It’s the big day. The one that we’ve spent all year waiting for, and as we head into what might just be the most confusing and unpredictable Academy Awards of all time, trying to predict the outcomes of the awards would be ridiculous, right? Here are my final 2019 Oscar predictions.
(UPDATE: I got 12/20 this year, a big drop from my near clean sweep last year. Strength of Bohemian Rhapsody/Green Book and weakness of The Favourite certainly played against me. And of course, I got Best Picture wrong. For the fifth year in a row. See you all next February then!)
Could spoil the party: The Favourite, Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book
In all my years of predicting the Oscars, I’ve never, ever got Best Picture right. Last year I got 19 out 20 predictions correct, the only wrong one being the biggest of them all, and this year isn’t doing me any favours when it comes to easy predictions.
However, I’ll stick my neck out once again with a bold prediction, and say Roma will win Best Picture this year. Why? Because it’s the category’s most unique and memorable entry, and while it’s not my personal favourite, it’s an artistically innovative piece that’s both an enthralling watch and an incredible display of the power of cinema in even the smallest, most intimate of stories.
Working against Roma, however, is the fact that it’s a Netflix film (the Academy have a long-held battle against the streaming services), while being a black-and-white foreign-language film certainly hasn’t helped its popularity among general audiences, and with the Oscars trying to be more generally inclusive, they could shy away from something many see as ‘pretentious’.
So, the next most likely possibility is The Favourite, a result I would be perfectly happy with. As my own favourite of the nominees, I can’t deny how brilliantly entertaining it is, featuring great writing and acting across the board, along with exquisite visuals. It’s not the best film from director Yorgos Lanthimos, but its greater accessibility in comparison to The Lobster, Dogtooth and The Killing Of A Sacred Deer will surely stand it in good stead when vying for Best Picture.
Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book, meanwhile, while seen by many (including me) as inexplicably popular in this year’s awards season, both have a very realistic chance of winning Best Picture. Controversies surrounding Bohemian Rhapsody have hurt it in the last week of campaigning, and Green Book seemed to peak a little too early, handing the advantage back to Roma and The Favourite. However, in this most unpredictable and crazy of awards seasons, absolutely anything could happen.
Also, click here for my personal ranking of all this year’s Best Picture nominees.
Prediction: Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
Could spoil the party: Spike Lee – BlackKklansman
In this craziest of Oscar years, one category where there seems to be a little bit of consensus is the director category. There have been snubs galore in getting it down to five nominees, and I won’t go into that, but it’s looking almost certain that Alfonso Cuarón will take his second Best Director win, six years after victory for Gravity.
It’s a perfectly fair result, and for the same reason that I think Roma both should and will win Best Picture, Cuarón’s immense passion and detail in directing a story that effectively recreates his own childhood memories have blown audiences away across the world. More than a deeply intimate drama, Roma is a visually exhilarating watch – standing it in good stead for a win in cinematography as well.
If there’s going to be an upset, Spike Lee has been riding a wave of popularity for both the nominated BlackKklansman and his long body of work. If we see the Academy turning away from Roma in dramatic fashion tonight, then look to Lee as the most likely winner, or possibly even Yorgos Lanthimos, who waits in the wings to pounce with The Favourite.
Prediction: Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
Could spoil the party: Christian Bale – Vice
The Best Actor race has been through the mill this season, with Bradley Cooper having led as a clear frontrunner during A Star Is Born‘s peak, then Rami Malek’s dominance of major awards shows for his turn in Bohemian Rhapsody, and then a dramatic tightening of the race in the last week.
Of course, as is always the case with the Oscars, it’s not all about the performance, and the growing controversies surrounding Bohemian Rhapsody have hurt it all around, but if there’s one area where it’s likely to stick out to the end, then it’s Best Actor.
Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury is a good one, and certainly the best part of that whole film, which is why it’s caught so much attention and landed him in the lead of the race. Christian Bale awaits as a dark horse for his turn as Dick Cheney in Vice, but despite his excellent performance and incredible physical transformation, there’s every chance that the Academy will go for a performance that most people have seen, and is the least controversial part of a movie that’s kicking up a real storm.
