As the Oscars 2019 are upon us, here’s a look at the nominees, who should win and who will win. In addition to predicting the results that will be declared on Sunday’s show, I also rank the nominees in certain categories for which I have seen all the nominated films
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
NOMINEES RANKED, AND PREDICTIONS—WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN
1. Green Book
2. Bohemian Rhapsody
3. A Star Is Born
6. The Favourite
8. Black Panther
In my opinion, they could have done with fewer best picture nominees this year—those ranked among top few above. Vice was a discovery, which started out as frustratingly right-wing and pro-Cheney, and silently drifted towards becoming a fair critique, and ended on a surprising high. Roma was a gem of a film; honest and pure, simple yet impactful. A Star Is Born was gut-wrenchingly real and painful, and beautifully performed and conveyed. Bohemian Rhapsody was in-your-face and exciting, yet incredibly layered and complex, with a heart-warming take on family of different kinds. But the film that was relevant and real, simple yet effective, and so beautifully portrayed an unlikely friendship and a change of perspective was Green Book.
Should win: Green Book
Will win: Roma
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
1. Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
2. The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos
3. Vice, Adam McKay
4. BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee
5. Cold War, Paweł Pawlikowski
Bradley Cooper was robbed. He definitely deserved this for A Star Is Born, more than at least a couple of the nominees here. Spike Lee is here because he’s Spike Lee, and Cold War—yes, good, but Oscars good—I think not. Vice was a tough one, yet executed well. The Favourite was convoluted and complex, yet delivered with strong direction. However, Roma! The purity of heart through the quietest moments, delivering complexity through sheer simplicity—it all came through tremendously.
Should win: Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
Will win: Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
1. Glenn Close, The Wife
2. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite
4. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
5. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Melissa McCarthy was really good, so it’s unsettling to have her at number five. However, Yalitza Aparicio so silently stole the show in Roma. Olivia Colman was delightfully crazy and disturbing, while Lady Gaga blew us away with her first leading role in a feature, with her poignant portrayal of Ally. Glenn Close though! Her silent moments and delivery infused with conflict, layered pain, regret, self-loathing and pure desperation—all conveyed with incredible restraint—makes her worthy of the Oscar she’ll win.
Should win: Glenn Close
Will win: Glenn Close
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
1. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
2. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
3. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
4. Christian Bale, Vice
5. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity's Gate
Bale is a frontrunner, but I think he wasn’t as impressive as a couple of the others. Viggo Mortensen was far better than I expected him to be in Green Book, completely different from himself in diction and demeanour. However, this year, there’s Rami Malek, who deliciously conveyed the flamboyant heart and soul of Queen, with disguised pain and not-so-disguised desires. That’s why he’ll win, and he’ll deserve it, but I really wish Cooper would win this year, for his complete transformation in A Star Is Born. I don’t mean through costumes or prosthetics, but through completely hiding Bradley Cooper and showing us only the complex, conflicted Jackson Maine, with a harsh exterior, but not without the purest of intentions and a complete generosity of spirit.
Should win: Bradley Cooper
Will win: Rami Malek
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1. Emma Stone, The Favourite
2. Amy Adams, Vice
3. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
4. Marina de Tavira, Roma
5. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Regina King is a frontrunner, but for the life of me, I can’t see why, especially given the company she’s in here. (Though I am a Regina King fan; she's a powerful performer and I would love to see her win one day, but not for this.) Marina de Tavira made an impact as the scorned wife with an unapologetically cynical take on things. Rachel Weisz dominated the screen on so many occasions in The Favourite; and she was so sympathetic after that riding accident! Amy Adams stole the show as Lynne Cheney, putting the family’s political ambition over the family’s peace with such steely resolve even. But Emma Stone portrayed Abigail with all the conniving deviousness she could. Yes those eyes are big, but she really knows how to put the life in them.
Should win: Emma Stone
Will win: Regina King
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book
2. Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
3. Sam Rockwell, Vice
4. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
5. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
As Mahershala Ali emerged as a frontrunner, I was skeptical, especially since I didn’t think he deserved his win for Moonlight two years ago. But that of course was because of the role and how I wasn't convinced that it warranted that win. This year though, he was perfect in Green Book. The role demanded a lot from him, and he delivered, with admirable composure, and restraint, even with the loss of control in Don Shirley’s desperate moments. Yes, Elliott was a heart-breaking scene stealer, Rockwell rocked the George W. Bush expression, and Grant did a phenomenal job at the end of Can You Ever Forgive Me?—which is surely the reason why he’s nominated—but Ali!
Should win: Mahershala Ali
Will win: Mahershala Ali
1. A Star Is Born, Screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters
2. Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
3. BlacKkKlansman, Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
4. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
5. If Beale Street Could Talk, Written for the screen by Barry Jenkins
A Star Is Born could win this, and since it’ll most likely not win the big prize, this could seem like a consolation. But Roth, Cooper and Fetters really deserve it. The other films don’t even come close; especially not numbers 3, 4 and 5 on the list above. However, I suspect this will be the one and only win for BlacKkKlansman. It’ll be the Get Out of the year in this sense; though Get Out was phenomenally better.
Should win: A Star Is Born
Will win: BlacKkKlansman
1. Green Book, Written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
2. Roma, Written by Alfonso Cuarón
3. Vice, Written by Adam McKay
4. The Favourite, Written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
5. First Reformed, Written by Paul Schrader
Green Book has an edge over Roma here in my opinion. It’s better-rounded as a script, even though Roma is as earnest as they come. Vice made it here for its silent turnaround of voice, and The Favourite delivers on various levels.
Should win: Green Book
Will win: Green Book
ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
1. Bohemian Rhapsody John Ottman
2. Vice, Hank Corwin
3. The Favourite, Yorgos Mavropsaridis
4. Green Book, Patrick J. Don Vito
5. BlacKkKlansman, Barry Alexander Brown
Bohemian Rhapsody kept things moving dynamically, but not without seamlessly slowing down for the more tender moments. Through the performances and the recordings, and especially through the Live Aid sequence—it was all right where it had to be. Vice used narrative tools with impact, and the editing in The Favourite truly celebrated the excellence in visuals. But Rhapsody deserves this one.
Should win: Bohemian Rhapsody
Will win: Bohemian Rhapsody
ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN
1. First Man, Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas
2. Black Panther, Production Design: Hannah Beachler; Set Decoration: Jay Hart
3. The Favourite, Production Design: Fiona Crombie; Set Decoration: Alice Felton
4. Mary Poppins Returns, Production Design: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
5. Roma, Production Design: Eugenio Caballero; Set Decoration: Bárbara Enríquez
I would like to celebrate First Man for its brilliant recreation of history and something real. However, the scale of Black Panther and the imagination and execution that brought together Wakanda—that could win. But then again, the brilliant use of space and effectively bringing alive the world of The Favourite might just take it home.
Should win: First Man
Will win: The Favourite
ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Cold War, Łukasz Żal
The Favourite, Robbie Ryan
Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
A Star Is Born, Matthew Libatique
Saying so much without saying anything was what gave Roma tremendous heart and soul throughout the film. Cinematography was as crucial and as well executed as it could get.
ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Avengers: Infinity War, Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick
Christopher Robin, Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Corbould
First Man, Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm
Ready Player One, Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk
Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy
More real than a CGI spectacle like Infinity War, First Man wouldn’t be the first quieter film to have won in this category.
ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Mary Zophres
Black Panther, Ruth Carter
The Favourite, Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns, Sandy Powell
Mary Queen of Scots, Alexandra Byrne
It was challenging and a humongous task to dress all those extras with perfection, in addition to the stellar looks of the main cast, while staying true to the era portrayed. The Favourite has this coming.
ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Border, Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer
Mary Queen of Scots, Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks
Vice, Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney
The Academy loves transformational prosthetics. And did you see Christian Bale! Not only did he look completely different from himself in Vice, but even through various stages of Dick Cheney's ageing.
ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Black Panther, Ludwig Goransson
BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard
If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman
You know which movie should have been here? First Man—for its haunting yet moving and uplifting theme that sent shivers during several moments through the film. Alas, this set of nominees has left me wanting better, more memorable music. This is a difficult one to predict, but I think it’ll be Black Panther for the cultural significance of its score.
ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)
“All The Stars” from Black Panther
Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth and Anthony Tiffith; Lyric by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe
“I'll Fight” from RBG
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns
Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
“Shallow” from A Star Is Born
Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Music and Lyric by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
This one’s probably the most predictable of the lot. And “Shallow” most certainly deserves it.
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Black Panther, Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone
First Man, Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
A Quiet Place, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
Roma, Sergio Díaz and Skip Lievsay
Getting the silent moments right, maintaining the pulse of ambient sound, and especially nailing it for low-pressure environments portrayed—with sound effects of breath and everything else—will win First Man this one.
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Black Panther, Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Peter Devlin
Bohemian Rhapsody, Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali
First Man, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis
Roma, Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio García
A Star Is Born, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow
The coming together of musically explosive moments make Rhapsody and Star clash a little here, but Rhapsody was just more dynamic, and hence more impressive.
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
I really thought it would be Incredibles 2, but Spider-Verse’s cult following grew so fast, and one didn’t even realize when it became the popular choice as the one to beat.
Cold War, Poland
Never Look Away, Germany
Earlier when the best picture category had 10 nominees, they would nominate one animated film and that made the animated feature win obvious. This year, the same has happened with foreign language. But yes, Roma does deserve this, and I’ll say this even though I’ve only seen that and Cold War from this list.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
A Night at The Garden
Period. End of Sentence.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
One Small Step
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM