Oscars 2019: From Roma to Rami Malek, here’s predicting the winners in six major categories.
This year’s Oscars race is possibly the most open in years. Not only are the 91st Academy Awards shaping up to be one of the dullest ceremonies in the Oscars’ recent history – there’s no host, and nothing to really root for – come February 25, they might even be the most controversial.
All the guild awards leading up to the Oscars — historically considered great predictors for where the industry is leaning — haven’t been able to indicate a clear front-runner. Nor have they been able to pit two films against each other, like previous years.
Alfonso Cuaron’s intimate yet majestic Netflix film, Roma, was named best picture at the recent BAFTAs and the Critics Choice Awards. Cuaron also won the Directors Guild’s top prize, cementing him, at least, as the one to beat at the Oscars. The Writers Guild picked debutant Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade and Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me – both films largely ignored by the Oscars – as its biggest winners.
Meanwhile, the Screen Actors Guild awarded Marvel’s Black Panther its highest honour – Best Cast. But perhaps the most concerning possibility is the eventual crowning of either Green Book or Bohemian Rhapsody as Best Picture at the Oscars – they were awarded the highest prizes at the Golden Globes.
Controversies trail both films. In the recent writer’s roundtable, hosted by the Hollywood Reporter, Green Book director Peter Farrelly refused to answer a political question, while the rest of his co-panelists, excluding the always non-controversial John Krasinski, did not hold back. Asked how they’d write a film about US president Donald Trump, writers such as the great Eric Roth (A Star is Born) and Paul Schrader (First Reformed) and even Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade), made no attempt to hide their contempt for Trump. Farrelly, however, declined to comment, citing his film’s polarising nature. This isn’t controversial in itself, but emblematic of the manner in which Green Book goes about tackling its thorny themes of racism.
Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic starring Rami Malek, has been directed by Bryan Singer – a man who has been accused multiple times over the years of sexually assaulting minors. The most recent wave of accusations came just last month. While Singer was fired during production on Bohemian Rhapsody – although for an entirely different reason – he remains the film’s sole credited director, thanks to Directors Guild rules. He wasn’t acknowledged by the team in their acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, and his name was removed from the list of nominees at the BAFTAs.
These were the facts. And however inconclusive, they’re perhaps your best bet at figuring out what the Academy is up to. So here’s a prediction of the winners in the six major categories, based on a combination of stats and instinct.
Best Supporting Actress
This image released by Annapurna Pictures shows Regina King in a scene from If Beale Street Could Talk. ( AP )
On paper, the Best Supporting Actor race looks like it’s between Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk). Weisz won the Bafta, while King won at the Globes and the Critics Choice Awards. Meanwhile, Emily Blunt’s sneaky submission in this category at the SAG awards (she was, objectively speaking, the lead in A Quiet Place), scored her a surprise win. But in the end, as uncomfortable as it may be to point out, King’s nationality might be the key factor in her win. That and the many years of goodwill she has earned through her TV roles.
Best Supporting Actor
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Mahershala Ali in a scene from Green Book. ( AP )
The Best Supporting Actor category has historically been the easiest to predict. Consider some of the recent winners: Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), Christian Bale (The Fighter) and JK Simmons (Whiplash). A Mahershala Ali win for Green Book is looking like a certainty. This will be his second Academy Award in three years, following his win in 2017 for Moonlight.
The biggest hurdle in Glenn Close’s way isn’t Olivia Colman’s performance in The Favourite, but that her film (The Wife) has gone relatively under-the-radar. But while Colman had to jostle for screen time with Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz – both also nominated, by the way – Close carried her movie on her shoulders. A win for her will also serve as recognition for her singular career. Lady Gaga, by this time, has virtually erased her chances.
This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Rami Malek in a scene from Bohemian Rhapsody. ( AP )
It’s a two-horse race between Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Christian Bale (Vice). Both actors are united in the fact that their performances have been universally more acclaimed than the films they’re in. But while Bohemian Rhapsody steamrolled over mixed reviews and a difficult production to post a mind boggling $850 million world-wide box office haul, Vice hasn’t yet been able to recoup its $60 million budget. And that might be the key to predicting the Best Actor Oscar.
Alfonso Cuaron of Mexico, director of the film Roma, heads to the stage to accept the Best International Film award at the Independent Spirit Awards. ( REUTERS )
Only two films in history have ever won Best Picture without a nomination at the Directors Guild Awards, which are accepted as the most accurate predictor for the Oscars. Since 1948, only seven DGA winners have not also won the Oscar for Best Director. In addition to these statistics, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma is the most personal film of the lot – a semi-autobiographical, black and white drama featuring a first-time actor in the lead, that Cuaron also wrote, shot and edited. This will be his second Oscar. He won his first in 2013 for Gravity – the first time a Mexican filmmaker had won the Best Director Academy Award. Since then, both his compatriots – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro have won. In fact, a Cuaron win will mean that five out of the last six Best Director Oscars have gone to Mexicans. Don’t tell Trump.
This image released by Netflix shows Yalitza Aparicio, centre, in a scene from the film Roma, by filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron. ( AP )
Which brings us back to square one, without a clear favourite for the big prize. There is palpable concern online as to what message a Green Book or a Bohemian Rhapsody win might send. And considering the Academy’s spotty track record, specifically when they’re collectively confronted by the challenge to pick a Best Picture, Peter Farrelly, producer of Movie 43 (often listed among the worst films ever made) and director of Dumber and Dumber and (don’t forget) Dumber and Dumber To could become an Academy Award winner. With that ghastly thought in mind, let’s just agree that Roma should win.