Who will, could and should win the 2019 Academy Awards

Scenes from movies nominated for Oscars Best Picture
Alexander Hong/Staff

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This year’s Academy Awards are already a mess. As the telecast approaches, there’s an impending sense of despair as both the logistics of the event and the awards season lead-up have been a general dumpster fire of controversy. That being said, there were still some good movies in 2018, so hopefully, the Sunday finish line to this disaster won’t be as disappointing as all of the Academy’s misfirings of the last few months.

The slate of nominees across categories this year includes some notable duds (namely “Green Book,” “Vice” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”) amid some true cinematic achievements that will hopefully prevail from the detritus left by many of the subpar awards show choices. This awards season has truly been a wild ride; fingers crossed that optimism will prevail and the Oscars will emerge from this critical inferno having made some good choices. With that, here are our predictions for the 91st Academy Awards.

— Camryn Bell

Best picture

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

“Roma” is the current front-runner, its praise as a lavish formal achievement having earned it numerous precursors throughout awards season. But its no-show in film editing, a nomination that has been a surprising determinant for the best picture winner, is concerning. “Green Book” has proven to be its main threat over the season; though it doesn’t have a directing nomination, neither did 1990’s winner “Driving Miss Daisy.” Also, because the world is a nightmare, watch for a “Bohemian Rhapsody” spoiler, as the film could land itself as a consensus favorite with the preferential balloting system.

— Jackson Kim Murphy

What will win: “Roma”

What could win: “Green Book”

What should win: “BlacKkKlansman”

What should be here: “First Man,” “If Beale Street Could Talk”

 

Lead actor

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

What was once a close race now almost looks to be Malek’s to lose for his self-conscious, buck-toothed impression of a Freddie Mercury animatronic. His only possible competition is Bale’s rigorous turn as thicc former vice president Dick Cheney, which garnered both a Critics’ Choice Award and a Golden Globe. But, really, it’s Cooper who should be winning this, as an award for bringing “A Star Is Born” to fruition, and also so we don’t have to wonder when he will finally get the prize for years to come.

— Jackson Kim Murphy

Who will win: Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Who could win: Christian Bale, “Vice”

Who should win: Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”

Who should be here: Ethan Hawke, “First Reformed”

 

Lead actress

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

Close leads all living actors for the dishonor of having been nominated the most times without ever winning, at seven. “The Wife” is about as milquetoast as a movie called “The Wife” could be (love letters on walnuts are a plot device, for God’s sake), but it seems the actress’s time has come. Colman’s priceless turn as an oblivious, omnipotent Queen Anne has become the potential spoiler, with a BAFTA win.

— Jackson Kim Murphy

Who will win: Glenn Close, “The Wife”

Who could win: Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”

Who should win: Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Who should be here: Regina Hall, “Support the Girls”

 

Supporting actor

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

It’s only been two years since Ali’s victory in this category for “Moonlight,” and yet here we are again, with the actor having won practically every precursor there is for his stiffly principled rendering of Don Shirley in “Green Book.” Elliott and Grant would be terrific winners, both acknowledging their diverse, decades-spanning bodies of work and awarding some of their best performances yet. As typically great as Driver is, he’ll have many more shots at this. And the less said about Rockwell’s sub-“SNL” impression in “Vice” the better..

— Jackson Kim Murphy

Who will win: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

Who could win: Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Who should win: Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”

Who should be here: Steven Yeun, “Burning”

 

Supporting actress

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

King has emerged as an awards season favorite in this category, and rightfully so for her simultaneously tender and grounded performance as Sharon Rivers in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Though King is the clear front-runner, the one-two punch of Stone and Weisz in “The Favourite” are also formidable contenders, with Weisz’s performance emerging as the stronger of the two for her calculating portrayal of Lady Marlborough. But even with this relatively stacked supporting actress category, neither Stone, Weisz nor the other nominees are up to par with King’s performance, which is a precise and expert characterization. King is the unequivocally correct choice for this category this year.

— Camryn Bell

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

Who could win: Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

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

Who should be here: Zoe Kazan, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

 

Best director

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

No director nominated for a foreign-language film has ever won, but records were meant to be broken. The technical facility of “Roma” is well-known, and Cuarón has the weight of the BAFTAs and Directors Guild behind him. Hell, he even won the Globe without “Roma” being nominated for best picture there. It’s not a particularly exciting race, and it certainly doesn’t help that not one nominee is turning career-best work. But if the academy wanted to honor a voice, there’s no artist who’s proven more deserving of recognition over their career than Spike Lee.

