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2019 Oscar Nomination Predictions: Our Final Selections, Ranked for Each Category

The race is on between global blockbuster "A Star Is Born," likely to score the most nominations, and Netflix's Golden Globe and Critics Choice winner "Roma."

“A Star Is Born”

Warner Bros.

The 2019 Oscar race is all about Best Popular Film. Not only does the Academy not need that new category after all this year (or it seems, a well-liked Oscar host), but more big-grossers than ever are vying for spots on the final Oscar ballot to be revealed on January 22. Which might mean more people will tune into an Oscar show, rooting for mainstream movies they actually care about.

But while more popular hits, led by Bradley Cooper’s blockbuster “A Star is Born,” (Warner Bros.) are in contention for multiple categories including Best Picture, bragging rights may still wind up with Netflix’s first bonafide Best Picture candidate, Alfonso Cuarón’s cinephile-dream “Roma,” which commanded a more robust arthouse release than any Netflix film to date, along with a lavish promotional campaign, and has been widely viewed on the global streaming platform.

The Golden Globe and Critics Choice winner and Mexico’s black-and-white foreign-language Oscar entry, “Roma” is a hybrid four-hankie drama driven by artistic and technological ambitions that delivers a strong message about social strata in Mexico. It is shaping up to be a strong contender for the Best Picture prize.

But only triple threat Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born” — a contemporary backstage musical update of the familiar story made three times before — has a perfect score on guild nominations, showing strong support from both actors and crafts, including SAG Ensemble, DGA, PGA and WGA nods. And Spike Lee’s provocative true story “BlacKkKlansman” (Focus Features) also boasts that recognition from all four guilds, but with less craft support.

By my tally, “Roma,” “A Star Is Born” and “The Favourite” will rack up 10 nominations apiece, followed by “Black Panther” and “First Man” with eight, “Vice ” with seven, “Mary Poppins Returns” with six, “BlacKkKlansman” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” with five, and “Green Book” with four.

4117_D017_09462_R Topher Grace stars as David Duke and Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, a Focus Features release.Credit: David Lee / Focus Features


David Lee

Clearly, $30-million “A Star Is Born” boasts the most support from the Academy’s 17 branches and will earn the most nominations: by my count, 10. Why so many? Rookie Cooper has crafted a moving romantic drama with compelling live performances by himself and Lady Gaga, who will inevitably win Best Song. Academy voters are moved by this fourth update of the venerable show business story. No other film boasts such wide support. But as impeccably crafted as the movie is, Cooper may have made a high degree of difficulty look too easy. Is “A Star Is Born” the movie Academy voters want to represent Hollywood at this place and time? In recent years they have leaned into harder-hitting socially-conscious dramas like “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” and “12 Years a Slave.”

Ryan Coogler

“Black Panther”


Ryan Coogler’s SAG Ensemble and PGA nominee “Black Panther,” Marvel’s lauded historic chart-buster, also boasts strong craft backing and landed a SAG Ensemble nod –but without any acting nominations. As Marvel villain Killmonger, Michael B. Jordan plays the film’s most nuanced and layered character, but hasn’t gained traction in the Supporting Actor race, and Coogler did not land a nod from the mainstream DGA. At age 32, he may be deemed young enough to return another year. And as much of a cultural achievement as “Black Panther” is, many still consider it a comic-book movie.

Two films based on real people landed SAG (but not ensemble), DGA, PGA and WGA nominations: true 60s road movie “Green Book” (Peter Farrelly) should score for its two popular stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali as well as Original Screenplay, as it battles complaints that the story is told from the white point of view; “Vice” will also get support from the writers and actors branches for writer-director Adam McKay and Globe and Critics Choice-winner Christian Bale (this year’s Gary Oldman) and long-overdue Amy Adams as Republican power couple Dick and Lynne Cheney. Both films have passionate backers.

“Crazy Rich Asians”

Sanja Bucko

Beyond the top five contenders for Best Picture, the field could wind up with up to 10 nominees, depending on how passionate voters are this year. While inclusion is still a strong factor with an increasingly diverse voting body, it looks unlikely than any women will score Director slots this year, and ground-breaking Oscar-nominated Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”) is a long-shot for cinematography for “Black Panther,” although her teammates Hannah Beachler and Ruth Carter are strong contenders for Production and Costume Design, respectively.

Only thirty-one percent of Academy voters, however, are women. So we could also see the Academy’s dominant white-male contingent swing toward action movie “Black Panther” (eight likely nominations) and Queen musical “Bohemian Rhapsody” (five likely nominations, including Globes Best Actor-winner Rami Malek).

"A Quiet Place"

“A Quiet Place”


This year, two other popular entries took PGA Top Ten slots, John Krasinski’s well-mounted virtually silent thriller “A Quiet Place” and Jon M. Chu’s rollicking romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians.” “A Quiet Place,” starring Emily Blunt (who also earned kudos in the title role in “Mary Poppins Returns”) could register in the Sound or Supporting Actress categories, while “Crazy Rich Asians” also landed a SAG Ensemble nomination and the Critics Choice Comedy award. Star Michelle Yeoh is a long-shot for Supporting Actress.

Historically, stats reveal that SAG Ensemble winners don’t always match up with Best Picture nominations or wins. Last year’s Ensemble winner was Fox Searchlight comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which took home SAG and Oscar statues for Best Actress Frances McDormand and Supporting Actor Sam Rockwell. But “The Shape of Water” became the second Best Picture Oscar winner in 23 years without a SAG Ensemble nomination, following “Braveheart” back in 1995. Neither 2015’s “The Revenant” nor 2016’s “La La Land,” both missing SAG Ensemble nominations, were able to achieve a Best Picture win.

Thus, “Roma,” which won the often-predictive top Critics’ Choice award, could also win Best Picture without landing a SAG Ensemble nomination. An Oscar nomination for Yalitza Aparicio would reveal some support from the Academy’s dominant actors branch, which has come through for both non-pro actors (Haing S. Ngor of “The Killing Fields”) and Harold Russell (“The Best Years of Our Lives”) as well as such foreign-language stars as Isabelle Huppert and Marion Cotillard.

Read More: ‘Roma’ Will Be the Best Picture Nominee to Beat

"Bohemian Rhapsody"

“Bohemian Rhapsody”

20th Century Fox/YouTube

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is an anomaly this year, winning the Best Drama Golden Globe and Best Actor for Malek (which really doesn’t mean much in Oscar terms) as well as a more meaningful SAG Ensemble nomination and Best Actor slot. The musical also has landed many craft guild nominations, which indicates wide support. However, a directing nomination is unlikely for non-DGA nominee Bryan Singer, who was fired from the movie and is tainted by sexual assault allegations. While it’s hard to imagine many voters putting a Queen biopic with a Metascore of 49 at number one on their Best Picture nomination ballot, it could be in their top five. Don’t be shocked if “Bohemian Rhapsody” squeezes into the Best Picture race.

Emma Stone in the film THE FAVOURITE. Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Emma Stone in the “The Favourite”

Yorgos Lanthimos

More typical of recent Oscar entries is specialty hit “The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight), which surprisingly did not land a SAG Ensemble nod, although its three stars were nominated. While Yorgos Lanthimos did not land a DGA nomination for this visually sumptuous, wickedly funny portrait of a power-mad monarch (Olivia Colman) romancing two of her ladies in waiting (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz), he may wind up with a directing nod from the Academy, as well as an Original Screenplay slot (the film was not WGA-eligible), and craft nominations including cinematography and costumes. The British movie leads the BAFTA field with 12 nominations, and Olivia Colman took home the comedy Globe and Critics Choice awards.

Another Searchlight release, Marielle Heller’s New York memoir “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” will likely land acting nods for the deliciously drunken performances of Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant as well as an Adapted Screenplay nomination for Nicole Holofcener.

First Man (Movie) Ryan Gosling

“First Man”

Universal Pictures

Likely to rack up seven craft nominations is Damien Chazelle’s moon race success d’estime, “First Man,” which stumbled at the box office but has done well with guild nominations. It could also land a Best Picture spot as well as a win for Justin Hurwitz’s Globe and Critics Choice-winning score.

