First Man and A Star is Born lead the way but bookmakers and experts are also backing a few dark horses
Film fans are gearing up for the movie awards season, when directors, actors and producers go head to head for the most prestigious prizes in the industry.
The pinnacle of these ceremonies, the Academy Awards, will take place in Los Angeles in early 2019.
With production studios beginning to finalise their submissions, The Week rounds up the actors, directors and movies predicted to take home a gong.
First Man, telling the story of the first moon landings in 1969, is seen as a leading contender in multiple categories including Best Picture.
“At the top of the list, Damien Chazelle reunites with his La La Land lead Ryan Gosling for the Neil Armstrong biopic,” Forbes says. “The picture is about as can’t-miss as a Hollywood studio has come up with recently.”
The fourth remake of A Star is Born has also been tipped as a possible winner. 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”.
Away from the two 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 Carrell”.
A possible dark horse is from Oscar regular Alfonso Cuaron: Roma, a film about middle-class life in Mexico City in the 1970s. It will not see release until 14 December 2018, but has received rave reviews from critics at advance screenings, while Hollywood prediction site Gold Derby lists it as the joint favourite to win alongside A Star is Born at 7/1.
Bradley Cooper is expected to pick up his fourth Oscar nomination in just six years for A Star is Born, which he also directed. 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 Carrell was nominated in 2015 for Foxcatcher,” Forbes adds. “History could repeat itself with his performance in Beautiful Boy.”
But AwardsWatch suggests that Christian Bale 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 nominted for five Oscars in 2016.
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.
But not everyone is quite so sure. OddsChecker, which aggregates betting odds from multiple different bookies, has seen a surge in recent weeks from Glenn Close, who now sits in second place behind Gaga, for her performance in literary drama The Wife.
But not everyone is quite so sure. Olivia Colman, who stars in the English period drama The Favourite, has also been touted as a possible winner. 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”.
Next 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 fiance 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
Beautiful Boy actor Timothee Chalamet is understood to be a frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor, 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 Carrell, as the pair share similarly sized roles in the film.
AwardsWatch tips Mahershala Ali for her role in Green Book following his win in the same category for Moonlight two years ago, along with Can You Ever Forgive Me? star Richard E Grant, who has never been nominated for an Oscar before.
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.
The site adds 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.
Gold Derby lists Vice star Amy Adams as the second favourite at odds of 9/2, just behind Regina King. If nominated, this would be her sixth Oscar nomination.
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 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.