Oscar Predictions 2019 | What Will Win and What Should Win

Mark Conroy indulges in his annual act of oracle-like analysis with his Oscar predictions 2019.

Best Picture

What Will Win: Roma

What Should Win: Roma

This year’s best picture race is probably the most open in well over a decade in that over half of the nominees are arguably serious contenders. The crowd-pleasing based-on-real events affairs – historically beloved by the Oscars but haven’t dominated as much as they used to – are back with a vengeance. Inoffensive race relations drama Green Book and Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody won big at the Golden Globes. Green Book also nabbed top honours at the PGAs; a victory which makes the film the slight favourite on paper. Afro-centric superhero effort Black Panther’s shock Best Cast win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and off-kilter period drama The Favourite’s good showing at the BAFTAs means they are far from mere placeholders here.


This is all without even mentioning A Star Is Born, the musical drama remake that seemed to have all the right ingredients for the kind of awards sweep we just don’t see anymore. The critically lauded Lady Gaga-vehicle has gone from red-hot favourite to dark horse in a matter of months but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen for the beardy Bradley show. Saying all this, it seems strange to suggest that a Netflix-produced, Spanish-language drama will end up winning the thing considering it has yet to win a top honour award in the US. Beside it just being the best work on offer here, Roma has the advantage of feeling timely given Trump’s comments on the Hispanic community and Academy voters will have easier access to seeing it than any of the other nominees, which does not count for nothing. But don’t be too surprised if the we end up seeing the most significant upset in Best Picture history since Crash in 2006.

Best Director

Who will Win: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Who Should Win: Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War

Aflonso Cuaron’s much-expected second victory in this category would cap off a pretty astounding decade for Mexican cinema at the Oscars. Should he win, five of the nine Best Director Awards in the 2010s will have gone to filmmakers from his native country. It would be decidedly unfair to call this outcome undeserved. Roma is a deeply personal one for Cuaron, so much so that there is the very real chance he will go home with five awards on the night. It’s also an exquisite film about the needed, rock-steady influence of strong women in times made turbulent by self-involved men. Pawlikowsi’s Cold War, a genuine masterpiece, is just that much more exquisite and that much more heart-breaking. That he was nominated at all was a nice comfort but it’s hard to see him, or the academy, getting this chance again.

Best Actress

Who Will Win: Glenn Close, The Wife

Who Should Win: Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Never underestimate the power of a good campaign. Glenn Close’s performance as the dissatisfied wife of a Nobel laurate was always well received whenever critics saw it on the festival circuit but few predicted she would be in the position she now enjoys. As if by sheer force of will, Close has dragged herself into one-to-beat territory for a film that received no other nominations this year. Hot on her heels is Colman, who gives an obstreperous masterclass as the infantile, desperately sad Queen Anne in The Favourite. For my money, hers would be a deserved win for an actress who is as universally liked as she is undeniably talented.

Best Actor

Who Will Win: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Who Should Win: Christian Bale, Vi—actually, just anybody but Malek

Let’s just get this out of the way, Rami Malek’s take as Freddie Mercury is not good. More lip synch battle than performance, he mimes his way through Queen hits in a decision that turns out to be a relief considering the “accent” that comes out of his actual mouth. He wears joke shop front teeth because surely the dialogue had to seem sensible in comparison to something. Realistically, any of the other nominees here deserve the award above Malek but we don’t live in a just world. No, we live in a world where Bohemian Rhapsody, which looks like it was cut by a blindfolded chimp with an attention disorder, can receive a nomination in editing. Just give it to Christian Bale. He was Batman.


Best Supporting Actor

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Who Should Win: Sam Elliott, A Star is Born

Not two years ago Mahershala Ali won this very award for his standout turn as the fatherly drug dealer in Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. Now he looks set to be the first person since Tom Hanks in 1994 to win two acting Oscars is such quick succession. His turn in Green Book as the erudite, impassioned black musician Don Shirley is the best thing about a film that audiences loved and some critics hated (I think it’s just fine). Aside from winning everything up to now, Ali has the distinct advantage of playing what’s really a lead character. For my money, Sam Elliott gives the best, true supporting performance from the names shortlisted. He is typically grizzled as Jackson Maine’s long-suffering older brother but never has been more humane and never have we been more moved by him.