A long shot for a Best Picture slot is “Moonlight” writer-director Barry Jenkins’ elegant James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Critics Choice Awards (over “BlacKkKlansman”). “If Beale Street Could Talk” could could also notch nominations for Globe and Critics Choice-winning Supporting Actress (Regina King) — even without a SAG mention — as well as composer Nicholas Britell for Score.

Two A24 films, religious drama “First Reformed” and coming-of-age comedy “Eighth Grade,” have attracted enough attention from critics groups to make long overdue “Taxi Driver” writer Paul Schrader and newcomer Bo Burnham long-shots for Original Screenplay, and Ethan Hawke a real possibility for Best Actor.

"Cold War"

“Cold War”

Amazon Studios

In the foreign film race, four movies are likely to make the cut from the foreign committee: “Roma,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s gorgeous black-and-white European romance “Cold War” (Poland) — which could land a cinematography slot, if not a nod for breakout Joanna Kulig — Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s universal family drama “Shoplifters” (Japan), and Nadine Labaki’s gritty story of a street kid, “Capernaum” (Lebanon). The fifth slot is a race among South Korea’s “Burning,” Denmark’s “The Guilty” and Florian Henkel Von Donnersmarck’s “Never Look Away” (Germany).

In the documentary race, four box-office hits are vying for slots: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s climbing feat “Free Solo” (National Geographic), Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg valentine “RBG” (CNN/Magnolia), triplet thriller “Three Identical Strangers” (Neon) and Fred Rogers tearjerker “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (Focus Features), while strong contenders include Bing Liu’s moving memoir “Minding the Gap” (Hulu) and embedded Syrian jihadi family portrait “Of Fathers and Sons” (Kino Lorber).

Here are my final Oscar predictions, in order of likelihood to win. We learn the results at the crack of dawn on January 22.

Best Picture

“Roma” (Netflix)
“A Star Is Born” (Warner Bros.)
“BlacKkKlansman” (Focus Features)
“Green Book” (Universal)
“Vice” (Annapurna)
“Black Panther” (Marvel/Disney)
“The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight)
“First Man” (Universal)
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (Fox)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Annapurna)

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)
Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”)
Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”)
Adam McKay (“Vice”)

Best Actor

Christian Bale (“Vice”)
Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)
Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”)
Ethan Hawke (“First Reformed”)

Best Actress

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

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”)
Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Sam Elliott (“A Star Is Born”)
Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”)
Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman:)

Best Supporting Actress

Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
Amy Adams (“Vice”)
Rachel Weisz (“The Favourite”)
Emma Stone (“The Favourite”)
Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place”)

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
“Black Panther”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“Leave No Trace”

Best Original Screenplay

“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“First Reformed”

Best Animated Feature

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

“Age of Sail”

Best Animated Short

“Age of Sail”
“Bird Karma”

Best Live Action Short


Best Cinematography

“The Favourite”
“First Man”
“A Star Is Born”
“Cold War”

Best Costumes 

“Black Panther”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“The Favourite”
“Mary Queen of Scots”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”

“Free Solo”

Best Documentary Feature

“Free Solo”
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
“Minding the Gap”
“Of Fathers and Sons”

Best Documentary Short

“Black Sheep”
“Women of the Gulag”
“End Game”
“Period. End of Sentence.”

Best Editing

“A Star Is Born”
“The Favourite”
“First Man”

Best Foreign Language Film

“Roma” (Mexico)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)
“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“Black Panther”

Best Production Design

“Black Panther”
“The Favourite”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“First Man”

Best Original Score

“First Man”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mary Poppins Returns”

Best Original Song

“Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”)
“All the Stars” (“Black Panther”)
“I’ll Fight” (“RBG”)
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” (“Mary Poppins Returns”)

Best Sound Editing

“A Quiet Place”
“First Man”
“A Star Is Born”
“Black Panther”

Best Sound Mixing

“A Star Is Born”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“A Quiet Place”
“First Man”

Best Visual Effects

“Black Panther”
“Ready Player One”
“Avengers Infinity War”
“First Man”
“Mary Poppins Returns”

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