Last year I penned an article for Loryn Stone over at PopLurker on my predictions for the 2018 Oscar winners. Much like last year, I missed a lot of the movies that are up for the statue, but same as last year I’m not going to let that stop me. My annual point in this is that the Oscars have an at best shaky track record of identifying real cultural impact and importance, and that these things tend to be predictable enough based on the zeitgeist and buzz versus that aforementioned track record. I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that when I did this last year I got more right than I did wrong.
So, once more into the fray, here are my predictions for select categories of the 2019 Oscars:
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: The Favourite, First Reformed, Green Book, Roma, and Vice
I’ll start easy here, original screenplay goes one of two ways: either hand in hand with Best Picture, or as a consolation for the picture that missed Best Picture. I’m thinking this year is the latter and The Favourite takes it home because of its British spelling of the title and the Academy giving it props for ignoring the little red squiggly line under the word throughout the writing process to produce a wonderful piece of film.
Winner: The Favourite
Best Animated Feature
Nominees: Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse
I’ve actually seen two of these: Incredibles 2 and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Ultimately, Incredibles 2 was fun but didn’t tell as nuanced or solid a story as its predecessor. I forget who, but a critic opened my eyes to this weeks after the film’s release by asking: which character actually grows and develops from beginning to end? Sure, they make mistakes, but no one actually learns anything or changes. Spider-Verse on the other hand is a story all about growth, accountability, and what it means for anyone and everyone to be a hero. It’s a love letter to one of my favorite super heroes and I skipped reviewing it on my blog here because I figured my take would be all too obvious.
Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliot (A Star is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), and Sam Rockwell (Vice)
Man, there is a LOT of Green Book hate out there, it seems like it’s this year’s Three Billboards. Last year, I predicted/wished Sam Rockwell’s win into being despite the collective ire at the film he won through. I love Mahershala Ali with similar ardor, but he already has a statue, and the Academy absolutely works on a bit of “you’ve had your turn” from year to year unless you’re Meryl Streep. I’m going to give it up for Adam Driver this year, he’s balanced being a popcorn, pop culture force in Star Wars VII & VIII with still turning in roles with depth, character and balance. He plays a character who, throughout the film, is acting (though acting as an undercover infiltrator). It’s layered, you feel both his tension, internal struggle to understand the importance of his work, and he conveys a message and moral of the film with a masterful hand. Give it up for Kylo.
Winner: Adam Driver
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Marina de Tavira (Roma), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), and Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Okay, I really need to see The Favourite, not only do I love both actresses up for this award from it, but the buzz around it is really solid. Despite The Favourite having double chances to win here, I’m picking between two other actresses for this category. On the one hand, I love Amy Adams, and while I haven’t heard the kind of clamor for her turn in Vice as I think would indicate a strong contender, she’s had a really breakout year across other films, and I think she could get the win on the strength of her collective year and the range displayed across it in juxtaposition with Vice (yes, I know it doesn’t work like that, but trust me, it actually does). That being said, I’m going to root for Regina King. She’s had a career worthy of a lifetime achievement award, and If Beale Street Could Talk is the one film on this list I’m genuinely disappointed I haven’t gone to see. Hell, I may do that tonight thanks to writing this post.
Winner: Regina King
Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), and Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Bradley Cooper’s achievement in A Star is Born seems, largely, to have been the film itself, but I think he sacrificed himself in this category for what he accomplished overall. Christian Bale has had the kind of career with body transformations and characters with deep pathos that make him more of a regular among Academy nominees than one might expect (this is his 4th nomination, with one win behind him), but my eyes keep going back to Willem Dafoe who has also had 4 noms as of this year, but not won a single thing. How an actor transitions into different stages of life through their career is a challenging thing, and now in his 60s, Dafoe seems to be enjoying a renaissance of complex and moving performances that we haven’t seen another actor mature into in decades. He gets my pick.
Winner: Willem Dafoe
Nominees: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
I think Bradley Cooper’s sacrifice could be Lady Gaga’s win, and while she’s my pick for the win here, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say a part of me is screaming that Melissa McCarthy is an actress of depth, intelligence, and nuance. Really take a look at any of her roles, and there’s much more going on than superficial gags, she gives every role she plays tremendous thought and character. That being said, I still think Lady Gaga’s break out with a role that had so many people transfixed throughout 2019 will be too much to ignore, she’s on her way to an EGOT folks, watch out.
Winner: Lady Gaga
Nominees: BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born, Vice
Last year I let my cynicism hedge my bets on Get Out winning, but I take credit for that as a correct call. This year, I want so badly for BlacKkKlansman to win. Spike Lee has the nomination for Best Director, and I don’t think he’ll win for that category but I can see the film taking this statuette home for him. This being one of the few films I saw on this list, I wonder if the Academy might not think the footage of Trump rallies Spike cut into the ending of the film don’t feel too heavy handed. I absolutely think that footage is necessary, and is what will make the film a lasting cultural touchstone, but the Academy has proven it’s shit about recognizing that sort of thing. Once more, I’m hedging my bets and saying I think A Star is Born is more likely, but I’m still going to close with what I think it should be: