2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
Three Critics, 23 nominations and 55 predictions for 2019


(022219) The 91st Annual Academy Awards (aka: Oscars) will be held on Sunday, February 24th at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood at the Highland Center, and will be shown on ABC. After the Kevin Hart kafuffle over insensitive tweets he had made earlier in his career lead to his stepping down as host, the Academy eventually decided to go host-less this year. As in past years we invited our critics to weigh in with their predictions for this years Oscar race and once again they rose to the task. Back again is reviewer emeritus "Good Old JR" Jim Rutkowski. He is again being joined by our newsman emeritus Larry "Bocepheus" Evans and our art house critic "Big Tuna" Vito Carli has returned again as well. Of the 22 principle categories this year (all listed below) none of our titanic trio of critics tackled every single nomination, but all were given the option. "None picked" means the reviewer chose to skip that category for whatever reason. In total there are a total of fifty predictions below by all three reviewers.

A word on the format: If you are reading this before February 24th the order of the nominations conforms to the order awards were announced at the 2018 Oscar telecast. If this years order deviates from last years, the appropriate structural change to this list will be made after this years telecast to conform with the 2019 broadcast. Beyond that (and the final tally) no edits will be made to this list. The linked film titles below are to reviews on this site of the film being cited. The links themselves do not correspond to the reviewers themselves but rather to the review located on this site.

Finally, after you read this years reviews be sure to check out this years Oscar Podcast featuring Good Old Jr, Bocepheus, Rod Flash, Big Tuna Vito and Comicbookman as they delve into even greater depth on this years potential winners....



Our Picks for the 91st Annual Academy Awards

Enjoy and good luck to all...

Do you hear the rumble of publicists? The murmuring of critics? The bustling of stylists? Those sounds can only mean one thing: the Oscars are almost here. Hype for Hollywood's biggest annual event began with the fall film festivals, kicked into high gear in January with the Golden Globes, and is sure to be a daily presence in our lives through February 24, 2019, when the gold statuettes will be handed out. As new favorites emerge and campaigns ramp up, let's take a look at who I think will take home the gold.
This year’s Oscar nominations have been announced. Roma and The Favourite received ten nominations each; eight for Vice and A Star Is Born; seven for Black Panther; six for BlacKkKlansman; five for Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody, and four for First Man. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 24th at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be shown on ABC. For the first time in quite a while the show will not have a host. The plan is for the show to come in under three hours.
It was a decent year for motion pictures but you would not know it from this year’s Oscar choices which represent the weakest batch of nominees in years. Maybe it is because the Oscars are bending over backwards to please those who appreciate commerce and entertainment over art. Most of the choices this year do not represent the best movies in the United States let alone the world.  Nonetheless there were some good pics nominated, and some talented people are bound to get rewarded.
I know that the Oscar ratings are hemorrhaging   but this is a natural development since there are more stations and viewing choices available than ever. Many of the recent changes have been proposed to artificially raise ratings such as giving out some awards during commercials and including a best entertainment category smack of desperation would make the whole thing affair even less respectable. Luckily most of the changes have been rejected at least for now. Perhaps someday we will see a best film made for over 200 million dollars or a best Disney /Pixar film category (okay I am half kidding.)
Anyway this is what I think of some of the individual choices.

You can read more of Vittorio Carl’s writings at  Come  see Vittorio Carli read from his new poetry book Tape Worm Salad with Olive Oil for Extra Flavor at his feature at Gallery Cabaret  on Tuesday, Feb 26  (from 7-9)  at 2020 N Oakley and his own show  from 5-7 at The Art Colony  at 230 N. Fletcher on April 13 (also featuring Dave Gecic) and June 8.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams ("Vice")
Marina de Tavira ("Roma")
Regina King ("If Beale Street Could Talk")
Emma Stone (
"The Favourite")
Rachel Weisz (
"The Favourite")
And the winner is: Regina King ("If Beale Street Could Talk")
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 is perfection. She is consistently great in role after role.


My Take: Stone and Weisz cancel each other out here. Adams didn’t deliver that great of a performance; well it was good but not outstanding. This is de Tavira’s first nomination and so I give her no shot. There is only one clear winner here-King

My Prediction: Regina King

Regina King or one of the Favourite actresses (they may split the vote) will and should win. Joanna Kulig of (The Cold War) was robbed.
Best Documentary – Feature
"Free Solo" (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes & Shannon Dill)
"Hale County This Morning, This Evening" (RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim)
"Minding the Gap" (Bing Liu and Diane Quon)
"Of Fathers and Sons" (Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme and Tobias N. Siebert)
"RBG" (Betsy West and Julie Cohen)
And the winner is: "Free Solo" (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes & Shannon Dill)

This category has opened up to predictions following the notable omission of the expected front-runner, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? The Mr. Rogers documentary seemed like such a shoo-in for the top prize given its critical acclaim and beloved subject matter, with many declaring that it was the movie everyone needed at this moment in time. The Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary RBG could fill that hunger instead but our bet goes on Free Solo, a staggering technical achievement and fascinating ethical study in the limits of the documentary, focusing on a free solo climber attempting to scale El Capitan. It’s one of the most astounding cinematic experiences of 2018.

My Take: This has always been a tricky category. Does the subject make the film and create the interest or does the Academy just go to Netflix and his shuffle? RBG hit theaters and went over well with audiences.

My Prediction: RBG but Of Fathers and Sons could steal this

Will and should win: Minding the Gap

Where is Won’t you be My Neighbor or Three Identical Strangers? The academy generally leaves out the best and most popular docs. I did see and liked RPG, but Minding the Gap (about poor Rockford kids that are into skate boarding) is a bit better
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Mary Queen of Scots”
And the winner is: “Vice”
While not always the case, the Oscar for make-up and hairstyling is typically rewarded to the most extravagant work, be it dramatic period wigs or transformative prosthetic work. This year, the obvious front-runner in that regard is Vice, if only for the make-up required to age all its actors over decades of history as well as the feat of making Christian Bale look eerily like former Vice President Dick Cheney.

My pick: None picked

Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Costume Design
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter
The Favourite,” Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne
And the winner is: “The Favourite,” Sandy Powell
There’s not much to say in the design categories. There’s a period piece up for best picture and nine other Oscars this year, so it’s probably got the inside track. “Black Panther” has been a popular pick among pundits, and that would be exciting, but more often than not, period porn wins out.

My pick:  None picked

Mmmn I thought The Favourite had the best costume design but Black Panther as much more popular. A close call but The Favourite for should and will win.  Buster Scruggs may also have a shot.
Best Production Design
Black Panther” Hannah Beachler
First Man” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
The Favourite,”  Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim
“Roma,” Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez
And the winner is: “The Favourite,”  Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
See “Best Costume Design.” Granted, the design categories have split more often than not lately, and “Black Panther” is formidable. But again, a dominant, period-set best picture player is hard to bet against.
My Take: First Man finally gets some love here but it isn’t going to win. Neither is Mary Poppins Returns or The Favourite. So it’s between Black Panther and Roma. Roma takes place in a smaller world while Black Panther takes place in a global setting.

My Prediction:
Black Panther
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Cinematography
“Cold War,” Lukasz Zal
The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan
“Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique
And the winner is: “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
Roma has a slew of technical nominations this year, and deservedly so, but its stark and layered black and white cinematography is one of the film’s most beautiful elements. It’s also all the work of Alfonso Cuarón himself, as he took on the mantle of being his own film’s cinematographer. This is not unusual – last year, Paul Thomas Anderson was the cinematographer on Phantom Thread – but it remains uncommon for a reason. It’s technically difficult and physically demanding work to juggling alongside directorial duties. If Best Picture is likely, so is this.
My Take: Quite a few newcomers here and a legacy. This is a three horse race. Ryan and Zal are the congratulations but it’s not your time duo. Deschanel as always turns in beautiful work but he’s not winning here. So it’s between Cuaron and Libatique. Star is a gorgeous film to see but Cuaron had the more challenging job.

