Oscar predictions 2019: frontrunners and dark horses

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First Man and A Star is Born lead the way but bookmakers and experts are also backing a few outsiders

Voting for this year’s Oscars nominations officially opens today, with last night’s Golden Globe Awards throwing up some surprising winners that could shape Academy members’ minds.

With the 91st Academy Awards set to take place in Los Angeles next month, The Week rounds up the actors, directors and movies currently on track to take home one of the famous golden statuettes.

Best Picture

The fourth remake of A Star is Born has led the way in most Oscar prediction lists since it was released to critical and commercial acclaim last summer. The film stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, whose performance Peter Bradshaw calls “mesmerising” in The Guardian. Bradshaw describes the film as “outrageously watchable and colossally enjoyable”.

First Man, another early frontrunner, telling the story of the first moon landings in 1969, has seen its odds lengthen in recent weeks. However, “the picture is about as can’t-miss as a Hollywood studio has come up with recently”, says Forbes, and is still expected to get a nomination.

The Golden Globes also threw up some genuine shocks that could upend the odds.

Green Book’s “win for Best Comedy/Musical over the likes of The Favourite and Vice was a big surprise”, says Gold Derby, adding “this could be a film that continues to overperform”.

Set in the 1960s and co-starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, it tells the story of an African-American musician who hires an Italian-American driver to take him on a tour of the Deep South.

Another surprise came in the Best Drama category, where Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody emerged victorious ahead of A Star is Born.

The BBC says the win comes “despite mixed reviews and upheaval during production”, which saw original director Bryan Singer fired for “unreliable behavior”.

Away from the frontrunners, Forbes says Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman “has a solid shot at a Best Picture nomination as does the heartbreaking drama Beautiful Boy with Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carell”.

A possible dark horse is from Oscar regular Alfonso Cuaron: Roma, a film about middle-class life in Mexico City in the 1970s. Although released on streaming site Netflix it has received rave reviews from critics, while Hollywood prediction site Gold Derby lists it as second favourite to win, behind A Star is Born which leads the way at 13/2.

Best Actor

The surprise Golden Globe win for Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, has seen him rocket to the top of the bookies Best Actor lists.

He appears to have edged out Bradley Cooper as favourite to pick up the gong, although the A Star is Born leading man and director is still expected to pick up his fourth Oscar nomination in just six years. The Guardian calls his nomination a “safe bet” and predicts he will be joined by Robert Redford for Old Man and the Gun and Ryan Gosling for First Man.

“Steve Carell was nominated in 2015 for Foxcatcher,” Forbes adds. “History could repeat itself with his performance in Beautiful Boy.”

Following Christian Bale’s Golden Globe Best Actor win, AwardsWatch suggests he may “crash” the category with his performance as former vice president Dick Cheney in Vice, from filmmaker Adam McKay, whose last outing The Big Short was nominated for five Oscars in 2016.

Best Actress

Again, A Star is Born leads the way, with critics piling so much praise on Lady Gaga’s performance that a win for the musician-turned-actress seems like “almost a lock at this point”, movie blog JoBlo says.

However, a recent surge in support for Glenn Close for her performance in literary drama The Wife saw her unexpectedly beat off competition from Gaga to claim the Best Drama Actress at the Golden Globes.

It now appears to be a three-horse race with Olivia Colman, who stars in the English period drama The Favourite.

Production company Fox Searchlight confirmed to IndieWire that it has “finalised its plans for positioning the film for the upcoming 91st Academy Awards, which include campaigning Colman in the lead actress race and her co-stars, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, in the supporting category”.

The Irish Independent adds that Irish actress “Saoirse Ronan has already been nominated for an Oscar three times, and is very likely to get a nod again for Mary Queen of Scots”.

Best Director

This year’s likely Best Director candidates have plenty of crossover with the Best Picture category, with Damien Chazelle (First Man), Spike Leigh (BlacKKKlansman) and Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born) all expected to receive nominations. Alfonso Cuaron is also tipped to join them for Roma.

The winners for the two awards have coincided at 64 of the past 90 ceremonies, although Chazelle won Best Director in 2017 for La La Land and lost out to Moonlight for Best Picture.

Moonlight’s director Barry Jenkins is expected to get a nomination again this year for If Beale Street Could Talk, about a pregnant Harlem woman desperately trying to clear the name of her wrongly convicted fiancé before their child is born.

