2019 Oscar Predictions

The Oscars are this weekend! The 2019 edition of biggest night in American Cinema  looks to be one of the most competitive ceremonies in recent memory. From Best Picture to Best Animated Feature and everything in between the 91st Academy Awards will be a true showcase of some of the best films of 2018 and after the Golden Globes featured its own share of surprises and upsets there’s no telling what we can expect from the Academy. As the big show approaches I took a look at the categories that will be awarded on Sunday night and made my predictions for who will, should and could win the biggest honors. This is Cinema Spotlight’s 2019 Oscar Preview and Predictions.

Today I will look at the major categories of the big the night and pick who I think WILL win, who I think SHOULD win and the Dark Horses that could steal the categories with enough campaigning. I will not be making predictions for documentary or short film categories.

What films and/or performances do you think/hope will walk away with an Oscar on Sunday? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to tune in for the big show on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC.


Best Picture

“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“A Star Is Born”

WILL WIN: “Roma”

SHOULD WIN: “A Star is Born”

DARK HORSE: “Green Book”


I’m taking a big chance in my predictions for the night’s biggest honor by shooting for an Oscar first. No foreign language film has ever won the top honor and Netflix releases have often been shunned by the Academy seeing them as “direct to video” style films. “Roma” however has proven to be a different kind of animal as a highly respected and artistic achievement. I truly believe that “Roma” will own the night and make history which probably won’t sit well with fans of the more aggressive and heavily produced products on this list. However “Roma” does have the odds against it and if I had to pick one film that deserved it more it should be no shock I’m picking “A Star is Born”. The fourth version of this classic Hollywood story was immaculately made and while Bradley Cooper didn’t earn the Best Director nomination he deserved it wouldn’t be the first time a film earned this honor while its director was left out. But, there is another film that many believe has all the momentum going into the ceremony and that’s “Green Book”. It made a splash as the Golden Globes, including the Globe for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy. I actually think “Green Book” has a better chance than “A Star is Born” and if the Academy continues to shun Netflix and foreign language films for whatever reason “Green Book” is next in line.



Best Director

Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”)
Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War”)
Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”)
Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)
Adam McKay (“Vice”)

WILL/SHOULD WIN: Alfonso Cuaron



There is a lot of talent in this category and honestly any one of these filmmakers deserves the honor, but I’m thinking and hoping that Alfonso Cuaron will earn the award especially since my primary pick of Bradley Cooper wasn’t nominated. Cuaron won the Golden Globe and four of the last five years the Golden Globe winner took home the Oscar. But looking at the five years before that it was anyone’s game so the trend could work against Cuaron as well. If it does, Spike Lee is next in line waiting in the wings with his first nominations in hand. Lee is long overdue and while the other nominees all turned in great work the buzz seems to be that Lee has the best chance to upset Cuaron for the award. I think it will be one of these two in the end. Fun fact, if Cuaron wins it will be the fourth time in five years that a Mexican filmmaker has earned this honor with Cuaron starting that trend in 2013 with his win for Gravity. If Lee wins he will be the first black director to ever earn the honor.



Best Actor

Christian Bale (“Vice”)
Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)
Willem Defoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”)
Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”)

WILL WIN: Rami Malek



All signs point to Rami Malek to win this honor, but in my opinion he’s not the most deserving. I mean he does deserve it for sure for his awesome turn as Freddy Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody”, I just think his fellow 2019 Golden Globe winner Christian Bale deserves it more for his take on Dick Cheney in “Vice”. Both actors literally transformed into their respective real-life counterparts earning critical praise from even the harshest detractors of their films. These are no doubt the frontrunners, and deservedly so, in a category filled with worthy talent. It’s tough because I loved both performances, but I think Bale’s was slightly more impressive and thus deserves it more. Either winner wouldn’t disappoint me, but Bale would disappoint me less.



Best Actress

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


DARK HORSE: Olivia Colman


While I’d love to give Lady Gaga some credit here as well, I don’t think ANYONE is going to be able to top the two Golden Globe winners, Glenn Close and Olivia Colman. But, I’m going to take it a step further and double down on what I’ve been saying all along: this is Glenn Close’s year…FINALLY! Close has been nominated six times prior and has yet to earn a statuette and seeing as her critically acclaimed role in “The Wife” has had her as the frontrunner for almost half a year now I’d say she’s a good bet to take it home. Olivia Coleman will present a worthy threat for the honor, and she would be very deserving for her impressive take on Queen Anne in “The Favourite”, but in my opinion this is Glenn Close’s award to lose.


Supporting Actor

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

WILL/SHOULD WIN: Mahershala Ali

DARK HORSE: Sam Elliott


This is an odd category for 2019 because it seems deceptively easy to predict. Mahershala Ali won the Golden Globe and is by far the favorite for this award, deservedly so. He already has an Oscar for his role in “Moonlight” even though he lost the Globe for that same role so we know the Academy loves and respects him. The interesting thing about this category is that it’s the exact same lineup as the Globes…EXCEPT for one nominee who was considered a huge snub at the ceremony in January. That is Sam Elliott who earns his nomination for his work in “A Star is Born”.  I do have confidence that Ali will take home the win in this category, but Elliott is both a wild card and a dark horse as a demanded nominee and one whose clout in this category can’t be determined by the Globes any more than Ali’s own previous win could be ruled out by his failures. I wouldn’t call a win by Sam Elliott an upset if it happens, but he’s certainly a name to keep in mind as a real contender if the votes turn against Ali.



Supporting Actress

Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
Amy Adams (“Vice”)
Marina De Tavira (“Roma”)
Rachel Weisz (“The Favourite”)
Emma Stone (“The Favourite”)

WILL WIN: Regina King


DARK HORSE: Everyone Else


This category to me is both wide open and pretty predictable. Let me explain. First off, in my opinion I feel Amy Adams is the most deserving winner and considering she has never won an Oscar despite numerous nominations over the last two decades it would be criminally overdue. However, There’s no doubt Regina King wins this award. Only twice since 2010 has the winner of the Golden Globe not gone on to claim the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and even then in one of those cases (2015) Alicia Vikander won a Globe for a different role than what was nominated at the Oscars. So the odds are definitely in King’s favor and it’s not like she doesn’t deserve it. If she loses though it’s anyone’s guess who wins. If King doesn’t everyone else has an equal chance to be the upset making literally every other nominee a dark horse.


Adapted Screenplay

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“A Star Is Born”

WILL WIN: “BlacKkKlansman”

SHOULD WIN: “A Star is Born”

DARK HORSE: “If Beale Street Could Talk”


The screenplay categories are among my favorite at any given awards show because they’re always super competitive. The 2019 Oscars are no different with some very worthy nominees in this lineup. Admittedly I did not see “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” but just by looking at the other four nominees here this is a group of well written and well executed screenplays all based on preexisting works. The most obvious and likely winner is “BlacKkKlansman” which is based on the biography of its main character but for me the updated version of “A Star is Born” deserves the honor simply because of the way it brings the story into the modern day and successfully alters classic aspects of the tale to tell a familiar story in its own way. The Dark Horse here is “If Beale Street Could Talk”, based on a novel, which honestly isn’t getting the love it truly deserves at the Oscars this year. Any of these could take home the gold and be a worthy winner but look for these three to be the top contenders and “BlacKkKlansman” to take the win.



Best Original Screenplay

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

WILL WIN: “Green Book”

SHOULD WIN: “The Favourite”



Even more competitive than the adapted screenplay honor is the original screenplay award which promises to be one of the most closely fought contests of the night. Both “Green Book” and “The Favourite” are projected to be the top picks of this category, but I personally am sticking to my support of “The Favourite” as the most deserving. “Green Book” won to Best Screenplay Golden Globe but while history has shown that Golden Globe screenplays to play well at the Oscars you have to go back to 2014 for a Globe winning screenplay to also earn either of the screenplay Oscar awards. So while “Green Book” has an edge I don’t think it’s a guarantee although I will give it the edge going into the ceremony as much as I want to see “The Favourite” take it home. In the dark horse spot I put ‘Roma” which is an outside contender that could upset the night if the Academy has embraced it as much as I think it will.



Animated Feature

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

WILL/SHOULD WIN: “Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse”

DARK HORSE: “Incredibles 2”


This category is pretty easy to predict unlike the Golden Globes where the competition was wide open. The same exact nominees are represented here and my prediction is the same as well. The Golden Globe winning “Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse” is going to earn a well-deserved Oscar giving Sony its first win for an animated feature. Despite Disney having TWO films up for consideration I feel like there is little contest here although if any movie is going to challenge it’s likely going to be “Incredibles 2”. While the outcome may feel predictable there’s still no denying this is one of the most well rounded animated feature categories the show has ever had and it’s a testament to just how far the medium has come in the last two decades.



Foreign Language Film

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


DARK HORSE: “Cold War”


This category is also a pretty easy one to predict, but not as easy as the animated feature category. The foreign language lineup includes two true contenders in “Roma” and “Cold War” whose directors were also nominated for the Best Director Oscar so immediately these two have become the frontrunners making this a much more competitive category than the Golden Globes’ lineup where “Roma” won and “Cold War” wasn’t even nominated. “Roma” is the obvious favorite as it threatens to become the first ever foreign language production to win Best Picture, but there’s no denying “Cold War’s” quality. If Oscar voters decided to stick it to Netflix once again this could be the first place they take took their shot meaning “Cold War” could very well have a real fighting chance. This will be an interesting category to watch and one that, for the first time in a long, has real implications on the biggest awards of the night.



Best Cinematography

“Cold War”
“The Favourite”
“Never Look Away”
“A Star Is Born”


DARK HORSE: “Cold War”


No you’re not experiencing déjà vu. I believe the two top foreign language film contenders will also compete for this award’s win above all other nominees mostly because both have very similar shooting styles. They’re both in black and white, both play out like screenshots of reality and both have their fair share of artistic quality in how they are shot making them beautifully smooth and immersive. Interestingly enough another foreign film, “Never Look Away”, also gets the nomination in this category meaning that some of the best cinematography in cinema wasn’t even produced by the United States. While “A Star is Born” and “The Favourite” had their share of visual style, “Roma” and “Cold War” were some of the most beautiful movies of the last twelve months and either of them winning would be a testament to how well they capture the subtleties of the craft.



Best Costume Design

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
“Black Panther”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“The Favourite”
“Mary Queen of Scots”

WILL/SHOULD WIN: “Black Panther”

DARK HORSE: “The Favourite”


For a relatively small category in the show this is quite the competitive roundup of nominees all of which showed a great sense of style. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are the two top dogs in the race on many predictions but I think “Black Panther” has the best chance and will finally give Marvel an Oscar win. “The Favourite” should not be counted out though. The costume design in that film could earn more respect for its attempt at period accuracy versus “Black Panthers” more creative and out there aesthetic. Honestly though why has it taken so long for a superhero film to win a costume design award? I mean the whole genre is based on costumes right? I’m hoping I’m right in thinking “Black Panther” will earn probably its most deserving Oscar here.



Film Editing

“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”

WILL/SHOULD WIN: “Bohemian Rhapsody”



I’m going against the grain on this one. Many predictions have “Vice” as the frontrunner, but I’m going to elevate “Bohemian Rhapsody” from dark horse to the eventual winner and I do think it would be the most deserving. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the wild card in this show in my opinion and a category like this seems to be where it promises to shine the most. Both “Bohemian” and “Vice” contained similar editing styles, shifting seamlessly between historical events and time periods without feeling too rushed or hollow. In the end I think “Bohemian” did it a little better and deserves the award but I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Vice” pull out the win nor would I be disappointed.



Makeup and Hairstyling

“Mary Queen of Scots”


DARK HORSE: “Mary Queen of Scots”


The smallest category in the show also has one of the the easiest calls for me in the ceremony. “Vice” will win this award for the same reasons that “Darkest Hour” won the category last year. Similar to the literal transformation of Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill, Christian Bale’s transformation into Dick Cheney as well as the other period accurate hairstyles and makeup jobs were among the most impressive aspects of “Vice”. “Mary Queen of Scots” is a dark horse simply because, well, I had to pick one. But I don’t feel anyone can or will overpower “Vice” for this category.



Original Score

“Black Panther”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mary Poppins Returns”

WILL WIN: “If Beale Street Could Talk”



I actually love the scores of all the movies on this list, but surprisingly all the predictions I’ve seen have “If Beale Street Could Talk” as the most likely winner. I put it as the eventually winner here simply because the film that I believe SHOULD win is “Black Panther” and I don’t feel like it will get it’s due credit in anything other than costume design. “If Beale Street Could Talk” has a great score, a mesmerizing one at that which gives the film a delightful artistic quality, and would definitely be deserving of the award but I don’t think it’s the most deserving. “Black Panther’s” score was a unique mix of styles that helped capture not only the tone of the film but the different cultures it chose to embrace as well. For me “Black Panther” is the most unique of any of the soundtracks here, but it looks like “If Beale Street Could Talk” is the one to beat.



Original Song

“All the Stars” (“Black Panther”)
“I’ll Fight” (“RBG”)
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
“Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”)
“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”


DARK HORSE: “All the Stars”


While I think “Black Panther” deserves the original score award the most I don’t believe it is deserving of this honor for original song although “All the Stars” has become a staple from 2018 and definitely is the dark horse that could provide an upset if any nominee is going to do it. But it won’t. While “A Star is Born” looks like it will be criminally ignored by the Academy it would be a sin not to award the Golden Globe, Grammy, Gold Derby, and Satellite Award winning song “Shallow” the Oscar. “Shallow” is the lead single and runaway hit from the musically driven drama that captures the very essence of what “A Star is Born” is about. To deny it this honor would put a blemish on its otherwise flawless record. It is by far the most deserving honoree in this category.



Production Design

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

WILL WIN: “The Favourite”

SHOULD WIN: “Black Panther”

DARK HORSE: “Mary Poppins Returns”


Production design is always a hard one for me to judge because there’s so much that goes into this art and it’s always complicated to understand what the Academy is looking for. The visual appearance and style of a film is the focus here and while I do believe the Academy will honor “The Favourite” for its period-centric display I don’t think it’s the most deserving. In fact I believe my personal pick and the dark horse are more deserving. ‘Black Panther” to me had an awesome visual aesthetic that combines comicbook style futuristic visuals with a more grounded and traditional style in much of its presentation and is thus the most deserving honoree. However “Mary Poppins Returns” also did a fine job capturing the style of its source material, hearkening back to the magic and wonder of its predecessor. All three of these candidates are deserving but in this case as much as I love “The Favourite” I feel the Academy is destined to get it wrong by overlooking two superior options.



Sound Editing

“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Quiet Place”

WILL/SHOULD WIN: “A Quiet Place”

DARK HORSE: “First Man”


Frankly “A Quiet Place” and “First Man” were both very underappreciated films by the Academy but both are the undeniable frontrunners for the first of two sound-based awards in the ceremony. Sound editing involves the overall sound design of the movie and, ironically enough, this gives “A Quiet Place”, a movie based on the idea of avoiding sound, an edge. “A Quiet Place” had to balance its sound design perfectly to sell the dangers that the smallest noise could pose to its main characters. In doing so the design is flawlessly executed to immerse viewers in its post-apocalyptic world.  “A Quiet Place” for me is the deserving winner, but “First Man” would be equally deserving for balancing the loud, booming noises associated with space travel with silent and subtle moments to capture the chaos and beauty of both space and its story in general. Either would be a fine choice in a year where both went without their due credit in much of the show’s major categories.



Sound Mixing

“Black Panther”
“A Star Is Born”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”

WILL WIN: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

SHOULD WIN: “A Star is Born”

DARK HORSE: “First Man”


It really is a long shot for “First Man” to even be in the running for this award over the two musical entries but it really does deserve consideration. “A Star is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” are both designed to capture the essence of live musical performing and do a fine job. “Bohemian” is the frontrunner and likely winner in the category, however if you ask me “A Star is Born” feels more raw whereas “Rhapsody” is clearly more produced. When you look at sound mixing I feel like a film that makes me feel like I’m at a concert in sound style AND presentation is more deserving than one that captures the atmosphere of a show but feels more like a bunch of actors lip-syncing to a track. Either one is a good choice, but I’d rather see “A Star is Born” upset “Bohemian” in the end.



Visual Effects

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

WILL/SHOULD WIN: “Avengers: Infinity War”

DARK HORSE: “First Man” and “Ready Player One”


Since “Annihilation” got horribly snubbed in this category (seriously how did “Christopher Robin” get a nomination instead?) it became the single most difficult call for me as a movie fan as to who should, will and could win the honor. I’m fully prepared to be wrong here but I’m going to be biased and pray that “Infinity War” wins. “First man” is a great movie with great effects worthy of recognition as is “Ready Player One” and either could very well upset “Infinity War”. Marvel has yet to impress at the awards and I’m not I’m not convinced the Academy is going to let up on its ignorance against superhero films, but “Infinity War” deserves it and I do believe the Academy will finally see that these movies offer something more than thrills. “Infinity War” was such an effects driven epic that I feel it would be wrong not to honor it as the winner. This award to me will send a huge statement. It will either further solidify the Academy’s bias against the superhero and comicbook genre or it will finally show the voters are willing to accept such films are here to stay and are deserving of respect.

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