Written By: Daniel Kinsley
We are just days away from the 91st Academy Awards and things are still as wildly unsettled as ever. If last year was one of the more unpredictable races in recent memory, the 2018-19 campaign saw the challenge and responded, “Hold my beer.” It has been a year of surprises (early favorite A Star Is Born is increasingly looking like it may walk away with…nothing?) and controversies (see: anything to do with Green Book) as well as some true head-scratchers (Bohemian Rhapsody is a serious contender) and that is just the films! Kevin Hart was set to host, until he was not (as of this writing, there has been no official replacement named). The Academy faced public lambast over proposals to introduce a Popular Film category, which was quickly, gratefully discarded. * This was followed by the decision to give out awards in four categories (cinematography, editing, live-action short, and makeup and hairstyling) during commercial breaks in an effort to cut down on the length of the telecast. After nearly half of Hollywood threatened mutiny, Academy leadership (rightfully) backed down, and all categories will be televised.
Hell, even the presumptive winners have been a free-for-all. Typically, the guilds would have shed some light on a favorite, but for the first time ever the major guild and industry awards have gone to a different film. The Producers Guild (for what it’s worth, the only group who shares the same preferential ballot as the Oscars) went with Green Book, while the Director’s (predictably) awarded Roma. The SAG ensemble went to Black Panther and the editors opted for Bohemian Rhapsody as its drama pick, and The Favourite in comedy. Finally, the writers guild awarded Eighth Grade in the original screenplay (along with Can You Ever Forgive Me? in adapted) marking the first time since 2002 a film won the WGA award without an Oscar nomination. In short, it is an exciting time to be a film fan, and an awards nerd. With the Oscars set to be handed out on Sunday, February 24th, The Porkchop Express is moving on with our final predictions for the winners. While history is the best indicator of what will win, if we have learned anything from this season, it is that anything goes. We’ll be taking a look at 9 major categories, but if anybody needs extra picks to win your Oscar pool, holler at us!
Without further ado, our final predictions for the 2019 Oscar Winners.
A Star Is Born
While all eight of our predicted nominees made the cut, it has since become a bit clearer who is a real player and who is not. While this race still feels absurdly wide open, it ultimately seems like it will boil down to Roma vs. Green Book, while BlackKklansman stands the best chance at playing spoiler. While the former have been the presumptive favorites, the latter is the only film to receive a nod for every major precursor nomination, as well as a slew of nods from the guilds. Roma is a critical darling (and a truly beautiful film) that may run into opposition as a black and white film in a foreign-language, not to mention a Netflix production. Green Book on the other hand, feels like the safe, old-world Academy pick (full disclosure: Green Book is the only nominee this writer has not seen) despite its weak reception on the internet. While A Star Is Born has the most overall guild nominations, it seems more likely (shockingly) that it is no longer even a distant favorite. While Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther are both hugely popular films, do not bet on either competing. Though it seems unlikely, Bohemian Rhapsody would be the one to pull of an enormous, historical upset based simply on the amount of goodwill and buzz it has gotten to this point.
WILL WIN: ROMA
COULD WIN: GREEN BOOK
SHOULD WIN: A STAR IS BORN
SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: FIRST MAN
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Spike Lee, BlackKklansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
It was a weird year for the director’s branch. For a group that has never been afraid to go their own way (and with a strong international contingent) the inclusion of Pawlikowski does not feel like a total surprise. It does, however, feel like a bit of a thumb-in-the-nose to Bradley Cooper, which this writer previously considered a sure thing to get a nod. It is hard not to be reminded of Ben Affleck and Argo (2012) and wonder if a trend against actors-turned-directors is emerging. With Cooper out of the running, Cuarón is the odds-on favorite, no contest. The winner of the DGA award has gone on to take either Best Picture, Best Director, or both every year since 2001, which boosts the odds that Cuarón walks away with at least one. If there is anyone who could beat him, it would be Spike Lee as a long-overdue nominee with a very well-liked (and commercially successful) film. The Academy has demonstrated they are not afraid to split Picture/Director and spread the love, and that might very well happen here; if Green Book ends up taking Best Picture, double down on Cuarón taking the prize here.
WILL WIN: Alfonso Cuarón, ROMA
COULD WIN: Spike Lee, BLACKkKLANSMAN
SHOULD WIN: Alfonso Cuarón, ROMA
SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: Bradley Cooper, A STAR IS BORN
BEST 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
No disrespect to all of you Bohemian Rhapsody lovers, but personally…meh. The movie itself is fine (though it certainly does not break any new ground for the musical biopic) and Malek is a great actor doing a serviceable job playing a beloved figure (in a film that brushes over any potential rough edges) who’s music is wildly iconic and enduring. For this writer, it is a good, not great performance that relies on impersonation more than anything else. Having said all that, he has easily emerged as the favorite to win here after gaining an unlikely momentum during the season and somehow being immune to the controversy surrounding fired director Bryan Singer. His stiffest competition remains Christian Bale, an Oscar favorite in a transformative performance in a timely political film. Cooper had a much bigger chance at competing in the director slot, and while Dafoe is a beloved veteran, he is incredibly likely to remain a bridesmaid for another year as his little-indie-that-could just does not have enough buzz to take him over the finish line. Mortensen, frankly, is no more than a footnote.
WILL WIN: Rami Malek, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
COULD WIN: Christian Bale, VICE
SHOULD WIN: Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
BEST 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?
Let’s get this out of the way early: this is a much more exciting group than the Best Actor nominees. The performances are about as diverse and celebrated as you can ask for, without a weak one in the bunch. More and more, this is beginning to feel like Glenn Close’s award to lose. It is hard for this writer not to feel disappointed at that prospect, as once-frontrunner Lady Gaga (who is not totally out of it) turned in a powerhouse performance that feels like far and away the best in this crop. Olivia Colman is riotously funny and seems to have edged out Gaga as the potential spoiler after picking up a bit of steam on the back end, including a BAFTA win. Aparicio, a first time actor, is a Cinderella story and while she certainly deserves to be here, being here is the closest she will get to Oscar glory. Similarly, McCarthy stretching her dramatic legs in a well regarded-film is a deserving nod, but that is all it will end up being. While Gaga seems to not have suffered the same shut-out as her co-star, Close has been nominated seven times and never won, and she stands a likely chance to pick up a well-earned trophy this time around.
WILL WIN: Glenn Close, THE WIFE
COULD WIN: Olivia Colman, THE FAVOURITE
SHOULD WIN: Lady Gaga, A STAR IS BORN
BEST 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
This is one of the few races that feels more or less sewn up. Elliott and Rockwell are out; Rockwell, on the heels of his win, is well-liked and turned in a memorable, but ultimately very small performance. Elliot is beloved veteran who might have competed more heavily if he had just a liiiitttle more time in the film (especially since the few scenes he are in are devastating). Adam Driver will not be the face of the win for BlacKkKlansman, because duh. While Richard E. Grant remains a dark horse candidate, this is more or less Ali’s award to lose. A large segment of the Academy (read: its older members) have quite a bit of enthusiasm for Green Book, and Ali seems like the best place to award the film in a category everyone can more or less agree on. The biggest threat to Ali’s victory is whether voters really consider his performance “supporting” in which case the mischievous turn by Grant stands a chance for the surprise win.
WILL WIN: Mahershala Ali, GREEN BOOK
COULD WIN: Richard E. Grant, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
SHOULD WIN: Richard E. Grant, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: Michael B. Jordan, BLACK PANTHER
BEST 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
This one still feels like a bit of a toss-up. Conventional wisdom says Stone and Weisz might cancel one another out, however, this writer is going to bet on Weisz edging out her co-star. The Favourite has racked up a ton of nominations, and this feels like the major category most likely to earn the film some (well-deserved) recognition. Aside from Bale, Amy Adams’ performance is the only thing people seem to be in total agreement about when it comes to Vice, but despite her long drought, this is not likely to be the one that gets her a win (and she will win, eventually, damnit). Despite the lack of prestige for Beale Street, Regina King is a force unto herself, and remains very much a contender. Instinct says this race comes down to Kings vs. Weisz.
WILL WIN: Rachel Weisz, THE FAVOURITE
COULD WIN: Regina King, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
SHOULD WIN: Rachel Weisz, THE FAVOURITE
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Favourite, Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara
First Reformed, Paul Schrader
Green Book, Peter Farrelly & Nick Vallelonga
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
Vice, Adam McKay
Typically, the Best Picture winner dictates the Screenplay winner. In this case, Green Book does not feel like much of a player, though. Roma is a visual feast of a film, however, it’s degree of competition here depends largely on how much voters want to spread the love. If Roma takes Best Picture, it may have enough momentum to earn the win. Vice could play the dark horse candidate, with its Shakespearean overtones, plus a previous nomination for Adam McKay as a Serious Filmmaker. This is another potential landing spot for The Favourite to be awarded for its bizarre, bawdy, hilarious script. It feels like a long shot, but the writers may still band together to award Paul Schrader (the pen behind Taxi Driver  and Raging Bull  something of a lifetime achievement award for a challenging, timely script in a film that has a small, but vocal base of support.
WILL WIN: ROMA, Alfonso Cuarón
COULD WIN: THE FAVOURITE, Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara
SHOULD WIN: THE FAVOURITE, Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara
SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: A QUIET PLACE, John Krasinski & Bryan Woods & Scott Beck,
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
A Star Is Born, Eric Roth & Will Fetters & Bradley Cooper
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
BlackKklansman, Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee & Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz
If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty
The inclusion of the Coen Brothers’ latest script was a pleasant surprise, as it is an inventive, funny, weird piece of work (in other words, par for the course) but it stands almost no chance at winning. Prior to the WGA awards, BlackKklansman stood the best chance at a win as it makes an easy way to recognize Spike who is by no means guaranteed a win elsewhere. After a major upset win, though, it is a two-horse race with Can You Ever Forgive Me? potentially set to play spoiler.
WILL WIN: BLACKkKLANSMAN, Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee & Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz
COULD WIN: CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty
SHOULD WIN: BLACKkKLANSMAN, Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee & Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz
SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: BLACK PANTHER, Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole,
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Into The Spiderverse has taken this race by storm the whole season, and wile Disney/Pixar has won this category for the last seven years (!) this writer is betting, or perhaps just hoping, on a break from tradition. With all due respect to Incredibles 2, which is in and of itself terrific, Spiderverse is in a league of its own this year. Ralph Breaks the Internet is fine, but ultimately not good enough to compete with these two, while Wes Anderson is back (after losing to Pixar in 2010) with a film that is not nearly as wonderful as his last foray into stop-motion. Bet on Spider-Verse, but don’t count out Pixar for the upset.
WILL WIN: SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
COULD WIN: INCREDIBLES 2
SHOULD WIN: SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
* With three films in the Best Picture race that grossed over $200 million, it was also a bit moot.