Oscars 2019: Predictions For Every Category

February 24, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
Features, Film

The 2019 Academy Awards are right around the corner, and as ever the Ready Steady Cut team is making the most of it. We’ll have live-streams, live-tweets, an official drinking game, and inevitably lots of complaining about political point-scoring. In the meantime, here are our official Oscars 2019 Predictions, along with our picks for what should win and what’s missing.

This year the technical categories are a bit more interesting than usual, as the Academy basically admitted quite openly that they cared about none of them and tried to present them on the sly during commercial breaks. That decision was swiftly reversed after overwhelming outcry, which just goes to show that cinema’s most prestigious awards body is not only idiotic and out-of-touch, but also completely gutless. Anyway, here are the nominees and what we think will win.

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)

Since this award usually goes to the showiest and most elaborate example in a given year, the obvious choice here is Avengers: Infinity War. There was some division among our team, some of whom felt like the more nuanced and precise First Man was more deserving here, but we’re settling for the obvious choice.

RSC’s Pick: Avengers: Infinity War


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)

Voting was split between the team once again, with Black Panther and The Favourite dominating our predictions. But given Ruth E. Carter’s afro-futurist aesthetic was a huge part of Black Panther’s success, and given her well-established industry track record working with a who’s who of big-name directors across many years, my deciding vote has to go with Marvel.

RSC’s Pick: Black Panther


Makeup & Hair

Border (Goran Lundstrom and Pamela Goldammer)
Mary Queen of Scots (Jenny Shircore,  Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks)
Vice (Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney)

There was a lot of love among our team for Mary Queen of Scots in this category, but we know how this award tends to go – the most transformative prosthetic work gets the nod, especially if a well-known star is making the transformation into a recognisable historical figure. This is also the only category for which Vice is nominated that it might conceivably deserve to win, so there’s every chance the Academy will pat it on the head here and forget about it elsewhere to avoid too much backlash.

RSC’s Pick: Vice


Production Design

Black Panther (Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart)
The Favourite (Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton)
First Man (Nathan Crowly and Kathy Lucas)
Mary Poppins Returns (John Myhre and Gordon Sim)
Roma (Eugenio Caballero and Barbara Enriquez)

Black Panther’s wide range of aesthetic, historical and cultural influences makes its handmade African setting a definite contender here, but we like Yorgos Lanthimos’s satirical period piece here for its similarly lavish design on a much tighter budget.

RSC’s Pick: The Favourite


Film Editing

BlacKkKlansman (Bary Alexander Brown)
Bohemian Rhapsody (John Ottman)
The Favourite (Yorgos Mavropsaridis)
Green Book (Patrick J. Don Vito)
Vice (Hank Corwin)

This is a thoroughly perplexing category this year and is thus almost impossible to predict. All of the nominees besides Green Book got at least one nod from our team, which leaves me to make the deciding vote. If the world were fair and just, I’d lean more towards The Favourite for how Lanthimos applied decidedly modern techniques to a period drama. But we live in a world that nominates Bohemian Rhapsody for multiple Oscars, and is not at all fair and just, so I reckon it’ll be Vice.

RSC’s Pick: Vice


Original Song

All the Stars, Black Panther
I’ll Fight, RBG
The Place Where Lost Things Go, Mary Poppins Returns
Shallow, A Star is Born
When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

No debates or surprises here, it’s going to “Shallow”. Moving swiftly along.

RSC’s Pick: Shallow, A Star is Born


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)

If we’re being frank, only Black Panther and If Beale Street Could Talk is worthy of inclusion on this list, and between those two it’s probably a tight race. But our team was virtually unanimous on the fact that Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to Moonlight will snag this award, especially since it has been treated unfairly in virtually every other category.

RSC’s Pick: If Beale Street Could Talk


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. Montano, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis)
Roma (Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio Garcia)
A Star Is Born (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic,  Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow)

This is another wide-open category that split the team, with love for both Black Panther and First Man, which has to pick up an award somewhere, right? Yeah, maybe, but I don’t think it’s in mixing. Giving that award to any film other than Roma seems egregious to me, and if I was a gambling man, which I am, that’s where my stake would be.

RSC’s Pick: Roma


Sound Editing

Black Panther (Benjamin A Burtt and Steve Boeddeker)
Bohemian Rhapsody (John Warhurst and Nia Hartstone)
First Man (Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan)
A Quiet Place (Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahi)
Roma (Sergio Diaz and Skip Lievsay)

I have a sneaking suspicion that A Quiet Place might steal this one, but I have, as ever, been overruled. You know how we said earlier that First Man has to win an award somewhere? This’ll likely be it, since Neil Armstrong’s journey to the moon and back is so heavily reliant on precise sound editing.

RSC’s Pick: First Man


Live Action Short

Detainment
Fauve
Marguerite
Mother
Skin

We’re split here again, as this is a tight category with some complications – the most well-known of the nominees, Detainment, was inspired by the real-life murder of toddler James Bulger by two young boys, and has been criticised by Bulger’s mother for being exploitative. That kind of controversy might hurt its chances, even though it’s probably the strongest entry in this category. It still seems like the likeliest option, but the field is wide open.

RSC’s Pick: Detainment


Animated Short

Animal Behaviour
Bao
Late Afternoon
One Small Step
Weekends

You can never quite tell in categories like this, but our team were pretty much in agreement that the Pixar short Bao, which is lovely and faintly horrifying, is pretty likely to walk away with the prize here.

