Tomorrow is Oscar Sunday at fucking last, and I've been much too lazy to make predictions this season, so it's time to put that laziness aside and tell you all what I finally expect to win. Let's get on with it then...
Looking over my predictions in other categories, a Roma victory in Best Picture would appear to make sense. And yet a Green Book victory just feels so right - much as it also feels so wrong - after this alternately pleasing and aggravating season. It'd be quite the statement, quite the protest vote by the Academy, and given the progress that a Roma win could represent, quite the regression too, though Green Book has bounced back from countless scandals and controversies this season, and that it remains in the conversation at all means it remains a threat to win. Yet a Roma victory is still the most logical prediction after its performance in precursor awards and its overall popularity.
Will win: Roma (Alfonso Cuaron and Gabriela Rodriguez)
Should win: Roma (Alfonso Cuaron and Gabriela Rodriguez)
Watch out for: Green Book (Jim Burke, Peter Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie, Nick Vallelonga and Charles B. Wessler)
Roma in Directing would appear to be a safer bet than Roma in Picture, and for good reason: Alfonso Cuaron has won every major award this season. But the consensus is that nothing is certain at the 91st Academy Awards, and there have been those predicting Spike Lee in this category for months now, in spite of Cuaron's dominance. That's got to count for something, and that something is pretty clear: there are few filmmakers today perceived as being quite as overdue an Oscar as Spike Lee, and if he doesn't win in Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, he may well win here instead. After all, Cuaron already has a Best Directing Oscar.
Will win: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Should win: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Watch out for: Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Funny how, the first time Glenn Close actually comes close to winning an Oscar, someone else looks like they might come close to beating her. Those saying that Olivia Colman is following Marion Cotillard's trajectory to an Oscar over Julie Christie are neglecting to notice, though, that Cotillard was the shock BAFTA victor over a beloved Brit, and that Colman was instead the Brit predicted to win there, and also that Christie already had an Oscar when she lost to Cotillard, while Close is on her seventh nomination - the most for any living actor without an Oscar. The stars have, remarkably, finally aligned for Glenn Close, and I don't see the Academy passing up this opportunity.
Will win: Glenn Close (The Wife)
Should win: Olivia Colman (The Favourite) *I'd still vote for Glenn, though*
Watch out for: Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Best Actor in a Leading Role
When Christian Bale won the Critics' Choice award, we all thought we had a race on our hands. And when Bradley Cooper missed out on a Directing Oscar nomination, we all wondered if this might boost his chances here. And yet it is Rami Malek who has entered Oscar weekend as the clear frontrunner. He has benefitted from a peculiar resilience displayed by all of the movies to have endured major criticism this season - not only Bohemian Rhapsody but Green Book and Vice. Just check out the ovation he received at the BAFTAs. The industry loves him, and they want him to win. Him and those fucking teeth.
Will win: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Should win: Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate)
Watch out for: Christian Bale (Vice)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
For weeks, I maintainted that, despite the similarities between Regina King's road to Oscar and Sylvester Stallone's three years ago, she wouldn't fail as he eventually did. And yet, here I am, breaking my word, giving up on King and predicting the Mark Rylance to her Stallone - Rachel Weisz. The Academy simply doesn't seem too keen on Beale Street, and its campaign has stalled in recent weeks. This ought to be a very close call, so close that some are predicting someone else entirely to win, such as the extreme left-field pick Marina de Tavira for Roma, but I'm playing it safer. Either way, I'll be happy.
Will win: Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Should win: Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Watch out for: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Isn't it typical of the current awards season that the most seemingly secure of predictions is looking more vulnerable than ever on Oscar eve? The stellar campaign that Richard E. Grant has launched all by himself via social media and selfies has made of him a big favourite among Oscar watchers and, potentially, among Oscar voters. Many thought he'd sail to a BAFTA win two weeks ago, but when he lost that to Mahershala Ali, it looked like Ali had the Oscar in the bag. After all, there's not a single major award this season he's lost. Yet all those ridiculous Brutally Honest Oscar Ballots have cited Grant, referencing his career and his campaign alongside his performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me? It's probably all in vain, alas, as a few contrarians do not a consensus make, but this could turn out to be one of the most unsurprising surprises of the night...
