Metro Weekly

Oscars 2019: Our Picks for Every Category

Predicting one of the most wide-open Oscar races in years

Can You Ever Forgive Me? — Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant — Photo: Mary Cybulski

Regardless of what anyone thinks they know about this year’s Academy Awards nominees, no one knows who will win until someone does. And this year, even the professionals haven’t come to a resounding consensus on who’s most deserving.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild awarded their highest honor to the cast of Black Panther, while the Directors Guild recognized Alfonso Cuarón for Roma, the producers pinned their blue ribbon on Green Book, cinematographers went for the stark beauty of Cold War, editors decided Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite made the cut as the best-edited drama and comedy, and the writers penciled in Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Eighth Grade as the year’s best adapted and original screenplays, respectively.

In a competitive race, it can be easy to choose a favorite, and hard to pick a winner. But a world of Oscar-pool players and prognosticators will place their bets on a few frontrunners, although there are no foregone conclusions.

BEST SONG

Any song other than Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow” from A Star Is Born winning Best Song would amount to the upset of the night. Not simply because 99.9% of the audience inside the Dolby Theatre will expect for Gaga to ride the song’s popularity — and Golden Globe and Grammy wins — to Oscar victory. But have you heard the other songs? “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s hit Black Panther collaboration nicely underscores that film’s end credits, while playing no pivotal role in the prior two-plus-hours of Ryan Coogler’s movie. “The Place Where the Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns enjoys prominent placement in that Disney disappointment — all the better to send winces down the spine of anyone in listening distance. Diane Warren, the ten-time Oscar-nominated songwriter behind RBG theme song “I’ll Fight,” has delivered more compelling tunes than this meh-inducing empowerment anthem. That leaves “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” the Western ditty sung by Willie Watson, of Old Crow Medicine Show, and Tim Blake Nelson in the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Two weathered voices joined in a wistful harmony, over a loping guitar and some plaintive harmonica, this is a movie song that sounds like a movie song, a point in the favor of writers David Rawlings and Gillian Welch. That said, “Shallow” isn’t even A Star Is Born‘s only standout song (hello, “Always Remember Us This Way”), and practically can’t be beat. A passionate love song, and already a signature Gaga song, it’s deployed to exhilarating effect in the movie. For music, it’s easy to make the passionate choice. Passion might be the theme that dictates the game of predicting this year when all bets are off.

Will Win/Should Win: “Shallow”

A Star Is Born — Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Among the nominees in this category, the awards season spoils have been pretty evenly spread around, with The Favourite taking home the Bafta, First Reformed surprising (sort of) with a win at the Critics’ Choice Awards, and Green Book driving home with the Golden Globe. Does that mean that Roma and Vice are out of the running? Not necessarily — but yes, as this is a race between The Favourite‘s exquisite dialogue and full-circle plotting, and Green Book‘s multi-layered, true-ish story. Green Book gets a slight edge, thanks to the multi-layered story behind the true story.

Will Win: Green Book
Should Win: The Favourite

VISUAL EFFECTS

The Academy’s visual effects branch at least offers consistency with the Visual Effects Society’s choices for the guild awards. The VES Awards recognized both First Man for the NASA drama’s realistic, supporting visual effects, and Avengers: Infinity War for the Marvel juggernaut’s spectacular, large-scale effects magic. Since Avengers: Infinity War might be deemed to have won enough already by raking in two billion dollars at the global box office, this award will be one way for First Man‘s passionate supporters to make up for the film’s perceived snubs in the major Oscar categories.

Will Win: First Man
Should Win: Avengers: Infinity War

DOCUMENTARY

The best that can be said of last year’s didactic Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex is that it should steer curious viewers towards RBG, the superior documentary about the crusading lawyer and SCOTUS jurist. RBG‘s likely Oscar win should help too, as should the fact that this year’s sentimental favorite doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor, about the life of kids’ TV legend Fred Rogers, isn’t even nominated.

