They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?

Final Predictions for the 91st Academy Awards

By J. Don Birnam

February 22, 2019

Yes, please.

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It’s all over but the crying, folks. Voting has long closed, campaigns are over, and the votes are probably already tabulated. A few dozen talented - and lucky - members of the film community are about to have their dreams realized on Sunday night. And, soon, all the doubts, all the drama, all the expectations, will be over. Our questions will be answered. Green Book or Roma or something else? Glenn Close or Olivia Colman? History, yes - but where? How? The Era of Netflix? The Era of Marvel? None of the above? All of the above?

If you are into films and the Oscars, no matter what, it is exciting. There is always heartbreak and disappointment. There is always joy and merriment. I’ve been watching the Oscars my entire adult life, I cannot remember a ceremony when I was not super happy with at least one winner, AND super annoyed with at least one winner. Some years are better than others. I found myself not really emotionally into any of the Best Picture nominees last year - in a way, that makes it so much easier. But boy, take me back to a year when you had The Social Network, Inception, Black Swan vying for Best Picture, and The King’s Speech about to win - brutal. The less you care, the more you can just watch and get less emotionally invested. It is like with baseball - I really enjoy watching two teams I do not care about playing. When I have a dog in the fight, the stress can overwhelm the enjoyment. This year, I definitely care - mostly for Gaga, for Close, and for Mexico, who has never won.

But what about the sordid business of predicting? Oh dear. It feels very in flux. As we discussed, all major guilds went to different nominees. How does one make sense of that? It has never happened, so why now? Are the movies all that good? Is the Academy just that diverse? Are they just indecisive? Clearly, each movie has a passionate following. This could make for some unpredictability but that is a good thing. Predictable may ease a pundit’s mind, but it makes for boring, uninteresting TV drama. I always pray for a shocker, Oscar pool be damned.




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In case you need a recap, here are some of the handicaps of the season:
for the shorts, for the technical races in two parts, for the feature length films, for the writing races, for the acting races, and of course, for Best Picture.

If the last two years say anything to us is that the preferential ballot in the expanded era, combined with the additional membership, means that there is inherent unpredictability in the Best Picture race, that stats are diminishing in value at least there, and that the guilds and other precursors are more unreliable. We will see if these theories hold out this year.

I do not think I am going out on crazy limbs this year as I have in the past, mostly because so many feel uncertain that by definition there is no “crazy” pick.

In the chart below I make my final prediction, I note what you could pick as an alternative if you think my pick is wrong, what the “consensus” pick is, if one exists, based on betting odds of major awards sites, and then the “guild” winner for categories where there is such a thing.

Follow me on: Twitter and Instagram for a live blog of the events!


Final Predictions for the 91st Academy Awards
J. Don Birnam Pick
Could Also Win
Consensus Pick
Guild Winner
Best Picture Green Book Roma Roma Green Book (PGA)
Best Director Alfonso Cuaron Spike Lee Alfonso Cuaron Alfonso Cuaron (DGA)
Best Actress Glenn Close Olivia Colman Glenn Close Glenn Close (SAG)
Best Actor Rami Malek Christian Bale Rami Malek Rami Malek (SAG)
Best Supporting Actress Regina King Rachel Weisz Regina King Emily Blunt (SAG)
Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali Richard E. Grant Mahershala Ali Mahershala Ali (SAG)
Best Original Screenplay The Favourite Green Book The Favourite Eighth Grade (WGA)
Best Adapted Screenplay Blackkklansman Can You Ever Forgive Me Blackkklansman Can You Ever Forgive Me (WGA)
Best Film Editing Vice Bohemian Rhapsody Vice Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite (ACE)
Best Cinematography Roma Cold War Roma Cold War (ASC)
Best Costume Design The Favourite Black Panther The Favourite The Favourite/Black Panther (CDG)
Best Production Design The Favourite Black Panther The Favourite The Favourite/Black Panther
Best Make-Up & Hair Vice Mary Queen of Scots Vice Vice
Best Original Score Black Panther If Beale Street Could Talk If Beale Street Could Talk N/A
Best Original Song Shallow N/A Best Original Song N/A
Best Sound Mixing Bohemian Rhapsody A Star Is Born Bohemian Rhapsody Bohemian Rhapsody (CAS)
Best Sound Editing Black Panther Bohemian Rhapsody First Man Bohemian Rhapsody (MPSE)
Best Visual Effects First Man Avengers Avengers Avengers (VFX)
Best Foreign Language Film Roma Cold War Roma N/A
Best Documentary RBG Free Solo Free Solo N/A
Best Animated Feature Spider-Man Incredibles 2 Spider-Man Spider-Man (Annie)
Best Animated Short Weekends Bao Bao N/A
Best Live Action Short Marguerite Detainment Marguerite N/A
Best Documentary Short Period. End of Sentence Life Boat Black Sheep N/A

     


 
 

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