My Prediction: Cuaron
Will win: Roma
Should win: Cold War

The most gorgeously shot films that I saw this year (Roma and Cold War) were both in black and white. I predict Roma will win.
Best Sound Editing
Black Panther,” Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst
First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan
A Quiet Place,” Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
And the winner is: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst
The sound categories boil down to a moonshot biopic relegated to the Academy’s crafts fields and a pair of best-picture-contending musical dramas. The smart play is to pick one for both, but the sound editing category is where things can sometimes get interesting, particularly when musicals are in play. In general, though, focus on the best picture nominees. “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the BAFTA sound prize (the Brits combine these into one category) as well as a pair of MPSE awards, so it’s probably in the lead here.
My Take: Under the new rules the winner of this award will be announced during the commercials but I am going to pick the winner anyway. This is something you don’t notice if the work is done well. I still don’t get the Rhapsody love but a film using so much music has to be edited well. I would have picked A Star Is Born over Rhapsody.

My Prediction: When you consider the subject matter of A Quiet Place it’s the obvious winner but the Academy will miss the mark on that here. I am picking Panther but do love the work done in First Man.

The winner:
Black Panther
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Sound Mixing
Black Panther
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
First Man
A Star Is Born
And the winner is: See “Best Sound Editing.” There’s a slight chance the Academy goes for “First Man” in a big way in these last few categories, though.
My pick: None picked
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Foreign Language Film
"Capernaum" (Lebanon)
"Cold War" (Poland)
"Never Look Away" (Germany)
"Roma" (Mexico)
"Shoplifters" (Japan)
And the winner will be: "Cold War" (Poland)
 It’s rare to see films not in the English language get nominated for Best Picture. No such film has ever won the top prize and only eight films up until this year have received nominations. Roma’s presence there is ground-breaking on a number of levels but especially notable here. That it is a Best Picture front-runner should be celebrated as foreign language films are typically relegated to one category. However, that may mean the Academy want to spread the wealth around. Cold War, Poland’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film, won Best Director at Cannes last year and sees Paweł Pawlikowski nominated for the same prize in the Oscars. His cold war romantic drama, inspired by his own parents, clearly has fans in the Academy given its three nominations. Pawlikowski has also won this prize before for Ida and familiarity helps in a category like this.

My pick: None picked

Will win: Roma
Should Win: Cold War

Of the three I saw (all better than most of the best pic nominees) Cold War was by far the rest. Roma has the most momentum and it should win, and it would be a respectable choice. It also very good as was Shoplifters which is a dark horse. Copernaun and Never Look Away are bit too obscure.
Best Film Editing
“BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman
“Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito
The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
“Vice,” Hank Corwin
And the winner is: “The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
The editing category this year is one of the weirdest selection of nominees. Nothing about Green Book's editing was especially interesting and Bohemian Rhapsody was frequently called out by critics for its messiness. These additions seem all the more confusing given the omissions, such as Roma (co-edited by Cuarón), First Man, or Joe Bini’s stellar work on You Were Never Really Here. The lack of expected front-runners makes this category tougher to predict, but the Academy always love a period drama and The Favourite comes with the benefit of being directed in an unexpectedly modern fashion that requires a deft editorial vision. The flashier the work, the more likely it is to get an Oscar.
My Take: Looking at the field here I have to consider who had the harder job. Rhapsody had concert scenes to do and Vice doesn’t follow a straight narrative. The other three had it easier in my opinion so my choice will be in the Christopher Nolan tradition.

My Prediction: Vice
Because of the closing montage Spike Lee’s flick will take this
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali ("Green Book")
Adam Driver ("BlacKkKlansman")
Sam Elliott (
"A Star Is Born")
Richard E. Grant ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?")
Sam Rockwell ("Vice")
And the winner is: Mahershala Ali ("Green Book")
Mahershala Ali has dominated the industry awards circuit in this category. Critics champ Richard E. Grant’s last stand was at the BAFTA awards, where Ali still managed to pull off the win, but he has certainly been a delightful presence on the circuit, and that could help him make up some ground. Ultimately, though, all signs are pointing to Ali.
My Take: I don’t have a problem with any of the nominees here. All gave great performances. Rockwell won last year. Elliot is here due to his body of work but Andrew Dice Clay had more to do in Star. Driver is interesting but I don’t see him winning. That leaves us with Grant and Ali. Grant has never won but Forgive Me was barely seen. Ali won for Moonlight two years ago and I think he is going to get this because he was outstanding as Don Shirley.

My Prediction: Mahershala Ali
Will win: anyone could take it
Should win: Sam Rockwell
I thought that Driver was the lead in Blackkklansman. This up for grabs, but I was most amused by Rockwell’s amusing turn as the dim witted Bush. He somehow made the ex pres almost likeable. No mean feat!
Best Animated Feature Film
“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
And the winner is: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
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.

My Take: All films are qualified but Ralph is less so. Isle of Dogs is very entertaining for the story and the voice talent. Mirai I haven’t seen. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of the films on my top ten list of the year. It’s funny, charming, touching, exciting and flat out fun.

My Prediction: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Will and should win Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Hmm maybe Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will win. It was both very popular, innovative in many ways and respectable. I think Isle of Dogs is too offbeat. I liked it but I do not think it will appeal to a huge group of Oscar judges. Incredibles 2 was also fine but it recycles and sometimes extends concepts that were introduced in other films so it feels a bit recycled. But it may be the best Fantastic Four film ever.
Best Documentary – Short Subject
"Black Sheep" (Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn)
"End Game" (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman)
"Lifeboat" (Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Mooser)
"A Night at the Garden"  (Marshall Curry)
"Period. End of Sentence"  (Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton)
And the winner will be: None picked
My pick: None picked
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Visual Effects
Avengers: Infinity War
“Christopher Robin”
First Man
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
And the winner is: “Avengers: Infinity War
The films absent from the category of Best Visual Effects are almost as notable as the ones that are present: No
Black Panther, no Aquaman, No Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. And in their place: Christopher Robin? As with make-up and hairstyling, this award frequently goes to the biggest and most elaborate work of the year, and nowhere was that more evident than in 2018's biggest movie, Avengers: Infinity War. Even superhero cynics cannot deny the sheer scale and skill on display in that film, nor the attention to detail in realizing Thanos.
My Take: I have no issue with any of the nominees here. At face value I would say Ready Player One beats out all of the other nominees but the film just sort of died at the box office. Solo looks like all the other Star Wars films, First Man looks more natural, Christopher Robin is mixing styles and so that leaves Avengers: Infinity War which had to create multiple worlds and settings.

My Prediction: Avengers: Infinity War

This is the one category where the ultra-popular Marvel franchise film will win.
Best Live Action – Short Film
"Detainment" (Vincent Lambe and Darren Mahon)
"Fauve" (Jérémy Comte and Maria Gracia Turgeon)
"Marguerite" (Marianne Farley and Marie-Hélène Panisset)
"Mother" (Rodrigo Sorogoyen and María del Puy Alvarado)
"Skin" (Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman)
And the winner is: None picked
My pick: None picked
Should Win: None picked
Will Win: None picked
Best Original Screenplay
"The Favourite" (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara)
"First Reformed" (Paul Schrader)
"Green Book" (Nick Vallelonga & Brian Hayes Currie & Peter Farrelly)
"Roma" (Alfonso Cuaron)
"Vice" (Adam McKay)
And the winner is: "The Favourite" (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara)
Writer Deborah Davis had been working on the script on the battle of control for the court of Queen Anne, as early as 1998. 20 years later, it finally found its way to the big screen under the direction of the celebrated and very esoteric Yorgos Lanthimos, a man whose cinematic style does not necessarily seem compatible with period drama. The Favourite is an ideal mix of classic historical intrigue and Lanthimos' dry wit and unnerving absurdity. Lanthimos’ work is often more recognized in terms of its screenplays than his direction, which could push Davis and co-writer Tony McNamara to the win.
My Take: This is the degree of difficulty award. Roma and First Reformed are personal stories. Green Book is a story about race relations. The Favourite is a historical piece. Vice is a biography of sorts created by anecdotes and historical events. McKay had a much harder job than the others did. Dick Cheney never talked to him and the structure of his screenplay keeps us engaged all the way until the end.