Will Win/Should Win: RBG

MAKEUP AND HAIR

The bulbous visages of the central characters in Swedish nominee Border are impressive, yet the Academy might want to acknowledge the elaborate hair and wigs on both men and women in Mary Queen of Scots. The pancake mug covering the Virgin Queen’s pox-ravaged skin casts a new light on Elizabeth I, and Aussie stunner Margot Robbie. But it probably won’t be enough to best Vice, which transforms star Christian Bale and key members of the film’s very recognizable ensemble into the all-star politicos of half a century’s worth of history.

Will Win/Should Win: Vice

SUPPORTING ACTOR

From the category boasting the sentimental favorite to the category featuring the de facto favorite: Golden Globe, SAG, Bafta, and Critics’ Choice winner Mahershala Ali, for his forceful yet subtle work in Green Book. However, giving in again to passion, a different actor’s performance stands out for a character who seemed virtually to leap offscreen and grab a seat right next to you in the movie theater, Richard E. Grant’s desperate hustler Jack Hock in Can You Ever Forgive Me? The veteran actor could pull off the upset win, but odds are he’ll have to be happy with having created a memorable addition to his long line of cinema scoundrels.

Will Win: Mahershala Ali
Should Win: Richard E. Grant

The Favourite: Rachel Weisz — Photo: Yorgos Lanthimos / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Actually, another sentimental favorite has emerged in the major categories: six-time nominee Amy Adams, who has yet to win an Oscar. It seems inevitable that some year she will, but will it be this year for her spitfire performance in Vice as Lynne Cheney? If Beale Street Could Talk player Regina King has cleaned up this awards season, and probably can ride out the sentimental wave breaking for Adams, as well as the vote-splitting support for The Favourite‘s co-nominees Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. Roma‘s Marina de Tavira could play spoiler, and Weisz is magnificently wicked in The Favourite, but the category favorite is King.

Will Win: Regina King
Should Win: Rachel Weisz

LEAD ACTOR

The box office success of controversial Freddie Mercury and Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody wasn’t surprising, but it certainly wasn’t preordained. The producers took a huge gamble casting anybody as Mercury, and star Rami Malek met that enormous challenge with a gutsy performance. He’s been well-rewarded for it, and will be by the Academy, too, although Bale’s Dick Cheney is the portrayal that truly inspires shock, awe, amusement, anger, and even nightmares.

Will Win: Rami Malek
Should Win: Christian Bale

LEAD ACTRESS

Ah, the one category this year most likely to be decided by sentiment for an actor long overlooked by the Academy, rather than by passion for any one performance. Six-time Oscar also-ran Glenn Close is riveting in The Wife, but so then are leading lady newcomers Yalitza Aparicio in Roma, and Gaga in A Star Is Born. Olivia Colman gives herself over fully to the role of Queen Anne in The Favourite, baring moving vulnerability. Yet, such accolades also apply to Melissa McCarthy’s underrated turn in Can You Ever Forgive Me? If Jack Nicholson can nab an Oscar playing the rude and unpleasant writer protagonist of a spurious ’90s rom-com (As Good As It Gets), surely McCarthy should not be ignored for playing the deeply damaged ’90s writer protagonist of this clever dramedy. But probably she will be.

Will Win: Glenn Close
Should Win: Melissa McCarthy

DIRECTOR

Passion seriously comes into play in this race between five directors whose work this year demonstrated invigorating, impassioned filmmaking, from Adam McKay’s structural leaps in Vice, to Yorgos Lanthimos’ vividly skewed worldview in The Favourite. Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman synthesized a wildly improbable period piece into a searing political statement about the period we’re living through now. But it’s Cuarón’s remarkable achievement in one-man-band authorship, as Roma‘s writer, co-producer, cinematographer, and co-editor, that should see him take home his second directing Oscar.

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Should Win: Yorgos Lanthimos

Roma — Photo: Carlos Somonte.