The Playlist notes that while last year saw a rare female Best Director nominee in Greta Gerwig, for Lady Bird, “2019 looks like another step back in that department” as almost all of the predicted frontrunners are male.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali, who had already emerged as the strong frontrunner for his role in Green Book, has cemented his place as the person to beat following his Golden Globe win. Were he to triumph at the Oscar next month it would be his second gong in three years, following his win in the same category for Moonlight in 2017.

Leading the chasing pack is Beautiful Boy actor Timothee Chalamet, but Forbes notes that there is some uncertainty over whether he might be nominated for Best Actor instead. The same goes for his co-star Steve Carell, as the pair share similarly sized roles in the film.

AwardsWatch also tipped Withnail and I actor Richard E Grant, who has never been nominated for an Oscar before, to get a nod for his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

As mentioned previously, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz have been submitted by Fox Searchlight as possible nominees for The Favourite, but Vulture also describes Regina King as an “early favourite” for her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk.

Gold Derby says her win at the Golden Globe’s “gave her a much-needed boost after being snubbed by the SAG Awards”, and added that “she certainly passed her Oscar audition with her heartfelt acceptance speech”.

Vulture says that British actress Cynthia Erivo could become one of just a handful of people to win what’s known as an “EGOT” (an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award) if she gets a nod for heist flick Widows.

Oddschecker lists Vice star Amy Adams as the second favourite to take home the Oscar, just behind King. That would be her sixth Oscar nomination.

The Queen actor Claire Foy is currently third favourite at 7/1 for her portrayal of Neil Armstrong’s wife opposite Ryan Gosling in First Man.

Best Animated Feature

Twenty-five films have already been formally submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, narrowing down the field.

It will likely be a “face off” between Wes Anderson’s canine caper Isle of Dogs and Pixar’s The Incredibles 2, the long-awaited sequel to the 2004 original, says IndieWire.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – which picked up the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film last night – may also be a frontrunner, says Cartoon Brew.

“It feels odd to say this about a superhero film, which are typically steeped in genre conventions, but Spider-Man is shaping up as the most tonally and graphically experimental animated film released by a major US animation studio in a long time,” says the animation news site.

Best Documentary Feature

The number of entries for this year’s Best Documentary Feature category is on track to reach, or even beat, last year’s record of 170, reports The Wrap.

GoldDerby lists five frontrunners: National Geographic’s Free Solo; Minding the Gap and Crime + Punishment from Hulu; the Mister Rogers piece Won’t You Be My Neighbor?; and PBS’s Dark Money. These films were also cited by the Broadcast Film Critics Association for their own documentary awards, the site adds.

However, AwardsWatch notes that the category is notorious for snubbing popular documentaries. With this year overflowing with high-profile and high-grossing docs, Free Solo might miss out, it says.

Best Foreign Language Film

There are 87 countries vying for the prize this awards season, including first-time entrants from Malawi and Niger.

It might all hinge on which category Alfonso Cuaron’s Spanish-language piece Roma is nominated in. Many critics, including Fionnuala Halligan of Screen Daily, have called the film Cuaron’s “best ever”, and thus it must be considered a major frontrunner in the Best Foreign Language field if it doesn’t feature in the shortlist for Best Picture.

Another film “vying to break out of the foreign race and earn nominations for best picture and best director” is Polish entry Cold War by filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski, but experts suggest it may still fare well if only nominated in this category, IndieWire says.

The site also lists Japanese film Shoplifters, about a family who rely on theft to cope with poverty, as a potential favourite.

Best Costume Design

Talk around this year’s Best Costume Design category has so far been dominated by Ruth Carter’s striking designs for superhero box office behemoth Black Panther.

“Carter has been nominated twice before, for Malcolm X and Amistad, so the Academy is rather familiar with her. And the work in Black Panther is out of this world,” says Kyle Kizu on Medium.

Traditionally, elaborate period dramas tend to dominate the Best Costume award, so expect Queen Anne romp The Favourite to push Black Panther hard.

In a similar vein, test screening buzz for Mary, Queen of Scots paid particular attention to the film’s costume design, coming from four-time Oscar nominee and one-time winner Alexandra Byrne.

At the other end of the spectrum, Indiewire says “both A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody play with a wide range of flamboyant concert styles and behind-the-scenes outfits” – so could be the dark horses, especially if it turns out to be a big night for the former.

 

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