Oscars 2019 Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

A complete assessment of this year's slate, from the snubs, to the stand-bys, to the surprises

BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Roma
BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Roma

Every year, the Academy surprises us. Whether it’s through a slate of predictable Oscar fluff or a swath of uncompromising snubs, the powers that be never fail to elicit some kind of vitriolic response from its core base of critics, moviegoers, and Hollywood zealots. That shock starts at the nominations and lasts all the way until the morning after the ceremony.

This year is no exception. There’s outrage over the nominations for Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book, while at the same time, there’s admiration for the dozen to half-dozen that’s been respectively given to The Favourite or BlacKkKlansman. Yet for all its pros and cons, the ceremony itself remains consistent in being a total enigma.

Hollywood analysts can read the tea leaves until they look like the blind guy in Lamberto Bava’s Demons, and still, it doesn’t change the fact that the night will bring a series of triumphs and upsets that will all boil down to bewilderment. Some may find that irritating, some may find that comforting, others may sit there wondering what Roma means.

That’s why, in a sense, it’s a fool’s errand to sit here and try and predict anything. Unlike sports, there aren’t really any objective statistics to base these predictions on, namely because any statistics are all based on prior subjectivity. Yet part of any surprise is building expectations, and that’s where these analyses thrive.

That is, if you can appreciate the surprise of being right or wrong.

Alas, here are Consequence of Sound‘s bolder-than-ever predictions going into the 91st Academy Awards. Whether they’re on-target or off the map, we’ll see on Sunday, February 24th, when it all goes down on ABC.

–Michael Roffman


Best Sound Editing

Bohemian Rhapsody
Black Panther
First Man
A Quiet Place

What should win: A Quiet Place

What will win: First Man

Coming into this year’s nominations, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place had started making a number of appearances on forecast lists, ranging from Best Original Score to Best Actress for Emily Blunt. Sadly, neither came to fruition for the blockbuster thriller, but it did manage to whisper away a Best Sound Editing nom — and rightfully so. The entire film is predicated on the lack of noise, which makes any sounds that much more integral, and the film’s rich palette is impressive. However, Damien Chazelle’s First Man is a technical marvel, and given the lack of nominations in any other field, it would appear the voters tend to think so, too. This win for Apollo is a kosher one, but we’d love an upset by Jim Halpert. –Michael Roffman


Best Sound Mixing

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
A Star Is Born

What should win: A Star Is Born

What will win: First Man

As you can see, we’re picking First Man and its appropriately deafening theatrics in both sound categories. Damien Chazelle’s film lends the first moon landing a bracing sense of immediacy and impact, which owes a direct debt to the sonically overwhelming nature of the film’s sound design and mixing. However, one of the most impressive experiences we had in a theater all year was watching (and thus, hearing) A Star is Born in a crisp, clear Dolby theater. Not all live performances are created alike, and if you’re wondering why some of those concert scenes hit you the way they did, this is why. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Visual Effects

Avengers: Infinity War
Christopher Robin
First Man
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story

What should win: Ready Player One

What will win: Avengers: Infinity War

With Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg delivered a computer animated movie given the amount of time that’s spent in the Oasis. But really, all you need to do is watch that homage to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in which the entire Overlook Hotel is brought back to life through video manipulation. It’s a jaw-dropping moment of visual effects wizardry, echoing back to the days of Terminator 2 and Spielberg’s own Jurassic Park. Having said that, Marvel has yet to win in this field, and isn’t Infinity War, what with its smorgasbord of heroes and villains, a perfect time for comeuppance? —Michael Roffman


Best Film Editing

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

What should win: BlacKkKlansman

What will win:  Vice

With BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee’s go-to editor Barry Alexander Brown had the unenviable task of shifting the story from a punchy ’70s setting to the real-world violence of today, specifically the Charlottesville riots that happened as recent as 2017. That’s not just difficult, but nearly impossible, and while many critics have been on the fence with the film’s polarizing coda, very few will argue it wasn’t an effective button that chills the bones. Those feelings *hopefully* won’t get lost on the voters, though we’re betting they’ll be charmed (and swayed) by the cutesy pastiches of Adam McKay’s Vice. To be fair, that faux credits sequence midway through the film is one of the comedy’s greatest gags and it’s all Hank Corwin.  —Michael Roffman


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

vice christian bale movie amy adams

Vice (Annapurna)

Mary Queen of Scots

What should win: Vice

What will win: Vice

Impressive work across the board here, particularly in the case of Border, which uses its makeup in service of something more minimal, and more dramatically lasting. But while it would be easy to predict a costume drama full of lavish looks and getups as the winner in this category (the kind of thing it tends to favor each year), we’re thinking that this year’s statue will go to the impressive work done on turning Christian Bale into Dick Cheney in Vice. The actor’s insane weight training isn’t everything, after all. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Costume Design

The Favourite, Fox Searchlight, Emma Stone

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)

Black Panther, Ruth E. Carter
The Favourite, Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns, Sandy Powell
Mary Queen of Scots, Alexandra Byrne
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Mary Zophres

What should win: The Favourite

What will win: The Favourite

This is one of the year’s toughest categories to call. After all, you can make arguments for the merits of just about any film in this category, from Sandy Powell‘s excellent 2D animation-stitched work on Poppins or Ruth E. Carter‘s unforgettable array of traditional and modernized African looks in Black Panther. However, the best costume design helps contribute to the film’s story in a more meaningful away, and we’re thinking that The Favourite and its litany of layered dresses concealing all kinds of secrets will win on that basis alone. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Production Design

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

What should win: Roma

What will win: Roma

More tough calls to make for the 91st Oscars. Each of these films has its own clear, cogent argument to make for why it deserves a Production Design award, from dazzling revivals of old-fashioned film styles to daring new visions of what a modern superhero movie can look like. But once again, we think the technical accomplishments of Roma will be too much for the Academy to deny. And if you think about it, what film last year draws more attention to its lavish visual direction? Whether it’s rebuilding a Mexico City street doorway-by-doorway, or filling a torched field with perfectly placed debris, or gazing over a missing set of bookshelves in a house’s foyer, some of the film’s best stuff emerges from some of its finest details. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Cinematography

Roma (Netflix)

Roma (Netflix)

The Favourite, Robbie Ryan
Roma, Alfonso Cuaron
Cold War, Lukasz Zal
A Star Is Born, Matty Libatique
Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel

What should win: Cold War

What will win: Roma

There are a few Oscars categories this year in which it’ll be hard to bet against Roma, and here we are again. The look of the film’s lustrous, high-definition black-and-white photography is made all the more remarkable when you consider its director stepping behind the camera as well, flawlessly executing some of the year’s most complex shots with what seems like no effort at all. However, there’s an embarrassment of riches to be found throughout this year’s entire crop of photographers, our particular favorite being Lukasz Zal‘s equally rich black-and-white work on Cold War. Great year for great-looking movies. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Best Original Song

“Shallow” ,A Star Is Born, written by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
Performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

“All the Stars” ,Black Panther, written by Kendrick Lamar, Al Shux, Sounwave, SZA and Anthony Tiffith
Performed by Kendrick Lamar and SZA

“The Place Where Lost Things Go”, Mary Poppins Returns, written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman
Performed by Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda

“I’ll Fight” ,RBG, written by Diane Warren
Performed by Jennifer Hudson

“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings”, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, written by Gilian Welch and David Rawlings
Performed by Tim Blake Nelson

What should win: “Shallow”, A Star Is Born

What will win: “Shallow”, A Star Is Born

Here’s one way to clear the air on this category. While “All the Stars” was the best song of 2018, it had a nominal effect on Black Panther, relegated to the credits as if to say, “Grab this track now on iTunes.” But “Shallow”? It’s the whole goddamn movie, and you feel that every time you stream it. So many moments and so many emotions are packed into that single song, and they all have breadcrumbs leading back to Bradley Cooper’s debut feature. –Michael Roffman


Best Original Score

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

What should win: If Beale Street Could Talk

What will win: Black Panther

Given the Academy’s notoriously touchy Original Score policies, it’s hard enough for a great score to even get nominated. (Our hearts and fuzz pedals turn to Mandy in this trying time.) Even now, in a crop of good-to-great nominees, we can sit and quibble all day about the Radiohead members and other composers who got short shrift this past year. But the category is the category, and on that basis, we’re excited to see whether If Beale Street Could Talk can make some noise in at least a few categories. Nicholas Britell‘s remarkable score acts as a thematic hinge on which Barry Jenkins’ beautiful film swings, and we’d love to see it grab some honors here. However, our money is with Black Panther. After all, is there a more instantly recognizable piece of composition from 2018 in general than “Wakanda”? It was so good, they even re-used it in Infinity War. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Animated Short Film

Animal Behavior
Late Afternoon
One Small Step

What should win: Baos

What will win: Bao

While it’d be more than a bit of a misnomer to simply dismiss this category as “the Pixar award”, it’s tough to deny that the animation house has a pretty strong grip on the past 20 years or so of the Animated Short program. We’re expecting that they’ll continue their reign this year with Bao, originally attached to Incredibles 2. The deeply affecting story of the bond between an empty-nesting woman and a dumpling that becomes a surrogate child to her. In just a few minutes, Pixar does what it does best: takes a wrenching, difficult adult concept (letting go of your kids as they age as a part of good parenting) and makes it digest … well, easy to understand for anyone at any age. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