Prediction: Glenn Close – The Wife
Could spoil the party: Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born, Olivia Colman – The Favourite
Haven’t seen The Wife? Well, you should, because it’s about to become an Oscar-winning movie, and is even better than a handful of this year’s Best Picture nominees. Glenn Close has been in an almost unassailable lead at the front of the Best Actress race, and deservedly so, given her spellbinding turn in a genuinely brilliant film.
Walking the tightrope of understated emotional drama and full-blown overacting very carefully, Close’s turn in The Wife is pretty much as good as they get, and given that she also holds the record for most acting nominations without a win, the Academy will be more than happy to award her for this film, and her whole body of work (think how Leonardo DiCaprio ended up winning for The Revenant after five attempts).
Another result would be a major upset, and while Olivia Colman did win Best Actress at the Baftas, British bias is always a factor there, as is American bias at the Oscars, so it’s not quite as likely to happen again. Lady Gaga was a frontrunner a couple of months ago, and it’s good to see she remains ever so slightly in the race for her wonderful turn in A Star Is Born. However, this one looks pretty much all sewn up for a win for Close.
Best Supporting Actor
Prediction: Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Could spoil the party: Mahershala Ali – Green Book
The Best Supporting Actor race is a great demonstration of how popular protest and pressure can completely change the landscape of an awards ceremony. From nowhere a couple of months ago, Richard E. Grant stands at the lead of the battle for Best Supporting Actor, thanks to his effortlessly charismatic performance in Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?.
In the end, it’s a thoroughly deserved lead, because Grant’s performance is easily the most memorable and entertaining of the whole category, and his exploits on Twitter and social media have only won him more and more fans as the Oscar campaign has gone on.
On the flipside, Mahershala Ali, the previous frontrunner, has fallen victim to a general indifference towards Green Book. While his performance in the film is perfectly good, it stands nowhere close to his win two years ago for Moonlight, and with that win in recent memory, there will likely be even more support to give Richard E. Grant his first win, and deservedly so.
Best Supporting Actress
Prediction: Rachel Weisz – The Favourite
Could spoil the party: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Another seemingly dead-cert that has really changed over the later stages of this awards season, Best Supporting Actress looks to be an incredibly close fight – almost unpredictably so – between Rachel Weisz for The Favourite, and Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk.
The case for Weisz is simple – her performance in The Favourite is electrifying, and without her very best in a long time. Playing brilliantly as the scheming Lady Marlborough alongside Olivia Colman and Emma Stone, her performance is arguably the best in that whole film. The only weakness? Many still consider it a leading performance (myself included), meaning voters could aim to look elsewhere to keep the spirit of the supporting nomination alive.
Regina King’s turn in If Beale Street Could Talk, on the other hand, is definitely a supporting performance. Secondary to the lead romance in the film, King’s presence throughout is strong despite not leading the story, and her performance is great throughout. However, she’s never quite as stunning as Weisz, and the lack of love for Beale Street at the Oscars this year could well work against her. Whatever happens, though, this one is almost too close to call.
Best Original Screenplay
Prediction: The Favourite
Could spoil the party: First Reformed
Hopefully an easy one here, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite has been a massive fan favourite across the board as well as among Academy voters, principally because of its manic and sharp screenplay.
Lanthimos got a nomination three years ago in this category for what was then ultra-indie, in the form of The Lobster, so it’s clear that the Academy do have a fascination with his screenplay style, and it’s not hard to see why. The Favourite is a rollicking great laugh, with sharp, rapid-fire and delightfully foul-mouthed dialogue throughout that still manages to craft genuine dramatic intrigue and even class throughout. Balancing all those different elements is no mean feat, but the film does it perfectly, and so should win Original Screenplay with ease.
In the case of an upset, any of the other four nominees could win, and given my favourite of them is Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, I’ll say that could win it. It won’t, but it’s still one of the year’s most enthralling screenplays, with stunning dialogue and ingenious character development that makes a very slow, quiet film one of recent years’ most thrilling and shocking.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Could spoil the party: If Beale Street Could Talk, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
This year’s Oscars are screaming for an opportunity to award Spike Lee, and given that it looks like his Best Director nomination won’t convert to a win, then Adapted Screenplay is definitely the next best thing.
But it’s more than an award for his body of work, because BlackKklansman’s screenplay is definitely its strongest suit, a strong combination between comedy and dark drama that makes it both an enjoyable and intriguing watch throughout. Comedies always do well in the screenplay categories, and this has all the hallmarks of a film that will continue the trend, and deservedly so.
Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk has been a popular alternative in the category, and given how closely it follows its source material, it certainly fulfils the criteria of a proper Adapted Screenplay. Otherwise, Can You Ever Forgive Me? has been steadily gaining popularity, with a win at the Writers’ Guild that brought it firmly into the race. In the end, though, expect to see BlackKklansman take this one.
Best Animated Feature
Prediction: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Could spoil the party: Ralph Breaks The Internet
Animated Feature is easily the strongest category in this entire ceremony. With five fantastic nominees from across the world, I’d rather see them announce this one as the biggest award of the night.
When it comes to the winner, though, it’s difficult to look past Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. The year’s most unique and imaginative film by a long way, it blew minds among general audiences, critics and industry professionals, with its brilliant humour, thrilling story and spellbinding visuals (I’d have liked to see it up for a cinematography award too in all honesty).
A result that will prove popular with absolutely everyone out there, this is an easy one to predict, and I’m delighted to see it being rewarded so deservedly. In the case of a massive upset, the beautiful Ralph Breaks The Internet stands ready, given Disney’s incredible track record in this category. In reality, though, as cheesy as it may sound, we’re all the winners with this category, a further demonstration of the ever-growing power and importance of animated film.
Best Foreign Language Film
Could spoil the party: Cold War
Really interesting one here, because it’s not often we have a foreign language film up for Best Picture, and we’ve never had one win before, so that could really change the dynamics of the result here.
Reason would dictate that Roma should win here. After all, it’s up for Best Picture, Best Director and eight others, so it’s clear that the Academy like it more than any of the other nominees. And, of course, I’ll say it again, it’s an amazing film, and deserves all of the awards that look to be coming its way.
However, don’t count Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War out of the running just yet. After all, he won Best Foreign Language Film four years ago for Ida, as well as a nomination for Best Cinematography, and is nominated for Best Director this year too. So it’s clear from his ability to break out of an often very constrained category that the Academy is a fan.
It’s not my personal favourite of the category, but the talent and elegance on display in Cold War means it’s a deserved nominee here. The question is: if it wins, does that suggest the Academy won’t give Roma the Best Picture award? Or does it mean they’re spreading the field a little? Watch this space, as Best Foreign Language Film could have some big consequences for the biggest prize of all.
Could spoil the party: The Favourite, Cold War
Happily, we will find out who the winner of Best Cinematography is on the live broadcast, and that’s great, because it’s a fascinating race that might not be quite as simple as many see it at first.
Again, Roma is a clear frontrunner here. With its nostalgic black-and-white imagery, elegant pans and immersive filmmaking style, it’s arguably the fiilm that really took most people aback when it comes to cinematography. Cuarón’s passion will also play in well for this category, with the film’s nostalgic vibe giving great meaning to the black-and-white visuals, and given his popularity for Best Director, Roma should win Best Cinematography too.
With that said, both Yorgos Lanthimos and Pawel Pawlikowski are up for Best Director too, for The Favourite and Cold War respectively. Black-and-white film is clearly a bit of a pet love for the Academy, and Cold War has used that to great effect once again, following on from the successes of Ida four years ago. Meanwhile, The Favourite is definitely the most out-there when it comes to the style of film, and as it plays in brilliantly to the film’s fantastically quirky tendencies, there’s every chance that the Academy could go bold and award the most unique film in the category.
The Rest Of The Feature Film Awards
Best Original Score: If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Original Song: Shallow – A Star Is Born
Best Production Design: The Favourite
Best Costume Design: Black Panther
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Vice
Best Sound Mixing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Best Sound Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Best Editing: BlackKklansman
Best Visual Effects: Ready Player One
PREDICTED FINAL AWARDS TALLY
Roma – 4 awards
The Favourite – 3 awards
Bohemian Rhapsody – 3 awards
BlackKklansman – 2 awards
The Wife – 1 award
Can You Ever Forgive Me? – 1 award
A Star Is Born – 1 award
If Beale Street Could Talk – 1 award
Black Panther – 1 award
Vice – 1 award
Ready Player One – 1 award
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – 1 award
Thanks for reading my 2019 Oscar predictions, make sure you tune into the 91st Academy Awards on 24th February from 5pm PST. (You can watch the ceremony in the UK from 1am GMT on Sky Cinema Oscars).