— Jackson Kim Murphy

Who will win: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Who could win: Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”

Who should win: Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”

Who should be here: Chloé Zhao, “The Rider”

 

Best original screenplay

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

Most of the controversy surrounding “Green Book” is regarding its screenplay, which was written without consulting the Don Shirley estate and attempts to tackle racism with obtuse “why can’t we all just get along?” prerogatives. “The Favourite” has taken more precursors, but a “Green Book” win here is too fitting a capper on this fiasco to not strap in for.

— Jackson Kim Murphy

Who will win: Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, “Green Book”

Who could win: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, “The Favourite”

Who should win: Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”

Who should be here: Oja Kodar and Orson Welles, “The Other Side of the Wind”

 

Best adapted screenplay

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

With Cuarón likely having best director in the bag, the academy would still surely like to get Lee up onstage somehow. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” won at the Writers Guild awards, but the Oscar will most likely go to Lee, who, despite writing the majority of his films, has not received a screenwriting award (the last time he was nominated for best original screenplay was for “Do the Right Thing” in 1990). Barry Jenkins’ screenplay for “If Beale Street Could Talk,” however, is the just winner of this category, especially in light of the film’s overall snubbing by the academy.

— Camryn Bell and Jackson Kim Murphy

Who will win: Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Wilmott, “BlacKkKlansman”

Who could win: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Who should win: Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Who should be here: Josh Singer, “First Man”

 

Best documentary feature

  • “Of Fathers and Sons”
  • “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
  • “Minding the Gap”
  • “Free Solo”
  • “RBG”

After a couple years of truly stacked documentary categories, this year’s slate is no exception, with a number of critical and commercial successes tackling a breadth of subjects. “RBG” was a topical hit of this year, complementing its dramatic counterpart “On the Basis of Sex” and being a politically and pop culturally relevant tribute to our communal love and respect of the inimitable judge. “Free Solo,” however, has also captured our collective attention — while also being a single-subject feature, the staggering cinematic capture of Alex Honnold ascending El Capitan without ropes or safety equipment is a once-in-a-lifetime feat. Though the sheer technical prowess combined with character study makes “Free Solo” a justified winner, director Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap” is still the most compelling of this group. The film, which delves into the director’s own life alongside two of his friends, is a complex and moving study on trauma, friendship, masculinity and race — all set amid the joyful, exuberant background of skateboarding.

— Camryn Bell

Who will win: “Free Solo”

Who could win: “RBG”

Who should win: “Minding the Gap”

Who should have been nominated: “Monrovia, Indiana”

 

Best animated feature

Who will win: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Who could win: “Incredibles 2”

Who should win: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Who should have been nominated: “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”

 

Best foreign feature

Who will win: “Roma”

Who could win: “Cold War”

Who should win: “Shoplifters”

Who should have been nominated: “Burning”

 

Best cinematography

Who will win: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Who could win: Łukasz Żal, “Cold War”

Who should win: Matthew Libatique, “A Star Is Born”

Who should have been nominated: Joshua James Richards, “The Rider”

 

Best film editing

Who will win: “Vice”

Who could win: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Who should win: “BlacKkKlansman”

Who should have been nominated: “First Man”

 

Best production design

Who will win: “The Favourite”

Who could win: “Black Panther”

Who should win: “First Man”

Who should have been nominated: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

 

Best costume design

Who will win: “Black Panther”

Who could win: “The Favourite”

Who should win: “Black Panther”

Who should have been nominated: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

 

Best makeup and hairstyling

Who will win: “Vice”

Who could win: “Mary Queen of Scots”

Who should win: “Border”

Who should have been nominated: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

 

Best original score

Who will win: Ludwig Göransson, “Black Panther”

Who could win: Nicholas Britell, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Who should win: Nicholas Britell, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Who should have been nominated: Michel Legrand, “The Other Side of the Wind”

 

Best original song

Who will win: “Shallow,” “A Star Is Born”

Who could win: “All the Stars,” “Black Panther”

Who should win: “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

Who should have been nominated: “OYAHYTT,” “Sorry to Bother You”

 

Best sound editing

Who will win: “A Quiet Place”

Who could win: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Who should win: “First Man”

Who should have been nominated: “Zama”

 

Best sound mixing

Who will win: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Who could win: “Roma”

Who should win: “A Star Is Born”

Who should’ve been nominated: “Leave No Trace”

 

Best visual effects

Who will win: “Avengers: Infinity War”

Who could win: “Ready Player One”

Who should win: “Ready Player One”

Who should’ve been nominated: “Welcome to Marwen”

Jackson Kim Murphy covers film. Contact him at [email protected].
Camryn Bell covers film and television. Contact her at [email protected].