With the announcement of a new Academy president (a casting director, no less), there’s buzz building that the Oscar will finally honor ensemble casts, or at least the casting director that helped pick them out. We’ll see if that actually becomes a category, but for now, we’ll stick with the usual.
Ford v. Ferrari
Once upon a Time in Hollywood
Queen & Slim
The skinny: Starting with 10 this year, because there is absolutely no frontrunner at the moment, and only The Farewell and Once upon a Time in Hollywood have even been released so far. Most of these are premiering at Telluride, Toronto and/or Venice, so it would be very easy for one or more to get sunk by bad early buzz. Dry Run and The Last Thing He Wanted (both starring Anne Hathaway) don’t even have a firm release date, while Fair and Balanced certainly seems likely since Vice was a big player last year, but there’s been nary a peep about Showtime’s The Loudest Voice miniseries, which covers the same topic.
Sam Mendes, 1917
Lulu Wang, The Farewell
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once upon a Time in Hollywood
Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim
The skinny: Is this finally the year the Academy nominates more than one woman here? It would certainly seem possible finally, especially since Greta Gerwig – already a nominee for Lady Bird – has a surefire contender in Little Women.
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Robert De Niro, The Irishman
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once upon a Time in Hollywood
Tom Hanks, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Daniel Kaluuya, Queen & Slim
The skinny: Tom Hanks hasn’t been nominated since Cast Away, despite consistently turning in great work. Playing Mr. Rogers seems like a lock, but recent history would suggest otherwise. And Antonio Banderas should finally get to call himself a nominee, especially if Pain and Glory hits as big as Roma.
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Brie Larson, Just Mercy
Lupita Nyong’o, Us
Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen & Slim
Renée Zellweger, Judy
The skinny: Unless it turns out to be a fiasco like The Birth of a Nation, Cynthia Erivo can go ahead and start writing her acceptance speech.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, Ford v. Ferrari
Tommy Lee Jones, Ad Astra
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once upon a Time in Hollywood
The skinny: All former winners (though Pitt’s is for producing). Seems like a pretty lean category this year, but of course that could change.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Annette Bening, The Report
Nicole Kidman, The Goldfinch
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Once upon a Time in Hollywood
Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell
The skinny: Margot Robbie also has Fair and Balanced, which will probably be a more substantial role. But it seems like Zhao Shuzhen is the favorite at the moment.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Once upon a Time in Hollywood
Queen and Slim
The skinny: The Souvenir seems like the non-Best Picture nominee most likely to score here, though there’s also the (mostly) beloved Booksmart. Though if the superior Eighth Grade and the plethora of sharp scripts couldn’t make it in last year, I’m not going to expect them to be that bold.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The skinny: I’m getting some Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close vibes from The Goldfinch, though of course that was a Best Picture nominee. If it ends up being a weak adaptation no one goes to see, its Oscar chances could fall to zero. I’d bet on all the others though.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Toy Story 4
Weathering with You
The skinny: Hopefully How to Train Your Dragon can get a long overdue award, though voters will have to resist rewarding franchises that have already been honored in this category.
Random Sure Things
Cinematography: The Lighthouse
Costume Design: Rocketman
Documentary Feature: Apollo 11
Original Song: “The Dead Don’t Die” (The Dead Don’t Die)
Visual Effects: The Lion King