Oscar Guide 2019

If I was confused last year, this year I’m completely and utterly lost. The only things I’m sure about are “Shallow” winning Best Original Song and Roma winning Best Foreign Language Film. Any of this year’s other frontrunners losing to another nominee wouldn’t shock me in the least.

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali in Green Book
Black Klansman
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
A Star Is Born

Will win: Green Book
Could and should win: Roma
Should have been here: First Man

The skinny: At first it seemed like A Star Is Born had this thing locked up back in October. There was no big controversy it had to weather. The rest of the field just caught up with it. Green Book was all but anointed when it won the People’s Choice Award at Toronto, but its tepid box office and mixed reviews laid it low. Then history showed up, as the Shirley family claimed it was a wildly inaccurate depiction of Don and Tony’s relationship, and then we got treated to not one but two gross matters of public record resurfacing from director Peter Farrelly’s past, as well as co-writer Nick Vallelonga’s. It was dead until it won Best Picture at the Golden Globes. Black Panther finally got its Best Picture nomination, as well as the big prize at the Screen Actors Guild. And Roma won Best Picture at the BAFTA Awards. So who’s going to win? I honestly have no idea. I hope it’s Roma, but it’s a foreign-language film financed by Netflix. Despite several foreign-language films getting nominated (even as recently as 2013), one has never won Best Picture before, and there’s a contingent – though who can say how large – of voters that views Netflix as the enemy. But I think Green Book weathers the storm to take the big prize. Its base of (mostly older) voters probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the optics of awarding such a backward-looking choice, and despite the vitriol on Twitter, the group of people who have it dead last on their ballots is small, meaning it probably takes it the provisional win.

Alfonso Cuarón on the set of Roma
Spike Lee, Black Klansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice

Will win: Alfonso Cuarón
Could and should win: Spike Lee
Should have been here: Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk

The skinny: I went back and forth, but I’m not going to overthink this. Alfonso Cuarón won the Directors Guild of America Award. He’s going to win again. I still think Spike could pull it off, but he’ll likely be honored elsewhere. If Spike did win, it would be the first time since 2003 the DGA winner was nominated for the Oscar and lost. (And that time it was another great director who’d never won the Oscar before.)

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 and should win: Christian Bale
Should have been here: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

The skinny: These performances all have some merit, but they pale in comparison to Ethan Hawke’s work in First Reformed, so what does it matter? Malek has been on a tear on the awards circuit, mostly as a vehicle to honor a movie liked by general audiences (who made it a massive worldwide hit) but loathed by critics. I’d rather it be Bale, who’s actually saying something with his performance, or even Cooper, the only nominee here who created a character from whole cloth.

Glenn Close in The Wife
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 and should win: Olivia Colman
Should have been here: Rosamund Pike, A Private War

The skinny: I don’t think Glenn Close’s work in The Wife is among the five best leading actress performances of the year, or even among the top 10. But I’m still rooting for her to claim her long overdue Oscar. She’s currently 0-for-6. But would I be upset if Olivia Colman won? Absolutely not. She’s giving the best performance of these five nominees as Queen Anne, drowning her sorrows in lesbian trysts and cake. But how good was 2018 for leading actress roles? So good you could swap out all five with these ladies: Toni Collette, Elsie Fisher, Regina Hall, Rosamund Pike and Charlize Theron.

Mahershala Ali in Green Book
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, Black Klansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Will win: Mahershala Ali
Could and should win: Richard E. Grant
Should have been here: Steven Yeun, Burning

The skinny: Ali’s a great actor, getting a much-deserved win in this category just two years ago. He’s probably going to win an Emmy this fall for his excellent work on this season of True Detective. And he’s probably going to win again, as far and away the best part of Green Book. But oh, how glorious it would be if Richard E. Grant won. He and Sam Elliott probably cancel each other out, as both are great character actors, killing it for decades in the same roles, finally nominated for roles that showcased what they do best.

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

Will and should win: Regina King
Could win: Rachel Weisz
Should have been here: Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace

The skinny: It’s a two-person race between Regina King, who missed some key nominations here and there, and Rachel Weisz, a previous winner. Weisz might be canceled out by Stone, so I think that means King’s got this. But it’s basically a coin flip at this point.

Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in The Favourite
The Favourite
First Reformed
Green Book

Will and should win: The Favourite
Could win: Green Book
Should have been here: Blindspotting

The skinny: Like its adapted counterpart, this award has gone to a bunch of different films over the past few months, so there’s not a lot to go on. Still, I’d say this one is easier to pick than the other. I think The Favourite, with its leading 10 nominations, will take this home as a consolation prize. It could be Green Book again, but I think this is the only category where it will suffer under the weight of all its controversies. It’s still baffling that of all the films dealing with racism this year, that voters went for this film and not Blindspotting or the even crazier Sorry to Bother You.

Laura Harrier and John David Washington in Black Klansman
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Black Klansman
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born

Will win: Black Klansman
Could win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Should win: If Beale Street Could Talk
Should have been here: The Death of Stalin

The skinny: The last time a Best Picture nominee didn’t win this prize was 20 years ago, so I think that closes the book on If Beale Street Could Talk. Can You Ever Forgive Me? won this award at the Writers Guild Awards, so it’s the only realistic upset. That makes this a race between A Star Is Born, which has fallen off a cliff, and Black Klansman. This is probably the only place the film will be honored, and that means we’ll at long last get a speech from Spike Lee. The script itself has some serious issues, but it will be worth it for that great Oscar moment. It’s just a shame voters couldn’t repeat their shock of nine years ago, when Armando Iannucci’s last hilarious, vicious political satire was nominated here after almost no precursors.

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

Will and should win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Could win: Incredibles 2
Should have been here: N/A

The skinny: When it’s nominated, Pixar hasn’t lost this award since 2006, and neither has Disney for that matter. That’s enough for me to not feel great about the year’s best animated film walking away with this. It’s won every award before this, so I’m still predicting its win. Just don’t be surprised Incredibles 2 pulls it off.

The cast of Roma
Never Look Away (Germany)
Shoplifters (Japan)
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Roma (Mexico)
Cold War (Poland)

Will and should win: Roma
Could win: Cold War
Should have been here: Burning (South Korea) and Birds of Passage (Colombia)

The skinny: There’s a school of thought that suggests voters who are voting Roma for Best Picture will vote Cold War here to spread the love. Don’t overthink this, though. Every time a film has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Picture, it’s won here.

Alex Hannold in Free Solo
Free Solo
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons

Will win: Free Solo
Could win: RBG
Should win: Minding the Gap
Should have been here: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The skinny: The baffling omission of the Mister Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor? really screwed everything up. Had it been nominated, it probably would have taken this in a walk. So who wins now? It’s possible the voters will honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg by picking the mediocre doc about her. But I think instead they’ll opt for Free Solo, which was dazzling even if they didn’t see it in theaters. Unfortunately, my beloved Minding the Gap will be forgotten, just like Rockford.

Animal Behaviour
Late Afternoon
One Small Step

Will and should win: Bao
Could win: Weekends
Should have been here: N/A


Will win: Detainment
Could win: Marguerite
Should win: N/A
Should have been here: N/A

Black Sheep
End Game
A Night at the Garden
Period. End of Sentence.

Will win: A Night at the Garden
Could win: End Game
Should win: N/A
Should have been here: N/A

Black Panther
The Favourite
First Man
Mary Poppins Returns

Will win: The Favourite
Could win: Black Panther
Should win: First Man
Should have been here: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Black Panther
The Favourite
Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Queen of Scots

Will and should win: Black Panther
Could win: The Favourite
Should have been here: A Simple Favor

Mary Queen of Scots

Will win: Vice
Could and should win: Mary Queen of Scots
Should have been here: Suspiria

Cold War
The Favourite
Never Look Away
A Star Is Born

Will and should win: Roma
Could win: Cold War
Should have been here: Free Solo

Avengers: Infinity War
Christopher Robin
First Man
Ready Player One

Will win: Avengers: Infinity War
Could win: First Man
Should win: Ready Player One
Should have been here: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Black Klansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book

Will win: Vice
Could win: Bohemian Rhapsody
Should win: Black Klansman
Should have been here: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
A Quiet Place

Will win: Black Panther
Could win: A Quiet Place
Should win: First Man
Should have been here: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
A Star Is Born

Will win: Bohemian Rhapsody
Could and should win: A Star Is Born
Should have been here: Cold War

Black Klansman
Black Panther
If Beale Street Could Talk
Isle of Dogs
Mary Poppins Returns

Will and should win: If Beale Street Could Talk
Could win: Black Panther
Should have been here: First Man

“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)
“All the Stars” (Black Panther)
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” (Mary Poppins Returns)
“I’ll Fight” (RBG)
“Shallow” (A Star Is Born)

Will and should win: “Shallow”
Could win: “I’ll Fight”
Should have been here: “Hearts Beat Loud” (Hearts Beat Loud)

Avengers: Infinity War – Visual Effects
Black Klansman – Adapted Screenplay
Black Panther – Costume Design, Sound Editing
Bohemian Rhapsody – Actor, Sound Mixing
The Favourite – Original Screenplay, Production Design
Free Solo – Documentary Feature
Green Book – Picture, Supporting Actor
If Beale Street Could Talk – Supporting Actress, Original Score
Roma – Directing, Foreign Language Film, Cinematography
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Animated Feature
A Star Is Born – Original Song
Vice – Make-up and Hairstyling, Film Editing
The Wife – Actress

Losers: At Eternity’s Gate; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Border; Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Capernaum; Christopher Robin; Cold War; First Man; First Reformed; Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Incredibles 2; Isle of Dogs; Minding the Gap; Mary Poppins Returns; Mary Queen of Scots; Mirai; Never Look Away; Of Fathers and Sons; A Quiet Place; Ralph Breaks the Internet; RBG; Ready Player One; Shoplifters; Solo

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