- Black Panther
- Bohemian Rhapsody
- The Favourite
- Green Book
- A Star Is Born
Predicted winner: Of course, the top prize on Oscar night is also the one most difficult to predict at this early stage, but Roma, The Favourite, and A Star Is Born are floating around the top three. Roma currently stands as the frontrunner, with Alfonso Cuaron’s powerful black-and-white masterpiece about a working class housekeeper in 1970s Mexico striking a chord with voters across the board, including the acting nominations for first-timer Yalitza Aparicio and supporting star Marina de Tavira. But Yorgos Lanthimos’ twisted romp through Queen Anne’s court in The Favourite also spins a twist on the traditional period drama, accompanied by a trio of powerhouse performances. Then there’s the starry pairing of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in the fourth retelling of A Star Is Born, both bringing fiery passion to the tale of star-crossed musical lovers. It’s too early to rule out these two just yet but given that the Best Picture Oscar is meant to honor the year’s best achievement in film, it’s Cuaron’s exacting vision and heartfelt story in Roma that gives it a leg up on the rest.
- Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
- Glenn Close, The Wife
- Olivia Colman, The Favourite
- Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
- Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Predicted winner: It’s hard to see Glenn Close not winning Best Actress, after her surprise win at the Golden Globes in early January put her on a solid trajectory to Oscar gold, over The Favourite‘s Olivia Colman and A Star Is Born‘s Lady Gaga. This also happens to be Close’s seventh nomination in a career spanning four decades without an Oscar win so far. With a powerfully quiet performance in The Wife, a showbiz tale that could resonate with many voters (how many wives have felt the sting of being overlooked while standing in their famous husband’s shadow?), we see Glenn finally closing in on her long-awaited Academy Award.
- Christian Bale, Vice
- Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
- Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
- Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
- Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Predicted winner: This seemed like it was Bale’s Oscar to lose — after all, he does all but disappear into the role of Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s searing Vice. But Rami Malek‘s riveting performance as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody has proven to be quite the contender, and his win over Bale at the Screen Actors Guild Awards cements him as the current frontrunner in the Best Actor race.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
- Amy Adams, Vice
- Marina de Tavira, Roma
- Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
- Emma Stone, The Favourite
- Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Predicted winner: Just as Mahershala Ali has been powering ahead as the frontrunner in the Best Supporting Actor race, Regina King has been the one to beat in the Best Supporting Actress race since winning the Golden Globe. King’s exclusion from the category at the Screen Actors Guild ceremony this year did dampen her awards campaign, but she nontheless landed the coveted Oscar nod. She faces a formidable contender in Amy Adams, who steals the scene often in Vice as the diabolical Lynne Cheney. But it is King’s role as a passionate and persistent mother trying to facilitate the release of her daughter’s fiancé from prison in If Beale Street Could Talk that has been winning voters over so far.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
- Mahershala Ali, Green Book
- Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
- Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
- Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
- Sam Rockwell, Vice
Predicted winner: Given that Green Book sees Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali share scenes for the majority of the film, the latter’s inclusion in the Best Supporting Actor race comes with a much heftier performance than the other nominees, all of whom have significantly less screen time. But Ali also delivers a performance that dances deftly between haughty statements, quiet melancholy, and comedic quirks. There are, however, two strong contenders facing Ali — Elliott in A Star Is Born and Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me? Both celebrated their first Oscar nomination this year after decades-long careers, and both have been campaigning hard. With Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards under his belt, it’s Ali’s trophy to lose.
- Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
- Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
- Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
- Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
- Adam McKay, Vice
Predicted winner: In a year of ambitious cinematic undertakings, there’s one film that inhabits the exacting vision of its filmmaker: Alfonso Cuarón‘s Roma. Cuarón, who won the Best Director Golden Globe earlier this month and landed nominations from the Directors Guild (DGA) and Britain’s BAFTA, is the one to beat this season and his Roma is certainly a cinematic feast. Critics have called it Cuarón’s magnum opus, as the filmmaker tells a very personal tale that he wrote, directed, produced, shot, and edited, once again with a quiet and nuanced examination of humanity seen in his previous works.
But don’t count out Spike Lee, who scored his very first Oscar nomination in the directing category for BlacKkKlansman, after a career spanning three decades. The visionary filmmaker tells a timely tale within a story set in the 1970s, and draws visceral parallels to the racial fractures permeating America today.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
- BlacKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee)
- Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty)
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
- A Star Is Born (Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters)
Predicted winner: With Hollywood’s penchant for adapting books to screen, this category was already one of the hardest to get into. Each of the five nominees present a deserving case for the win, but there are two that weave timely stories into period tales: If Beale Street Could Talk and BlacKkKlansman. Adapted from James Baldwin’s novel of the same name, Beale Street follows Fonny and Tish, a young black couple in the 1970s, torn apart by a false allegation that leads to the incarcation of Fonny — a tale that reverberates strongly amongst the black community through the decades to present day America. And BlacKkKlansman follows the surreal true story of a black police detective who infiltrates a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, drawing a direct parallel to the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Both are nominated for Writers Guild and BAFTA awards, but it could be BlacKkKlansman that edges out the competition.
Best Original Screenplay
- The Favourite (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara)
- First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
- Green Book (Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly)
- Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Vice (Adam McKay)
Predicted winner: Green Book leads the pack of Best Original Screenplay contenders, but given the controversies that have arisen around the film, especially around the screenplay and screenwriter Nick Vallelonga, an Oscar win may not be likely. The family of Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali) said they had not been contacted by the filmmakers and that the portrayal of Shirley was inaccurate. Last month, a 2015 tweet re-emerged from Vallelonga in which he repeated Donald Trump’s thoroughly debunked claim that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the Sept. 11 attacks. Shortly after, Vallelonga deleted his Twitter and apologized for the tweet, especially to Ali, who is Muslim.
The backlash against the film could open the path up for The Favourite, which spins a very entertaining, engaging, and bitingly witty twist on a traditional period drama, delving deep into the psychological manipulation of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) by her trusted advisors. And then there’s also Adam McKay’s Vice, which upends the traditional biopic with a sharp satrical take on one of the most elusive figures in U.S. political history: Dick Cheney.
So we’re a little split on this one, but it could very well be The Favourite that bests the competition.
Best 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
Predicted winner: We might not be so far from the “Shallow” now. Given the runaway success of A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s soulful duet on this ballad definitely serves up the feels and won the Golden Globe in the category (and earned four Grammy nominations including Song and Record of the Year). But, there’s also Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s dreamy “All the Stars” from Black Panther that has racked up more than half a billion streams and also scored four Grammy nominations, including Song and Record of the Year, or Emily Blunt’s sweetly soulful and nostalgic “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns that could tap into voters’ own childhood memories. For now, our bet is on the star power of Gaga and Cooper, who will be performing “Shallow” at the Oscars.
Best Animated Feature Film
- Incredibles 2
- Isle of Dogs
- Ralph Breaks the Internet
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Predicted winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse! In a category that is usually dominated by Disney-Pixar, not only did the animated iteration of the web-slinger spin a twist on the superhero genre, the power of the message “anyone can wear the mask” stoked emotions across a world of comic book fans who might otherwise have not seen themselves reflected in the cinematic superhero world that has to date been dominated by white actors. Furthermore, the combination of 2D and 3D animation and taking direct inspiration from the style and colors of Spidey’s comic book roots, Spider-verse served up a very new and very inclusive superhero.