Will win: Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Should win: Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Watch out for: Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
One of the year's most unpredictable races, so I'm predicting the most predictable choice. Makes sense, right? Green Book won the consolidated Golden Globe Screenplay award and might win Best Picture. Vice has eight Oscar nominations (and if not the best written contender here, is at least the most written, and that often counts for a lot). First Reformed won a lot of critics' awards, though surely won't win this. The Favourite won the BAFTA and a lot of critics' awards too. It wasn't eligible for the WGA award, which we all thought would give either Green Book or Vice the boost they needed, only then non-Oscar nominee Eighth Grade won that in a big upset, and just about nothing was clarified. I feel like The Favourite could do quite well tomorrow, but also that there's a chance it wins nothing, so this prediction is far from a safe one.
Will win: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite)
Should win: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite)
Watch out for: Peter Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie and Nick Vallelonga (Green Book)
Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
I'd say no-one predicting the Oscars this year knows what'll win here. At various points through the season, three separate titles have led this race, and the eventual result has been that no single one of those three leads clearly. There's Critics' Choice award winner If Beale Street Could Talk, surprise WGA award winner (and overall critics' favourite) Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and there's BAFTA winner and Best Picture nominee BlacKkKlansman. The movement to get Spike Lee an Oscar could be too persuasive for voters to ignore it, but the movie is more vulnerable than it could have been here: consider that many expected it to win the Critics' Choice award here, and then lost not only that but also a nomination for the USC Scripter award. BlacKkKlansman seems to be the most popular prediction here, but it could very, very easily lose...
Will win: Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott (BlacKkKlansman)
Should win: Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Watch out for: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Alfonso Cuaron has had this category almost on lock all season, and it's not hard to see why. One watch of Roma and the seductiveness of its cinematography is practically undeniable. It didn't win the American Society of Cinematographer's award, but that might not be too big a red flag for predictors - that award differs from Oscar more often than it matches, and most were predicting Cold War's Lukasz Zal to make good on the respect he's gained among his peers since co-lensing Pawel Pawlikowski's last feature, Ida, and to beat director-cinematographer Cuaron. I'm still wary of an upset, however, and not just from Zal: Caleb Deschanel is in contention, a sixth chance for the legendary DP, yet to win an Oscar, and it may just be a hunch, but it's a hunch I haven't been able to shake since I first heard the idea floated. I'll probably forget about that hunch mere seconds after Cuaron inevitably wins here, but it's worth keeping it in mind for now, even if only because I can't keep it out of my mind.
Will win: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Should win: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Watch out for: Caleb Deschanel (Never Look Away)
Best Film Editing
No category this year, or any other, quite resembles Best Film Editing. All five nominees are Best Picture nominees, but who'd have thought it'd be this five? First Man, Roma, A Star Is Born - all would have made compelling frontrunners for this award were they nominated here. But they're not, and thus we're left with a selection of five nominees that continues to baffle, weeks after it was announced. BAFTA winner Vice looks like the strongest best (again, not necessarily the best editing, more like the most editing), but ACE Eddie winner Bohemian Rhapsody could end up running away with awards in every one of its categories, so I certainly wouldn't put this one past voters. Speaking of the ACE Eddies, Vice couldn't even win there, where it was beaten by a movie that few, if any, expect to win here: The Favourite, so who's to say for sure it can win here? And after all that, wait and see BlacKkKlansman win, or even - shudder - Green Book.
Will win: Hank Corwin (Vice)
Should win: Yorgos Mavropsaridis (The Favourite)
Watch out for: John Ottman (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Best Production Design - Set Decoration
A two-horse race, Production Design... we think. The Favourite has its ornate, lavish period recreations and its elaborate set decoration. Black Panther has its innovative world-building and its original concepts. I'll opt for the latter, not only on personal taste but on expectation. Black Panther's potential in certain tech categories reminds me of Mad Max: Fury Road's performance three years ago, though with fewer nominations and, alas, fewer probable shots at winning. But its status in Production and Costume Design recalls that of Fury Road and its similarly creative, eye-catching aesthetic (albeit a very dissimilar aesthetic). Both frontrunners won ADG awards earlier this month, and both could win here, so this ought to be a very tight one.
