The Favorite Stars: Oscar Predictions 2019
Dark mornings, early evenings, cold and rainy weather: the winter months definitely have their downsides. With that said, along with the snow and the sleet come a whole host of celebrations, from Halloween to Thanksgiving and Christmas. For cinephiles though, winter has one more cause for celebration, and that’s awards season. Not just awards season, but the Oscars, which is arguably the biggest night of the year as far as film is concerned.
If, like me, you’ve already started counting down to the big day, then one question is likely on your mind: who will win? Obviously, there’s no telling until the big day, but looking at the contenders you can start to paint a likely picture, so here are my predictions for the Oscar winners of 2019.
Best Animated Feature
The award for best animated feature film might be a newer addition to the Oscar’s roster, but since 2001 it has become one of the most interesting awards to follow, if not the most hotly contested. As expected, 2019’s award-eligible films include multiple showings from Disney and Disney Pixar, but there are also some surprises in the mix.
Assuming the long-awaited Incredibles 2 doesn’t take the trophy, the award could go to the charming (if surprisingly dark at times) Wes Anderson stop-motion Isle Of Dogs, or to this year’s dark horse Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse. However, super hero fatigue is a real thing and Isle Of Dogs’ appeal is a niche one despite its recognizable cast, so my money is on Incredibles 2.
Best Original Score
Best original score is another category which sees huge blockbusters sitting alongside more arthouse offerings, although the balance is definitely leans more towards the former. All the big studios have horses in this race, from Universal’s The Green Book and First Man to Fox’s Widows, but unsurprisingly it is Disney with the most contenders, some of which aren’t even set to hit theaters for another few months.
Of the already released movies, Black Panther’s fusion of traditional African music and coolly modern hip-hop is a contender, as is Incredibles 2’s unique take on both a pulpy superhero theme and slick but retro spy thriller score. With that said, Disney’s most likely win is with the nostalgia-heavy musical Mary Poppins Returns, which will no doubt also garner a nomination or two for best original song. All that aside, it is Annapurna’s tale of love and tragedy in 1970s Harlem that is most likely win the day, with If Beale Street Could Talk currently being considered the top contender.
Makeup & Hairstyling
Makeup and hairstyling is often overlooked by audiences, both as an award category and as a component of filmmaking itself, but the artistry that goes into both cannot be overlooked. It is one of the vaster categories, awarding everything from realistic styles and methods in meticulous period dramas, to imaginative but coherent looks in fantasy and sci-fi, to ground-breaking special effects makeup in everything from superhero movies to horror.
All of these different approaches are likely to be rewarded with a nomination next year, with both Black Panther and Deadpool 2 likely to be recognized on the superhero front. Vice will also likely be given credit for its era-accurate styling, as well as making Christian Bale into a convincing Dick Cheney, while Mary Queen of Scots will earn a nod for its stunning level of period detail. As for the most likely winner though, that goes to Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, whose psychedelic and ballet-inspired fantasy allows it to show out with boundary-pushing hair and makeup again and again.
Costuming is another element of filmmaking whose integrity to good world-building and storytelling often goes overlooked, but thankfully the academy makes sure to spotlight the tireless efforts of those who research, design and make film’s best costumes. Disney has a strong showing here too, again for the achievement of creating an organic and historically-grounded culture in Black Panther, for no doubt coming up with a charming but era-appropriate wardrobe in Mary Poppins Returns, and for going all out with the theatrical costumes for the number of well-recognised sects of characters in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Aside from the mouse, Warner Bros could sneak in and win with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, whose costuming includes both a period-accurate wardrobe to late 1920s America and more magical fantastical elements. As for my bet, I am confident in a win for The Favourite, a quiet but tense historical drama that sees two cousins jockeying for favor in the court of Queen Anne in the 18th century.
As has historically been the case, the category for best director is sadly lacking in potential female nominees, with Marielle Heller the only woman likely to garner a mention. Can You Ever Forgive Me, her tale of a celebrity biographer who adapts by somewhat questionable means when tastes in celebrity changes, has received high praise from critics, but it is also the dark horse in a highly contested category.
Alongside Heller are names responsible for movies you should already be familiar with by this point on the list, whether that’s Adam McKay for Vice, Steve McQueen for Widows, Yargos Lanthimos for The Favourite or Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk. However, the final award is far more likely to go to some names we haven’t mentioned thus far, whether that’s acclaimed director Alfonso Cuarón for his work on Netflix’s 1970s drama ROMA, or first-time director Bradley Cooper for his take on the timeless classic A Star Is Born. Between the two, Cuarón is the more likely, but given the academy’s love of movies depicting stardom and stars’ fall from grace, I’d love for Cooper to take the win.
Best Supporting Actor
Best supporting actor is another category that balances the expected names with some true surprises, and likewise splits the difference between up-and-coming new talent and household names. Given his extensive back catalog, it’s no surprise to see Steve Carell in the running, but it might be more shocking that, if he is nominated, it will be for his serious dramatic performance in Vice. Likewise, Adam Driver’s fame can mostly be attributed to his excellent performances in comedies and more recently sci-fi epics, making his performance in BlacKkKlansman all the worthier of a mention.
As for the actors the award is likely to come down between, Timothee Chalamet could clinch it with his performance in Amazon’s Beautiful Boy, a biographical drama following one high-achieving teen’s descent into meth addiction and the lengths his father will go to protect him. The most likely winner is Mahershala Ali though, whose part in Green Book as Jamaican-American classical pianist Don Shirley has one critics over for both its dramatic weight and comedic timing.
Best Supporting Actress
The best supporting actress category is always a competitive one, but the choices for the 2019 Oscars are particularly strong. There are quite a few award season darlings in contention this season, from Margot Robbie for Mary Queen Of Scots, to Claire Foy in First Man, to Nicole Kidman in Boy Erased – a coming-of-age drama and true story of Jared Eamons, the gay son of Baptist pastor who is forced to endure conversion therapy, in which Kidman plays the mother.
In the end though, it comes down to just a few key names, and even fewer titles. Emma Stone and Rachel Weiz are both likely to be nominated for their work in The Favorite, where they play rival cousins vying for the Queen’s affection. Amy Adams is also likely to be acknowledged for her work on Vice, where she played former Second Lady of the United States Lynne Chaney. Overall though, my bet is with Regina King, whose performance in If Beale Street Could Talk as Sharon Rivers is one of the strongest parts of an already strong film.
Aside from in a few standout cases (the year Leonardo Di Caprio was finally granted a win comes to mind) the category of best actor at the Oscar’s is notoriously hard to predict. However, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that there are some clear front-runners, as well as some dark horses that could upset the race once their movies hit theaters.
For example, Christian Bale’s portrayal of Dick Cheney in Vice is almost certainly going to be a top nomination if not a winner, and it would be similarly crazy not to give credit to John David Washington for his performance as the first black police officer in Colorado Springs in BlackKklansman. Less universally adored but still well received is Ryan Gosling’s performance as Neil Armstrong in First Man and, in a similar vein, Rami Malek could well win it for his portrayal of musical legend Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. With that said, if you’re looking for a safe bet, then Bradley Cooper would be the way to go, as his take on the classic by-gone rock star archetype in A Star Is Born has been loved by audiences and critics alike.
Speaking of A Star Is Born, the best actress category gives Lady Gaga a serious chance to add to her burgeoning collection of acting awards, with her performance as Ally slanted to land her an Oscar to put next to her American Horror Story Golden Globe. Also in the running is Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me, for her memorable and unique portrayal of Lee Isreal, a biographer who after falling on hard times, resorted to forging letters from dead celebrities, and then stole genuine ones from library archives to sell.
Of course, there are also a few less obvious choices still worth gambling on. Olivia Colman’s performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite is still a relatively safe bet considering the Academy’s love of period dramas, as is Yalitza Aparicio’s performance in ROMA where she plays Cleo, a maid in Mexico City whose personal tragedies are set against the backdrop of increasingly violent student protests in the 1970s. Overall though, my pick for best actress comes from a film I haven’t yet mentioned – The Wife. In The Wife, Hollywood legend Glenn Close plays Joan Archer, a promising writer who ends up ghost writing her husband’s books, while he goes on to win the Nobel Prize in literature and claims she does not write at all. Her performance in this drama is pitch-perfect and achingly prescient, leading me to believe she is the hottest pick for the win.
By now, all the names in contention for best picture should be familiar to you. Vice, First Man, BlacKkKlansman, Widows, any of these titles have an almost certain chance of nomination and a fair chance of winning to boot. Separating out the likely winners from those just nominated is a case of weeding out the merely strong from the even stronger, but that does not mean it is an impossible task.
In terms of what the Academy has been shown to gravitate towards, the safest pick would probably be A Star Is Born, especially given its added boon of having a first-time director at the helm, as well as a leading lady only just growing into her own as an actress. Similarly, it is well known that aristocratic period dramas offering a peek behind the curtain of royalty often find favor come awards season, and The Favourite is definitely that. If you want to go by odds though, then the chances are it will come down to either If Beale Street Could Talk or ROMA, and out of those your best pick is whichever one you find yourself moved by more.