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Oscars 2019 Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

on February 20, 2019, 1:30am
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Best Live Action Short Film

Detainment
Marguerite
Fauve
Mother
Skin

What should win: Skin

What will win: Skin

Originally, Detainment had our vote for a likely winner. True-crime stories have captured the cultural imagination in recent years, and this real-life story based on the grisly 1993 death of a toddler at the seeming hands of two 10-year-olds is a particularly harrowing example. However, considering that the child’s mother wasn’t consulted about the project, let alone approving of it, some negative blowback is already mounting around the film. We’ll then turn to Skin, a tensely horrifying look at everyday American racism in all of its repellent normalcy. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Best Foreign Language Film

Roma (Netflix)

Roma (Netflix)

Roma
Capernaum
Cold War
Never Look Away
Shoplifters

What should win: Roma

What will win: Roma

Let’s just start here: Roma is going to take this category, setting off a larger debate in the evening about whether it’ll take the top prize as well. Alfonso Cuarón‘s intimate epic has set a new generation of globally-minded cinephiles ablaze. It’s the kind of film that doesn’t get made anymore, as much a trope as that saying might be these days, and it’ll be deservedly honored throughout all of the 91st ceremony. But in any other year, any of its fellow nominees would have a substantial chance of taking the entire thing home, and this is worth noting as well. Every movie in this category is excellent. See all of them. Expand your moviegoing horizons.

Anyway, yeah, it’s Roma. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Best Animated Feature Film

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Incredibles 2
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Isle of Dogs

What should win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
What will win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

In an animation year dominated by a small handful of prominent titles and surprisingly underdeveloped thereafter, there were only so many options available for nomination this year. However, one of them has lunged far ahead of the pack, and we doubt that the meticulous stop-motion of Isle of Dogs or the chart-topping appeal of Incredibles 2 will be enough to get it done. This year, the Animated Feature Film Oscar belongs to Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, Spider-Ham, and the rest of the Spider-Verse. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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Best Documentary Feature Film

Free Solo (IMAX)

Free Solo (IMAX)

Free Solo
Of Fathers and Sons
Minding the Gap
RBG
Hale County This Morning This Evening

What should win: Minding the Gap

What will win: Free Solo

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises to come from this year’s slate of nominees is the exclusion of Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Morgan Neville’s summer hit about the life and times of Fred Rogers. With that said, the seeming top contender being nudged out leaves this as anyone’s category to win. We’d love to see honors for Minding the Gap, Bing Liu’s affecting look at a trio of Rockford, Illinois skate punks struggling to deal with the burden of getting older. However, considering its increasingly massive word-of-mouth popularity, our money is on Free Solo, as gripping a portrait of human achievement as you’ll ever see. Just don’t check it out if you’re afraid of heights. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Best Adapted Screenplay

Spike Lee and Adam Driver, "BlacKkKlansman", Focus Features

Spike Lee and Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”, Focus Features

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

What should win: If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins

What will win: BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott

It’s touch to imagine a more wildly disparate set of five nominees, but this year’s adaptations took a number of bold, engaging risks. Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty turned a true story of forgery into a meditation on AIDS-era cultural burnout and artistic frustration. A Star is Born managed to update a classic tale into a painfully modern context. Buster Scruggs managed to condense the Coens’ skewed worldview into a series of near-perfect anthology films. We’d love to see Barry Jenkins get some love for his ability to take James Baldwin’s inimitable tone and transpose it to the big screen. However, we’re thinking that BlacKkKlansman and its barrage of ideas and unforgettable exchanges will rule the day. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Best Original Screenplay

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)

The Favourite, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
First Reformed, Paul Schrader
Green Book, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga
Roma, Alfonso Cuaron
Vice, Adam McKay

What should win: First Reformed, Paul Schrader

What will win: The Favourite, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara

In a perfect world, Paul Schrader‘s First Reformed would be up for at least five awards this year, particularly for Ethan Hawke, who delivered one of his sharpest performances to date as a pastor in the midst of an existential crises. Unfortunately, Schrader’s bleak, albeit sobering, meditation on our inevitable decline as human beings was probably a little too derisive for the voters who thought Bohemian Rhapsody was a complex study of queer artistry. So, even though analysts are seeing this as a redemptive win for the Taxi Driver screenwriter, they’re likely going to go with The Favourite, and this win will be an olive branch for not giving it Best Picture, despite the film nabbing the most nominations. And, you know what, we’re okay with that. –Michael Roffman

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Best Supporting Actor

Green Book (Universal)

Green Book (Universal)