BEST PICTURE

In the 90-plus years the Academy has been handing out awards for film achievement, no foreign language film has ever been named Best Picture. Well, there’s a first time for everything, and Roma, Cuarón’s deceptively simple love-letter to his native Mexico City has come along at the right time to break that barrier. (The film will also likely make history by taking the award for Best Foreign Film, for which it’s also nominated.) In another 90 years, though, it might be Adam McKay’s dark, loopy vision of a dark, turbulent time that endures as the film that viewers still need to see.

Will Win: Roma
Should Win: Vice

The 91st Academy Awards air on Sunday, February 24 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Visit www.oscar.go.com.

Below is the entire list of 2019 Oscar nominations, with our predictions as who Will Win and who we think Should Win noted.

Best Picture:

  • “Black Panther”
  • “BlacKkKlansman”
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • “The Favourite”
  • “Green Book”
  • “Roma” WW
  • “A Star Is Born”
  • “Vice” SW

Lead Actor:

  • Christian Bale, “Vice” SW
  • Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
  • Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
  • Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody” WW
  • Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Lead Actress:

  • Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
  • Glenn Close, “The Wife” WW
  • Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
  • Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
  • Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” SW

Supporting Actor:

  • Mahershala Ali, “Green Book” WW
  • Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
  • Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
  • Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” SW
  • Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Supporting Actress:

  • Amy Adams, “Vice”
  • Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
  • Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk” WW
  • Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
  • Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite” SW

Director:

  • Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
  • Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite” SW
  • Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma” WW
  • Adam McKay, “Vice”

Animated Feature:

  • “Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
  • “Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
  • “Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
  • “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
  • “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman WW/SW

Animated Short:

  • “Animal Behaviour,” Alison Snowden, David Fine
  • “Bao,” Domee Shi WW
  • “Late Afternoon,” Louise Bagnall
  • “One Small Step,” Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
  • “Weekends,” Trevor Jimenez SW

Adapted Screenplay:

  • “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen , Ethan Coen
  • “BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee WW
  • “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty SW
  • “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
  • “A Star Is Born,” Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Original Screenplay:

  • “The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara SW
  • “First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
  • “Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly WW
  • “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
  • “Vice,” Adam McKay

Cinematography:

  • “Cold War,” Lukasz Zal WW
  • “The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan
  • “Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel
  • “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
  • “A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique SW

Best Documentary Feature:

  • “Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
  • “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
  • “Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
  • “Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
  • “RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen WW/SW

Best Documentary Short Subject:

  • “Black Sheep,” Ed Perkins
  • “End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman WW
  • “Lifeboat,” Skye Fitzgerald SW
  • “A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry
  • “Period. End of Sentence.,” Rayka Zehtabchi

Best Live Action Short Film:

  • “Detainment,” Vincent Lambe SW
  • “Fauve,” Jeremy Comte
  • “Marguerite,” Marianne Farley WW
  • “Mother,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
  • “Skin,” Guy Nattiv

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • “Capernaum” (Lebanon)
  • “Cold War” (Poland)
  • “Never Look Away” (Germany)
  • “Roma” (Mexico) WW/SW
  • “Shoplifters” (Japan)

Film Editing:

  • “BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman WW
  • “Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito
  • “The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
  • “Vice,” Hank Corwin SW

Sound Editing:

  • “Black Panther,” Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst WW
  • “First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan SW
  • “A Quiet Place,” Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
  • “Roma,” Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay

Sound Mixing:

  • “Black Panther”
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” WW
  • “First Man”
  • “Roma”
  • “A Star Is Born” SW

Production Design:

  • “Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler WW/SW
  • “First Man,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
  • “The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
  • “Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim
  • “Roma,” Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez

Original Score:

  • “BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard
  • “Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson WW
  • “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell SW
  • “Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat
  • “Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Original Song:

  • “All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
  • “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
  • “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
  • “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice WW/SW
  • “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Makeup and Hair:

  • “Border”
  • “Mary Queen of Scots”
  • “Vice” WW/SW

Costume Design:

  • “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
  • “Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter
  • “The Favourite,” Sandy Powell WW/SW
  • “Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell
  • “Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne

Visual Effects:

  • “Avengers: Infinity War” SW
  • “Christopher Robin”
  • “First Man” WW
  • “Ready Player One”
  • “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

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