By: Emily Miller
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The Oscars.
With no clear front runner in most categories, four films with a chance to win Best Picture, a performance by Queen and no host, this year’s ceremony is shaping up to be a crazy and unpredictable ride. Oscar bloggers and predictors alike have proclaimed this the most difficult year in recent memory to predict.
But it’s okay y’all, together we are going to keep calm, let Jesus take the wheel, and win that Oscar pool.
Will Win: Roma
Could Win: Green Book
Dark Horse: BlacKKKlansman
Long Shot: The Favorite
Every year there is usually one front runner who sweeps all the major awards. This year not only is that not the case, but the love has been shared between almost every film nominated in this category. Out of the eight nominees, only won film (Vice) hasn’t won some significant Award that’s a precursor to predict this category.
A long shot at this year’s awards is The Favorite. It started out as an early front runner for Best Picture, but took a really bad turn when Green Book seemingly beat it out of no where for Best Comedy at the Golden Globes. While it has since won the BAFTA for Best British Picture and the Critic’s Choice for Best Acting Ensemble, it still has never fully recovered from that major upset. Because of it’s win at these Awards show, it’s still very much in the conversation.
The dark horse to watch here is BlacKKKlansman. It won the prestigious Grand Prize of the Jury award at the Cannes Film Festival. Now although it hasn’t won many other awards, this film has two important things going for it currently, likability and good momentum. Many secret Oscar ballots have revealed many voters putting this film at the top spot. It’s universally a beloved film, and positive word of mouth has really brought this film back to the forefront of the Best Picture race. Many argue that it’s also become the most relevant film to 2018. It’s also my favorite picture of the year.
If there is an upset this year, look to the film that has been breaking hearts all year, Green Book. When it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Comedy, people were surprised it snuck into a very crowded category. And then it somehow won the Award beating out early favorites like Vice and The Favorite. That’s when people took notice, and it’s been in the conversation ever since. The film takes a complicated subject matter and turns it into an easy going film that everyone can relate to. If voters find a movie entirely in Spanish not accessible, look to Green Book for the upset. Something they’ve become quite good at this point.
And finally the closest thing to a front runner this category has, Roma. If it hasn’t won the Best Picture prize at all the major awards, then it won The Best Foreign Picture Award, proving it’s universally loved in some capacity. In theory it should have nothing standing in it’s way. However, Roma is not the easiest of films to watch. It is spoken entirely in Spanish and is in black and white. If these elements are too much for some voters, look to the above three films for a more traditional winner.
Will Win: Glenn Close, The Wife
Could Win: Olivia Coleman, The Favorite
At the start of Award’s season, this was Coleman’s Oscar to lose for playing the wild, outrageous and delirious Queen Anne. And while she did win Best Actress in a comedy at the Golden Globes, Glenn Close became the biggest surprise of the night for her win for Best Actress in a drama. Since then, she has not stopped winning, including the SAG for Best Actress. (The SAGS are the best pre cursor for an Oscar win as actors make up the largest voting body of the Academy.) While Coleman did just pick up a win at the BAFTAS, ultimately it’s Close’s to lose. Not only did she give a tremendous performance in The Wife, but she somehow has never actually won an Oscar, though she’s been nominated seven times in her over forty year career. This Oscar encompasses her performance in this film, while also becoming a sort of career Oscar for her.
Will Win: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Could Win: Christian Bale, Vice
This category started out as a hot mess. But then Malek won the Golden Globe for Best Actor and the race settled down. Bradley Cooper had a shot at the Award, until the Academy shut A Star is Born out of a lot of categories, showing they weren’t as enthusiastic about the film as they once were. Viggo Mortensen was in the conversation as well, until he casually dropped the n word at a publicity event for his film. Which left Bale and Malek to compete for the top honor. Although Bale gave an incredible performance, he hasn’t gained traction for his role, partly because of the subject matter, (seriously who likes Dick Cheney) and because a lot of voters seemingly lost him in all of his prosthetics. Which left Malek, with a remarkable performance as Freddie Mercury, as King of the Oscars. Still, if voters are upset with the sexual assault allegations against the film’s director Bryan Singer, look back to Bale.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Will Win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Could Win: Rachel Wiesz, The Favorite
King was the easy favorite for her work in If Beale Street Could Talk. Up until this point she has won an impressive 25 awards for her work. However, she has recently had some complications. If Beale Street Could Talk was left out of the Best Picture race. She also lost the SAG and BAFTA awards. (To be fair she wasn’t nominated, but still.) Those are two tough races to lose. However she is still the front runner because of how many awards she has won, and her overall likability as an actress and person. But if there is an upset, look to Rachel Wiesz the actress who just took home the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Could Win: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
While Green Book has had it’s fair share of controversies and problems, one thing that has never come into question is the grace and gravitas that is Ali’s performance. In particular there was a scene in the film where Ali cried in the pouring rain lamenting that he was not white enough or black enough to fit in anywhere. It was beautiful, moving, powerful, relevant and 100% Oscar. He’s won every major award for this role up until this point, so it’s his to lose. But, if the Oscars gave out a Miss Congeniality Award, it would go to the darling Richard E. Grant. If anyone can charm their way to an Award, it’s this guy.
Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Could Win: Spike Lee (BlacKKKlansman)
Typically this award is given out to the director whose film is most likely to win Best Picture. With Roma poised to win the biggest award, Alfonso Cuaron has become the one to beat. He’s an Academy darling, having been nominated for a career total of ten Oscars, with two wins, one of which was for Best Director six years ago for the film Gravity. This year he has won the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critic’s Choice and most importantly, the Director’s Guild Award for Best Directing. However, he is nominated against one of the most influential and biggest names in the directing world, Spike Lee. Even more compelling, Lee has incredibly never been nominated for Directing by the Academy. If voters want to fix one of their most egregious errors, look to Lee for the upset.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Will Win: The Favorite
Could Win: Green Book
There is a lot of love for The Favorite. Despite tying for the film with the most nominations this year, it’s not poised to win too many. If voters want to honor this spectacular film in a major category, this is their only spot to do it. It’s also everything Hollywood writers love to honor, smart, sassy and a story that depends utterly on it’s words. While it’s a rarity for a film to win an Oscar without the Writer’s Guild Award, The Favorite was rendered ineligible to compete in the category, which means voters will want to reward it here. However, the entire voting body that is pushing for Green Book to win Best Picture will be voting hard for it here. If Green Book eventually sweeps Best Picture, look to this category as an early indicator.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Will Win: BlacKKKlansman
Could Win: If Beale Street Could Talk
Although BlacKKKlansman is probably not going to win Best Picture, it may just be the most popular and well reviewed film of the year. Secret Oscar ballots have revealed that this film was on top for a lot of voting members. So what category can people honor this incredible film in? It looks like it’s going to be shut out of Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actor. This leaves Best Adapted Screenplay as it’s last best hope. Though it’s a very crowded category, the crowd favorite should come out on top. If there is an upset look to If Beale Street Could Talk. It was a gorgeous adaptation that also comes with a really strong fan base.
Will Win: Roma
Could Win: A Cold War
There are very few recognizable names in the cinematography category. Alfonso Cuaron is one of them. Poised to win Best Director, it seems only natural that he will also receive an Oscar for his equally impressive work in cinematography. He’s won almost every major award this year which makes him the front runner. But the key word in that previous sentence was ‘almost.’ The crucial award Cuaron failed to secure was the top prize from the American Society of Cinematographers. This is a troubling award to lose when vying for the Oscar in Best Cinematography. Ultimately because voting in this category is open to everyone at the Oscars, and not just exclusively cinematographers like ASC, Cuaron still has the edge. But if he loses, it will be to the winner of the ASC Awards, Cold War.
