They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?

Final Predictions for 91st Oscar Nominations

By J. Don Birnam

January 21, 2019

I'm sure that Emma has nothing but the best intentions...

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Hello Prophets! What a year it has been…though I have not been with you to chart all the tortured territory between Telluride and Oscar nominations morning, I know we have been with each other in spirit. Now, we are moments away from what is perhaps the most exciting moment of the awards season, at least the one more ripe for surprises.

As we have discussed for years now on this very website, the Oscars themselves have gotten quite predictable. They never seem so four or six weeks out by the way, but by the time we get to the big day, fewer and fewer surprises show up. Oh yeah, sure, if you read Twitter or any space of the Internet for that matter, you will find every year that “this is the most wide open race ever.” And, to be fair, there have been some confusing, stat-busting Best Picture winners of late.

All that means, however, is that the Internet is bad at predicting the Oscars, especially the nominations. Take an easy example from this year: the Internet and Twitter decided that Toni Collette was a serious contender for Best Actress this year. Never mind that female horror movies have never really figured to the Academy and that, until Get Out, horror movies had not done well since Silence of the Lambs. Never mind that this was a small movie, an indie released sometime in the summer. Never mind that there were so many other strong female contenders to put in the slots and that the critics are not the Oscars. Despite all those obvious signs, the collective “wisdom” online was that Collette was headed for a sure nomination and likely a win. Could it still happen? Sure. But ever since it has not been happening with precursors - and it hasn’t with SAG or the Globe or BAFTA - the Internet has reacted either angrily at the Oscars or by saying: Oh my, what an unexpected year!


So this is why Oscar nominations morning is fun. We do not really know what “they” like for certain. We have some very strong clues about what the industry likes and what will be generally rewarded. You can be that if something has had strong crossover appeal and received a bunch of accolades from critics, audiences, and early industry groups alike, the Academy will recognize it. But that list becomes short quickly. Beyond Roma, what really qualifies for all of these? Maybe The Favourite? Maybe BlacKkKlansman? Maybe, gasp, A Star is Born? Critics responded warmly but not over the moon for Black Panther. They hated Bohemian Rhapsody and many really did not like Vice or Green Book but the industry and the people have embraced at least two of those. And there is always that fifth acting slot that no one sees coming here or there.

That is why Oscar nominations morning is so much fun, and more fun, in some ways, than the Oscars themselves. The questions are always: who will lead the nods? How many Best Picture nominees? After years of trying to buck the 8/9 trend (which has happened every year since the expansion into a sliding number) - I give up and I will stick with 9. Of course, this is likely the year to screw me over! I also think The Favourite will lead, but not by much. I could see Black Panther being right up there.

Without further ado…

I’ll be reacting to the nominations on Twitter and Instagram, as usual.


Best Picture
A Star Is Born
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
Alt: Crazy Rich Asians

Best Director
Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born
Ryan Coogler – Black Panther
Alfonso Cuarón– Roma
Peter Farrelly – Green Book
Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
Alt: Yorgos Lanthimos: The Favourite

Best Actor
Christian Bale – Vice
Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen – Green Book
John David Washington – BlacKkKlansman
Alt: Ethan Hawke – First Reformed

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?
Alt: Emily Blunt: Mary Poppins

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali – Green Book
Adam Driver - BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott – A Star is Born
Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell – Vice
Alt: Timothee Chalamet: Beautiful Boy

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams – Vice
Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone – The Favourite
Rachel Weisz – The Favourite
Michelle Yeoh – Crazy Rich Asians
Alt: Emily Blunt: A Quiet Place

Best Original Screenplay
Eighth Grade
Green Book
The Favourite
Alt: First Reformed

Best Adapted Screenplay
A Star is Born
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Crazy Rich Asians
If Beale Street Could Talk
Alt: Black Panther

Best Film Editing
A Star Is Born
Black Panther
First Man
Alt: The Favourite

Best Cinematography
A Star Is Born
The Favourite
First Man
If Beale Street Could Talk
Alt: Cold War

Best Costume Design
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Queen of Scots
Alt: Crazy Rich Asians

Best Production Design
Black Panther
The Favourite
Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Queen of Scots
Alt: First Man

Best Make-Up And Hairstyling
Black Panther
Mary Queen of Scots
Alt: Border

Best Visual Effects
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
First Man
Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom
Ready Player One
Alt: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Best Sound Mixing
A Star Is Born
A Quiet Place
Black Panther
First Man
Alt: Mary Poppins Returns

Best Sound Editing
A Star Is Born
Black Panther
First Man
Mission Impossible
Alt: A Quiet Place

Best Foreign Language Film
Japan - Shoplifters
Lebanon – Capernaum
Mexico – Roma
Poland – Cold War
South Korea - Burning
Alt: Denmark – The Guilty

Best Documentary Feature Film
Free Solo
Minding the Gap
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Alt: Three Identical Strangers

Best Animated Feature Film
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Alt: The Grinch

Best Original Song
I Will Fight - RBG
Shallow – A Star Is Born
Girl in the Movies – Dumplin
The Place Where all the Lost Things Go – Mary Poppins
Trip a Little Light Fantastic – Mary Poppins
Alt: Revelation – Boy Erased

Best Original Score
Black Panther
First Man
If Beale Street Could Talk
Mary Poppins
Alt: Isle of Dogs

Best Live Action Short

Best Animated Short
Lost & Found
One Small Step

Best Documentary Short
End Game
Los Comandos
Period. End of Sentence
Women of the Gulag



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