91st Academy Awards (Oscar): 2019 Predictions!

The 91st annual Academy Awards will honor the best achievements in film of the last year (that being 2018) and any film released in Los Angeles OR New York City for more than 7 days in the calendar year of January 1st, 2018 to December 31st, 2018 was eligible for any of the 24 categories. Will there be surprises this year? I mean besides the fact that Academy will be without a host for the first time in over 30 years? Well, with the Academy’s membership ranks steadily shifting, growing and changing at a rate of about 900 new voices a year; it’s going to be increasingly difficult to peg down this new diverse group’s (diverse in race, age, culture, background, gender, orientations, etc.) collective taste. With that in mind, I’ve taken it upon myself to watch EVERY nominated film in every category except for Best Documentary – Feature, Best Documentary – Short Subject, Best Live Action Short Film, and Best Animated Short Film, not because they don’t matter but because I am not well versed in the world of these films to be able to make judgement calls. So without further ado, please read below to see what films and artists I predict to win each category as well as who I believe should win each category and each category includes a small poll for you to cast your own vote! Happy reading and happy watching!

BEST PICTURE

The eight nominees for Best Picture; photo courtesy of THR
  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Roma
  • Green Book
  • A Star is Born
  • Vice
Vote for your choice for Best Picture!

Who Should Win: Roma; this category has been the most wide-open race this whole Award Season’s (at least based on all the precursors), it would be fair to say that any of the nominees could win. Green Book won the Golden Globe (comedy or musical) and the PGA’s honor; Roma won the DGA’s honor and the BAFTA prizes; Bohemian Rhapsody won the Golden Globe (drama) and has been a surprise nominee this season as well as winning the most overall guild/industry group prizes (American Cinema Editors, Cinema Audio Society, Motion Picture Sound Editors and even a SAG); and Black Panther won the SAG equivalent for Best Picture. Between them all though Roma was 2018’s masterpiece of a film.

Who Will Win: Roma; although Cuaron’s autobiographical film has caused controversy due to it being owned and distributed by Netflix and not a major or independent Hollywood studio, the film has been acclaimed for its technical style and wonder and based on Cuaron’s childhood in Mexico City, it prevails as a more enduring work than the rest. Yes, it’s a foreign-language film and foreign-language films have been nominated for the best picture Oscar in the past and it should be said set that the precedent for a foreign-language film can win the biggest of all categories if it is indeed deserving of it.

BEST DIRECTOR

The five nominees for Best Director; photo courtesy of THR
  • Alfonso Cuaron – Roma
  • Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite
  • Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
  • Adam McKay – Vice
  • Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War
Vote for your choice for Best Director!

Who Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma; Cuaron’s directing for his magnum opus put everything together nicely for his biographical historical drama that takes a closer look at the life of his indigenous nanny that helped raise him during a time when Mexico’s political and racial climate was in turmoil. It is a poetic panorama that masterfully mixes autobiography, history, politics, sociology and acute personal drama all tightly into a masterpiece of a film.

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma; will this prize go to a Mexicain filmmaker for the fifth time in six years (Cuaron has already won the DGA, Golden Globe, BAFTA and several critics’ circle) or will an acclaimed black filmmaker for the first time ever (Spike Lee, for a film that, like many of his finest earlier works, focuses on the racial strife in America)? Both men have campaigned vigorously and some insiders think Lee will take it since Cuaron already won back in 2014 for Gravity – but lets not forget Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu back-to-back win in 2015 and 2016 for this award.

BEST ACTOR

The five nominees, photo courtesy of THR
  • Christian Bale – Vice as Dick Cheney
  • Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born as Jackson “Jack” Maine
  • Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate as Vincent van Gogh
  • Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody as Freddie Mercury
  • Viggo Mortensen – Green Book as Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga
Vote for your choice for Best Actor!

Who Should Win: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody OR Christian Bale, Vice; Bale has truly set a new standard for transformative performances in McKay’s tragicomic Dick Cheney biopic going so far as to gaining more than 40 pounds and donning prosthetics and elevating a role that could have an SNL-style take on a public figure. On the contrary, Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic was both exquisite and energetic and his impression was spot on through the entirety of the film.

