Awards season is in total disarray. With a completely unpredictable outlook thanks to shocks at the Golden Globes, the PGAS and more, compounded by one of the weakest awards fields in recent years, and a bigger-than-ever divide between critics and general audiences, there’s absolutely no telling what’s going to happen when the Oscar nominations are announced. However, we might as well give it a go, so here are my 2019 Oscar nominations predictions.
Predictions: A Star Is Born, Green Book, Roma, The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, BlacKkKlansman, Vice
The big one. And for the first time in a long time, there’s no clear idea which film is going to take Best Picture this year, with months of wrangling and energetic campaigning leaving this awards season more up in the air than it’s ever been before.
Shock wins for Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book – against a wider critical consensus – has thrown the Best Picture race into total disarray in mid-January, a point wher the fight is normally narrowed down to two or three frontrunners, but it seems as if the eight, nine or ten nominees should be fairly settled.
Look to see A Star Is Born, Roma, The Favourite, BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk and perhaps even Vice take their place among the nominees, following the trend of previous ceremonies, while Damien Chazelle’s biopic First Man is set to make a roaring return to the front of the pack, after being overlooked by almost every other awards board.
The big uncertainty that remains is Black Panther, and what the Academy stands to gain by nominating it for Best Picture. Faced with dwindling ratings and a terrible reception to the now-scrapped Best Popular Film category, they will look back to the feverish reception that Mad Max: Fury Road‘s Best Picture nod received in 2016, but also face wider opposition in the film community for a superhero movie that’s certainly good, but in all truth nowhere near deserving of a Best Picture nomination. I think they’ll leave it out this year, and try to double down on getting the overall winner right, to prevent more disillusionment in the film community with the big awards shows.
Predictions: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Adam McKay (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Fortunately we’ve got a little bit more stability in the race for Best Director, with six or seven frontrunners having been locked down for a while, and now just the difficult choice of which five can go for the big prize.
Alfonso Cuarón is a deserved frontrunner for his intimate semi-autobiographical drama Roma, joined by Bradley Cooper, whose directorial debut A Star Is Born set the world alight back in early October, as well as Spike Lee, whose passionate direction of BlacKkKlansman, as well as a long copybook of work, will see him pick up a nomination.
The difficult choices come with the last two spaces, which I think will go to Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite, and Adam McKay for Vice. The Favourite is a favourite in the film community, and although Lanthimos’ work has previously been deemed a bit too weird for Academy recognition, this film is far more accessible, with the added bonus of being a period drama – which the voters always love to see.
Adam McKay received huge praise for The Big Short three years ago, and although Vice isn’t quite up to the same standard, his boldness and audacity in refreshing the old Hollywood biopic, something that few people have dared to try, is something that does deserve recognition, and will get him into the mix just ahead of likely missers-out in the shape of Peter Farrelly for Green Book and Damien Chazelle for First Man.
Predictions: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), Ethan Hawke (First Reformed), Christian Bale (Vice)
Best Actor is an interesting one this year, with yet another less-than-stunning field, but a general consensus of content surrounding the likely nominees.
Despite the backlash to Bohemian Rhapsody’s awards success, Rami Malek’s performance is one of the few things that many are happy to see rewarded, so he’ll certainly be in the fray, and the likely frontrunner for the overall award at the end of February.
Bradley Cooper is one of the Academy’s favoured stars, and although most of the praise for him is regarding his directing, his strong performance in A Star Is Born will help him to a nomination. Likewise, Christian Bale, three-time nominee, should just slip in there for his turn as Dick Cheney in Vice.
Viggo Mortensen will also likely receive a nod for his turn in Green Book, while fan favourite Ethan Hawke is tipped to pick up his fifth Oscar nomination for his exceptional performance in religious thriller First Reformed. Sadly, he’s unlikely to pick up the win for the performance, but his inclusion as nominee will certainly bring smiles to many in the film community.
Predictions: Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Glenn Close (The Wife), Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Toni Colette (Hereditary)
We’ve got a very interesting fight ahead for Best Actress, a race that looks to have been all sewn up for three different actresses, with Lady Gaga, Olivia Colman and Glenn Close streaking ahead as frontrunners.
Gaga’s wonderful turn in A Star Is Born has deservedly won plaudits from all around, while Olivia Colman’s brilliant performance in The Favourite is also proving very popular (although some debate remains surrounding her status as a lead actress), but it seems as if Glenn Close should have the edge for her stunning performance in The Wife, having already picked up wins left, right and centre.
Otherwise, there’s a multitude of choices for the Academy, but I think they’ll give the nod to Yalitza Aparicio for her beautiful performance in Roma, which would be wonderful to see, while they might even go bold with a nod for Toni Colette’s striking turn in Hereditary, something that would be a real turn up for the books.
Melissa McCarthy also stands poised to take a place for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and even Emily Blunt is in the fray for her turn in Mary Poppins Returns, although the film’s less-than-favourable response has damaged her once-certain chances somewhat.
Best Supporting Actor
Predictions: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born), Sam Rockwell (Vice), Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Mahershala Ali leads the pack as he seeks his second Best Supporting Actor win in two years, with fan favourite turns from Richard E. Grant and Sam Elliott waiting in the wings – all three look certain to pick up nominations.
In all truth, it’s not the strongest field here for Supporting Actor, and while Sam Rockwell gives a strong turn in Vice, and Timothée Chalamet has cemented himself as the darling of high art over the last two years, there’s little enthusiasm in the Academy and the industry for most of these performances, leaving it all the more likely that the voters will stick to the trends and follow previous awards ceremonies.
There’s a potential that we’ll see Adam Driver for his turn in BlacKkKlansman take a place, or even Nicholas Hoult for his hugely underrated role in The Favourite, but there’s little energy in this race at the moment, so don’t expect any huge surprises.
Best Supporting Actress
Predictions: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite), Amy Adams (Vice), Claire Foy (First Man)
It’s a much stronger picture for the Supporting Actress field, with Regina King leading the way for her turn in If Beale Street Could Talk, having already taken numerous wins through the season that leaves her in an almost unassailable position for the win.
Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are both deservedly going to pick up nominations – although their performances could be considered far more leading than supporting – and Amy Adams will also take her umpteenth nod for her excellent role in Vice as Lynne Cheney, but unfortunately looks set to miss out once again on that long-overdue Oscar.
The fifth position here is a bit of a toss-up between Claire Foy for First Man and Margot Robbie for Mary Queen Of Scots, but it seems that a lack of love for the latter film puts Robbie at a disadvantage, while the ever-growing revival of First Man this season will stand Foy’s excellent performance in good stead for a deserved nomination.
Best Original Screenplay
Predictions: Eighth Grade, Green Book, First Reformed, Vice, The Favourite
The screenplay categories don’t get the same media attention as the big awards above, but that luckily means there’s always more chance for the Academy to take some bolder decisions with their nominations, and so looks to be the case this year again.
The wonderful coming-of-age drama Eighth Grade is in line for its one and only Oscar nomination – although it should certainly have more – while Green Book will likely pick up another nod, with its screenplay harking back to 1989 Best Picture winner Driving Miss Daisy.
Adam McKay and Yorgos Lanthimos will see their love from three years ago return as both Vice and The Favourite will likely get nominations for their original and quirky takes on history, and there’s even a chance that Paul Schrader’s First Reformed will take a place among the nominations, which would be great to see, but could unfortunately come at the expense of Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Predictions: BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk, Leave No Trace, A Star Is Born, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
BlacKkKlansman seemingly hasn’t been deemed ‘Oscar-y’ enough to win any of the main categories, but that leaves it in prime position to make a big push for Best Adapted Screenplay, which it’s very likely to win for its passion and wit in delivering a controversial story.
If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born and Can You Ever Forgive Me? all look set to join in as more run-of-the-mill candidates, with Beale Street a potential winner against BlacKkKlansman.
And then last of all, we might see the only nod for the hugely underrated Leave No Trace. As I said, the Screenplay categories are a great chance to give the smaller films some recognition, and as neither director Debra Granik nor actress Thomasin McKenzie look likely to be included in their respective categories, a nomination for Adapted Screenplay would be a deserved mention for one of the year’s sleeper hits.
Best Animated Feature
Predictions: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Incredibles 2, Mirai, Isle Of Dogs, Ralph Breaks The Internet
Perhaps the strongest category in the whole ceremony, the race for Best Animated Feature is an absolute joy to behold, with a number of brilliant films looking set to take thoroughly deserved seats at the Oscars.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is the movie to beat this year, and with what looks like a pretty unassailable lead, the question should be why the film isn’t up for Best Picture ahead of Black Panther, given its spellbinding ambition, jaw-dropping animation and stunning screenplay.
The thrilling Pixar sequel Incredibles 2 will also take a deserved nomination, and Disney’s gorgeous Ralph Breaks The Internet should just slip in there, giving the studio two more nods in a category that they have dominated ever since its inception.
There’s always space for independent works in the Animated category, and Mirai, from Studio Chizu, looks set to fill the Miyazaki-sized hole in the Academy’s hearts, while Wes Anderson’s striking Isle Of Dogs should also take a nomination, perhaps at the expense of Aardman’s Early Man or Masaaki Yuasa’s The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl.
Best Foreign Language Film
Predictions: Roma (Mexico), Shoplifters (Japan), Cold War (Poland), Capernaum (Lebanon), Burning (South Korea)
If Roma doesn’t manage to realise the fairytale of winning Best Picture, then it can take solace in the fact that it’s got Best Foreign Language Film all sewn up, and deservedly so, as despite strong competition from behind, there are few foreign language films this year with such exposure – a potential kickstarter for more international filmmakers to team up with Netflix and other streaming services in the future.
Japan’s Palme D’Or-winning Shoplifters has kept the campaign going all the way since back in May, and has held its own against stiff competition from fan favourite Cold War from previous winner Pawel Pawlikowski for Ida in 2015.
With the category already narrowed down to a shortlist of 10, the last place remains up for grabs, but it seems as if South Korea’s Burning might just nip in at the death, given near-universal acclaim that’s come very late in the day.
Predicted Winners For The Rest Of The Feature Film Categories
Best Original Score: First Man
Best Original Song: ‘Shallow’ – A Star Is Born
Best Cinematography: Roma
Best Visual Effects: Black Panther
Best Film Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Best Sound Editing: First Man
Best Sound Mixing: First Man
Best Production Design: The Favourite
Best Costume Design: The Favourite
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Vice
Best Documentary Feature: Won’t You Be My Neighbour?