Oscars: Pete Hammond’s Absolute Final Predictions In All 24 Categories

Oscar Predictions
Universal/20th Century Fox/Netflix/Warner Bros/Disney/Annpurna Pictures/Fox Searchlight/Focus Features

In what has been an ever-changing scenario since the race for the 91st annual Academy Awards began in earnest at the beginning of September with the fall festival trifecta of Venice, Telluride and Toronto, the hunt for Oscar has been as confounding and difficult to call as ever. The so-called precursor awards have been all over the map. Critics groups, BAFTA, and DGA drifted towards Roma; the Golden Globes loved Green Book (which also took the top PGA honor) and Bohemian Rhapsody; BAFTA showered seven wins from 12 nominations on hometown favorite The Favourite; everyone seemed to root for Spike Lee’s best-in-decades BlacKkKlansman; SAG gave their top prize to box office behemoth Black Panther; an early frontrunner was A Star Is Born; a latecomer was Vice.

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The Academy nominated all eight of these films for its top prize, but the outcome remains murky and will probably stay that way right up until the opening of that final envelope on the Dolby Theatre stage Sunday. At this point it looks like the two front-runners going into the final inning are Roma and Green Book, but due to the Academy’s preferential ranked ballot (strictly for Best Picture and not the other categories), the outcome is uncertain because your second or third choice could actually make all the difference.

Nonetheless, here are my predictions. Please note that a different version of this story appeared earlier this month in our print edition of AwardsLine. Although most of my choices then (made out of necessity right after nominations were announced due to publishing deadlines) are still my picks, I have made a handful of changes I may live to regret. As always, if you choose to use these predictions for your various Oscar pools I am NOT responsible if you lose. Proceed with caution.  First up is a sketch of all eight Best Picture nominees with my prediction at the end.

BEST PICTURE

Black Panther

Black Panther
Disney/Marvel

Released all the way back in February—not exactly primetime for Oscar contenders—this landmark comic book movie—not exactly prime subject matter for typical contenders—defied all the odds of timing and genre to become the first superhero and Marvel film ever to be nominated for Best Picture. It also became the first to take the SAG award for Best Cast, thereby boosting its improbable ascension to the front ranks of the Oscar race. Though it has seven nominations overall, it is AWOL in acting, writing, directing, editing, and cinematography — all areas thought to be key in gaining a Best Picture win. But whatever happens, this game-changing blockbuster has already altered Academy history just by being here.

Director

Ryan Coogler

Producer

Kevin Feige

Studio

Marvel

Other Nominations

Best Original Music Score

Best Original Song

Best Production Design

Best Costume Design

Best Sound Mixing

Best Sound Editing

BlacKkKlansman 

David Lee / Focus Features

Like Black Panther, this Spike Lee joint brings much-needed diversity and gravitas to the game this year, and unlike the latter, this is no comic book but instead the incredible real-life story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American Colorado Springs police detective who successfully infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s and lived to write a book about it. Representing Lee’s first ever film to make the Best Picture cut, it opened on the first anniversary of the Charlottesville tragedy, and deftly manages to combine strong social commentary, sharp satire, and especially gut-wrenching drama to leave a strong mark on audiences and on the Academy.

Director

Spike Lee

Producers

Jason Blum

Spike Lee

Raymond Mansfield

Sean McKittrick

Jordan Peele

Shaun Redick

Studio

Focus Features

Other Nominations

Best Director

Best Supporting Actor

Best Original Music Score

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Editing 

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody
20th Century Fox

There’s a reason Bohemian Rhapsody has become a worldwide phenomenon with over $800 million and counting at the box office, and it goes beyond Rami Malek’s remarkable portrayal of Freddie Mercury. As a tribute to and exploration of the lasting legacy of Queen and their unforgettable music, it speaks right to the heart of our times now; not about what tears us apart, but what can so urgently bring us together. This is a movie that has become much more than just a musical biopic. It is indeed a cause for celebration, and that might be the key reason it survived a disastrous shoot when director Bryan Singer was fired, as well as continuing controversy regarding his past actions. A 10-year labor of love for producer Graham King, it picked up Best Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globes and continues to be heard.