Will win: Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart (Black Panther)
Should win: Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart (Black Panther)
Watch out for: Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton (The Favourite)
Best Costume Design
I feel pretty much the same about Costume Design as I do about Production Design, only that I think Mary Poppins Returns has a slightly stronger chance at winning this than it does at winning that. Otherwise, see above.
Will win: Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther)
Should win: Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther)
Watch out for: Sandy Powell (The Favourite)
Best Sound Mixing
No-one really has a clue about the sound categories this year. Any of the five nominees in each of the two categories could win. But Bohemian Rhapsody won both the consolidated BAFTA and the CAS award, and thus looks to be the likeliest winner here. What a disappointment. Music movies often win Sound Mixing, but so too do movies that win Sound Editing, and they don't win that quite as often. First Man could ride a tad more support in that category to a win here as well if voters simply check the same box for both, or perhaps sole Sound Mixing nominee A Star Is Born could pull one over Bohemian Rhapsody. It's anyone's game, though, and thus anyone's guess. At least if I predict Bohemian, if it wins I'll be right, and if it loses I'll be happy.
Will win: John Casali, Tim Cavagin and Paul Massey (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Should win: Jose Antonio Garcia, Craig Henighan and Skip Lievsay (Roma)
Watch out for: Mary H. Ellis, Lee Ai Ling, Frank A. Montano and Jon Taylor (First Man)
Best Sound Editing
Much was made (or what constitutes much when we're talking about Film Twitter and tech guild prizes) of Bohemian Rhapsody's two MPSE awards when it won a few days back. It didn't, however, win the award that most closely resembles the Sound Editing Oscar, which instead went to A Quiet Place. That movie was largely considered down and out of awards contention when it garnered an Oscar nod in this category alone, yet that MPSE win could well be significant. Do Oscar voters pay attention to the MPSE awards? Probably not, but it's yet another sign that anything really can happen in these sound categories. Voters, I'm assuming, have seen First Man, and it's hard to deny the strength of its sound design, which is a major part of what made that movie the safest bet in either sound category for much of the season. I'm hanging onto it here as its graphic, distinctive sound editing and effects feels like the kind of thing that often succeeds here. But once again, it's anyone's game, and anyone's guess.
Will win: Mildred Iatrou and Lee Ai Ling (First Man)
Should win: Mildred Iatrou and Lee Ai Ling (First Man)
Watch out for: Nina Hartstone and John Warhurst (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Best Visual Effects
Onto a three-horse race, and remember the last time there was a three-horse race for Visual Effects? Once again, I return to the 2015-16 awards season, when the stats seemed to suggest that only The Martian, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant could win here, though the enormous popular success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw it take a clear lead over The Martian at least... and then Ex Machina won. VES award winners Avengers: Inifinity War and First Man look like very strong contenders here, even if the latter won for Supporting VFX - subtlety and modesty helped Ex Machina, and it could help First Man too. Infinity War was the first superhero movie to win the top VES award, and would be the first to win the Oscar; Black Panther may well have won this as it won the BAFTA, though perhaps it only won that due to being snubbed in every other category (BAFTA racism in full force). Ready Player One is hot on both of their heels thanks to the Spielberg factor (I'm assuming, again, but whether voters liked it or not, they surely watched it) and a robust campaign - hot enough that I'm going ahead and predicting it to win. Might as well, since this race could hardly be tougher to call.
Will win: Matthew E. Butler, Grady Cofer, Roger Guyett and David Shirk (Ready Player One)
Should win: Chris Corbould, Mike Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Lawrence (Christopher Robin)
Watch out for: Ian Hunter, Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles and J. D. Schwalm (First Man)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
After all that uncertainty, you might think I'd be happy to find a category like Makeup and Hairstyling, which is pretty much a done deal. The link between this category and leading acting categories is a formidable one, but it doesn't look like a Vice victory here will be sufficient to get Christian Bale his second Oscar. Had Black Panther or Suspiria been nominated (as they should have been), I'd be on the watch for an upset, but they weren't, so I'm not.