My Prediction: Vice
First Reformed is by far the best deserving, but The Favourite which is wonderfully witty has a better shot. This will probably the only category in which this film is rewarded.
Best Adapted Screenplay
"A Star Is Born" (Eric Roth, Will Fetters & Bradley Cooper)
"The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
"BlacKkKlansman" (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee)
"If Beale Street Could Talk" (Barry Jenkins)
"Can You Ever Forgive Me?" (Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty)
And the winner is: "BlacKkKlansman" (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee)
Lee is not simply rehashing the undercurrents of his long career. His earlier films – especially “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X” – were far more urgent and aggressive because they had to be; few had dealt with the difficult questions before him, and bringing them up was like taking a sledgehammer to a cultural delusion. Now the mask of intolerance has crumbled as both sides have taken to the streets, leaving little doubt that the strains remain alive and thriving. The agenda of “BlacKkKlansman,” in that respect, is to observe from a far less sensational standpoint. The movie is more contemplative than confrontational. But through its dedicated actors, a perceptive screenplay and a brazen sense of directorial focus, the movie comes alive as an understated call to arms, where intelligence and character become the great tools to conquer a primitive American philosophy.
My Take: One of the hardest things to do is take someone’s work and translate it into film. You have to keep certain elements of the story and fear that you cut out the wrong part. This year the writers had an easier job. Scruggs is a collection of short stories, Beale Street is a small book, Klansman and Forgive Me have simple direct tales to tell and Star has been adapted many times.

My Prediction: All are worthy but I am picking
A Star Is Born
Ballad made me chuckle the most, and Beale Street could take it to make up for the snubs. But Blackkklansman will take it (The script was the only major category that Lee’s greatest film, Do the Right Thing was nominated for so it would be justice.
Best Original Score
Black Panther" (Ludwig Goransson)
"BlacKkKlansman" (Terence Blanchard)
"If Beale Street Could Talk" (Nicholas Britell)
"Isle of Dogs" (Alexandre Desplat)
"Mary Poppins Returns"(Marc Shaiman)
And the winner is: "If Beale Street Could Talk" (Nicholas Britell)
This year's nominees for Best Score feature a few familiar names, like Alexandre Desplat and Marc Shaiman. But it's in the less familiar names where the magic truly lies. Ludwig Göransson, a regular collaborator with Ryan Coogler, landed a nomination for his work on
Black Panther while Terence Blanchard, who has worked with Spike Lee for close to 30 years, landed his first nomination for BlacKkKlansman. However, the most talked about score of the year has been Nicholas Britell's work on If Beale Street Could Talk.
My Take: We have here a mix of well respected composers who have never disappointed and do not here. The Black Panther theme has been in my head since I saw the movie. The trick of a good score in not noticing it and I honestly cannot remember most of Desplat’s score. Most Spike Lee films overdo it with the score. So it is time for a go out on a limb moment.

My Prediction: Brittel for Beale Street
I hope and predict that the great jazzman, Terrence Blanchard will win and he deserves to win (can I mention that I once met him and got his autograph?) Where is Thom Yorke for Suspiria? It could have been the first nomination for a Giallo film.
Best Original Song
"All the Stars" (
Black Panther)
Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth and Anthony Tiffith. Lyrics by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe

"I'll Fight" (RBG)
Music and Lyrics by Diane Warren

"The Place Where Lost Things Go" (Mary Poppins Returns)
Music by Marc Shaiman. Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman

"Shallow" (
A Star Is Born)
Music & Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt

"When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)
Music and Lyric by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
And the winner is: "Shallow" (A Star Is Born), Music & Lyrics by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt
Shallow is the song that's been on every playlist and has been featured at every karaoke session since that first trailer for A Star Is Born dropped. In a film full of strong musical numbers, it's Shallow that sticks in people's minds, and for good reason. Even with competition as good as Diane Warren and Kendrick Lamar, this feels like Lady Gaga's prize for the taking.
My Take: The biggest controversy here is that All the Stars and Shallow will get the entire song played while the other three are getting 90 second versions sung by Jennifer Hudson and whoever is singing Spurs. The Academy says it’s for time reasons but honestly Stars and Shallow happen to be the ones played on the radio. I bought the Black Panther soundtrack just for Stars and love the song but Shallows has been in my head since seeing the A Star Is Born trailer.

My Prediction: Shallow
All the Stars is the best actual song but voters will go Gaga for Shallow. A Star is Born was much better than it had to be, and this is where it is most likely to be rewarded.
Best Actor
Christian Bale ("Vice")
Bradley Cooper (
"A Star Is Born")
Willem Dafoe ("At Eternity’s Gate")
Rami Malek ("Bohemian Rhapsody")
Viggo Mortensen ("Green Book")
And the winner is: Rami Malek ("Bohemian Rhapsody")

This seemed like it was Bale’s Oscar to lose — after all, he does all but disappear into the role of Dick Cheney in 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 front-runner in the Best Actor race.
My Take: Malek is the best thing in Rhapsody. Dafoe turns in another great performance. Cooper was the slick looking boyfriend in Alias and look at him now. He gives an outstanding performance while also directing the film. Mortensen takes over the screen in every moment of Green Book. And Bale literally turns into Dick Cheney. There are a lot of tough choices here.

My Prediction: Mortensen but Bale is my dark horse.
Will win: Mortensen
Should Win: Dafoe

Christian Bale as  always is great, but he was not particularly brilliant in Vice plus he relied heavily on makeup for the role.  Either Viggo or Bale will take it but Dafoe (or Ethan Hawke or Joaquin Phoenix who were not nominated) deserve it more. Probably not Cooper or Malek (who up until now has been mainly a TV star.)
Best Actress
Yalitza Aparicio ("Roma")
Glenn Close ("The Wife")
Olivia Colman (
"The Favourite")
Lady Gaga (
"A Star Is Born")
Melissa McCarthy ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?")
And the winner is: Glenn Close ("The Wife")
This is another film that didn’t receive a lot of love, but Close’s performance is unmatched. She won the Golden Globe for her role as Joan Castleman in The Wife, and though that doesn’t mean she’ll definitely win the Oscar, it seems likely that her time has finally come: Close has been nominated for an Acadamy Award for her acting a record seven times with no wins.
My Take: You can take Aparicio and McCarthy out of the mix as well as Gaga. This is a horse race between Colman and Close. Both veteran actresses who knock it out of the park with every role especially these.

My Prediction: Flipping a coin here and the flip tells me Close.
These are all pretty good choices, but Glenn Close who took the Golden Globe will take it.  The rest of the nominees have NO chance. But Melissa McCarthy who has never given any indication she could be so brilliant took the most risks in her role and is the most deserving. Olivia Coleman was great but her part was comparatively small for a best actress nom.
Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma")
Yorgos Lanthimos (
"The Favourite")
Spike Lee ("BlacKkKlansman")
Adam McKay ("Vice")
Pawel Pawlikowski ("Cold War")
And the winner is: Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma")
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 as well as the top prize from the Directors Guild (DGA) and Britain’s BAFTA, is the one to beat this season and his Roma is certainly a cinematic feast. This is 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.
My Take: As is the case every year one of the Best Picture nominees directed itself. This year Bradley Cooper got screwed in his impressive debut. This category is basically the United Nations. Cuaron has already won the Directors Guild of America award so there is little suspense here.

My Prediction: Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma")
Will Win: Spike Lee
Should Win: Pawel Pawilkowski

Spike Lee’s film is not his best,  but Oscar voters might reward him for a great career and previous snubs (The forgettable Driving Miss Daisy beat Do the Right Thing,  the best film ever about race)  like they did for Scorsese when he won for the not particularly brilliant,  The Departed. Cuaron also has a shot. Pawel is a genius and his work on Cold War was brilliant, but he will go home award less (Cold War was also better in every way than all but one of the best picture nominees.)
Best Picture
Black Panther" (Kevin Feige, Producer)
"BlacKkKlansman" (Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee, Producers)
"Bohemian Rhapsody" (Graham King, Producer)
"The Favourite" (Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos, Producers)
"Roma" (Gabriela Rodriguez and Alfonso Cuaron, Producers)
"Green Book" (Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, Producers)
"A Star Is Born" (Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor, Producers)
"Vice" (Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick, Producers)
And the winner is: "Roma" (Gabriela Rodriguez & Alfonso Cuaron, Producers)

Alfonso Cuarón's long-time passion project Roma has been the subject of many an awards season debate. It has bags of awards under its belt already, including the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, but many had predicted that its status as a Netflix exclusive would hinder its chances at the Oscars. Cuarón and company needn't have worried, as Roma outperformed even the most optimistic expectations and bagged 10 nominations. Now, going into the official race itself, Roma is the favorite for Best Picture, and with good reason: It's a sumptuously made film that shows Cuarón, already an Oscar winner himself, at the peak of his powers. Plus, in a year with more controversial Best Picture choices, including Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book, Roma may oddly end up being a safe consensus pick.
My Take: Rhapsody just doesn’t belong here. It was directed by two people and whereas it was considered entertaining it being here is a stretch. Klansman was a surprise but it at least belongs. Vice has detractors but it s a very good film. The Favourite is a prestige film that from the moment you saw the trailer you knew it was a likely nominee. Black Panther was a cultural phenomenon. Green Book is an understated look at race relations that has a larger impact than you would think it would. A Star Is Born is one of my favorite films or last year. And then there is Roma. It’s a small film from a major director but played in only a few theaters and will be seen my most people on Netflix. Alfonso Cuaron is going to win Best Director but giving the award to Roma reinforces the perception that the Academy voters are elitist. So this is a heart/perception deal.
My Prediction: Roma (because the Academy doesn’t care) but Vice could steal it as could
Black Panther.
Will win: Roma
Should win: The Favourite

None of the best pic choices are what you would call life changing masterpieces, but
The Favourite, Black Panther, Blackkkklannsman, and Roma all have great moments and/or aspects. The rest are 3 star films, except for Bohemian Rhapsody  which deserves two and a half stars (only because of the better than average lead performance.)  A Star Is Born is a solid, well-acted formula picture that may be too slight to win (it is not even the best cinematic version of the story.)  But Gaga and Cooper were impressive.  If Beale Street Could Talk, At Eternity’s Gate, Blindspotting, and First Reformed were robbed. Roma is gorgeous and a front runner in many polls, but I am not completely sure Oscar voters would pick a foreign language film (especially so soon after The Shape of Water) that came out on Netflix, but the whole immigration debate might work to its advantage. The smarmy, self-satisfied Vice probably does not have a shot.

I originally picked Green Book to win because it is just the type of safe, homogenized, socially conscious film centered on white people with an everything would be fine if we just got along message that Oscar voters have gone for in the past (It is clearly an advance over Driving Miss Daisy though).

 But the film seems to have lost all momentum (no one even seems to be talking about it) and the tide seems to be drifting more and more towards Roma.


JR's total: 21 predictions out of 23 categories. 12 right/9 wrong
BO's total: 17 predictions out of 23 categories.  8 right/9 wrong
Vito's total: 17 predictions out of 23 categories. 6 right/11 wrong

Review © 2019 Alternate Reality, Inc.