Black Sheep
End Game
A Night at the Garden
Period. End Of Sentence

What should win: A Night at the Garden

What will win: Lifeboat

The Documentary Short category tends to thrive on topicality, and this year is no different. From stories of long-buried American history to a look at the ways in which periods have been used to culturally discriminate against and disadvantage women, the category is taking a wide berth in the issues it addresses in 2019. Our pick goes to Lifeboat, an affecting look at the constant danger taken on by refugees attempting to escape war-torn countries in hopes of a better future. There are few subjects more engrained in the aware person’s consciousness these days, and we think the Oscars will take the opportunity to provide yet another platform for discussion. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Live Action Short Film


What should win: Skin

What will win: Skin

Originally, Detainment had our vote for a likely winner. True-crime stories have captured the cultural imagination in recent years, and this real-life story based on the grisly 1993 death of a toddler at the seeming hands of two 10-year-olds is a particularly harrowing example. However, considering that the child’s mother wasn’t consulted about the project, let alone approving of it, some negative blowback is already mounting around the film. We’ll then turn to Skin, a tensely horrifying look at everyday American racism in all of its repellent normalcy. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Foreign Language Film

Roma (Netflix)

Roma (Netflix)

Cold War
Never Look Away

What should win: Roma

What will win: Roma

Let’s just start here: Roma is going to take this category, setting off a larger debate in the evening about whether it’ll take the top prize as well. Alfonso Cuarón‘s intimate epic has set a new generation of globally-minded cinephiles ablaze. It’s the kind of film that doesn’t get made anymore, as much a trope as that saying might be these days, and it’ll be deservedly honored throughout all of the 91st ceremony. But in any other year, any of its fellow nominees would have a substantial chance of taking the entire thing home, and this is worth noting as well. Every movie in this category is excellent. See all of them. Expand your moviegoing horizons.

Anyway, yeah, it’s Roma. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Animated Feature Film

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Incredibles 2
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Isle of Dogs

What should win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
What will win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

In an animation year dominated by a small handful of prominent titles and surprisingly underdeveloped thereafter, there were only so many options available for nomination this year. However, one of them has lunged far ahead of the pack, and we doubt that the meticulous stop-motion of Isle of Dogs or the chart-topping appeal of Incredibles 2 will be enough to get it done. This year, the Animated Feature Film Oscar belongs to Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, Spider-Ham, and the rest of the Spider-Verse. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Best Documentary Feature Film

Free Solo (IMAX)

Free Solo (IMAX)

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

What should win: Minding the Gap

What will win: Free Solo

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises to come from this year’s slate of nominees is the exclusion of Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Morgan Neville’s summer hit about the life and times of Fred Rogers. With that said, the seeming top contender being nudged out leaves this as anyone’s category to win. We’d love to see honors for Minding the Gap, Bing Liu’s affecting look at a trio of Rockford, Illinois skate punks struggling to deal with the burden of getting older. However, considering its increasingly massive word-of-mouth popularity, our money is on Free Solo, as gripping a portrait of human achievement as you’ll ever see. Just don’t check it out if you’re afraid of heights. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Adapted Screenplay

Spike Lee and Adam Driver, "BlacKkKlansman", Focus Features

Spike Lee and Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”, Focus Features

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

What should win: If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins

What will win: BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott

It’s touch to imagine a more wildly disparate set of five nominees, but this year’s adaptations took a number of bold, engaging risks. Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty turned a true story of forgery into a meditation on AIDS-era cultural burnout and artistic frustration. A Star is Born managed to update a classic tale into a painfully modern context. Buster Scruggs managed to condense the Coens’ skewed worldview into a series of near-perfect anthology films. We’d love to see Barry Jenkins get some love for his ability to take James Baldwin’s inimitable tone and transpose it to the big screen. However, we’re thinking that BlacKkKlansman and its barrage of ideas and unforgettable exchanges will rule the day. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Original Screenplay

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)

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

What should win: First Reformed, Paul Schrader

What will win: The Favourite, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara

In a perfect world, Paul Schrader‘s First Reformed would be up for at least five awards this year, particularly for Ethan Hawke, who delivered one of his sharpest performances to date as a pastor in the midst of an existential crises. Unfortunately, Schrader’s bleak, albeit sobering, meditation on our inevitable decline as human beings was probably a little too derisive for the voters who thought Bohemian Rhapsody was a complex study of queer artistry. So, even though analysts are seeing this as a redemptive win for the Taxi Driver screenwriter, they’re likely going to go with The Favourite, and this win will be an olive branch for not giving it Best Picture, despite the film nabbing the most nominations. And, you know what, we’re okay with that. –Michael Roffman


Best Supporting Actor

Green Book (Universal)

Green Book (Universal)

Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Who should win: Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Who will win: Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Despite being mired in all sorts of controversy, Green Book still managed to grab a table of nominations this year, and the only real win that anyone wants to see out of any of them is Mahershala Ali. Of course, it’s telling that he’s the sole name in the film’s camp of nominations to not look like a complete jackass these past few months. Also helping his case is that he’s appearing every Sunday on HBO’s True Detective both this month and next — and he’s incredible in it — and don’t think for a second those voters aren’t watching that. No, Ali is on the mind, and sadly, Adam Driver, who just about steals every scene in Spike Lee’s historical drama, and 100% deserves this award, is nowhere to be seen. Probably on Jakku. –Michael Roffman


Best Supporting Actress

If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures)

If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures)

Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Who should win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Who will win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Independent of our aligned choice for who should win this category, and who we think will, let’s take a moment to really appreciate how great this crop is across the board. Any of these performances could be argued for taking the top honors in a year where they weren’t all tasked with competing against one another. Alas, so goes the cycle of awards season, and so if we have to pick one, it’s Regina King, an industry veteran who gives a beautiful film several of its most unforgettable moments. Watching King play out several pages of James Baldwin’s text in silence, as she puts on and then removes a wig, is the kind of acting that stays with you long past the credits. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Actor

Vice (Annapurna)

Vice (Annapurna)

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Christian Bale, Vice
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Who should win: Christian Bale, Vice

Who will win: Christian Bale, Vice

With the Academy having shit the bed by not nominating Hawke, the narrative stays the same: Best Actor is Christian Bale‘s to lose. Sure, Mouthpiece Malek might swoop in and surprise us all — as he did at the Golden Globes — but it’s unlikely. The voters love those transformational performances, and they love to talk the talk on politics, both of which Bale’s win allows them to do. But even beyond the red tape, Bale is just the strongest performer of this mix. He disappears into this role, more so than any of his past physical marvels, and that hasn’t been lost on most critics. At all. –Michael Roffman


Best Actress

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born 2018

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born 2018

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Who should win: Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Who will win: Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

When A Star is Born came out back in mid-October, it seemed like a pretty sure thing that Lady Gaga was about to win an Academy Award. However, the awards season cycle is long, and a lot has happened since then. Now, Gaga’s breakout starring turn finds itself matched with several of the year’s other best female performances, and the field remains anyone’s to take. Will it be Glenn Close, who’s now enjoying her 7th Oscar nomination without a win (so far)? Will it be Melissa McCarthy, the latest in a long line of A-list comedians flexing their considerable dramatic chops? How about Yalitza Aparicio, whose out-of-nowhere turn in Roma constitutes so much of that film’s heart and soul? We still think, at the end of the day, that Gaga is going to win out yet. But it’s Olivia Colman as the mad, tragic Queen Anne in The Favourite who we’d love to see do it the most. Look at her! Stop looking at her! –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Best Director

Roma (Netflix)

Roma (Netflix)

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice

What should win: Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

What will win: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

First, even if we don’t see him taking the top prize, it’s pretty awesome to see Pawel Pawlikowski make this list. Cold War is a substantial accomplishment, a semi-biographical portrait of love run through the mills of time, politics, and simple human change. It’s the kind of intimate affair that the Oscars too seldom laud, so we’re stoked beyond stoked to see it show up here.

With that said, and accepting that we see McKay and Lanthimos as gifted directors whose best is still ahead of them (somehow), we’re seeing this as a two-cart race. On the one hand, you have Alfonso Cuarón, whose Roma is a staggering accomplishment by virtually any measure. On the other, you have Spike Lee, who did not only our own favorite filmmaking of 2018, but who made one of his best and most successful movies in years with BlacKkKlansman. In the pantheon of “people who’re due an Oscar”, Lee is about as close to the absolute heights as you can get. We’d love nothing more to see him finally get his due, but this feels like Cuarón’s category to lose all the same. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Best Picture

Green Book (Universal)

Green Book (Universal)

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
A Star is Born

What should win: Most of these.

What will win: Green Book

If you haven’t already gathered by this point in the article, the 2019 Oscars are going to be pretty hard to pin down. As far as this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees goes, no exceptions there. We can make a serious case for seven of these eight movies winning (are you goddamn serious with all this love for Bohemian Rhapsody, folks), but it really all comes down to what we think the Oscars are at this point.

That’s a harder call to make than it used to be; between the changing votership and the increasing pressure on the ceremony to broaden its definitions of what’s considered a “worthy” movie, it’s tougher than ever to assume where the Academy’s head is at these days.

Having said all of that, we’d love to see most of these films honored. But we said at the Golden Globes that it was going to be Green Book, and we wound up being right. We’ll stick with it again, and hope that Sunday, February 24th has a surprise or two up its sleeve instead. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer