The 2019 Oscar nominees will be announced on Tuesday, January 22. It has been a wild awards season full of uncertainty, surprises, upsets, and scandal. The nominations from the 2018 movies may bring their own share of upsets and surprises. Here are my predictions for what Tuesday morning will bring. (NOTE: All links go to RunPee’s movie reviews. If there is no link, we didn’t review it.)
Best Picture – Under the current rules, there can be up to ten Best Picture nominees. I’m predicting nine for this year. These are my choices in no particular order.
Black Panther has been preordained as a Best Picture nominee since it came out last year. Like Straight Outta Compton was, this is one of the most successful movies of the year, both financially and critically. If it does not get nominated, the Academy needs to take a long, hard look at itself. After Straight Outta Compton‘s snub, the Academy has done a lot of work to increase the diversity of its membership. This is an exciting year, because there may be multiple films by people of color eligible for a Best Picture nomination including BlacKkKlansman, Crazy Rich Asians, If Beale Street Could Talk, and my beloved dark horses The Hate U Give and Sorry to Bother You (go watch them!).
The belle of the ball. The early front runner. As RuPaul might say, “You are safe. Step to the back of the stage.” Everyone knows this one is getting nominated. It doesn’t make it any less of an achievement for Bradley Cooper, who struck gold with his directorial debut.
This is the crowd pleaser. From the first screenings at film festivals, audiences have been in love with this comedy about reconciliation, based on a true story. There’s no way this doesn’t get nominated.
Whatever plays for 2-3 weeks at Thanksgiving at the local arthouse ALWAYS goes to the Oscars. This year, it was Bohemian Rhapsody and Boy Erased. If it weren’t for Mary Poppins opening, they would have played Bohemian Rhapsody for an extra month probably. A Golden Globes win for Best Picture has guaranteed this nomination.
See above. Strong performances by Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman make this one of the most powerful films of the year.
With a Best Actor and Best Director nomination likely, a Best Picture nomination is a lock for this Dick Cheney biopic.
Living up to its title, this has been a critical and Hollywood favorite, racking up praise, awards, and nominations. It truly is a “favorite.” While I personally am not a fan, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t make the list.
Spike Lee’s masterpiece is one of the few summer films that’s so undeniable Oscar still remembers it, come winter. The epilogue is a punch in the gut I can still feel.
A Quiet Place is this year’s Get Out. It’s not a socially conscious satire. However, A Quiet Place is the most talked about (and least talked during) horror movie of the year. Sorry, Hereditary. It did well at the box office, and it’s been shortlisted for at least one Oscar: Best Original Score.
If there is a rare tenth slot this year, it goes to Crazy Rich Asians. It is the first major film to feature an Asian-American cast since The Joy Luck Club twenty-five years ago. That’s something worth celebrating.
Sadly, this leaves First Man, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and If Beale Street Could Talk on the sidelines.
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Glenn Close, The Wife
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots
Everyone has been whispering about an Oscar for Lady Gaga since A Star Is Born came out. Glenn Close was a personal favorite before she won the Golden Globe. Just saying. The Wife is a career highlight. Melissa McCarthy showed the range of what she can do, from comedy to drama, in Can You Ever Forgive Me? Olivia Colman will ride the praise for The Favourite to a nomination. Mary Queen of Scots has been playing for over a month at the arthouse. I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that audiences know something the odds makers don’t. Maybe I’m blinded by my admiration for her, but I predict Saoirse Ronan is going to pull an upset and fill the fifth slot. It’s not like she’s a stranger to the red carpet.
Christian Bale, Vice
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Bale and Malek embody the men they are playing to a degree you forget you aren’t watching the real thing. It would be a major upset if Bradley Cooper does not get a nomination for A Star is Born. Lucas Hedges followed up Manchester By the Sea with another heartbreaking performance. Viggo Mortensen makes it here by good will. I like Green Book. I liked Ryan Gosling in First Man, and Jonathan Pryce in The Wife better.
Best Supporting Actress
Nicole Kidman , Boy Erased
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Amy Adams, Vice
Kidman excels at sentimental mother roles. And she has at least one great scene in Boy Erased. Stone and Weisz have been seen as competitors in this race, much like they were on-screen. For all the pairs that publicists hoped would get nominated together this year (Ali and Mortensen for Green Book, Carell and Chalamet for Beautiful Boy), these two are the surest thing this side of A Star is Born. Regina King is a character actress that is loved by her peers. She won the Golden Globe. She may well win the Oscar. Amy Adams has one of the best scenes of the year early on in Vice. She’s also an Oscar favorite with several nominations.
Best Supporting Actor
Sam Elliott, A Star is Born
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Timothy Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Steve Carell, Vice
Despite being snubbed by the Globes, I’m confident Sam Elliott is going to get a nomination. (Isn’t it time?) Ali’s nomination is similarly a foregone conclusion. Grant is a respected British character actor with a decent amount of buzz behind his performance. Chalamet gave a powerful portrayal of drug addiction and recovery. I’m going to throw a monkey wrench into the works by predicting it will be Steve Carell rather than Sam Rockwell who gets nominated for the movie Vice. Rockwell’s portrayal of George W. Bush is featured in the trailer and has garnered more attention. But it’s Carell as Donald Rumsfeld who really steals the movie. This makes the race a bit awkward by pitting Carell against his Beautiful Boy co-star Chalamet. I’m still holding out hope though that the Academy will surprise me though, and fill one of these slots (not Sam’s!) with Russell Hornsby from The Hate U Give or Josh Hamilton from Eighth Grade (Best. Dads. Ever.).
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Peter Farrelly, Green Book
Adam McKay, Vice
Bradley Cooper nailed it with his first feature. Not only did he make an entertaining film, he made a love story that feels authentic. Alfonso Cuaron dug into his childhood memories to bring to life a similarly authentic story. Spike Lee made a humorous, suspenseful, moving meditation about race in America. Peter Farrelly took us on a road trip that changed the lives of two men. Adam McKay made a brave film about politics and power. There are no real surprises in my choices. This is the same lineup as the Globes and the Directors Guild nominations. If I had my druthers, Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade) or Damien Chazelle (First Man) would take Peter Farrelly’s slot.
Best Original Song
“Shallow,” A Star is Born
“A Place Called Slaughter Race,” Ralph Breaks the Internet
“Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” Mary Poppins Returns
“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns
“All the Stars,” Black Panther
“Shallow” is a lock. Of course, A Star Is Born is going to get a Best Song nomination. If Ralph Breaks the Internet‘s side-splittingly funny, “A Place Called Slaughter Race” doesn’t get nominated, there is no justice. It’s a send up of the classic Disney princess “I Want” song (“Part of Your World”, etc.) And I’m dying for a Randy Newman cover version. Who do you think they’ll get to sing it at the Oscars? It’s not unusual for Disney to have more than one song nominated from the same film (The Lion King had three). So I think both shortlisted Mary Poppins songs could make it through, though “Light Fantastic” is the ear worm. I’m giving the final slot to “All the Stars” though it could go to “Girl in the Movies” by Dolly Parton from Dumplin’. She has been nominated twice before.
Best Original Screenplay
Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter Farrelly
Vice, Adam McKay
Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham
First Reformed, Paul Schrader
A Quiet Place, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski
Green Book: how do you not nominate the crowd-pleaser? For Vice, McKay not only had to do exhaustive research, he employs several unique narrative devices. Bo Burnham managed to capture not only the awkwardness of middle school, but to tell it from the point of view of a teenage girl. Paul Schrader wrote one of the two best movies about faith this year. (Disobedience was the other one. Watch them both.) A Quiet Place was one of the most unique theatrical experiences of the year. The first sequence is its own horror short film that should be used to teach would-be screenwriters how to tell a story visually.
Best Adapted Screenplay
If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
Black Panther, Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
A Star Is Born, Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters
BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott
Barry Jenkins didn’t just tell a story. He found ways to add power to James Baldwin’s words through imagery. Can You Ever Forgive Me? found the humanity in two hard to love people.
Out of the comic books (Black Panther) came one of the most empowering films of all time. The fourth version of A Star Is Born made us fall in love again. BlacKkKlansman delivered a necessary message through an entertaining story.
Best Animated Film
This is the same lineup as the Globes, but these are simply the five best animated films that came out this year. If I could find anything artier or weirder to put in Mirai‘s spot, I would have, because Oscar would too. (See My Life As a Zuchini.)
Incredibles 2 was the sequel that goes bigger than the original. It was huge summer fun and everything I love about Pixar. Ralph Breaks the Internet was…a little less fun but still had lots of laughs and lots of heart and the ultimate song (see above). Spider-Man was an unexpected roller-coaster ride full of surprises. I’m pulling for it to win. Mirai was a sweet anime about family and heritage. Isle of Dogs was Wes Anderson’s tale of a boy in search of his dog, in a world where dogs have been banned.
I’m predicting Mirai in the fifth slot but the Academy could go more commercial and choose Teen Titans Go to the Movies, Hotel Transylvania 3 (such a let-down after 2!), Sherlock Gnomes, or Smallfoot instead.
Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick—amazing rom com!) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) will announce the nominees live on Tuesday, January 22 at 8:20 am ET/5:20 am PT.
You can live stream it at Oscar.com. Check my predictions then, and find out if I was way off base or right on the money. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments below. Check back here for more awards coverage! And don’t forget to use the Run Pee app for those lengthy, bladder-busting awards bait movies.