Director

Bryan Singer 

Producers

Graham King

Jim Beach

Studio

20th Century Fox

Other Nominations

Best Actor

Best Editing

Best Sound Mixing

Best Sound Editing

The Favourite 

The Favourite
Atsushi Nishijima

Until now, director Yorgos Lanthimos’ acclaimed past films have had a strong following among his fans but are an acquired taste for others. This stylish tale of two women competing for the trust and affection of Queen Anne in 18th century England boasts brilliant acting across the board, and has drawn Lanthimos’ biggest crowd yet for a sort of All About Eve costume dramedy that pushes all the buttons of the genre but remains true to the director’s uniquely eccentric and engaging trademark. With 10 nominations overall, it is the only one of the Best Picture contenders to have been named in all key categories that usually make a Best Picture winner. Despite winning a leading seven BAFTA awards, it surprisingly lost Best Film there to Roma, a result that clouds its chances since it was expected to reign supreme in its hometown.

Director

Yorgos Lanthimos

Producers

Yorgos Lanthimos

Ed Guiney

Lee Magiday

Studios

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Film4

Waypoint

Other Nominations

Best Director

Best Cinematography

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actress x2

Best Original Screenplay

Best Production Design

Best Costume Design

Best Editing

Universal Pictures

Green Book

Already a winner for Best Picture at the Golden Globes, Producers Guild and National Board of Review, this story of the emerging friendship between a brilliant African-American concert artist and the nightclub bouncer he hires to drive him on a tour through the Deep South of the early ’60s is a movie that could benefit from the preferential ballot used to determine the overall most-liked of the Best Picture nominees. Everyone seems to love it, and it survived a barrage of negative press, most of which can be attributed to the kind of dirty campaigning that seems to crop up each year. A winning change of pace for director Peter Farrelly, it turns the spotlight on race relations and provides the simple answer: we are all humans. Despite Farrelly’s omission from the directors lineup, this film nominated for five Oscars could overcome that and be the little engine that could.

Director

Peter Farrelly

Producers

Jim Burke

Brian Hayes Currie

Peter Farrelly

Nick Vallelonga

Charles B. Wessler

Studio

Universal Pictures

Other Nominations

Best Actor

Best Supporting Actor

Best Original Screenplay

Best Film Editing

Roma 

Roma
Carlos Somonte

Unquestionably the critical darling of the season, Roma kicked things off with the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and has won a slew of honors since for its director Alfonso Cuarón, who made this story of growing up in 1971 Mexico City a very personal memory play with a focus on a family domestic who changed his life. Shot in simmering black-and-white, this subtitled stunner is also Mexico’s official entry for Foreign Language film. No foreign-language movie has ever won Best Picture, but if Roma can overcome that stigma, as well as those who have a problem with the fact it is streaming on Netflix, then we could be looking at a historic moment.

Director

Alfonso Cuarón

Producers

Nicolás Celis

Alfonso Cuarón

Gabriela Rodruiguez

Studio

Netflix

Other Nominations

Best Director

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Cinematography 

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actress

Best Original Screenplay 

Best Production Design

Best Sound Editing

Best Sound Mixing

A Star Is Born
Warner Bros.

A Star Is Born

For the fourth remake of perhaps the most famous of all Hollywood tales about itself, Bradley Cooper made a critical and popular blockbuster that turns the star-crossed story of two showbusiness figures, as one ascends and the other descends, into something impossibly fresh and new; no easy feat. The film, which ran the table in terms of various guild nominations, has also been named in eight Oscar categories including its lead performances by Cooper and Lady Gaga. But Cooper was snubbed in Directing, which adds a little wrench to the one-time presumed front-runner’s chances of prevailing here. Other than for Original Song, it has lacked expected precursor wins, and no film that failed to get both directing and editing nominations has ever won. But with lots of fans in support, never say never in this topsy-turvy year.

