Brandon Shillingford, Contributing Writer
Oscars Sunday is rapidly approaching — along with an onslaught of predictions as to who will take home the gold.
This is shaping up to be a competitive ceremony. There are multiple categories that have no clear frontrunner, and the guilds and critics’ awards have been largely split for most of the season.
This makes the awards harder to predict, but previous winners and patterns followed by the academy can make the picture much clearer. Without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2019 Academy Awards.
Best Picture nominations:
“A Star is Born”
Will Win: “Roma”
Could Win: “Green Book”
Should Win: “The Favourite”
The Toni Collette Award for worst snub: “If Beale Street Could Talk”
The 2019 best picture race is one of the stranger ones in recent memory, because this year, there’s no clear favorite. Throughout the awards season, momentum changes and controversies come to light. But previously, there’s been a favorite film which sweeps everything — like “La La Land” or “Birdman.”
This year, a runaway favorite hasn’t been crowned, which means there are three likely outcomes.
“Roma” may win, leading to streaming services taking their long-awaited place at the top of the film industry just like they did with television. This would also cement director Alfonso Cuarón’s place in the pantheon of awarded filmmakers.
“The Favourite” would be the most logical — and arguably, the most preferred — outcome. This would follow an ongoing trend of the academy awarding bold and daring films, like “Moonlight” and “The Shape of Water.”
If “Green Book” wins best picture, it would likely outrage film Twitter and the planet along with it. But it’s not an unlikely scenario. ”Green Book” recently won the Producers Guild of America Award for best theatrical motion picture. But the backlash and controversy received by the film is not a good sign. For example, see previous controversial best picture nominees like “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Manchester by the Sea.”
The snub of “If Beale Street Could Talk” is confusing for many reasons. Director Barry Jenkins is a previous winner whose adaptations of timely and popular source material has made him one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. “Beale Street” has made appearances in numerous critics’ shortlists, and it’s a popular choice among industry guilds. Its snub at the 2019 Academy Awards would be a choice which fans and critics won’t soon forget.
Best Director nominations:
Alfonso Cuarón — “Roma”
Yorgos Lanthimos — “The Favourite”
Spike Lee — “BlacKkKlansman”
Adam McKay — “Vice”
Paweł Pawlikowski — “Cold War”
Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Could Win: Spike Lee
Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón
The Toni Collette Award for worst snub: Barry Jenkins; Debra Granik, Josephine Decker or any other woman at all
Best director is typically a pretty open-and-shut category, and this year is no different. Cuarón swept up many critics and guild awards, including the DGA, Bafta and Golden Globe awards for best director. I can’t imagine anyone taking the Oscar from him.
Pawlikowski’s nomination is a welcome surprise, and McKay should just be happy he’s invited at all. Yorgos Lanthimos is a bit trickier—“The Favourite” got a ton of love with a staggering 10 nominations, but the academy has yet to fully embrace his weirdness. This is his first ever nomination. His time will come, but likely not this year.
The only other likely scenario is Lee winning a much deserved award for best director. But seeing as he hasn’t won any other major awards, it’s pretty unlikely. A win in the category of best adapted screenplays is much more realistic for Lee.
Barry Jenkins’ omission from the list is less surprising, since “If Beale Street Could Talk” was snubbed from best picture. But it’s no less annoying.
It’s jarring that no women are nominated. Directors Tamara Jenkins (“Private Life”), Debra Granik (“Leave No Trace”) and Josephine Decker (“Madeline’s Madeline”) all missed the cut.
Yalitza Aparicio — “Roma”
Glenn Close — “The Wife”
Olivia Colman — “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga — “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy — “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Will Win: Glenn Close
Could Win: Olivia Colman
Should Win: Olivia Colman
The Toni Collette Award for worst snub: Toni Collette
Awards season predictions made in the fall were positively unreliable — the best actress category is proof of just that.
Lady Gaga was preemptively picked by many critics and film aficionados who believed no one had a chance of catching up to her.
But everything changed when Close gave her Golden Globes acceptance speech for best actress in a drama.
Close’s speech exemplified how awards season momentum can change on a dime, and the second place can become the frontrunner in a matter of minutes. Her speech was a “moment” voters love. She’s a seven-time nominee with zero wins, so the academy will likely apologize in the form of an Oscar.
Aparicio is a worthy contender, but voters rarely embrace newcomers so quickly. McCarthy was always someone with an outside shot at a nomination. At this point, Colman is the only real competition, with both BAFTA and Golden Globe wins. But Colman and McCarthy fans are two very different voting bodies that rarely cross over, so Close is a pretty safe bet.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the unforgivable snubbing of Toni Collette for her performance in “Hereditary,” which was not only the best performance of 2018, but one of the best performances of the 21st century. It’s a wound that I haven’t yet, nor will I ever, recover from. For that, I blame the academy entirely.
Christian Bale — “Vice”
Bradley Cooper — “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe — “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek — “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen — “Green Book”
Will Win: Rami Malek
Could Win: Christian Bale
Should Win: Bradley Cooper
The Toni Collette Award for worst snub: Ben Foster, Ethan Hawke
This category is one of the more disappointing ones. In the Fall, fans were anticipating one of the most heated and competitive races of recent memory.
In reality, it’s just boring and sad.
Malek will most likely win with little resistance for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury. While he may face competition from Bale or Cooper, Malek has cleaned up over the last month. He’s won the Screen Actor Guild, Golden Globe and BAFTA — three of the biggest precursors for the Oscar.
It’s exactly the type of performance the academy loves to reward, i.e. the person who does the most acting, rather than the best. If it were the latter, we’d see actors like Hawke or Foster nominated for their powerful yet understated performances in “First Reformed” or “Leave No Trace,” respectively.
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”
Will Win: Rachel Weisz
Could Win: Regina King
Should Win: Rachel Weisz
The Toni Collette Award for worst snub: Natalie Portman — “Vox Lux”
In a race that has been dominated by King and Weisz from the very beginning, this category has recently become interesting.
Either woman will likely take home the gold on Sunday, but King — who was considered the favorite after the “Beale Street” premiere — has lost some steam after missing out in both the BAFTA and SAG awards.
Couple that with the fact “Beale Street” didn’t even get a best picture nod, I’d have to give the edge to Weisz in this category. That being said, I wouldn’t entirely count out a King victory.
And even though it never would’ve happened, I can’t help but bring up Portman’s spectacular performance in “Vox Lux.” Voters usually eat up a career-defining performance from a huge name like Portman, but “Vox Lux” may have been too contentious to generate awards buzz.
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”
Will Win: Mahershala Ali
Could Win: No one except Mahershala Ali has a chance
Should Win: Sam Elliott
The Toni Collette Award for worst snub: Timothée Chalamet
This is one of the more boring categories, if I’m being completely honest. Ali is the type of actor the academy loves. He’s great at his job, easy to like and a safe choice for voters who haven’t seen any of the other films nominated.
Elliot is a journeyman who definitely deserves recognition for his work, but his role in “A Star is Born” was just too small to make any real impact.
Grant is a gem that we don’t deserve, and I’m also really happy to see Driver getting some long overdue love. Rockwell was good in the ten minutes of screen time he had in “Vice,” but this is another open and shut category. Mahershala has this in the bag.
It’s worth noting that the absence of Chalamet in this category is ridiculously confusing. He’s one of the hottest and most in-demand actors working today, and it’s unlike the academy to shut out that huge of a star.
The 91st Academy Awards will broadcast Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.