Notes on the 2019 Oscars

Best Picture

Sadly, this year’s batch of nominees is somewhat underwhelming. The Academy is still waffling between how many nominees should be in the category; there were 9 the past 2 years but now we only have 8. What’s wrong with just having 10 and calling it done, especially when First Man and If Beale Street Could Talk would’ve rounded things out nicely? The good news is that Roma is the current expected winner and while it’s not my personal favo(u)rite of the bunch, it’s an exceptionally well-made film that represents the category nicely.

My Prediction: Roma
My Vote: The Favourite
Overlooked: Widows

Best Director

  • Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
  • Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War
  • Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite
  • Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
  • Adam McKay – Vice

An interesting bunch here, especially with the inclusion of Pawlikowski and the exclusion of Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born. Somehow, this is the first time that Spike Lee has been nominated for Best Director (Do the Right Thing lost Best Original Screenplay in 1990). It is truly stunning that McKay received a nomination in lieu of plenty of other more worthy directors like Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle. The chances are miniscule that Alfonso Cuarón, who won Best Director in 2015 for Gravity, will lose here.

My Prediction: Alfonso Cuarón
My Vote: Yorgos Lanthimos
Overlooked: Debra Granik – Leave No Trace

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale – Vice
  • Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
  • Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate
  • Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Viggo Mortensen – Green Book

I haven’t caught up with At Eternity’s Gate (I’ll give Dafoe the benefit of the doubt) but I just can’t get excited about this field. Two of the nominees rely heavily on hair and makeup to augment their performances and I’d consider them both to be the frontrunners at this point. Elsewhere, Mortensen does what he can with a heavily stereotyped role and while Cooper is probably my favorite of this group, it’s not terribly high praise. Ethan Hawke is a glaring snub but Ryan Gosling, Joaquin Phoenix and Brady Jandreau (since the Academy seems friendly to newcomers this year) would have been much better picks too.

My Prediction: Christian Bale
My Vote: Bradley Cooper
Overlooked: 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?

I haven’t caught up with The Wife yet (I may do so before the ceremonies) but I can say that I feel much better about this category in comparison to Best Actor. Great to see a first-time actress like Aparicio get a chance here but I also would have loved recognition for Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade) and Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace) as well. It’s bizarre for me to see McCarthy here, since the wounds of The Happytime Murders still feel fresh. Close, nominated six times previously without a win, will likely take home the “Overdue Oscar” although Lady Gaga makes for an intriguing upset pick.

My Prediction: Glenn Close
My Vote: Olivia Colman
Overlooked: Toni Collette – Hereditary

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

My Prediction: Mahershala Ali
My Vote: Richard E Grant
Overlooked: Simon Russell Beale – The Death of Stalin

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amy Adams – Vice
  • Marina de Tavira – Roma
  • Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Emma Stone – The Favourite
  • Rachel Weisz – The Favourite

My Prediction: Regina King
My Vote: Rachel Weisz
Overlooked: Claire Foy – First Man

The supporting categories this year call to mind how desperately the Academy needs to implement a Best Ensemble category. Regina King was wonderful in If Beale Street Could Talk but that film had at least 4 or 5 other supporting performances (some which only occur during one scene) that are at least as good if not better. Stone and Weisz will likely cancel each other out, a shame since their performances tower over the other three picks. I’m no fan of Vice but Steve Carell would have been a better pick than Sam Rockwell, who already won Supporting Actor last year anyway and had a much easier role in the film.

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Favourite – Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara
  • First Reformed – Paul Schrader
  • Green Book – Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly
  • Roma – Alfonso Cuarón
  • Vice – Adam McKay

My Prediction: The Favourite
My Vote: The Favourite
Overlooked: Eighth Grade

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Joel & Ethan Coen
  • BlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty
  • If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins
  • A Star Is Born – Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters

My Prediction: BlacKkKlansman
My Vote: If Beale Street Could Talk
Overlooked: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Animated Feature Film

My Prediction: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
My Vote: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Overlooked: The Grinch

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Capernaum
  • Cold War
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma
  • Shoplifters

My Prediction: Roma
My Vote: Roma
Overlooked: Burning

Best Documentary – Feature

  • Free Solo
  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening
  • Minding the Gap
  • Of Fathers and Sons
  • RBG

My Prediction: RBG
My Vote: Minding the Gap
Overlooked: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best Documentary – Short Subject

  • Black Sheep
  • End Game
  • Lifeboat
  • A Night at the Garden
  • Period. End of Sentence.

My Prediction: Black Sheep
My Vote:
Overlooked:

Best Live Action Short Film

  • Detainment
  • Fauve
  • Marguerite
  • Mother
  • Skin

My Prediction: Marguerite
My Vote:
Overlooked:

Best Animated Short Film

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Bao
  • Late Afternoon
  • One Small Step
  • Weekends

My Prediction: Bao
My Vote:
Overlooked:

Best Original Score

  • BlacKkKlansman – Terence Blanchard
  • Black Panther – Ludwig Goransson
  • If Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas Britell
  • Isle of Dogs – Alexandre Desplat
  • Mary Poppins Returns – Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman

My Prediction: If Beale Street Could Talk
My Vote: If Beale Street Could Talk
Overlooked: Mandy – Jóhann Jóhannsson

Best Original Song

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

My Prediction: “Shallow”
My Vote: “Shallow”
Overlooked: “Suspirium” from Suspiria

Best Sound Editing

My Prediction: First Man
My Vote: First Man
Overlooked: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Best Sound Mixing

  • Black Panther
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • First Man
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born

My Prediction: A Star Is Born
My Vote: First Man
Overlooked: Annihilation

Best Production Design

  • Black Panther
  • First Man
  • The Favourite
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Roma

My Prediction: The Favourite
My Vote: The Favourite
Overlooked: Isle of Dogs

Best Cinematography

  • Cold War – Lukasz Zal
  • The Favourite – Robbie Ryan
  • Never Look Away – Caleb Deschanel
  • Roma – Alfonso Cuarón
  • A Star Is Born – Matthew Libatique

My Prediction: Roma
My Vote: The Favourite
Overlooked: If Beale Street Could Talk – James Laxton

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Border
  • Mary Queen of Scots
  • Vice

My Prediction: Vice
My Vote: Vice
Overlooked: Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Costume Design

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

My Prediction: The Favourite
My Vote: The Favourite
Overlooked: A Simple Favor

Best Film Editing

  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Green Book
  • The Favourite
  • Vice

My Prediction: Vice
My Vote: The Favourite
Overlooked: First Man

Best Visual Effects

My Prediction: Avengers: Infinity War
My Vote: Avengers: Infinity War
Overlooked: Searching

Enjoy the show!