BEST FILM EDITING:
Will Win: Vice
Could Win: Bohemian Rhapsody
This was one of the toughest categories to predict this year, with all five films nominated in this category, vying for Best Picture. Ultimately it has come down to two of the flashiest films, Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody. The American Cinema Editor’s Award gave their top honor to Bohemian Rhapsody, while Vice won the top prize at the BAFTAS. So who has the slight edge? Typically in the last decade, the winner at the BAFTAS has gone on to win the Oscar more than the ACE, so my vote is for Vice, whose editor already has two nominations in this category. However, if it comes down to likability, obviously Freddie Mercury beats Dick Cheney.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Will Win: The Favorite
Could Win: Black Panther
While the Academy has made a push of inviting young hip diverse voters to bring about new and exciting nominees, there are some traditions that they will not be able to shake. Giving Best Production Design to a big, beautiful, dominant, period piece vying for Best Picture is not something that will be messed with. Look to The Favorite for the win. However if there is an upset, it will go to Black Panther for literally creating an entirely new world in Wakanda.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Will Win: The Favorite
Could Win: Black Panther
Going off the above explanation above, the fluffiest, frilliest, gorgeous period piece typically wins when it comes to rewarding costumes. This year there were two that fit that bill, Mary Queen of Scots and The Favorite. Out of those two, the favorite became The Favorite. It has a Best Picture nomination over Mary, and voters tend to reward films with more recognition. The Favorite also has won of the biggest names in costume designer attached to it, Sandy Powell. She has been nominated twelve times for this award, and has won three. However, she is nominated against herself in this category for Mary Poppins Returns. If voting splits between her two films, look to Black Panther for the upset. It created realistic clothes for an entirely new world.
BEST MAKEUP & HAIR STYLING:
Will Win: Vice
Could Win: Mary Queen of Scots
This category rewards two types of films, bio pictures that helped transform actors into real people, or whatever film in this category is nominated for Best Picture. This year, there is a film that encompasses both, Vice. Not only is it in the Best Picture race, it also transformed one the of the most beautiful men in Hollywood, into one of the ugliest men in politics. If there is an upset, look to the gorgeously designed Mary Queen of Scots whose wigs and smallpox make up absolutely dazzled.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Will Win: If Beale Street Could Talk
Could Win: Black Panther
This is another disgustingly difficult category to predict. Essentially all five films nominated have merits for winning this award. Ultimately it has come down to two front runners, If Beale Street Could Talk and Black Panther. One has a gorgeous, rich, traditional score that campaigned HARD for this award, and has already inspired countless youtube dance videos. The other brought an Afro-funk fusion to a superhero genre that doesn’t typically value music at the top of it’s must haves. Ultimately, the large fan base of If Beale Street Could Talk, (which was left out of the Best Picture race) should unite here. More traditional Oscar voters as well would gravitate towards this film. But if music lovers want to reward a genre defying score, look to Black Panther for the win.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
Will Win: A Star Is Born, “Shallow”
Could Win: Black Panther, “All the Stars”
The closest thing to a lock across all categories is Lady Gaga’s hit song, “Shallow.” It’s won every major Award up until this point, and it allows the Academy to give Lady Gaga an Oscar outside of the acting categories. The song is also incredibly catchy with likability across all genres. It’s reminiscent of older ceremonies where the Best Song winner was popular on the radio. The Oscars have also heavily marketed that Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will be singing this song live. Making them a huge part of the publicity campaign seems a little odd if they were confident they would win. But if people are suffering from “Shallow” fatigue, look for the very sleek and cool “All the Stars” from the popular Black Panther for the win.
BEST SOUND MIXING:
Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody
Could Win: A Star is Born
This category always rewards musicals when they are nominated. This year two musicals, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born are nominated. The edge here goes to the film with the best momentum, Bohemian Rhapsody. A Star is Born severely underplayed at the nominations ceremony this year, and Rhapsody is fresh off its BAFTAS win for Best Sound Design. If there is an upset, look to the other musical with a strong fan base and small chances at winning other awards.
