The Oscars are this Sunday, so it’s about time to make some predictions. This year, it might be a little more difficult than usual. While there are definitely frontrunners, they’re not quite as predictable as usual.
For once, it’s hard to use the words “frontrunner” and “lock” interchangeably. Sure, some of the categories are no-brainers, but a lot of them are actually pretty tricky this year. This awards season has been a rollercoaster, but there’s enough data out there to come up with a list of solid, if imperfect, predictions.
Like always, keep in mind that this list isn’t about who should win; it’s a list about who is most likely to win. Given the backlash against movies like Green Book and Black Panther, that unfortunately needs to be clarified. Basically, complaints about the movies on this list are probably pointless. Take it up with Academy voters. Now, with that out of the way, let the predictions begin.
1. Best Picture: Roma
When it came to predicting the Best Picture winner in the past, the safest bet would be to pick the PGA winner for Best Theatrical Motion Picture, but this awards season has been all kinds of wild, so all bets are off. Green Book picked up the big Producers Guild Award on January 19th, but most folks weren’t convinced that this was our Best Picture frontrunner. Statistically, the Producers Guild has a stellar track record, but Roma has seemingly dominated the rest of the awards circuit. Sure, none of the other awards have as strong of a correlation, but this kind of dominance can’t be ignored.
Green Book is an obvious dark horse here, but it just doesn’t feel right to label it a frontrunner. To some, that PGA loss pretty much meant Roma was doomed, but there are just so many other elements to look at. If it was as easy as matching up two awards, we wouldn’t need prediction articles like this.
We could read the results of the Producers Guild Awards and call it a day. Green Book is more divisive. Green Book only has won major guild award. Green Book has fallen flat on its face since the PGA win. Green Book would be the worst reviewed winner since Crash.
Roma should be the definitive frontrunner, but that pesky Producers Guild award makes things tricky. While there are countless cases against Green Book, Roma is hardly in the clear. It is our pick, but it’s not something anyone should be placing bets on. Frankly, this is a tricky year. It’s so tricky, that there’s even a possibility that the prize goes to neither of those movies. Roma has the edge, but it’s going to have to fight for the prize.
2. Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron – Roma
Alfonso Cuaron will win his second Best Director award Sunday night. If he wasn’t nominated, Spike Lee would win this with ease, but this is Cuaron’s award. He directed the hell out of his intimate, emotionally powerful drama, and it shows. While it would be great to see Spike Lee finally get recognition for his hard work and contributions to the industry, voters won’t ignore Cuaron’s achievements this year.
3. Best Actor: Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
Remember when Bohemian Rhapsody reviews started pouring in and everyone dismissed its Oscar chances? Those were the days. Now, the (somewhat) critically panned movie has five Oscar nominations, and it has a pretty solid chance of winning four of those awards. Best Picture doesn’t seem like a possibility, but it very well could leave the night with a win in Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Actor. If it somehow manages to leave the night with only one award, that will be for Rami Malek’s performance.
Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t a perfect movie. In fact, it’s seriously far from perfection. The one thing that’s hard to argue about is Malek’s skill in front of the camera. Say what you will about the script and direction, but Malek is a superstar. He embodies Freddie Mercury in a way so few actors could. Even if this is a fictionalized account of the singer’s life, Rami Malek makes things feel oh-so-real.
4. Best Actress: Glenn Close – The Wife
Gaga is out. Glenn Close is in. That became absolutely clear when Glenn Close defied the odds and nabbed the Golden Globe for her performance in The Wife. It could’ve been labelled a fluke if Close didn’t go onto win pretty much every other major award. She won the Globe. She won the SAG award. She won the Critics’ Choice Award. Her only noteworthy loss was at the BAFTAs, but they had an obvious bias toward The Favourite going into the night. There are a couple small things signalling the fact that Close might not win, but the word “small” can’t be ignored.
Her biggest competitor is Olivia Colman, whose game-changing performance has earned her nothing but praise. It has also earned her, as previously stated, a BAFTA. Still, she seems like a mild threat. In other words, she’s the only thing stopping Glenn Close from being a lock. At the end of the day, the odds are still very much in her favor.
5. Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali – Green Book
Mahershala Ali is an absolute lock in this category. In a year where there are so few locks, that’s something worth noting. Ali has picked up pretty much every precursor in the book. Some people believe Richard E Grant may stand a chance, but those people are most likely blinded by some type of weird anti-Green Book bias. Trust us – Mahershala Ali is winning this award.
6. Best Supporting Actress: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Actually, both supporting performances are practically locks. Regina King has a little bit more competition considering her SAG snub and BAFTA loss, but it still seems like a pretty safe bet. The SAG’s eventual winner for Best Supporting Actress isn’t even nominated for an Oscar, and the BAFTA winner seemed like a no-brainer when you consider the overwhelming love for The Favourite in that circle. Basically, while If Beale Street Could Talk got snubbed in a lot of areas, it will hopefully leave the night with at least one win.
It’s a well-deserved win also. This isn’t a particularly strong year in this category. Though the Best Actress category is stacked, Best Supporting Actress is sort of a different story. Out of everyone, Regina King really proved that she can act her ass off. This is a passionate, memorable performance that helps to improve an already stupendous movie. A win for her will be a win for everyone.
7. Best Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman
If Beale Street Could Talk dominated when it came to awards that don’t really matter. For example, it won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, but that’s not a historically reliable source. It also won several screenplay awards from various critics, but they’re even less meaningful. Early in the awards season, If Beale Street Could Talk seemed like a serious threat in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Since the Oscars have mostly ignored the movie, that early frontrunner has fallen and another movie has taken its place.
BlacKkKlansman is now the movie to beat in this category. Like If Beale Street Could, it hasn’t been consistently winning. In fact, ol’ reliable (Writers Guild of America) went rogue and picked Can You Ever Forgive Me? This would be troublesome if other precursors awarded the same movie, but a recent BAFTA win for Spike Lee’s movie proves that people aren’t necessarily on the same page. Aside from that recent victory, BlacKkKlansman has an edge over every other movie because of its quick-witted dialogue and overall likability. That should be enough, but who knows?
8. Best Original Screenplay: Green Book
The majority of people have The Favourite as, well, the favorite in this category. That’s fine. In all honesty, it has a pretty decent chance since it has the snappy, fast-paced dialogue the Oscars tend to love. We’re going to go against the grain though. We’re going to pick Green Book for one reason and one reason only: it’s a crowd-pleaser. People leave this movie feeling happy. At least, that was true until it became so divisive.
As divisive as it is, it’s still a hit among most viewers. It’s rocking an 8.3 on IMDb. While IMDb voters don’t vote for the Oscars, they might prove that the backlash isn’t enough to bring the movie down. This isn’t the most inventive movie out there, but it has quite effortless found a crowd of people who really enjoy it. The Favourite features catty girls insulting each other with oodles of wit and snark, but the Academy might lean toward something a little safer and a little lighter.
9. Best Cinematography: Roma
Roma’s breathtaking black and white cinematography shouldn’t be ignored. There are a total of five gorgeous movies in this category, but Roma is the leader of the pack by a wide margin, and it absolutely should be. Cold War is gorgeous as well, but it just happens to be facing some serious competition in the form of a very similar movie.
Black and white doesn’t always equal good cinematography. Just because it looks artsy doesn’t mean it’s well-shot. In the case of Roma (and Cold War), that actually is the case though. The lack of color isn’t some kind of pretentious artistic statement. It literally works to both movies’ benefits. Roma just happens to do the whole “black and white” thing a little better.
10. Best Costume Design: Black Panther
This is neck-and-neck between The Favourite and Black Panther. Seriously, flip a coin and take your pick. The most reliable precursor, the Costume Designers Guild, break things down by genre, which means both Black Panther and The Favourite picked up a guild award. Black Panther won the award for Excellence in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film while The Favourite took home the prize for Excellence in Period Film. Thanks for the help, Costume Designers Guild.
Black Panther is our predicted winner only because the costumes did so much to enhance the already impressive worldbuilding. The costumes in The Favourite are gorgeous, but they’re familiar to anyone who has seen a period film. The costumes in Black Panther simply feel fresher, and it seems like voters will probably feel the same way. That being said, it shouldn’t be a surprise if Black Panther loses to the other potential winner.
11. Best Film Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
The ACE Eddie awards aren’t as reliable as they used to be. Before 2000, the correlation between Ace Eddie winners and Oscar winners was seriously impressive, but then they decided to break the Best Edited Feature Film award into Comedy and Drama categories and predicting became trickier.
At the same time, there have been several recent occasions where neither ACE Eddie winner goes onto win the Oscar. Back in 2017, for example, the American Cinema Editors (ACE) picked Arrival and La La Land while the Oscars gave their Best Editing award to Hacksaw Ridge. In other words, we can’t use ACE Eddie for Best Editing like we use the PGA for Best Picture.
Among most experts, Vice is considered the frontrunner, and that’s actually a pretty solid prediction. One of the film’s greatest strengths is its strong editing. A win will be an uphill battle though. Frankly, Bohemian Rhapsody seems like a safer bet because it’s a less divisive movie.
Once again, it’s unfair that the Oscars occasionally just pick overall approval rather than what’s best in a particular category, but that seems to be the case. Rotten Tomatoes score aside, people really like Bohemian Rhapsody. That might help it win.
12. Best Makeup and Hair: Vice
Christian Bale is absolutely unrecognizable as Dick Cheyner in Adam McKay’s divisive but surprisingly successful political drama. The other nominees don’t have that going for them. Yes, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie look appropriately old-fashioned in Mary Queen of Scots, but the work being done isn’t outright transformative. Border’s use of makeup is strong as well, but it’s not quite as strong. This is practically a lock.