2019 Academy Awards Predictions – Final Ballot

In January, I made my Academy Awards predictions for 2019. Since then, a lot has changed. Some of my original predictions should be considered null and void. That said, the following predictions are by no means expert predictions. And most importantly, the Academy Awards are not the end-all be-all of filmmaking achievement in a given year. There are plenty of films that the Academy chose not to honor that are deserving of some attention.

In any case, here are my final predictions for the 2019 Oscars.



Will Win: My pick to win

Upset Watch: A potential spoiler

Could Win: The race is too close to call it an upset, or I am picking against the favorite

Should Win: My personal favorite(s) out of the nominees


Best Picture

  • Will Win: Green Book
  • Could Win: Roma
  • Should Win: The Favourite

For a more detailed analysis, take a look at my previous article. TL;DR: Green Book and Roma are the most likely Best Picture candidates, and I believe the mainstream popularity of Green Book will win out in the end. That said, if you haven’t seen The Favourite, check it out. It is an incredibly smart parody.


Best Director
  • Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron
  • Upset Watch: Spike Lee
  • Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron or Yorgos Lanthimos

Regardless of how the Best Picture race shakes out, this is Alfonso Cuaron’s to lose. The only scenario in which he takes second place is if the majority of the Academy feels that Spike Lee deserves a career achievement win.

Lee’s film is quite good, but Cuaron’s control over Roma is too strong to deny. Yorgos Lanthimos’ work on The Favourite should be appreciated, as well. That film looks gorgeous.


Best Actress
  • Will Win: Glenn Close
  • Upset Watch: Olivia Colman
  • Should Win: Olivia Colman

Speaking of career achievement honors, Glenn Close will be winning this one. She has won everything up to this point (save for the BAFTA), and the Academy is giving her this one for her career as a whole. The “never won before” narrative is too strong in this case.

The steam in the Lady Gaga train went out rapidly, starting with the Golden Globes. Colman, conversely, has had a bit of a second wind late in the season. But it comes too late, in my opinion. As much as she deserves it (and would win it if she were designated a supporting performance), Colman is losing out to Close this year.


Best Actor
  • Will Win: Rami Malek
  • Upset Watch: Christian Bale
  • Should Win: Bradley Cooper

Rami Malek has been winning everything he needs to to take this award. He should win by a mile.


Best Supporting Actress
  • Will Win: Regina King
  • Upset Watch: Rachel Weisz
  • Should Win: Regina King

A strange case, this category is. Regina King was not nominated for a SAG award (the natural precursor to the Oscars’ acting categories). But nobody who is nominated for the Academy Award won the SAG (it went to Emily Blunt for A Quiet Place). This arguably puts King back into this race.

If there is an upset, it could come from anywhere. But I like Rachel Weisz as the runner-up. Don’t count out Marina de Tavira, though. A surprise nominee, she nevertheless could tip the scales if Roma does prove to be the Best Picture of the year.


Best Supporting Actor
  • Will Win: Mahershala Ali
  • Upset Watch: Richard E. Grant
  • Should Win: Sam Elliott or Richard E. Grant

Similarly to Malek, Mahershala Ali has been winning everything up to this point. Richard E. Grant is a lovable presence who would easily win over the Academy among a different field of contenders. But Ali is looking like the strong favorite to win his second statue.


Best Original Screenplay
  • Will Win: The Favourite
  • Could Win: Green Book
  • Should Win: The Favourite or First Reformed

It is hard to deny the writing in The Favourite, but it hasn’t locked it up in this category. There is no WGA winner in this category to tip the scales, and if Green Book has the fan favorite energy that I presume it does then it could sweep this out from under The Favourite.

In fact, if I’m going to get burned in any category for picking the film I like more, it’s going to be here.


Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Will Win: Blackkklansman
  • Could Win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Should Win: If Beale Street Could Talk

This is the place where the Academy will likely reward Spike Lee. The competition here is less fierce than Best Director and Best Picture. Of course, Can You Ever Forgive Me? winning the WGA award does give it somewhat of a boost.


Best Editing
  • Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Could Win: Vice
  • Should Win: The Favourite

Gold Derby currently has Vice in the lead for Best Editing, and I understand the thought process behind that choice. It certainly has the most editing of any film in this category, and perhaps it is too subjective of me to put it down for that. I think the frantic editing is the worst part of Vice and, frankly, the worst part of Adam McKay’s transition into a director of prestige pictures.

My bias stated, I think Bohemian Rhapsody has a better shot. It won the ACE Eddie award for its editing, and there is a growing narrative about John Ottman’s presence saving this film from failure after Bryan Singer was fired.


Best Cinematography
  • Will Win: Roma
  • Upset Watch: Cold War
  • Should Win: The Favourite

There is a theory that I have been toying around with in my head that the Academy is going to have category fatigue on Alfonso Cuaron. It seems ludicrous to deny him this award, but if he wins Best Director and accepts the award for Best Foreign Language Film, as well, it’s possible Cuaron will be denied something. This theory is affecting my decision at Best Picture, as well.