Best Supporting Actress

Who Will Win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Who Should Win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Sometimes being a lead in the wrong category is an advantage and sometimes it isn’t. Case in point: Best Supporting Actress 2019. The Favourite has three female leads ruthlessly vying for power and affections in an 18th Century royal court. Since you can’t have three leads in one category, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are regulated to supporting status, thus splitting their vote and ruining their chances here. This doesn’t change the fact that they gave us career best work. Regina King, on the other hand, seemed to cement her hold on the gold not long after If Beale Street Could Talk was received rapturously at the Toronto Film Festival. King is a maternal powerhouse in the film too, whose screen time is limited but presence is most certainly felt each time she appears. The surprising inclusion of Roma’s Marina de Tavira is noteworthy, considering de Tavira hadn’t received any major nominations before being recognised here. I smell potential upset (For reference: Marcia Gay Hayden in 2001)

Best Original Screenplay

Who Will Win: Green Book, Nick Vallelonga & Brian Hayes Currie & Peter Farrelly,

Who Should Win: First Reformed, Paul Schrader

More than any other award on the night, this might be the hardest one to predict as four out of the five nominees are in with a shout. Considering the script’s win at the Golden Globes and the zippy, odd couple dialogue that goes down so easily among voters, the writers of Green Book just edge it. Also, the academy just really likes Green Book. The Favourite and Vice both have broader comic elements but still lean towards ‘serious drama with something to say’ which is the sort of material that usually does very well in this category (Vice’s Adam McKay won previously for The Big Short). Cuaron’s screenplay for Roma is obviously another serious contender based on its overall showing. And yet the one that deserves it most is the one that has the least chance of getting it. First Reformed isn’t just a great movie but Paul Schrader, the man who gave us Taxi Driver, is just too good of writer not to have an Oscar.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Who Will Win: Blackkklansman, Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee

Who Should Win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

Oh what a difference 30 years makes. When he was making his best films, Spike Lee’s incisive take on race relations was just too transgressive for an academy even whiter than it is today. Now, with the decent but undeniably affecting Blackkklansman, he has a real shot at taking home his first Oscar. Watch this space as there will be some reception for him as well. His podium moment remains far from a forgone conclusion (noticing a trend?). A Star is Born was the shoe-in here not one month ago and even if it’s train of momentum just never left the station, this could be its one consolation prize after Best Song. Nicole Holofcener’s work on the excellent and underrepresented Can You Ever Forgive Me? would be the worthiest of winners here. It’s a deft, devastating script and it’s win at the WGA’s was a nice surprise but it just might be too subtle for the voters.

Best Documentary

What Will Win: Free Solo

What Should Win: Free Solo

The best documentary of last year, Shirkers, hasn’t gotten the love it should have so it’s been shut out here. Of the docs that do make the shortlist, Free Solo—about a man who climbs mountain faces without safety ropes—is both the best effort here and the most likely to win. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s film is not just an gut-wrenching vertigo inducer but also a compelling character study about someone who defies death to feel alive.

Best Animated Feature

What Will Win: Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse

What Should Win: Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse

Everyone thought that Pixar would walk this one again after the raves and mammoth box office takings for Incredibles 2. But no, out of nowhere, it looks a true original has swung in from a skyscraper to claim the crown. Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse isn’t just the best animated movie of the year, it should have been a Best Picture nominee.

And  some of the rest..

Best Cinematography

What Will Win: Roma

What Should Win: Cold War

Best Film Editing

What Will Win: Vice

What Should Win: Vice

Best Foreign Language Film

What Will win: Roma

What Should win: Cold War

Best Original Score

What Will Win: If Beale Street Could Talk

What Should Win: If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Costume Design

What Will Win: The Favourite

What Should Win: The Favourite

Best Production Design

What Will Win: The Favourite

What Should Win: The Favourite

Best Make Up and Hair

What will Win: Vice

What Should Win: Vice

Best Visual Effects

What Will Win: Avengers: Infinity War

What Should Win: First Man

Best Sound Mixing

What Will Win: First Man

What Should Win: First Man

Best Sound Editing

What Will Win: A Quiet Place

What Should Win: A Quiet Place

Best Original Song

What Will Win: “Shallow”, A Star is Born

What Should Win: “All The Stars”, Black Panther

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