Director

Bradley Cooper 

Producers

Bradley Cooper

Bill Gerber

Lynette Howell Taylor

Jon Peters

Todd Phillips

Studio

Warner Bros.

Other Nominations

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actor

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Cinematography

Best Original Song

Best Sound Mixing

Vice 

Annapurna Pictures

This scathing satirical look at former Vice President Dick Cheney and his ambitious wife Lynne is a brilliant masterwork from The Big Short Oscar-winning writer-director Adam McKay, who managed to make a movie that tells us exactly how we got where we are. Christian Bale, Amy Adams and an outstanding cast make it all come to life, even though the political nature of the material has been polarizing in some circles, as you might expect. But still, this film came roaring in at the last minute to ultimately grab eight nominations and a unique place in the race this year.

Director

Adam McKay

Producers

Megan Ellison

Dede Gardner

Jeremy Kleiner

Brad Pitt

Kevin J. Messick

Will Ferrell

Studio

Annapurna Pictures

Other Nominations

Best Director 

Best Actor

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actress

Best Original Screenplay

Best Film Editing

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

THE WINNER: Green Book. Thanks to the preferential ballot it may turn out to be the most genuinely liked film of the bunch, though Roma is formidable due to the strong new wave of international voters in AMPAS.


Best Director

BlacKkKlansman Set

Spike LeeBlacKkKlansman

Although he won an honorary Oscar for his body of work in 2015, incredibly, Spike Lee has never been nominated before in the Directing category — not even for 1989’s Do the Right Thing, which did earn him a writing nomination. Finally it took this incredible true tale to do the trick for a movie that also won him big plaudits at the Cannes Film Festival, where it took the Grand Jury Prize. Lee uses all the experience and talent of his long career to finally get to this moment, and it was well worth the ride, perhaps making him also the sentimental favorite here.

Pawel PawlikowskiCold War 

AFF-USA/Shutterstock

Winner of the Cannes Film Festival Directing prize this year, and a former Oscar winner for Foreign Language film with Ida, this great Polish director also lands his first ever nod in what many thought was a surprise choice. I didn’t. With the Academy, and especially directors branch, becoming far more global in its membership, this superbly directed movie in black-and-white would seem to be a no-brainer. It doesn’t have a Best Picture nomination, so that is a major drawback for his chances to win here. 

Atsushi Nishijima

Yorgos Lanthimos,The Favourite

A Greek director making a decidedly British film is further proof of the new international bent of the directors branch, so it should come as no surprise that his fellow helmers nominated him here, or that his movie landed a co-leading 10 nominations overall. This makes Lanthimos the sleeper candidate, especially since this nomination follows the 12 nominations the film received at BAFTA two weeks earlier where it eventually won seven awards (but not for its director). Still, if the Academy falls for this visual period feast then he could be formidable even without a corresponding nod from the often-predictive DGA. 

Alfonso CuarónRoma 

Roma
Netflix

Like Pawlikowski, Cuarón has made a very personal black-and-white foreign-language film that really seems to be resonating. Already the winner of innumerable critics awards, the Golden Globe, BAFTA and more, Cuarón is the only past winner in this category having already won here in 2013 for Gravity. This is a much smaller film and represents one of five chances Cuarón has this year to add to his Oscar collection. He remains the heavy favorite to take one of them for directing Roma as he did at the very predictive DGA and just about everywhere else.

Matt Kennedy / Annapurna Pictures

Adam McKayVice

Carrying on the tradition of such great cinematic satirists as Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges, McKay follows up his Oscar-winning script for The Big Short with another caustic dive into politics and the state of our world with this wildly inventive biopic (of sorts) about Dick Cheney. This is his second directing nomination and it just proves the film wasn’t at all polarizing to his fellow directors who likely appreciated some of the bold leaps in style and storytelling to get to the heart—so to speak—of the Cheney legacy and what it means for the world we live in today.

THE WINNER: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

 


Best Actor

This is unquestionably one of the tightest and perhaps hardest to call lead actor races in many years. But if we are to believe the tea leaves we have been getting from precursor awards, the contest seems to have narrowed between two contenders who have been trading off wins: Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice, and Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody—both for roles in which they play iconic true-life figures, and both deliver in spades. Bale took the comedy Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice, while Malek won the drama Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG award—the latter perhaps giving him the most momentum. Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate and Viggo Mortensen as Tony Lip in Green Book also play real-life figures and could upset. Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine in A Star Is Born is the only fictional character represented this year, but he has yet to win anywhere else so he’s looking more like a longshot in the category.

THE WINNER: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody


Best Actress

There was a lot of buzz for A Star Is Born’s Lady Gaga earlier in the season, but that seems to have faded with the emergence of Glenn Close in The Wife—a much lower-profile film that has proven to be the little indie movie that could. It may well deliver veteran Close her first Oscar on her seventh nomination, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed as she travels the promotional circuit. She tied with Lady Gaga at the Critics’ Choice Awards, but won outright at the Globes and SAG—two key moments that allowed her to give speeches that won her well-deserved standing ovations and helped put her in a commanding position in this race. Olivia Colman, the loopy Queen Anne from The Favourite, has her admirers and took the hometown BAFTA and the Comedy Golden Globe, and Melissa McCarthy won raves for going dramatic in Can You Ever Forgive Me? The category is rounded out by non-pro first-timer Yalitza Aparicio in Roma.

THE WINNER: Glenn Close, The Wife


Best Supporting Actor

A strong field has been dominated by recent winner Mahershala Ali for his riveting performance as Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book. Ali won the Oscar in 2016 for Moonlight, and it could be a short trip back just two years later for a second Oscar this time around. He has swept the key precursor awards with wins at Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, BAFTA, and SAG, and appears to be the one to beat in a group that includes a late-surging Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, who has emerged the biggest threat to Ali and might pull a Mark Rylance kind of surprise; Adam Driver in BlacKkKlansman; and last year’s winner Sam Rockwell, back for his dead-on impression of George W. Bush in Vice. But if there is anyone besides Grant also poised to upset Ali, it might be veteran Sam Elliott for his terrific turn in A Star Is Born, bringing him his first nomination in a 50-year screen career that started in 1969 with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Still it helps that Ali’s role was really like a co-lead and made a very strong impact on viewers.

THE WINNER: Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Mahershala Ali - Green Book.jpeg


Best Supporting Actress

Regina King, a recent three-time Emmy winner, received her first Oscar nomination here for If Beale Street Could Talk—a role for which she dominated the critics’ circuit and won the Golden Globe. However, she wasn’t even nominated by her peers for SAG or BAFTA, throwing a wrench into the race. And SAG winner Emily Blunt wasn’t nominated for the Oscar for A Quiet Place, so go figure. With Roma’s Marina de Tavira landing a surprise nomination here after being ignored elsewhere, and The Favourite’s Rachel Weisz, the winner in this category at BAFTA, and Emma Stone possibly continuing to cancel each other out, that leaves six-time nominee Amy Adams as the most likely to duke it out with King. But Adams was overlooked at the Globes, Critics’ Choice, BAFTA and SAG in this category. If she loses, and Close wins Best Actress, Adams will then take on the dubious distinction of being the most losing living actress at the Oscars. This one is a real head-scratcher and I am torn and going for a longer shot than nominal front-runner King.

THE WINNER: Rachel Weisz, The Favourite


Best Adapted Screenplay

An interesting group of screenplays, but if you go by common wisdom, the scripts with the best chance to prevail are those also nominated in the Best Picture category, in this case just two: BlacKkKlansman and A Star Is Born. In both cases this could be the likely place to honor either of the multiple Oscar nominees this year—Spike Lee for the former, or Bradley Cooper for the latter. Perennial Oscar favorites Joel and Ethan Coen grabbed their seventh mutual writing nomination for the Netflix movie The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which also won in Venice, but Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty’s wonderfully literate and acerbic Can You Ever Forgive Me? is the best of a very good bunch in my opinion and upset at the WGA awards where members related to the story of a down-and-out writer. Past winner Barry Jenkins can’t be counted out for the audacious act of adapting James Baldwin’s book If Beale Street Could Talk on spec and then gaining the trust of his estate to make a very fine movie. Still this could be the consolation prize for Spike.

THE WINNER: Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz; Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman


Best Original Screenplay

Of the two writing categories, this one has the tightest race with four Best Picture front-runners competing: The Favourite, Green Book, Vice and Roma. The WGA winner was no help as Eighth Grade didn’t make the cut here. Let’s knock out Roma because Alfonso Cuarón is more likely to win in Directing, Cinematography, and Foreign Film. BAFTA winner The Favourite is the witty, literate type of script that might stand a chance here, but it lost to Green Book at the Globes, and wasn’t eligible for WGA, so it’s a little shaky to predict. As in the case of The Big Short, Adam McKay’s highly intelligent and funny Vice is the natural choice, but Globe winner Green Book is so well-liked it would make sense to vote it in here too. The fifth nominee, First Reformed, is that film’s only nomination, but I suspect it is here as a way to honor icon Paul Schrader, who incredibly has never before been nominated despite films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Last Temptation of Christ. Another tough one, but I will enhance my Best Picture prediction with a win here first.

THE WINNER: Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Green Book


Best Foreign Language Film

This is as solid a list of foreign-language nominees as I have seen in a long time. I have to say the Academy committees got it exactly right, beginning with three exceptional films that debuted in Cannes in May: Poland’s Cold War, Lebanon’s Capernaum, and Japan’s Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters. In fact, all three were prize winners in Cannes and represent the best of world cinema. Another entry, Germany’s Never Look Away, is truly epic at 3 hours and 15 minutes, but no less worthy, as I witnessed in Toronto in September. Finally there is Venice winner, Mexico’s Roma, which counts this as one of its massive haul of 10 nominations. It is the obvious front-runner to win here. In every case where a Foreign Language contender was also nominated for Best Picture, it went on to win here and lose there.

THE WINNER: Roma

Roma


Best Animated Feature Film

This category is usually Disney’s to lose, as they are so dominant in wins ever since it was created. This year the Mouse House has two entries: Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 and Disney Animation Studios’ Ralph Breaks the Internet. Wes Anderson and company are back with another wonderfully quirky and charming entry after first being nominated in this category for The Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009. Now he has Isle of Dogs, but it is an uphill climb against the bigger studio efforts. That same problem stands for the beautiful independent Gkids entry this year, Mirai. Finally, after being dissed with no nominations for previous efforts like The Lego Movie and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Phil Lord and Chris Miller took on Marvel and Sony and came up a winner with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It has dominated the precursor awards, so we’ll follow the trajectory.

THE WINNER: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.jpeg


Best Cinematography 

This category pretty much matches the choices of ASC with The Favourite, A Star Is Born, Roma, and Cold War all earning nominations. The only deviation was with the inclusion of the German film Never Look Away, which earned a sixth career nod for veteran and Academy favorite Caleb Deschanel—a real tip of the hat from his peers. He’s the sentimental favorite, but he has to battle the two black-and-white foreign films, including the rare feat of seeing a nomination go to a director: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma. With three Foreign Language Film nominees also named here, it is an unprecedented situation for the category and indication of the globalization of this branch. In an upset it was Cold War that took the ASC honor, but maybe that was in part because cinematographers didn’t want to give their top award to a director. That likely will change with Oscar, as it did at the BAFTAs, where everyone gets to vote.

THE WINNER: Roma

Roma


Best Costume Design

Multiple Oscar winner and branch icon Sandy Powell is back with two of the nominations here for both The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns. She is probably the one to beat, most likely for the former, since costume epics are usually irresistible to Oscar voters. Of course that period collection also includes Mary Queen of Scots, nominated here as well. The Wild West is represented by Netflix’s Coen bros. western anthology, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and the world of superheroes gets a nod with Black Panther. It probably comes down to The Favourite and Black Panther: a toss-up. When in doubt go with the costume movie.

THE WINNER: The Favourite


Best Documentary Feature

In a stellar year for documentaries, both creatively and at the box office, the Academy’s often unpredictable documentary branch managed to blow it, at least in regard to what is not included — namely the wonderful Mr. Rogers docu Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and the fascinating Three Identical Strangers, to name just two glaring omissions. Of those in the race, the harrowing mountain climbing flick Free Solo and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg docu RBG are the highest-profile and most likely winners, against lesser-known Hale County This Morning, This Evening, critical favorite Minding the Gap; and Of Fathers and Sons. It comes down to the love for the outdoors vs the iconic Supreme Court hero. If the Academy wants to make a statement it will be RBG, but I have a feeling, as at BAFTA, they were truly awed by the climber.

THE WINNER: Free Solo


Best Film Editing

Whether true or not, the legend in Oscar circles is that Film Editing nominations are a must if you want to compete in Best Picture. Roma missed the cut, but it may not be a fatal blow to that film as much as it could be to A Star Is Born and Black Panther, also not mentioned here. The race is a tossup between five other Best Picture nominees: BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book and Vice. The latter and BlacKkKlansman made use of a lot of tricky devices that scream “editing.” Bohemian may have earned its nom here due to the fact that editor John Ottman had to finish the film on his own after director Bryan Singer was fired 85% into the shoot. And for that reason, I am going with Ottman and the unique job he was handed.

THE WINNER: Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Border is the third Swedish -language movie to make the cut in this category in recent years—a real feat for the Swedes, who this time compete with Mary Queen of Scots (for all those welts on Margot Robbie?) and the brilliant transformation of Christian Bale into Dick Cheney. Often this award will go to the team who worked with an acting nominee, and in this case that was definitely Vice.

THE WINNER: Vice


Best Original Score

I would have said the front-runner here was unquestionably Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice winner Justin Hurwitz for First Man, but guess what? He didn’t get nominated. So wrong. On the plus side, never-before-nominated Terence Blanchard did get a nod for frequent collaborator Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Nicholas Britell’s If Beale Street Could Talk is lushly romantic. Two-time winner Alexandre Desplat is back with the complex and clever score for Isle of Dogs, and there are a pair from Disney studios with Marvel’s Black Panther bringing a first-time nomination for Ludwig Göransson, and seven-time nominee Marc Shaiman for his Mary Poppins Returns. I have no idea so this is another tossup, but maybe because Shaiman has been nominated seven times, including for Best Song also this year, and maybe it is a musical?…

THE WINNER: Mary Poppins Returns


Best Original Song

Fortunately, the rumors turn out not to be true, the Academy came to its senses and is allowing performances of all the nominated songs. Originally, word had it only Kendrick Lamar with “All the Stars” from Black Panther, and Lady Gaga with “Shallow” from A Star is Born would be allowed to perform, leaving out other nominees, “I’ll Fight” from RBG, “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns, and “When a Cowboy Trades his Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Lamar is making an album so no performance is coming for that. But isn’t this one a foregone conclusion?

THE WINNER: “Shallow”, A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born


Best Production Design

A crackerjack list of contenders here with no obvious winner. It could go in any number of directions. There is the world of Wakanda in Black Panther. There is Queen Anne’s court in The Favourite. What about the moon in First Man, or a revisit to Cherry Tree Lane in Mary Poppins Returns? Finally, how do we resist the exact re-creation of Alfonso Cuarón’s childhood home in Roma? This is a rich field and it really is a tough choice. My original thought when I wrote this up earlier for our magazine was Wakanda would take it. Now, I am going more traditional.

THE WINNER: The Favourite

Atsushi Nishijima

Best Sound Editing

I’m not sure why there have to be two sound categories. Why not just combine Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, since in recent years both categories have had the same nominees and often same winners? This year there is one slight deviation between the two. Among the Sound Editing nominees only is the extraordinary work done with silence, of all things, in the haunting A Quiet Place, joining Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, and Roma. If it were just up to the sound editors voting I would say A Quiet Place, but everyone in the Academy votes on the finals, and they tend not to appreciate that kind of precise subtlety.

THE WINNER: Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody


Best Sound Mixing

Musicals do especially well in this category, so it could be a race between Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born. The latter however was the only film in this category not also included in sound editing, so maybe that puts it at a disadvantage. Who knows? The other nominees are Black Panther, First Man, and Roma. But of course, when in doubt, you can just repeat yourself and go with the maestros who made Queen sound so spectacular.

THE WINNER: Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody


Best Visual Effects

Somehow BAFTA winner Black Panther was left out of this category, but Disney studios still dominate with VES champ Avengers: Infinity War, Christopher Robin and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Of those, Christopher Robin and its CGI animals was the most intricate, inventive and pleasant surprise for inclusion. First Man also soared, but may be too quiet and subtle. The dazzling Ready Player One is really best in show here, but it came out in March, and hasn’t gotten much of a push at all this season. It is spectacular nevertheless, but this will probably go to the box office champ Avengers or to the less obvious space shot.

THE WINNER: First Man


Best Animated Short Film

You can’t go wrong with Pixar, and they have a lovely entry called Bao about a lonely Chinese-Canadian mother dealing with empty nest syndrome. She makes a dumpling that comes to life, allowing her to once again feel useful as a mother. This is a good crop overall, with the poignant Late Afternoon—a sensitive close-up look at the terrifying onset of Alzheimers, which is likely to score points with aging Oscar voters. Animal Behaviour which is great fun, One Small Step, and Weekends round it out. All fine entries. When in doubt go with Pixar, and Bao was widely seen in front of Incredibles 2 last summer.

THE WINNER: Bao


Best Live Action Short Film

The nominees have titles that are all just one word, which I suppose is appropriate for a category called Live Action Short Film. Pick among Fauve—the tale of two boys in a power play, set in a quarry mine—Marguerite, Mother, and Skin, the latter of which gained a high profile after recently being picked up and campaigned by Fox Searchlight. The fifth entry is Detainment, and it is highly controversial—about the incredibly shocking and brutal murder of 2-year-old James Bulger in England back in 1993. A petition calling for its removal from the Oscars garnered over 220,000 signatures, and the young victim’s family loudly denounced the movie. I doubt the Academy will want to reward it but the acting of the boys is extraordinary. The only hopeful and life-affirming entry is Marguerite so we go with that.

THE WINNER: Marguerite

Marguerite

Best Documentary Short Subject

As usual, there are some very fine films with heavy subject matter on display here. End Game is endlessly depressing, as it deals with plans for end-of-life for several dying patients. It is at the maximum for eligibility here at a longish 40 minutes. A Night at the Garden, undeniably powerful in detailing a Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden in the ’30s is made up entirely of vintage footage and runs just 7 minutes. In between are Black Sheep, which is great but seems iffy as a documentary, the impressive Lifeboat, and the wonderfully inspiring Period. End of Sentence, which deals with the lack of female sanitary protection in small villages in India, and the Pad Project created by a class at Oakwood School in Los Angeles, designed to give women the ability to make their own products. The film was made by an all-woman team.

THE WINNER: Period. End of Sentence.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/02/2019-oscar-predictions-best-picture-all-categories-1202556960/