RSC’s Pick: Bao


Documentary Short Subject

Black Sheep
End Game
Lifeboat
A Night at the Garden
Period. End of Sentence.

Netflix has a strong presence here, and two of the nominees – the eye-opening student-funded Period. End of Sentence and the wonderful, moving end-of-life documentary End Game – I reviewed personally, and was fascinated by. Since I have the deciding vote again, I believe the most powerful to be the latter.

RSC’s Pick: End Game


Adapted Screenplay

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen)
BlackKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Wilmott and Spike Lee)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
A Star is Born (Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters)

It’s a competitive category on paper, but not, apparently, to the staff at RSC, who almost all voted for Spike Lee’s timely and necessary satire of contemporary race-relations. I’d love to see the Coen brothers pick this up, and a part of me is expecting a conciliatory award for either If Beale Street Could Talk or A Star Is Born, since neither is likely to win in any other major categories. But Spike is still the front-runner and still deserves some justice for Do the Right Thing not having won Best Picture.

RSC’s Pick: BlacKkKlansman


Original Screenplay

The Favourite (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara)
First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
Green Book (Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter FArrelly)
Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
Vice (Adam McKay)

Our behind-the-scenes voting was split once again, this time between Vice and The Favourite. The closest thing to an American version of a period drama gives Adam McKay’s screenplay a strong chance, but we just leaned towards Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara.

RSC’s Pick: The Favourite


Animated Feature

Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

The Academy’s typical lazy praise of Pixar might very well be a thing of the past after this year’s ceremony, as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse arrives with all kinds of critical and commercial buzz. It would be outrageous not to reward it for essentially redefining a genre and RSC’s staff unanimously feels the same way.

RSC’s Pick: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse


Documentary Feature

Free Solo
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons
RBG

This is likely a two-horse race: RBG and Free Solo both fill particular niches, and on paper are about equally likely to secure a win. In the absence of Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, there’s a very specific style of documentary that the Academy likes and that RBG very much is, but the sheer technical accomplishments of Free Solo make it difficult to pick against.

RSC’s Pick: Free Solo


Foreign Language Film

Cold War Film Review

Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

It seems a bit silly that Roma is the current front-runner for Best Picture and yet might get beaten in the foreign-language category, which is usually the only category where even great non-English films end up. But that might be the point. With Roma almost a lock for the grand prize, will the Academy try to spread the love around? If they decide to, Cold War is a very likely winner here. But do we trust the Academy to do anything even remotely smart? I don’t think so.

RSC’s Pick: Roma


Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Vice
Marina De Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

With the shameful omission of Claire Foy for First Man and the wonderfully surprisingly inclusion of Marina De Tavira for Roma, this is shaping up to be an interesting category. But with Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz likely to split the vote, the front-runner is Regina King for her standout turn in If Beale Street Could Talk.

RSC’s Pick: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk


Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliot, A Star is Born
Richard E Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Despite a lot of love – especially within the industry – for Richard E. Grant, who has never won an Oscar before, the likely lock in this category is Mahershala Ali’s turn as Don Shirley in Green Book. Our team thinks so unanimously, and I’m tempted to agree, although I’d like to see Grant pull off an upset since he likes our reviews personally on Twitter.

RSC’s Pick: Mahershala Ali, Green Book


Lead Actress

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

There’s a lot of love for Olivia Colman’s brilliant performance in The Favourite, and with Lady Gaga having lost momentum over the last few months, she seems a likely winner. However, the fact Glenn Close has never won an Oscar before seems like a major oversight that could easily be rectified by rewarding her here.

RSC’s Pick: Glenn Close, The Wife


Lead Actor

Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Realistically, there’s only one option here. The Academy loves to reward actors who transform into recognisable figures, and there probably wasn’t a better example of that than how Rami Malek transformed himself into a man who didn’t know Bryan Singer was a paedophile.

RSC’s Pick: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody


Cinematography

Cold War (Lukasz Zal)
The Favourite (Robbie Ryan)
Never Look Away (Caleb Deschanel)
Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
A Star is Born (Matthew Libatique)

There’s a chance that Cold War could pick up a sneaky win here, but it’s unlikely. Alfonso Cuaron juggling cinematography duties alongside his directorial ones isn’t unheard of, but is still a tricky balancing act of a kind that the Academy likes to reward, and the overall effect of Roma as a result is undeniable.

RSC’s Pick: Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)


Director

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pavel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice

Will Spike Lee get his long-overdue Best Director Oscar after being overlooked for Do the Right Thing? Almost certainly not! But it’s nice to think about, I admit. In the meantime, the likeliest option here is Alfonso Cuaron, either because the Academy likes the same film to win both Best Picture and Best Director, or because Roma’s chances for Best Picture are a bit shaky and it needs to pick up another major award. Either way, it probably wins.

RSC’s Pick: Roma


Best Picture

Black Panther
BlackkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
Roma
A Star is Born
Vice

At present, Roma winning Best Picture is virtually a lock. And you can understand why. It’ll be a history-making win (the first foreign-language film to win the prestigious award) and will give the Academy some semblance of relevancy and contemporary taste, even though they have neither. All our team agrees, and any other outcome will be seen as a major upset. As someone who despises whiny thinkpieces, I’m genuinely hoping that Roma walks it handily.

RSC’s Pick: Roma

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