Oscars 2019: Final Predictions for Who Will Win in Every Category
By John Boone
Courtesy of Marvel Studios / Warner Bros. Pictures / Netflix / 20th Century Fox
A trick of the Oscars prognosticator trade is to keep an eye on the guilds.
The Venn diagram of Academy members and the guilds is by no means a circle, but the respective directors, producers and screen actors can serve as a bellwether for who the Oscars will award. Except, in this increasingly unpredictable year, the DGA went with Roma, PGA picked Green Book, SAG threw its weight behind Black Panther, WGA opted forEighth Grade and Can You Ever Forgive Me? and ACE, the editors guild, honored Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite. Which means the Best Picture frontrunner is...everyone? And no one?
Typically, by the time the Oscars roll around, the fates of the nominees feel decided. This year, however, there are far fewer sure-things heading into the 91st Academy Awards, leaving plenty of room for some surprises and upsets. After all, it's great when you Oscar predictions are right, but there's a thrill to being wrong, too, because that means something exciting happened.
As ET's resident awards forecaster, below, I offer my final predictions for who will take home little gold men in every category (minus the shorts) when the Oscars air on Sunday.
A Star Is Born
Who Should Win: Black Panther Who Will Win:Roma
Hear me out: Black Panther was both critically and commercially adored, proved gangbusters at the box office and became a cultural movement. Of all of the films nominated this year, Marvel's history-making superhero film -- the first nominated in this category -- is most emblematic of cinema in the year 2018. If that doesn't a Best Picture make, I'm not sure what does.
Still, I think a large portion of the Academy will say Black Panther should feel honored just to be nominated. Instead, their preferential ballot should favor generally-liked (and, equally important, least disliked) films like A Star Is Born and Roma, with the latter primed to take the prize.
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Who Should Win: Olivia Colman Who Will Win: Glenn Close
This race has ostensibly narrowed to two: Close and Colman, both of whom are indeed exceptional in their respective films. While Colman's bonkers, go-for-broke turn as Queen Anne, equal parts hilarious and pitiful, is my pick of the two, Close's subtle, simmering performance in The Wife has won her award after award this season, and whether or not you subscribe to the narrative that she's due, this looks like it's her time.
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity's Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Who Should Win: Bradley Cooper Who Will Win: Rami Malek
We'll eventually look back on this year's Oscars race and wonder how we didn't award Cooper more. Say what you want about his being blanked for Best Director, but Jackson Maine is the greatest performance of his career, thus far. Though perhaps not the spectacle of Bale's Cheney or Malek's Mercury, the role is just as physically transformative and as deeply realized as if he were embodying a real-life rock star. Maybe he just needed fake teeth. As with the BAFTAs and SAG before this, though, Malek will win.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Who Should Win: Regina King Who Will Win: Regina King
This is a tricky category. King has long been considered the favorite to win for her sensitive, soulful turn in Beale Street -- and she was winning, kicking off awards season with accolades from critics circles and the Globes. But then she was left out at the SAG Awards (where Emily Blunt won for A Quiet Place) and the BAFTAs (where Weisz won), losing out on important facetime during Oscars voting.
I'm not counting King out yet. Still, if she's lost that early momentum and if Stone and Weisz split votes, that leaves room for de Tavira to pull through on a groundswell of love for Roma and take the award in one of the night's bigger surprises.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice
Who Should Win: Richard E. Grant Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali
This is just one of the awards that Can You Ever Forgive Me? should take home. (There are more it should have been up for, but that's a conversation for another post.) Grant navigates the caddish and prickly sides of Jack Hock with such endearing gusto, and I still have my fingers crossed he'll Mark Rylance it. But if the Brit couldn't pull of the win with his hometown Academy -- Ali won this at the BAFTAs -- it leaves the path clear for the Green Book actor to win his second Oscar in three years. Luckily, Grant appears to be having a helluva time either way.
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Who Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Best Picture and Best Director have split more and more frequently in recent years, so whether or not Roma ultimately takes the former, Cuarón is all but guaranteed the latter, having already collected this prize at every single show leading to the Oscars. The only potential spoiler here is Lee -- it's his long-overdue first nomination in this category -- and even he feels like quite the longshot.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins A Star Is Born, Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters
Who Should Win: If Beale Street Could Talk Who Will Win: BlacKkKlansman
If you look at the two most recent precursors, BlacKkKlansman got the BAFTA while Can You Ever Forgive Me? got the Writers Guild's award. I'm going with BlacKkKlansman. If not in directing, Academy voters can honor Lee with his first competitive win here. (He was nominated in 1990 for writing Do the Right Thing. He was given an honorary award in 2016.) All of which ignores the truly beautiful, thoughtful work Jenkins did in adapting James Baldwin's work to the screen for the first time, which is why Beale Street would get my vote here.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Favourite, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara First Reformed, Paul Schrader Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly Roma, Alfonso Cuaron Vice, Adam McKay
Who Should Win: The Favourite Who Will Win: The Favourite
Often times, the Best Picture winner takes home a matching trophy in its screenplay category, which would seemingly boost Roma. (If it does, in fact, win.) But that's often times, not all the time, and both BAFTA and WGA had the chance to award Cuarón's screenplay and didn't. (BAFTA went with The Favourite and the Writers Guild picked Eighth Grade, which failed to make the cut at the Oscars.) Green Book doesn't feel like a viable option anymore -- not after all this -- so the wicked, wordy The Favourite becomes the best bet -- and deservedly so.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Who Should Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Who Will Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Disney and Pixar have only lost this award five times since it was introduced in 2001, and their lock on the category might continue in an alternate dimension. But in this timeline, Into the Spider-Verse -- an animated breath of fresh air with a boffo box office -- will come out on top, winning Lord and Miller their first Oscar. (Which only somewhat makes up for The LEGO Movie being left out of this category in 2015.)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons
Who Should Win: Free Solo Who Will Win: RBG
Let me start with an honorable Who Should Win for Minding the Gap, which I loved. That said, the sheer audacity of Free Solo should push it to the front of the pack. And while it won the doc prize from BAFTA, I imagine the politics of a Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary will more deeply resonate on this side of the pond, especially in the wake of last year's Supreme Court confirmation.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Capernaum (Lebanon) Cold War (Poland) Never Look Away (Germany) Roma (Mexico) Shoplifters (Japan)
Who Should Win:Roma Who Will Win:Roma
The only way that Cuarón's deeply personal masterpiece loses here is if enough voters suspect he'll win elsewhere and decide to show some love for the other black-and-white period piece: Cold War. If Roma does win here -- which is far more likely -- and goes on to win Best Picture, it will be the first foreign language film to do so.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"All the Stars" from Black Panther
"I'll Fight" from RBG
"The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns
"Shallow" from A Star Is Born
"When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Who Should Win: "Shallow" Who Will Win: "Shallow"
Many of A Star Is Born's Oscars fortunes have faded since those promising early days, but it does have the surest thing of the night: Lady Gaga will win an Academy Award for her rousing rock anthem, "Shallow." (Only further crystallized by the recent GRAMMY wins for Gaga and co-writers Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt.)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Black Panther, Ludwig Göransson BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman
Who Should Win: Black Panther or If Beale Street Could Talk Who Will Win: Black Panther
Göransson not only just won this award at the GRAMMYs, but due to the Recording Academy's bizzaro eligibility window, he actually beat out last year's Oscar winner, The Shape of Water. I would be equally happy with a win for Göransson and Black Panther's percussive score as I would be for Britell's lush work in Beale Street, should his name be announced instead.
BEST SOUND EDITING
A Quiet Place
Who Should Win: A Quiet Place Who Will Win: First Man
The sound categories tend to be where Oscar predictions get dicey. Sound Editing recognizes the person pulling together all of the sounds you hear in a film (versus the sound mixer, who decides how it's heard). This award should, somewhat ironically, go to A Quiet Place, a nearly-silent film, yes, but one in which even the slightest of sounds matters. I have a feeling the Academy will give it to First Man as its sole win, acknowledging the great sound design of those launch sequences.
BEST SOUND MIXING
A Star Is Born
Who Should Win: A Star Is Born Who Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody
Musicals tend to perform well in the Sound Mixing category, so while neither Bohemian Rhapsody nor A Star Is Born is a musical in the most traditional sense, they're music-heavy enough that they are my go-to's here. What A Star Is Born does in the tapestry of its concert sequences is masterful work, especially considering they were recorded live. Bohemian Rhapsody got the BAFTA, though, so I'll hedge my bet on it.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Mary Poppins Returns
Who Should Win: Black Panther Who Will Win: The Favourite
The design categories boil down to the opulence of an Elizabethan period piece and the Afrofuturistic world of Wakanda. The latter was such a feat that I'd award both categories to Black Panther, but I'm banking on the Academy splitting the winners and giving this one to Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton, whose work was beautifully (and prominently!) showcased in The Favourite.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Queen of Scots
Who Should Win: Black Panther Who Will Win: Black Panther
Sandy Powell, a three-time Oscar winner already, is a dual nominee in the category for The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns, which could work in her favor if the voters wanting to recognize her work backed only one title. (Likely, The Favourite.) Otherwise, she risks splitting votes. Either way, Ruth E. Carter's inedible designs for Black Panther were the best of the year, and she earned the win for the Dora Milaje alone.
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Mary Queen of Scots
Who Should Win: Vice Who Will Win: Vice
I originally pegged Vice to follow in the footsteps of Darkest Hour with a win for the actor playing the historical figure and for the team that facilitated the uncanny transformation, this one requiring Bale to become the balding, jowled Dick Cheney. Only that second feels like it'll still happen.
Never Look Away
A Star Is Born
Who Should Win: Roma Who Will Win: Roma
You could take any single frame from Roma and hang it in your home as artwork. And at this point in awards season, Cuarón's win here feels as predestined as his Best Director win, so he best have speeches prepared for both. (Especially now that he won't have to give this one during a commercial break.)
BEST FILM EDITING
Who Should Win: The Favourite Who Will Win: Vice
The BAFTAs went with Vice on this one and the American Cinema Editors gave their Eddie Awards for drama and comedy to Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite, respectively. Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice certainly have a lot of editing, which might be a boon for those outside the editing branch. Of the two, I'll go with Vice, which has some moments of editing brilliance.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Avengers: Infinity War
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Who Should Win: Avengers: Infinity War Who Will Win: Avengers: Infinity War
In any other year, I might play it safe with First Man, but I think the Black Panther love will trickle down to benefit Avengers: Infinity War, in the absence of a nomination for Black Panther itself. The work that went into turning Josh Brolin into a purple, alien eco-terrorist is remarkable, and Marvel rightfully cleaned up at the Visual Effects Society Awards for it.