The road to the 91st Academy Awards has been a particularly rocky one. This season’s other award shows—the BAFTAs, the SAGs, and even the famously liquor–fueled Golden Globes—went off without a hitch. But the Academy Awards can’t seem to catch a break. In the past few months, the Academy’s every move has faced major backlash, resulting in the Oscars' first host–less show in 30 years, constant retractions, and worst of all, frequent reference to Kevin Hart. And when Kevin Hart’s name becomes an integral part of popular culture, one can’t help but feel a sense of impending doom.
All in all, it’s been a rough ride getting to this year’s Oscars ceremony. Now that it’s only a few days away, maybe it’s time to talk about the intended focus of the famed award show: its nominees. Beyond even the roughest of logistical problems, the hardest part of the 91st Academy Awards is attempting to predict the recipients of the actual awards. With 24 categories and a broad list of nominees, ranging from the long–awaited Incredibles 2 to the surprise hit Roma, it’s hard to discern who will head home from the Dolby Theatre with one of the iconic gold statuettes and who will leave empty–handed. Lucky for you, the Film & TV staff here at Street watched the nominees so you don’t have to, and we’re here to provide you with our very best bets for the major categories.
Best Picture: Roma
Roma is an absolute masterpiece, and we hope that the Academy will put away their hate for Netflix to see this through. If they decide that this isn't the year a foreign film will reign supreme, they'll give it to Green Book. We know the Academy is going to do this to us. We know it. We already have our tissues ready.
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Honestly, the women nominated this year have given some of the strongest performances in recent years. A couple of months ago, most people would have said Gaga’s performance in A Star Is Born was a sure bet. A month ago, when everyone was raving over the women of The Favourite, it seemed like Olivia Colman was going to be the one to watch. But following Close’s surprise Golden Globes win and tearful acceptance speech, it seems the tides have turned regarding this category’s biggest contender yet again. And honestly, we think it’s just about time Miss Close gets what she deserves. She is a “G” and an “O” away from a EGOT, and we are rooting for her all the way.
HOT TAKE: A street staffer who will remain nameless seems to think Yalitza Aparicio—who gave a killer performance in Roma—is going to be the surprise winner of the night.
We love The Favourite and every single woman in it. Truthfully, we love most of the men, too. But Beale Street was aggressively snubbed by the Academy this year, and a win for King feels like well–deserved recompense. While Stone’s character in The Favourite definitely gets more run–time than King’s in Beale Street, King plays mother Sharon Rivers with an understated and captivating kind of care. It was that care that won her a Golden Globe and might secure this one for her, too.
Best Actor: Christian Bale, Vice
We all know how the Academy loves an actor doing a spot–on impersonation of historical politicians: Day–Lewis as Lincoln, Oldman as Churchill, Streep as Thatcher, and now Bale as Cheney. It feels inevitable. And honestly, we’re not even mad about it.
HOT TAKE: Audiences seem to love Rami Malek’s performance in Bohemian Rhapsody. Maybe they’re not the only ones, considering his interpretation of Freddie Mercury did win him Best Actor at the SAG Awards and the Golden Globes, where he and Bale were nominated in separate categories. Also, we're still mad that Ethan Hawke's performance in First Reformed isn't on this list.
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Honestly, we’re not fans of Green Book. It was just another feel–good buddy flick with some sad monologues thrown in. It was paltry, it was lazy, and personally, I’d rather be watching The Help for the tenth time. But Ali was transcendent. Literally. He transcended above and beyond a film that was painfully average and gave us a performance. And for that, he should win not only the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, but also a humanitarian medal or something, too
Best Animated Feature: Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Best Adapted Screenplay: Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Beale Street, Jenkins’ latest film, was a revelation to some and a little lacking to others. Still, it feels hard to argue with the fact that Jenkins’ adaptation of Baldwin’s novella was, in and of itself, an accomplishment, for which he should and shall be rewarded.
Most of our staff thinks First Reformed earned this one, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to win. In fact, it’s pretty much a tie between every nomination for this category except the one we’re rooting for. And knowing that Green Book has a better chance than a film that actually deserves it is just yet another reminder that the world is terribly unfair. Still, at the end of the day, our money and our most realistic hope is on The Favourite, mostly because it’s great.
Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
This category is deeply divisive amongst critics and Oscar–predictors everywhere. But we’re going to say Alfonso for Roma because we think it deserves it the most.
Best Editing: (tie) Vice, The Favourite
The thing is, both of these movies are great. And the greatness of these movies is contingent upon the fantastic editing of both of them. Either of the two is a safe bet, and it would be well–deserved either way.
Best Sound Editing: First Man
Best Sound Mixing: Roma
The best part about Roma is the amazing way it uses sounds. They're just as important to Cuarón's memories as the visuals are, making them just as vital to the story.
Best Original Song: "Shallow" by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice, A Star is Born
Best Costume Design: Sandy Powell, The Favourite
The Favourite is not your typical costume drama. Throughout the movie, the cast alternates between ornate gowns, gender–bending formal wear, modern cuts, and bold colors. The costume design in this movie isn’t just a part of the story being told, it’s emblematic of the story itself.
Even though this category only has three nominees, it’s usually a hard one to predict. This year, though, we’re putting our money on Vice. Not only did Bale look eerily similar to Cheney, but we think the win for Darkest Hour last year might indicate some kind of inner–Academy appreciation for makeup transformations.
Best Visual Effects: Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, and Dan Sudick, Avengers: Infinity War
Those of us who loved Infinity War really loved it. And even those of us who didn’t can acknowledge that it was a visual accomplishment. Essentially, it’s this year’s Avatar. We would've loved to see Paddington 2 get some love for this, though.
Best Foreign Film: Roma
Because, of course it will be.
Best Score: Nicholas Brittell, If Beale Street Could Talk
The kind of score that completely makes the film and simultaneously makes you want to cry.
Best Documentary: Free Solo
Free Solo will probably take this home, but as a personal aside, everyone should watch Minding the Gap. It’s like Thirteen and Kids put together if Kids was any good.
Best Short Film (Animated): Bao
I liked this better than the film that came after it (Incredibles 2) in the theater, honestly.