I just don’t see the Academy allowing a Cuaron sweep. If the Academy is spreading the wealth, in this regard, then we shouldn’t count out Lukasz Zal or Robbie Ryan.


Best Costume Design
  • Will Win: Black Panther
  • Could Win: The Favourite
  • Should Win: Black Panther or The Favourite (a tie would be spectacular)

I don’t want to say this is a toss-up between The Favourite and Black Panther, but I have been oscillating back and forth between them all season. The Favourite is a more conventional pick, with that beautiful period costuming. But Black Panther is an achievement, too. Part of me wants to seriously call a tie, even though the probability of that is low.


Best Production Design
  • Will Win: The Favourite
  • Could Win: Black Panther
  • Should Win: First Man

Similar to Costume Design, Production Design feels like a two-horse race. Here, though, I think The Favourite has more of an edge, given just how intricate and ornate the set design is in that film.

That said, First Man does a lot with its production design, and that helps it stand out from the many other space flight movies.


Best Makeup & Hairstyling
  • Will Win: Vice
  • Upset Watch: Mary Queen of Scots
  • Should Win: Mary Queen of Scots

I don’t see a scenario where Vice loses this award. It is the Darkest Hour of 2018, and its competition are films which are under-seen by comparison.


Best Original Score
  • Will Win: If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Upset Watch: Black Panther
  • Should Win: If Beale Street Could Talk

Nicholas Britell deserves this one. His score for If Beale Street Could Talk stands out from the pack. It is hard to see him losing this, but if he does it will likely be in favor of the Grammy-winning Black Panther score.


Best Original Song
  • Will Win: A Star is Born (“Shallow”)
  • Upset Watch: Black Panther (“All the Stars”)
  • Should Win: A Star is Born (“Shallow”)

“Shallow” had this award locked up the moment A Star is Born came out. I don’t think much else needs to be said.


Best Sound Editing
  • Will Win: First Man
  • Could Win: A Quiet Place
  • Upset Watch: Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Should Win: First Man

Both sound categories are stacked with talent this year. I see the two categories splitting in favor of two movies as an inevitability. As much as I think First Man deserves them both, it is in danger of being overthrown on both accounts. Here, it is A Quiet Place and Bohemian Rhapsody with the potential to upset.


Best Sound Mixing
  • Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Could Win: First Man
  • Upset Watch: A Star is Born
  • Should Win: First Man

If Bohemian Rhapsody takes just one of the two sound categories, it will be for Sound Mixing. A Star is Born has similar ambitions in its song mixing, but I don’t think the film stands out like Bohemian in that regard.


Best Visual Effects
  • Will Win: First Man
  • Could Win: Avengers: Infinity War
  • Should Win: First Man

This is a true contest between subtlety of visual effects (First Man) and quantity of visual effects (Avengers: Infinity War). I would like to think subtlety wins out in the end, but this might be wishful thinking.

This is not to say the massive amount of effects work in Avengers ought to be overlooked, but First Man is marvelous without the need to be jam-packed with Marvel. In the end, I think the realism that First Man creates is more impressive.


Best Documentary Feature
  • Will Win: RBG
  • Could Win: Free Solo
  • Should Win: Minding the Gap

If you ask me, Minding the Gap is the best film of this lot, but its chances of winning are slim. Free Solo has rallied late, and it now rests atop the Gold Derby chart. That said, I think RBG carries the political weight that the Academy and Hollywood like to throw around. It isn’t the best documentary of the year, by far, but it is the type of film that the Academy wants to reward for its messaging.

(Free Solo, though, is one of the most impressive feats of cinematography I have ever seen in a documentary).


Best Animated Feature
  • Will Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Upset Watch: Incredibles 2
  • Should Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse takes this in a walk.


Best Foreign Language Feature
  • Will Win: Roma
  • Upset Watch: Cold War
  • Should Win: Shoplifters

Roma (probably) takes this in a walk.

The only scenario in which it loses involves weird category splitting that spreads the wealth. But Roma is more likely to win this and lose Best Picture than it is to lose Best Picture and win this.


Best Live Action Short
  • Will Win: Marguerite
  • Upset Watch: Detainment
  • Should Win: Madre

One of these things is not like the other. Marguerite is the only short in this bunch of five that doesn’t leave you feeling empty and depressed. It is the feel-good choice, and that will make it stand out.

But see Madre if you get the chance. It is a one-take short with some amazing tension and a great lead performance.


Best Animated Short
  • Will Win: Bao
  • Upset Watch: One Small Step
  • Should Win: Bao

Bao takes this one in a walk. No contest.


Best Documentary Short
  • Will Win: Period. End of Sentence.
  • Could Win: Black Sheep
  • Should Win: Period. End of Sentence. or Lifeboat

This is a split category. Black Sheep is arguably receiving the most buzz out of any of these shorts, and the late Netflix release could harm Period. End of Sentence. more than help it.

That said, Period. End of Sentence. is global, politically important, and competently constructed (without breaking the mold). That is the formula for Best Documentary Short.


There you have it. My final ballot for 2019. Now that that’s over with, I am ready to be surprised (and, most likely, bored) by the Oscars ceremony.


As always, thanks for reading!

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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)


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