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Predictions: The 91st Academy Awards

Article By: Alice-Ginevra Micheli 

Oh, what a strange year it has been for the illustrious Academy. They have had controversial choice after controversial choice, not just in its nominees but also in the ceremony itself. Will they have a host? Will there be some categories that don’t receive their due and are cast aside during the ads? There’s no doubt this year will be memorable, but will it be for good reason?

This uncertainty is just as present in the prediction of the winners. Never before have I been so filled with doubt when it comes to who I think will win the golden statuette. This year there is rarely a clear winner in each category, with often two or three nominees being just as likely as the last.

However, I have done my best. I have watched all the films I could, and weighed up the possibilities as to who is more likely to come out on top. Once again, although a constant battle in my mind, I have tried to choose who is the favored to win, rather than whom I think deserves it more — no matter how much I may want it to be so.

So without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2019 Academy Awards:

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

Pick: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk

Ironically enough, it’s Regina King who is the favourite for this category, and not the two powerhouses in the aptly named film. Although both Stone and Weisz bring fire to the screen with their subtle expressions and duplicitous manoeuvring, it’s the raw, visceral emotion delivered by King’s performance that will have her end up on top. She has already proven herself on the small screen, having won a multitude of awards for her roles in American Crime, therefore it was only a matter of time before she proved herself on the silver screen as well, which she has done so ten-fold.

Achievement in Costume Design

  • Mary Zophres – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • Ruth Carter – Black Panther
  • Sandy Powell – The Favourite
  • Sandy Powell – Mary Poppins Returns
  • Alexandra Byrne – Mary Queen of Scotts

Pick: Ruth Carter – Black Panther

This was a tough one, as it seems that awards, critics and fans alike are torn between the colourful and imaginative costumes of Black Panther and the period-with-a-twist frocks of The Favourite. Both bring something new and memorable to each film, and are just as important in helping shape the world of the story they’re in. However, I believe this to be a year of change at the Oscars, leading me to decide upon Ruth Carter’s breathtaking pieces as being the ones that Academy voters won’t be able to look beyond!

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer – Border
  • Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks – Mary Queen of Scots
  • Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney – Vice

Pick: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney – Vice

With only three nominees, this one seems more straightforward.  All that’s needed is for one to view how Christian Bale was absolutely transformed into the former VP Dick Cheney, in order to know that there’s no other way to turn. Furthermore, the exceptional detail that went into recreating accurate looks for each of the other real life characters, leads the team from Viceto glory for this award.

Foreign Language Film

  • Capernaum
  • Cold War
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma
  • Shoplifters

Pick: Roma

At least for this year, this seems like a no-brainer. Nominated for 9 other Oscars, there’s no prize for guessing that Cuaron’s intimate masterpiece will take home the gold. While the others are excellent entrants, none match up to what will soon become a stalwart classic within cinematic history.

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Detainment
  • Fauve
  • Marguerite
  • Mother
  • Skin

Pick: Fauve

Readers would be surprised to know that this is an oddly competitive category. Each film has a very similar story, and all are relatively brutal in their delivery. It should also be noted that every one of the films have an impressive collection of awards recognition under their belt making them a fairly even match. I’m going to side with Fauvethis time around, the MIFF award winning short about two French boys who get more than they bargained for when playing on railway tracks. Beautiful in its storytelling, and captivating in its filmmaking, the Academy could do worse than awarding this one its Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.

Documentary (Short Subject)

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

Pick: Black Sheep

It seems that the theme among documentary shorts this year is one of controversy and political social justice. This has made deciding the more deserving winner a bit of a toss up, as each make their point in a powerful and completely diverse manner. While A Night at the Garden and Period. End of Sentenceare both fascinating looks at the current political climate and what it’s like to be a woman in India respectively, Black Sheepis the film that best tells its story in a way that is equally informative and entertaining. It mixes its bizarre nature with harsh reality and sticks in the mind long after it’s over, making it the most logical choice to win.

Achievement in Sound Mixing

  • Steve Boedekker, Brandon Proctor and Peter Devlin – Black Panther
  • Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis – First Man
  • Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio Garcia – Roma
  • Tom Ozanich, Dran Zupancic,Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow – A Star is Born

Pick: Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio Garcia – Roma

The two hot contenders for this category are the show-stopping Bohemian Rhapsodyand the quiet, contemplative, Roma. While it might seem that the more obvious pick is the one with music at its forefront, in the Queen biopic, I’m going to place my bet on the emotional Mexican tale. Cuaron’s masterpiece uses sounds to enhance its storytelling in such a way that it would lose a significant amount of its emotion without it. Whether it’s the delicacy of birds, or the constant presence of a canine’s barks and whines, they are integral to setting the scene, and done so in such a way that elevates the film beyond its 2D screen.

Achievement in Sound Editing

  • Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boedekker – Black Panther
  • John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan – First Man
  • Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl – A Quiet Place
  • Sergio Diaz and Skip Lievsay – Roma

Pick: Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl – A Quiet Place

I will hear no arguments on this choice. This film is a masterpiece. Absolutely breathtaking in its execution and fascinating in its concept, it’s an original piece that manages to combine emotion, action, and extreme tension in its short runtime. It’s a crime that it was only recognised in one category, and therefore it needs to win this one, as it will have no other chance.

Actor in a Supporting Role

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

Pick: Mahershala Ali – The Green Book

While there is a very strong contender in Grant’s magnanimous turn as a tragicomic drifter, it’s likely that the winner will be Mahershala Ali. His subtle grace as the famous pianist Dr. Shirley, keeps the audience hooked. His characterisation is deeply compelling, making his small moments of emotional outburst all the more powerful. Already a darling of the Academy with his previous win, and his impressive repertoire, there’s a very high chance that Ali will walk away victorious once again.

Achievement in Visual Effects

  • Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick – Avengers: Infinity War
  • Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Thoe Jones and Chris Corbould – Christopher Robin
  • Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm – First Man
  • Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk – Ready Player One
  • Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy – Solo: A Star Wars Story

Pick: Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick – Avengers: Infinity War

Anyone who has seen the film realises that there’s no contest. Not only was this film robbed in all other categories, but it’s also an absolute spectacle in visual intensity. Perfectly constructed, with rarely a pixel out of place, if this doesn’t walk away the winner, I’ll be very suspicious of wrongdoing behind the Oscars scenes!

Animated Short Film

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Bao
  • Late Afternoon
  • One Small Step
  • Weekends

Pick: Bao

As will be soon evident, it may be that this year is the first without a Disney victory in the animated feature category. Therefore it’s highly likely that Academy voters will throw a metaphorical bone to the production giant in order to appease them later on. Having said that, this is a very deserving short, giving the full expanse of parental emotion with cultural inflection in its short runtime. It’s impressive and memorable, and so deserves the accolade nonetheless.

Animated Feature Film

  • Incredibles 2
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mirai
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse

Pick: Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse

That’s right. With two different entrants in the category, it seems that Sony will still outmanoeuvre Disney for the first time in eight years. Not only does Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse tell a captivating story about relatively unknown comic book character, but also it does so in a completely imaginative way. This category is meant to award the film with the most innovation behind its creation, as well as the one with the best narrative, and this one manages to do both flawlessly. Taking a giant leap of faith with what they told and the way that they told it, it’s only right that this category crowns the friendly neighbourhood superhero the winner this year.

Achievement in Production Design

  • Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart – Black Panther
  • Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton – The Favourite
  • Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas – First Man
  • John Myhre and Gordon Sim – Mary Poppins Returns
  • Eugenio Caballero and Bárbara Enriquez – Roma

Pick: Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton – The Favourite

Although my personal choice would be the beautiful designs of Black Panther, with its groundbreaking look into a hidden advanced world, it’s likely that the The Favourite will win due to its pleasing periodic background. A favourite (excuse the pun), especially when taking into account the Academy’s affecting love for all films set in the ‘period drama’ past, it’s likely that this category will end up being exactly what people will think it to be.

Achievement in Cinematography

  • Łukasz Żal – Cold War
  • Robbie Ryan – The Favourite
  • Caleb Deschanel – Never Look Away
  • Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
  • Matthew Libatique – A Star is Born

Pick: Alfonso Cuarón – Roma

This film is impressive, not only because Cuarón didn’t have his constant illustrious cinematographic companion in Emmanuel Lubezki, by his side, but also taking into account the fact that he took on the role himself in addition to all the other ones he already had on his shoulders. Then when one actually watches the film, it’s simply beautiful to behold.  The precise camera movements and intimate portrayal of family through its framing of moments, it’s easy to see how deserving this film is from its first 5 minutes to when it scrolls through its final credits.

Achievement in Film Editing

  • Barry Alexander Brown – BlacKkKlansman
  • John Ottoman – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Yorgos Mavropsaridis – The Favourite
  • Patrick J. Don Vito – Green Book
  • Hank Corwin – Vice

Pick: John Ottoman – Bohemian Rhapsody

This is probably one of the most competitive categories of the year. Between Vice’s aggressively prominent and stylistic editing to BlacKkKlansman’s powerfully symbolic choices, it’s hard to decide to which the Oscar will go. However, when taking into account the absolute mess that Bohemian Rhapsody was left in after the firing of its director, the fact that it was still able to be an absolutely fantastic show, creating goose bumps during its final concert smash, it’d be too hard to ignore in the win.

Documentary (Feature)

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

Pick: Free Solo

The big contenders this year are the bio-doc about the longest serving Supreme Court Justice in Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and the dizzying feat which looks at a record breaking free climb in America. While it might be that Academy voters go for RBGin order to throw their weight toward liberal America, in a filmmaking perspective it should be Free Solo that wins. Not only is it intriguing in its character study, but it’s also mind-blowing in its pure cinematic achievement. This is only emphasised considering how all the camera handlers and directors were also taking on dangerous rock climbing feats of their own while recording the one at the film’s centre.

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

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

Pick: “Shallow” – A Star is Born

Although, personally, I don’t believe the key song from the Bradley Cooper directorial debut is that great as songs go, and certainly not the most deserving of the nominated bunch, it’s probable that the Lady Gaga song will ring victorious this year. It’s played constantly on the radio, and very much an earworm through its repetitive chorus, so really it’s the easy pick.

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

  • Ludwig Goransson– Black Panther
  • Terence Blanchard – BlacKkKlansman
  • Nicholas Britell – If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Alexandre Desplat – Isle of Dogs
  • Marc Shaiman – Mary Poppins Returns

Pick: Ludwig Goransson– Black Panther

If someone just listens to this score, it wouldn’t even call to question whether Gorannson’s score is the greatest of this years’ nominees. Completely different and evocative through its transient tones, the pure power that shines through each note, and the way the music perfectly pairs to each scene, makes it no contest.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara – The Favourite
  • Paul Schrader – First Reformed
  • Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly – Green Book
  • Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
  • Adam McKay – Vice

Pick: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara – The Favourite

Generally when it comes to screenplays, it’s the one filled with the most interesting dialogue, and curious characters that come out on top. Add to that some of the wittiest repartee delivered in biting and quick succession and it’s the Davis and McNamara’s screenplay, filled to the brim with small, quotable, gems that will end up impressing Academy voters this year.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

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

Pick: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman

Although not likely to be successful in any of the other awards its nominated for, it would be a shame if the fiercely entertaining screenplay at the core of Spike Lee’s modern masterpiece didn’t take home this prize. Managing to tell its striking tale, with a mixture of great moments and a strong final message, makes it the one with the cards stacked its favour for this honour.

 Achievement in Directing

  • Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
  • Paweł Pawlikowski – Cold War
  • Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite
  • Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
  • Adam McKay – Vice

Pick: Alfonso Cuarón – Roma

I mean is anyone really considering someone else for Best Director of 2018? Not only is the film very quickly entering the all-time favourites list of many cinephiles, but each frame clearly shows the huge amount of effort and detail that went into every line, every expression, and every scene of this deeply personal story. This is quite literally Cuarón’s baby, so it’s his to lose, in a big way.

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?

Pick: Olivia Colman – The Favourite

This one is a very tight race. Very tight. Tighter than the corset that Colman no doubt had to wear as part of her possibly award winning role. There are two arguments in this camp, both compelling with a deluge of evidence at their side. On one end there is Glenn Close, already having been nominated 5 times, and considered one of the greatest actors of the modern age, it’s a wonder she hasn’t already got one of these trophies at home. Then, paired with that, is her performance this year. Absolutely magnificent through the incredible story she tells through her expression and restrained passion, she is absolutely the best part of the film, flying miles above many of the performances this year. Then on the other side is Olivia Colman. An actress who has long been rising the ranks as a respected British thespian, it’s her turn as the depressed and conflicted Queen Anne that has really allowed her talent to shine. While at first, some may question her belonging in this category, with the fact that Stone and Weisz might have more reason to be considered the leading actresses of The Favouriteover her, having now witnessed her performance there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind. She completely takes over the production, present even when she isn’t on screen and chewing the scenery to bits when she is. Not only is it a fantastic performance, it’s iconic, making her the logical choice for the winner.

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

Pick: Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody

I have long been a great fan of Malek’s. Whether it was as a long-suffering Egyptian pharaoh or as the enigmatic Mr. Robot, his chops as an actor has always been present. However, when he took on the role of the incandescent Queen front man, Freddie Mercury, he entered a stage in his acting, which is almost unbelievable. Not only is he great in the role, he IS the role. Flawless in his execution you can see the turmoil behind the talent and feel his passion for his music. Sure the buckteeth and moustache certainly helped him transform physically, but there’s energy present in his performance, which is impossible to deny. While some may think that Bale’s, objectively prodigious, turn as Dick Cheney has a strong chance as well, I honestly believe that it’ll still be Malek to take home the prize at the end of the day.

Best Picture

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

Pick: Roma

Here it is folks. The most prestigious award of the entire night. In addition to that, it’s also the most competitive; with no one film more deserving than the other. Each have a fantastic story at its core, and are surrounded by brilliant filmmaking in order to tell it. They are also all completely different in the types of film they are, and the way in which their plots are delivered. In order to pick a winner, I had to look at the core of this category, how it’s defined and what it means. That is what led me to selecting Romaas my. Masterfully made in a way that is universally understandable, and yet unfathomably superb in its technique. It’s a film that keeps on giving every time it’s watched and is sure to become the topic of discussion and study in future academic and social film circles. There’s no contest, for a film that is able to translate an individual experience so effortlessly, and still be interesting to watch, is the one that deserves to take home the Oscar on Sunday night.

 

And there we are, another year gone and another prediction list completed. Every year this article presents itself, as one of my most mammoth tasks, from watching all the films, to then having to decide which from the pantheon is the best. This year has been difficult unlike any other, with fierce competition in almost every category, and significant uncertainty plaguing every choice.

It’s certain to be a night to remember, one that may very well be talked about for years to come, whether it’s purely based on who comes out on top, or memorable events that are sure to happen within the ceremony.

There’s nothing left to do but place your bets, settle yourselves in and be ready for an Academy Awards that is sure to go down as one of the most talked about in history. Airing on the 24th of February, it’s time for us all to watch our last couple of films, get the family round and be ready to experience the 91st Academy Awards in all its glory!

 

For a list of the night’s winners, click here!

Alice Ginevra Micheli
Her love of film, novels and all things media led her to study Screen and Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. Fascinated with the culture of entertainment today she keeps up to date on all the news and going-ons within the industry. When not traversing the internet and cinemas, she spends her time catching up on whatever TV or book series she's currently obsessed with.

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