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: Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Who will win: Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Despite being mired in all sorts of controversy, Green Book still managed to grab a table of nominations this year, and the only real win that anyone wants to see out of any of them is Mahershala Ali. Of course, it’s telling that he’s the sole name in the film’s camp of nominations to not look like a complete jackass these past few months. Also helping his case is that he’s appearing every Sunday on HBO’s True Detective both this month and next — and he’s incredible in it — and don’t think for a second those voters aren’t watching that. No, Ali is on the mind, and sadly, Adam Driver, who just about steals every scene in Spike Lee’s historical drama, and 100% deserves this award, is nowhere to be seen. Probably on Jakku. –Michael Roffman

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Best Supporting Actress

If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures)

If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures)

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

Who should win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Who will win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Independent of our aligned choice for who should win this category, and who we think will, let’s take a moment to really appreciate how great this crop is across the board. Any of these performances could be argued for taking the top honors in a year where they weren’t all tasked with competing against one another. Alas, so goes the cycle of awards season, and so if we have to pick one, it’s Regina King, an industry veteran who gives a beautiful film several of its most unforgettable moments. Watching King play out several pages of James Baldwin’s text in silence, as she puts on and then removes a wig, is the kind of acting that stays with you long past the credits. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Best Actor

Vice (Annapurna)

Vice (Annapurna)

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

Who should win: Christian Bale, Vice

Who will win: Christian Bale, Vice

With the Academy having shit the bed by not nominating Hawke, the narrative stays the same: Best Actor is Christian Bale‘s to lose. Sure, Mouthpiece Malek might swoop in and surprise us all — as he did at the Golden Globes — but it’s unlikely. The voters love those transformational performances, and they love to talk the talk on politics, both of which Bale’s win allows them to do. But even beyond the red tape, Bale is just the strongest performer of this mix. He disappears into this role, more so than any of his past physical marvels, and that hasn’t been lost on most critics. At all. –Michael Roffman

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Best Actress

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born 2018

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born 2018

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

Who should win: Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Who will win: Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

When A Star is Born came out back in mid-October, it seemed like a pretty sure thing that Lady Gaga was about to win an Academy Award. However, the awards season cycle is long, and a lot has happened since then. Now, Gaga’s breakout starring turn finds itself matched with several of the year’s other best female performances, and the field remains anyone’s to take. Will it be Glenn Close, who’s now enjoying her 7th Oscar nomination without a win (so far)? Will it be Melissa McCarthy, the latest in a long line of A-list comedians flexing their considerable dramatic chops? How about Yalitza Aparicio, whose out-of-nowhere turn in Roma constitutes so much of that film’s heart and soul? We still think, at the end of the day, that Gaga is going to win out yet. But it’s Olivia Colman as the mad, tragic Queen Anne in The Favourite who we’d love to see do it the most. Look at her! Stop looking at her! –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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Best Director

Roma (Netflix)

Roma (Netflix)

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice

What should win: Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

What will win: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

First, even if we don’t see him taking the top prize, it’s pretty awesome to see Pawel Pawlikowski make this list. Cold War is a substantial accomplishment, a semi-biographical portrait of love run through the mills of time, politics, and simple human change. It’s the kind of intimate affair that the Oscars too seldom laud, so we’re stoked beyond stoked to see it show up here.

With that said, and accepting that we see McKay and Lanthimos as gifted directors whose best is still ahead of them (somehow), we’re seeing this as a two-cart race. On the one hand, you have Alfonso Cuarón, whose Roma is a staggering accomplishment by virtually any measure. On the other, you have Spike Lee, who did not only our own favorite filmmaking of 2018, but who made one of his best and most successful movies in years with BlacKkKlansman. In the pantheon of “people who’re due an Oscar”, Lee is about as close to the absolute heights as you can get. We’d love nothing more to see him finally get his due, but this feels like Cuarón’s category to lose all the same. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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Best Picture

Green Book (Universal)

Green Book (Universal)

Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
Roma
A Star is Born
Vice

What should win: Most of these.

What will win: Green Book

If you haven’t already gathered by this point in the article, the 2019 Oscars are going to be pretty hard to pin down. As far as this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees goes, no exceptions there. We can make a serious case for seven of these eight movies winning (are you goddamn serious with all this love for Bohemian Rhapsody, folks), but it really all comes down to what we think the Oscars are at this point.

That’s a harder call to make than it used to be; between the changing votership and the increasing pressure on the ceremony to broaden its definitions of what’s considered a “worthy” movie, it’s tougher than ever to assume where the Academy’s head is at these days.

Having said all of that, we’d love to see most of these films honored. But we said at the Golden Globes that it was going to be Green Book, and we wound up being right. We’ll stick with it again, and hope that Sunday, February 24th has a surprise or two up its sleeve instead. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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