Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 September 2020

Oscars 2019: Our predictions for the top awards

From Glenn Close’s eighth nomination to Alfonso Cuaron’s probable triumph with ‘Roma’, we bring you our predictions and aspirations for the outcome of this year's Academy Awards

Rami Malek took home the Best Actor Oscar for his role in 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Courtesy Alex Bailey
Rami Malek took home the Best Actor Oscar for his role in 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Courtesy Alex Bailey

With so much excitement locally over Capernaum’s nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, and the seemingly unstoppable march of Roma to Oscars glory, it’s worth remembering that the Academy Awards are a pretty big deal outside the Middle East and Mexico, too, celebrating as they do the very best in Hollywood and world cinema.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the main categories and their nominees, and our predictions on the likely winners.

Best Picture

Clearly the momentum is with Roma for the top prize, and few would argue. ­Alfonso Cuaron maybe deserves the award for sheer nerve alone – taking $15 million (Dh55m) of Netflix’s money and handing back a plodding, black and white, highly stylised and personal meditation in Spanish and Mixtec, certainly takes confidence. The fact that Cuaron, in the process, also delivered the cinematic event of the year, makes the film all the more remarkable. Plus, the Academy loves a bit of black-and-white art house.

Marina de Tavira as Señora Sofía in 'Roma', written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Photo by Carlos Somonte.
We think Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' will and should win Best Picture. Courtesy Carlos Somonte

If there’s one crumb of hope for Roma’s competitors, it’s that the film doesn’t have a Best Editing nomination. That might sound irrelevant, but only 10 films have ever won Best Picture without one. The last was Birdman in 2015, but since that was shot in one continuous take, there was no real editing to reward, and before that we have to go all the way back to Ordinary People in 1980.

So which film could take advantage of Roma’s editing oversight? The Favourite, with a Roma-equalling 10 nominations would seem the favourite, but given that even the British Academy overlooked this British film in favour of Roma for best picture at the Baftas, surely their American counterparts wouldn’t turn the tables?

Diversity is the issue of the day in Hollywood, so that could benefit a trio of racially charged films at this year’s awards. However, Green Book has faced accusations of showing an overly white point-of-view and of essentially being a “white saviour” film.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Viggo Mortensen’s “n-word” controversy and the resurfacing of an Islamophobic Tweet from writer Nick Vallelonga in the middle of the film’s awards campaign should ensure voters give it a wide berth.

Black Panther is a superhero film, and the Academy simply will not give it the award, so that leaves BlackKkKlansman as the most likely diversity-friendly winner. Thankfully, it’s also a great film.

A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody simply aren’t good enough (and the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding director Bryan Singer will keep voters away from the latter). Vice is too politically divisive, so it looks like a heavily weighted three-way race.

What will win? Roma

What should win? Roma

Possible surprise win? BlacKkKlansman

Best Actor

Rami Malek is the clear front-runner here for his role as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. He’s already picked up the Golden Globe and the Bafta for his role, and the Best Actor prize should be able to steer clear of the controversy surrounding the film due to allegations surrounding director Bryan Singer.

Christian Bale is likely to be Malek’s closest contender, in what is certainly at least an equally inspired performance as two-time US vice-president Dick Cheney in Vice. On the downside, not many fans of Cheney will be voting for Bale’s portrayal.

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s 'Vice'. Annapurna Pictures 
Christian Bale should win Best Actor for his performance as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s 'Vice'. Annapurna Pictures

Willem Dafoe should be in the running on performance alone, though with a single-figure box-office take and no other nominations, At Eternity’s Gate doesn’t really seem to have captured the public’s imagination.

A Star is Born has made a habit of being overlooked during awards season, and nothing is likely to change for Bradley Cooper here.

Who will win? Rami Malek

Who should win? Christian Bale

Possible surprise winner? Willem Dafoe

Best Actress

Lady Gaga and Melissa McCarthy should probably be pleased with a nomination here while the heavyweights battle it out. Glenn Close has to be the favourite for her captivating role in The Wife, though the film hasn’t picked up any other nominations.

Glenn Close as Joan in 'The Wife'. Sony Pictures Classics
Glenn Close will win for her portrayal of Joan in 'The Wife'. Sony Pictures Classics

Two films that aren’t lacking traction are Roma and The Favourite, with 10 nominations apiece. It would be great to see Roma’s Yalitza Aparicio become the first indigenous Mexican actress to pick up a Best Actress award, though it could prove a big ask for the first-time actress. Olivia Colman, meanwhile, is a slightly divisive nomination. She gives a great performance in The Favourite, but isn’t she technically a supporting actress? Confusingly, both of that film’s “leads” Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, are nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category.

Given all that, plus Close’s Golden Globes win, and the fact that this is her eighth nomination to date with still no win so far, 2019 should finally be her year.

Who will win? Glenn Close

Who should win? Emma Stone

Possible surprise win? Yalitza Aparicio

Best Director

Failing some rupture in the space-time continuum, we can reasonably write Adam McKay (Vice) and Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War) off as making up the numbers. Vice again will prove too divisive to win a majority, and Pawlikowski is likely to prove too obscure for the Academy’s more mainstream voting members, plus it would be unusual to pick up a directing award for a movie that isn’t nominated for Best Film.

We think Spike Lee will win the Best Director gong for 'BlacKkKlansman'. AP
We think Spike Lee will win the Best Director gong for 'BlacKkKlansman'. AP

That leaves us with a three-way race once again. Roma is undoubtedly the most visually arresting of the three films, but Cuaron is likely to pick up a cinematography award for that, so may be excused at the top table for directing. Of the remaining two films, Yorgos Lanthimos has perhaps constructed the more technically and creatively perfect movie (The Favourite) but Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman) has the advantage of the pervading atmosphere in Hollywood, and the small matter of a 30-year-plus oversight to finally nominate him for Best Director, in his favour.

Who will win? Spike Lee

Who should win? Yorgos Lanthimos

Possible surprise win? Alfonso Cuaron (though not the world’s biggest surprise)

Updated: February 23, 2019 04:07 PM

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