
Best Documentary Short
Will Win: Black Sheep
Also nominated: Period. End of Sentence; End Game, A Night at the Garden, Lifeboat
The 91st Academy Awards, Sunday, February 24, 8/7c, ABC