Who Should Win: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody OR Christian Bale, Vice; Bale has truly set a new standard for transformative performances in McKay’s tragicomic Dick Cheney biopic going so far as to gaining more than 40 pounds and donning prosthetics and elevating a role that could have an SNL-style take on a public figure. On the contrary, Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic was both exquisite and energetic and his impression was spot on through the entirety of the film.

Who Will Win: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody; Malek has been on a winning streak ever since his surprise win at the Golden Globes. His winning of the SAG equivalent for this category only increases his chances just that much (in the past 10 years, only once has the winner for the SAG not gone on to win the Oscar). It also appears that Hollywood is having a lovely time remembering the iconic British band the last few months (as evident in the film’s $800 million+ total gross worldwide) and I wouldn’t expect the Academy not to recognize that feat even if controversy surrounds it.

BEST ACTRESS

The five nominees, photo courtesy of THR
  • Yalitza Aparicio – Roma as Cleodegaria “Cleo” Gutierrez
  • Glenn Close – The Wife as Joan Castleman
  • Olivia Colman – The Favourite as Anne, Queen of Britain
  • Lady Gaga – A Star is Born as Ally Campana
  • Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Lee Israel
Vote for your choice for Best Actress!

Who Should Win: Glenn Close, The Wife OR Olivia Colman, The Favourite; Close’s performance in The Wife is a typical Hollywood story that resonates with everyone, especially women, and in this #TimesUp Movement makes it even stronger: a showbiz story about a wife that feels overlooked and forgotten while in the shadow of her famous husband. She truly shines with such dramatic force in the film. But where Close shines in drama, Colman’s performance in The Favourite is a comedic force not to mess with. The British star has already collected a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for her performance as Queen Anne and her comedic ingenuity mixed with subtle emotion and heart made for one of the most captivating and hilarious performances of the year.

Who Will Win: Glenn Close, The Wife; it’s hard to imagine that in Close’s four-decade spanning career that she has yet to win an Oscar. Her role in The Wife has helped her achieve her seventh nomination and with a surprise win at the Golden Globe Awards in January (many experts predicted Lady Gaga to win for her soaring and beautifully aching rendition of the female lead of A Star is Born) and a tie with Mother Monster herself at the Critics’ Choice Awards and wins at both the SAGs & BAFTAs, this might be the year that Close finally wins the coveted award.

Should Have Been Nominated: Toni Collette, Hereditary

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The five nominees for Best Supporting Actor, photo courtesy of THR
  • Mahershala Ali – Green Book as Don Shirley
  • Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman as Philip “Flip” Zimmerman
  • Sam Elliott – A Star is Born as Bobby Maine
  • Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Jack Hock
  • Sam Rockwell – Vice as George W. Bush
Vote for your choice for Best Supporting Actor!

Who Should Win: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?; famed character-actor has finally got his due recognition with a nomination for an Academy-Award and Grant has always posed a bit of a mystery in all his roles over the course of his decades-long careers. Grant’s mercilessly amusing, indelible performance that whisks you back to a very particular and tragic time and place.

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Green Book; as much as I would love acting legend and veteran Sam Elliott to take home the gold, Mahershala Ali’s winning streak in this category – including the Critics’ Choice, Golden Globes and BAFTAs – point to him winning this category for the second time (on the heels of his beautiful turn in Moonlight). Although there has been some argument over Ali’s placement in this category (some argue that his role is equal to that of Mortensen’s), I don’t expect that ruin his chances in this category.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The five nominees for Best Supporting Actress, photo courtesy of THR
  • Amy Adams – Vice as Lynne Cheney
  • Marina de Tavira – Roma as Sofia
  • Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk as Sharon Rivers
  • Emma Stone – The Favourite as Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham
  • Rachel Weisz – The Favourite as Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
Vote for your choice for Best Supporting Actress!

Who Should Win: Amy Adams, Vice OR Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk; This is one of the most difficult categories, with performances of very different genres, decades, languages, and cultures. Amy Adams is a five-time nominated actress and has yet to win an award and her portrayal and transformation into Lynne Chenney was one of the most intriguing and volatile performances this awards season. On the other hand, King’s emotionally strong and nuanced performance in Jenkins’ adaptation of the famed James Baldwin novel was capturing, transformative and most of all beautiful to watch as it unfolded on the screen.

Who Will Win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk; King was wildly successful on the award’s circuit this year, claiming more than 25 awards across different organizations and rightfully so for all the wins. King’s performance is rapturous and commanding – one that feels like we’re watching a seasoned artist finally get the meaty and delicious film role she’s long deserved. She is long overdue for a recognition and with wins at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice awards (although these awards are gifted by journalists, of which there are none in the Academy) it could ultimately lead to Oscar gold come Sunday night.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The five nominees for Best Original Screenplay; photo courtesy of THR
  • The Favourite – Written by Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara
  • First Reformed – Written by Paul Schrader
  • Green Book – Written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly
  • Roma – Written by Alfonso Cuaron
  • Vice – Written by Adam McKay
Vote for your choice for Best Original Screenplay!

Who Should Win: First Reformed – Paul Schrader; Schrader is an icon in independent cinema. When First Reformed first premiered at Sundance in early 2018, it drew rave reviews for bringing to life such a delicate work that takes a sensitive and suspenseful look at weighty themes especially Judeo-Christian themes in our modern times. Schrader is a revered screenwriter (and playwright!) who has yet to be nominated and win an Academy Award for his work in writing for the silver screen. His screenplay has been nominated and revered among the various critics’ circles/associations across the world and I believe it deserves the recognition here too.

Who Will Win: Green Book – Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly; this category is a bit of toss-up this year as there is no direct clear winner. Green Book‘s screenplay won the Golden Globe while The Favourite won the BAFTA (but it is a British film, so why wouldn’t the British equivalent of the Academy award a non-British film… Green Book is wholly an American film). It wouldn’t be odd for a film to win the top prize while just winning one other award but you’d need to dig up some history and see that over 80 years ago you would find a winner that didn’t match Best Picture with a screenplay trophy.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The five nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay; photo courtesy of THR
  • A Star is Born – Screenplay by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters; based on the 1954 screenplay by Moss Hart and the 1976 screenplay by Joan Didion, John Gregory Dunne & Frank Pierson; based on a story by Robert Carson & William A. Wellman
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, based on the short stories All Gold Canyon by Jack London, The Gal Who Got Rattled by Stewart Edward White, and short stories by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
  • BlacKkKlansman – Screenplay by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee, based on the memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth
  • If Beale Street Could Talk – Screenplay by Barry Jenkins, based on the novel by James Baldwin
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, based on the memoir by Lee Israel
Vote for your choice for Best Adapted Screenplay!

Who Should Win: Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty; by technicality, there is no competition here – at least if you follow the principles of Screenwriting 101. Holofcener and Whitty’s script is a screenwriter’s dream – the character arcs are sturdy, the characters are very well-developed and fleshed out, the dialogue is witty, comedic and true to its characters and gives the actors lovely opportunities to showcase their dramatic muscles as well and their is a distinct beginning, middle and end to the story. Based on the memoir by Lee Israel, the adaptation of the memoir is spot-on and portrays all the important segments that are necessary to bring the story to life on the big screen.

Who Will Win: BlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee; this honestly the only category that the Academy voters could honor Lee (along with his three co-writers) especially given the fact that the famed and acclaimed director has yet to win a competitive Oscar. The adapted screenplay has already won the rounds for this category – seeing as it is the most mainstream and popular film among the other nominees in this category – in most regional critics’ circles/associations as well as a BAFTA but the surprise came when Holofcener and Whitty’s adaptation of Israel’s memoir won the WGA Awards – a great precursor to who goes on to win this award.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The five nominees for Best Animated Feature; photo courtesy of THR
  • Incredibles 2
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mirai
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Vote for your choice for Best Animated Feature!

Who Should Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; the various films in this category are a return to form for the animation genre and showed that 2018 was filled with innovative animation techniques across the world. Disney/Pixar released the highly coveted sequel to their 2003 hit (and Oscar winner) The Incredibles 2; Wes Anderson went back to his stop-motion animation roots with his film inspired/named after the real life of Isle of Dogs in London’s Canary Wharf; Studio Chizu’s Mirai was an inspiring tale with beautiful anime-style animation (and another classic Japanese animated film); Disney’s sequel to Wreck-It Ralph was inspiring and innovative and brought a Disney Princess mash-up no one was expecting; and Sony surprised us with a Comic-Book-style inspired animation that brought a fresh take on the Spidey-Superhero as well as breaking down barriers in storytelling and showing once more that animated films are not just for children but are for people of all ages with themes, story ideas, characters that are inspiring and intriguing for all.

Who Will Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; never have I ever thought that a Superhero film, let alone a Spider-Man film, would ever win an Oscar but, well, here we are! Only once in the last 11 years of the history of this category has a film not from Disney or Pixar won… but the Spider-Man-centric film has already swept this category in all the precursors – the Annies (the Academy equivalent for animated films), the Golden Globes, BAFTA, PGA, regional critics circles/associations, guild awards, etc. The film itself is innovative and brought with it a new style of animation – one that I hope to continue to see in the future; it’s a step above and beyond.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film; photo courtesy of THR
  • Capernaum (Lebanon) in Arabic – Directed by Nadine Labaki
  • Cold War (Poland) in Polish – Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
  • Never Look Away (Germany) in German – Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
  • Roma (Mexico) in Spanish and Mixtec – Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
  • Shoplifters (Japan) in Japanese – Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
Vote for your choice for Best Foreign Language Film!

Who Should Win: Honestly ALL the nominees deserve it; Lebanon’s second consecutive nomination was a beautiful and effective melodrama that seemed to be pro-choice in nature yet never fully used the term “abortion,” a very taboo concept for Middle Easterns; Pawlikowski’s film has a brilliantly stark visual aesthetic and a lean narrative does not waste a time a beat on it’s emotional heft; Never Look Away is a brilliant portrayal of a famed artists whose incredible life is brought to the big screen in a humane and impacting manner; Roma is a powerhouse film from acclaimed director Alfonso Cuaron and finds him in complete, enthralling command of his visual craft; Kore-eda’s direction on his new film was a powerful chapter to his richly humanistic filmography – deeply affecting yet understated. If only we paid more attention to international and foreign language films all year round.

Who Will Win: Roma (Mexico), Alfonso Cuaron; Cuaron’s magnum opus is one of the most powerful, resonant and beautifully created films of the year, if not the decade. It shows what a filmmaker at his creative peak can create – a technically wonderful film that is well-written, well-acted, well-directed and brings a strong emotional heft to a true story that is both personal, historic and culturally important. It is a thrilling, engrossing and moving adjectival pileup of wonder and is resonant personal story taken from his life and brought to the screen in Cuaron’s beautiful directorial vision and mind.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The five nominees for Best Original Score; photo courtesy of THR
  • Black Panther – Ludwig Goransson
  • 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 – Ludwig Gorannson; Gorannson has already won a Grammy for his work on the Marvel hit but his spectacular work of creating a score that is rooted in African elements of music and all authentic. His ability to create an authentic, moving and inspiring score that goes well with the film’s emotions and action sequences and adds gravity to every aspect of the story.

Who Will Win: If Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas Britell; in most cases, a best picture nominee wins in this category (in that case, it’s a race between the first nominees, alphabetically). Britell’s work was the most laureled work on the cri

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

The five nominees for Best Original Song; photo courtesy of THR
  • “All the Stars” from Black Panther – Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth and Anthony Tiffith; Lyrics by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe (SZA)
  • “I’ll Fight” from RBG – Music and Lyrics by Diane Warren
  • “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns – Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman
  • “Shallow” from A Star is Born – Music and Lyrics by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
  • “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Music and Lyrics by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
Vote for your favorite in this category!

Who Should Win: “All the Stars,” Black Panther OR “Shallow,” A Star is Born; With this category, there isn’t a safer bet than A Star is Born’s “Shallow,” not only because Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (who know he can sing!) sing it so beautifully and filled with emotion, but also because it is the only song out of the ones in this category that is organically integrated into the film. It has swept the Best Original Song category in every awards show – Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Critics’ Choice Awards – and it even was a bonafide Grammy-winning hit outside of the film sector. “All the Stars” deserves recognition because of it’s futuristic and afrobeat melody as well as the lyricism and harmony between SZA and Kendrick. If only Kendrick had supported it and campaigned it…

Who Will Win: Shallow,” A Star is Born; I mean… four-time Academy Award-nominated turned rockstar? It’s the kind of story that the Academy LOVES to gobble up and I expect the performance between Lady Gaga and BCoops on the Dolby Stage will definitely solidify a new coming of stellar actress/singer-songwriter in Gaga and a new title for BCoops to fill. (Coachella 2020 lineup?)

Play the 5 Best Original Songs Nominations now! OR
Play the 5 Best Original Score Nominations Now!

Fun Fact: Out of this year’s five nominees for Best Original Song, “Shallow” was the highest peaking song on the Billboard 100, charting at No. 5 while “All the Stars” peaked at No. 7. “Shallow” also won two Grammy Awards at the 61st Grammy Awards for – Best Pop Duo/Group Performance & Best Song Written for Visual Media. “All the Stars” was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, as well as Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media (unfortunately winning zero).

BEST SOUND EDITING

The five nominees for Best Sound Editing; photo courtesy of THR
  • Black Panther – Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone
  • First Man – Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
  • A Quiet Place – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • Roma – Sergio Diaz and Skip Lievsay
Vote for your choice for Best Sound Editing!

Who Should Win: First Man – Ai-Ling Lee & Mildred Iatrou Morgan; this year, the sound categories boil down to a moonshot biopic and a pair of best-picture-contending musical dramas (one with original music and one that utilizes an iconic band’s discography). The sound editing category, unlike the sound mixing category, is where things get interesting and especially when musicals are nominated. In general, the best picture nominees tend to win this award even if the technical achievements of another film overshadow that of the best picture’s potential.

Who Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody – John Warhurst & Nina Hartstone; I believe the Queen-hysteria of Hollywood will help the musical biopic win this award. In general, the best picture nominees tend to win this award in this category and seeing as only Bohemian Rhapsody is the only best picture nominee out of the top two choices… well… the film will more than likely take home the Oscar for this. Besides, Bohemian has already won the BAFTAs’ equivalent category as well as a paire of MPSE awards (the guild that represents sound editors and sound mixers).

BEST SOUND MIXING

The five nominees for Best Sound Mixing; photo courtesy of THR
  • Black Panther – Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Peter J. Devlin
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali
  • First Man – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Ai-Ling Lee & Mary H. Ellis
  • Roma – Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and Jose Antonio Garcia
  • A Star is Born – Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steve A. Morrow
Vote for your choice for Best Sound Mixing!

Who Should Win: First Man – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Ai-Ling Lee & Mary H. Ellis; if you did any research to see how far the team for First Man went to get the believable sounds of the rockets take off and landing, you’d be amazed! The team (headed by Ai-Ling Lee, with Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano and Mary H. Ellis) secured clearance to participate and record any and all audio of an actual SpaceX launch to utilize actual audio in the film. Using microphones that were placed anywhere between 100 yards to 3 miles away from the launch site, they were able to use and captivate and all encompassing sound that was more accurate on screen of what an actual rocket launch could sound like. The dedication and effort definitely paid off in the end and is a technical achievement in and of itself.

Who Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody – Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin & John Casali; the sound editing and sound mixing categories have been won by the same film on only 17 occasions in the past. Whenever musicals – or, at least music-centric films – are nominated in this category, they tend to almost always do well (La La Land is the most recent musical film not to win). And in the Queen-hysteria that is overtaking Hollywood these past few months, I expect the Academy to award the Oscar to the controversial musical biopic.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

The five nominees for Best Production Design; photo courtesy of THR
  • Black Panther – Production Design: Hannah Beachler; Set Decoration: Jay Hart
  • The Favourite – Production Design: Fiona Crombie; Set Decoration: Alice Felton
  • First Man – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas
  • Mary Poppins Returns – Production Design: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
  • Roma – Production Design: Eugenio Caballero; Set Decoration: Barbara Enriquez
Vote for your choice for Best Production Design!

Who Should Win: Black Panther – Production Design: Hannah Beachler; Set Decoration: Jay Hart; The Marvel hit, in a way, is considered a period piece, focusing on the art and culture of a group of people seldom portrayed on the big screen in a culturally appropriate way. Beachler and Hart’s designs of the various sets – which include real life places like Oakland & Seoul, South Korea – also includes imaginary sets of the African nation of Wakanda which allowed the designers to embrace African art, culture, design and architecture in creating what they feel most resembles the Afropunk futuristic society of Wakanda. What is both MARVELous and exquisite to look at are the designs of the buildings and sets implemented in the film (whether through CGI or actual construction) use both a sense of traditional African art and modern style. Whether you were a fan of T’Challa and his African nation or not, there is one thing you should agree on: the designs were out of this world.

Who Will Win: The Favourite – Production Design: Fiona Crombie; Set Decoration: Alice Felton; The academy tends to favor period films, not least because, with fantasy films, it’s just increasingly hard to distinguish between production design and visual effects. The British hit has already won the BAFTA and won the top prize at the Art Directors Guild Awards early last month. With such detail oriented set pieces, props and art, the film truly depicts the beauty of the reign of Queen Anne in late 1600s – early 1700s England… and as history has shown, the Academy LOVES that era.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The five nominees for Best Cinematography; photo courtesy of THR
  • The Favourite – Robbie Ryan
  • Never Look Away – Caleb Deschanel
  • Roma – Alfonso Cuaron
  • A Star is Born – Matthew Libatique
  • Cold War – Lukasz Zal
Vote for your choice for Best Cinematography!

Who Should Win: Roma – Alfonso Cuaron OR Cold War – Lukasz Zal; 51 years ago, the Academy decided to merge its black-and-white and color cinematography categories (yes they had been separate for almost 40 years) and the only time the Oscar has gone to a black-and-white film since then was in 1993 for Schindler’s List. Both of these acclaimed memoirs (of sort) were shot in black and white and respectfully added to their technical beauty for a film; rare has black-and-white successfully worked for modern films yet their historical periods in which they take place let the beauty of the acting and production value elevate already beautiful films.

Who Will Win: Roma – Alfonso Cuaron; Cuaron’s film has already bagged the Critics’ Choice Awards and BAFTA Awards for this category over the popular vote, The Favourite. Even for audiences/voters that don’t necessarily like the film have admired its lensing. Cuaron is the first director to ever be ASC-nominated (the guild that represents cinematographers) for shooting his own film and if he wins, he’d be the first ever director to win a Best Cinematography Oscar.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

The 3 nominees for Best Makeup and Hairstyling; photo courtesy of THR
  • Border – Goran Lundstrom and Pamela Goldammer
  • Mary Queen of Scots – Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks
  • Vice – Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney
Vote for your choice for Best Makeup/Hairstyling!

Who Should Win: Vice – Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney; I always marvel at the ability of makeup artists and how underrated their craft is. People always expect or think that all they do is just the everyday makeup that goes on an actors face for lighting purposes and when they need to apply prosthetics, it’s just an easy but lengthy purposes. Well, it’s NOT (shoutout to Dina Kawar for her exquisite talent as a makeup/hairstyling artist in Hollywood and showing me the truth and beauty of the craft)! Past winners of this category have usually been films that see famous actors turning into famous politicians or historical figures who usually look NOTHING like they do (see Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady and Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour) and this year’s nominees include a famed actor (Christian Bale) transforming into one of the most notorious politicians within the last two centuries (Dick Cheney) and the transformation is exquisite!

Who Will Win: Vice – Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney; in most years, the edge almost always goes to the nominee that possesses a best picture nomination because it usually means that voters beyond the makeup and hairstyling branch have seen the film. By default that cuts the Swedish-language Swedish Best Foreign Language entry (but not nominated) Border and the lesser seen historical drama Mary, Queen of Scots (which I highly recommend!). Vice has already won awards throughout Award Season for the makeup/hairstyling in the film and I expect the Academy to award it as well.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

The five nominees for Best Costume Design; photo courtesy of THR
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Mary Zophres
  • Black Panther – Ruth E. Carter
  • The Favourite – Sandy Powell
  • Mary Poppins Returns – Sandy Powell
  • Mary Queen of Scots – Alexandra Byrne
Vote for your choice for Best Costume Design

Who Should Win: Black Panther – Ruth E. Carter; this is Carter’s third nomination in the category and was the first black woman to ever be nominated in this category as well and her work truly always shines on the big screen (sometimes literally). Her infusion of the pride of the African diaspora into each character’s style and the usage of colorful and uniquely styled garments that mimic that of various African tribes of the continent helped bring director Ryan Coogler’s vision to life of what and how Wakanda looks like.

Who Will Win: Black Panther – Ruth E. Carter; this is a nail-biter race between already crowned BAFTA winner The Favourite and Critics’ Choice Awards winner Black Panther. These categories tend to go to period fare, no matter the era or genre (the Harry Potter franchise took home its first Oscar two years ago in this category) but between two similarly themed films (Mary Queen of Scots and The Favourite – both in involving Queens, royalty and their people), a western pic (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – westerns don’t normally win this award in this part of the Academy’s history), and two completely different Disney films (Marvel’s Black Panther and Walt Disney Picture’s Mary Poppins Returns), I expect the mouse house and comic book icon to take it home.

BEST FILM EDITING

The five nominees for Best Editing; photo courtesy of THR
  • BlacKkKlansman – Barry Alexander Brown
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – John Ottman
  • The Favourite – Yorgos Mavropsaridis
  • Green Book – Patrick J. Don Vito
  • Vice – Hank Corwin
Vote for your choice for Best Editing!

Who Should Win: Vice – Hank Corwin; McKay’s biopic juggled storylines of three different characters and successfully interspersed their cuts/scenes throughout the film without making it confusing for the audience but also keeping its kinetic energy alive. McKay’s style in editing with his go-to editor has always been a hit with critics (see McKay’s last Oscar winner The Big Short) and him and his team deserve the Oscar once more.

Who Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody – John Ottman; this year’s race is a tight one between the Dick Cheney biopic and the Queen biopic (biopics ruled 2018…). The BAFTA equivalent went to Vice and the American Cinema Editors (ACE) gave its top two prizes to Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite and in 11 of the last 15 years, the ACE’s drama winner has gone on to win the Oscar in this category. It also helps that the Queen biopic had numerous fast and flashy sequences which usually bodes well for the eventual winner.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

The five nominees for Best Visual Effects; photo courtesy of THR
  • Avengers: Infinity War – Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick
  • Christopher Robin – Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Corbould
  • First Man – Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm
  • Ready Player One – Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story – Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan & Dominic Tuohy
Vote for your choice for Best Visual Effects!

Who Should Win: First Man; as much of a Marvel fan that I am, the VFX in Chazelle’s moon landing drama were superb and literally out of this world. Normally, few voters know how to evaluate VFX or even bother to see all the nominees in this category (although most of the time, they usually are blockbusters so its surprising that voters haven’t seen them), and the Oscar tends to go to the nominee that is also nominated for best picture, or in this case, if there are none, then it’ll go to the nominee that probably came the closest to being nominated for Best Picture.

Who Will Win: First Man; the Marvel blockbuster was the first Marvel film to win the Visual Effects Society’s top prize in the history of Marvel’s existence an the society’s top prize has predicted the Oscar winner for this category correctly in six of the last 10 years.

And that’s a wrap on my predictions for the 91st Academy Awards! Tune in on Sunday, February 24th, at 5:00 PM PST (8:00 PM EST) on ABC to find out who will be joining the ranks of “Oscar Winners.” And don’t forgot to share my predictions with your friends and family!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *