The 91st Academy Awards are just hours away and yet, with the announcement that the Oscars for Cinematography, Editing, Live Action Short and Make-Up will no longer be banished to commercial breaks, the final ceremony itself still feels very much a work in progress.
This is not the first controversy to hit this year’s awards ceremony. The Academy had previously decided to introduce a new Popular Film category but decided to postpone it after a backlash. The ceremony will also have no main host after actor Kevin Hart pulled out following controversy over homophobic tweets. Thankfully, with less than a week to go it looks like we can finally start concentrating on the awards themselves rather than the logistics of the evening around them – here are our predictions.
A Star Is Born
Director Alfonso Cuarón narrowly missed out on the 2014 Best Picture Oscar for his space-set thriller Gravity, and returned in 2018 with his extremely personal, Netflix-backed Mexican drama Roma. Whilst it’s currently the frontrunner to win Cuarón his first Best Picture Oscar, and riding on the coattails of its recent Bafta success, we do expect some competition from Golden Globe winner Green Book and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite.
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Paweł Pawlikowski (Cold War)
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Adam McKay (Vice)
Another Best Picture win for Cuarón and Roma looks very much on the cards here, though a first Oscar success for the inimitable Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman) would be a very popular choice. It’s also rare to see one, let alone two directors breaking out from the Best Foreign Language Film category into Best Director, though no female directors nominated once more is another indictment on the slow progress the Academy seems to be making.
Winner: Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
The Best Actress race is one of the most intriguing of this year’s award season, with a nice spread between emerging talent and established names. However, everything seems to indicate that Glenn Close will take home the prize for her role in The Wife. Bafta winner Olivia Colman is perhaps best positioned to offer a challenge, while Lady Gaga could be a good outside bet.
Winner: Glenn Close (The Wife)
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Christian Bale (Vice)
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
In stark contrast to the Best Actress race, this year’s Best Actor category feels like its missing several noteworthy potential nominees (Ethan Hawke, Joaquin Phoenix and Ryan Gosling to name just three). However, the momentum seems to very much be with Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek for his turn as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Christian Bale has once again transformed himself for a role, which perhaps puts him as the one to benefit should Malek falter at the final hurdle.
Winner: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams (Vice)
Marina de Tavira (Roma)
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz emerged triumphantly from the Baftas with the Supporting Actress Award, and she’s also in the running here alongside her The Favourite co-star Emma Stone. However, despite not receiving a Bafta nomination, Regina King should come out victorious here for her performance as a battling mother in Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk.
Winner: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Sam Rockwell (Vice)
The Supporting Actor category is shaping up to be a slightly closer affair than its Supporting Actress counterpart, though Mahershala Ali’s Bafta win over Richard E. Grant does offer some suggestion of where this year’s Oscar will likely end up (despite Grant’s awards-worthy social media posts). The growling Sam Elliot could offer up a shock win, though Green Book already seems to have weathered the storm of negative press it received earlier in award season.
Winner: Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite is, quite frankly, The Favourite to win the Oscar for the acerbic, razor-tongued screenplay that took so many years to finally make it to the screen. Paul Schrader would be a popular winner for the criminally under-represented First Reformed, though only Green Book looks capable of offering up a decent challenge in this particular category.
Winner: The Favourite
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born
A long-awaited Academy Award win looks written in the stars for Spike Lee and his latest joint BlacKkKlansman, based on the incredible true story of a black police officer who managed to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan (itself flagged to Lee by Get Out director Jordan Peele). Consider If Beale Street Could Talk – based on the novel by James Baldwin – and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born very much outside bests for this one.
ANIMATED FEATURE: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: RBG
FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: Roma
ORIGINAL SCORE: If Beale Street Could Talk
ORIGINAL SONG: Shallow (A Star Is Born)
SOUND EDITING: First Man
SOUND MIXING: A Star Is Born
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Vice
COSTUME DESIGN: The Favourite
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Black Panther
FILM EDITING: Vice
VISUAL EFFECTS: Avengers: Infinity War
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: Period. End of Sentence.
SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION: Marguerite
SHORT FILM, ANIMATED: Bao
The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles on Sunday 24 February.