BEST SOUND EDITING:
Will Win: First Man
Could Win: Bohemian Rhapsody
This is probably the biggest risk I’ve taken this year. Usually sound mixing and editing go hand in hand. However there is a growing trend recently with voters who have begun to recognize that these two categories are separate. In the last seven years, these categories have been split four times, something unprecedented before that. Which is why I’m giving the slight edge to an unlikely contender, First Man. Even though it failed to make an impact at this year’s awards, everyone unanimously agreed that the sound in this film was incredible, particularly the scene where they land on the moon. If voters want to reward this little nominated film in a big way, there only chance is this category. However, if voters are cutting corners with films they had to watch, look to Bohemian Rhapsody, which is nominated for Best Picture to win.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Will Win: Avengers Infinity War
Could Win: First Man
While there has recently been a growing trend to reward smaller films, ultimately this category goes for the big loud blockbuster. This is why the edge goes to Avengers Infinity War. It won the highest awards at the Visual Effects Society, meaning people in this field believe it’s the best Picture of the year. However, this category is open to all voters, not just those in this industry. If Avengers doesn’t win, look to First Man for the upset. It’s the only film in this category to receive nominations outside of this category, making the film more legitimate to the untrained eye. If Avengers loses, blame the popular vote.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
Will Win: Free Solo
Could Win: RBG
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED/ BIGGEST SNUB EVER: Won’t You Be My Neighbor
If this was a popularity contest, the notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s documentary on her life would be the clear favorite. But the world is sometimes cruel, just ask the filmmakers behind the Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor WHICH SOMEHOW DID NOT RECEIVE A NOMINATION. The winner this year is most likely Free Solo the incredible documentary on a man who climbs the worlds largest summits without any equipment. Not only is it a jaw dropping story, it has even more impressive visuals. It’s cinematography is simply breathtaking. However, never count the notorious RBG out, as she made a spectacular return to the bench in the midst of Oscar voting.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:
Will Win: Period. End of Sentence
Could Win: Black Sheep
This was a spectacular year for documentary shorts. There are five brilliant nominees, all with their own merits. The slight edge goes to Period. End of Sentence. When the nominees were first revealed, this was the only film nominated that I had heard of before. With voting for this category open to all Oscar voters, name recognition means everything. It’s also the only somewhat light hearted film nominated. In a crowded category with nazis, racism, end of life facilties and the refugee crisis, a film about women getting pads for the first time and allowing them to go to school and take back ownership on their bodies, is a lightening rod of hope. Still if people want something a bit more relevant, look to Black Sheep a timely film about racism to shine.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Will Win: Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse
Could Win: The Incredibles 2
Up until December, it would have been laughable to think anything could dethrone The Incredibles 2 out of Best Animated Feature. It was the highly anticipated sequel to Best Animated Feature winner The Incredibles and when released, it received critical acclaim. Then Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse came out and everything changed. It was an adorable coming of age film, that featured a black boy in the role of the typically white Spiderman. It was sharp, funny, poignant, relevant and a critical hit among critics and audiences alike. It has since gone on to win almost every major award, including the Annie’s top prize, the biggest Award in children’s entertainment. Still, it’s been twelve years since Disney or Pixar lost this category and Brad Bird writer/director of Incredibles 2 already has two Oscars in this category. So if voters are looking for something a bit more traditional, look to Pixar for the upset.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM:
Will Win: Bao
Could Win: Late Afternoon
This category typically rewards deeply personal stories, or Pixar. This year there is a film that miraculously encompasses both, Bao. The film is about a Chinese woman suffering from empty nest syndrome who suddenly has one of her dumplings come to life, from powerhouse studio Pixar. The cherry on top is this is the first short film from the major studio to have a female director. However there is always a group of voters who don’t want to support Pixar on principle. If enough voters band together this year, look to Late Afternoon for the upset. A sweet sad story about a woman suffering from dementia as she goes in and out of her memories. It’s a traditionally animated film and it’s from an up and coming Irish studio.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM:
Will Win: Marguerite
Could Win: Skin
This year the nominees for this category were particularly dark and low key disturbing. Most of the films focused on children in jeopardy or children being abused. In this sad horrifying category, Marguerite stands out the most. It’s a gripping story about a dying woman sharing a long buried secret with her care giver. It’s the only one that allows viewers to feel something other than horror. But if voters are looking for something a bit more relevant, look to Skin, which had a truly shocking and unforgettable final scene.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
Will Win: Roma
Could Win: Cold War
As the front runner for Best Picture, Roma should be a lock for Best Foreign Language Film. However this is a tough year and no one is safe unless you’re Lady Gaga. Recently, Roma has fallen out of favor in this category. Some voters believe that because it’s going to win the top spot, they should vote for another winner in this category to spread the love. If voters are suffering from Roma fatigue this has, incredibly, become an easy category to skip. The next logical film would be Cold War. It received rave reviews and has snuck into two other major categories, Best Director and Cinematography.
What do you think Oscar lovers? As always sound off in the comments section below. And if you want to put your money where your mouth is, join my Oscar pool by clicking here.