Will win: Kate Biscoe, Greg Cannom and Patricia Dehaney (Vice)
Should win: Pamela Goldammer and Goran Lundstrom (Border)
Watch out for: Jessica Brooks, Marc Pilcher and Jenny Shircore (Mary Queen of Scots)
Best Music (Original Score)
This race looked done and dusted until Oscar nominations were announced and Justin Hurwitz's score for First Man was omitted from the lineup. The next best thing seemed to be Nicholas Britell's score for If Beale Street Could Talk, but simply being next in line doesn't make for a convincing Oscar frontrunner (not that it's not deserving), and Beale Street's disappointing overall performance with the Academy doesn't inspire confidence. But then what to choose? It's probably between Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman, then, if Beale Street doesn't win. Both boast the kind of bold scoring that could easily appeal to voters, but consensus is that the latter has generally more support, and Terence Blanchard is a movie music legend on his first Oscar nod. My prediction goes to him, but this is one of several categories this year that'll only be confirmed for sure once the envelope is opened and the winner announced.
Will win: Terence Blanchard (BlacKkKlansman)
Should win: Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Watch out for: Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Best Music (Original Song)
This category, however, could hardly be in less doubt. Even since before the movie's long-awaited release, A Star Is Born's signature track, 'Shallow,' has been the clear frontrunner to win the Original Song Oscar. Not even a soundtrack full of new Mary Poppins songs could stop it. This is the first time since 'Let It Go' (if we're being generous to Frozen) or 'Skyfall' that Oscar has nominated a bona fide megahit - in fact, we're maybe even talking about looking back as far as the '90s for an Original Song contender of this size. There's almost certainly no getting far from the Shallow now...
Will win: Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt - 'Shallow' (A Star Is Born)
Should win: David Rawlings and Gillian Welch - 'When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings' (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)
Watch out for: Kendrick Lamar, Al Shux, Sounwave and SZA - 'All The Stars' (Black Panther)
Best Animated Feature
I've been converted... sort of. Buzz of late has been that Academy voters are old, boring people who'll only watch animated movie if they're Disney or Pixar, and that their conservative tastes will keep runaway favourite Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse from winning. I had thought Isle of Dogs would be the main beneficiary of an anti-Spider-Verse vote, being that it's the most clearly distinctive of the four American nominees (Mirai has never stood a chance), but I'm somewhat won over by this argument for Incredibles 2 winning. Spider-Verse has just been so dominant this season that I can't bring myself to predict anything else, and I honestly can't see anyone else on that stage accepting this Oscar but the Spider-Verse crew.
Will win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman)
Should win: Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird, Nicole Paradis Grindle and John Walker)
Watch out for: Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird, Nicole Paradis Grindle and John Walker)
Yet another category this year shorn of its top contender upon Oscar nominations announcement, or arguably the top two contenders: neither Won't You Be My Neighbour? nor Three Identical Strangers made the cut in one of the most unusual Documentary Oscar lineups in some time, and also one of its finest. Alas, it could well be the worst movie of the bunch that wins: RBG would be following in the footsteps of Icarus last year in being the least challenging, least innovative nominee and then going on to triumph over the competition. Or, it could be Free Solo, which won the BAFTA and reportedly enjoyed an excellent reception at the Oscar nominees luncheon, and which would also be following in Icarus' footsteps in being a sports-related winner. Don't discount Minding the Gap, though, which has found ardent fans everywhere it's been seen in decent numbers. That could easily include the Academy. Just one more category that's still ridiculously up in the air for this time in the season.
Will win: RBG (Julie Cohen and Betsy West)
Should win: Of Fathers and Sons (Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme and Tobias Siebert)
Watch out for: Free Solo (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Shannon Dill and Evan Hayes)
Best Foreign Language Film
You'd think Roma would have this in the bag. Best Picture nominees win here, right? The last time we had one across the two categories was 18 years ago, when Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon similarly had ten nods and similarly came into the Oscars looking at potentially winning Picture. But big losses for big contenders such as Amelie and Pan's Labyrinth in the years since, and the strength of some of these nominees (Cold War and Shoplifters would both make very typical and very popular picks here) mean that Roma may be vulnerable, especially if the Academy is strict on only allowing members who've seen all five nominees to cast votes. Roma remains a clear favourite, but not an unbeatable one.
Will win: Roma - Mexico
Should win: Roma - Mexico
Watch out for: Cold War - Poland
Image Credit: MovieStillsDB (some images)