Place your bets on who brings home gold statues

February 23, 2019

The host-less 91st Annual Academy Awards is set, seemingly kicking up controversy all the way to its broadcast. And despite the fact that you may have never seen a single film in the evening’s race, there should be plenty of drama, since a win from one of the heavily nominated pictures could forever alter the ever-changing film-going landscape. 

The film would be the Netflix-produced “Roma,” one of the evening’s most-nominated films, and a Best Picture win could make it the first film from a streaming service to ever win (it’s already the first such film to be nominated in both this and the Best Foreign Language categories). It could also earn its lead, newcomer Yalitza Aparicio, the first Best Actress trophy for a Hispanic actress. Or, if the Academy goes with a more mainstream hit, they could help “Black Panther” become the very first superhero film to win a Best Picture award. 

Place your bets as I will try to predict, once again, the films that most likely “will win” along with who I think (of the nominees) “should win.”

Best Picture:
  • “Black Panther”
  • “BlacKkKlansman”
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • “The Favourite”
  • “Green Book”
  • “Roma”
  • “A Star Is Born”
  • “Vice”

What will win: Roma

What should win: Of the list above? Perhaps BlackkKlansman.

This is perhaps the hardest, as there are a few that have been sharing top honors in other awards programs recently (Roma, Green Book, The Favourite), but unless there is an upset, look for Roma to sprint to the finish. Technically, it is sumptuous, but still feels a bit ... empty, and that will bolster it over Spike Lee’s best film in years.

Lead Actor:
  • Christian Bale, “Vice”
  • Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
  • Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
  • Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Who will and should win: Rami Malek

As much as Bale utterly transformed himself into the former VP, it never felt like a full “performance,” whereas Malek captured the essence of Freddie Mercury, despite the numerous flaws in the film. 

Lead 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?”

Who will win: Glenn Close

Who should win: Melissa McCarthy

This one feels incomplete to me, only because I feel the year’s strongest performance was not even in the running: Amandla Stenberg in “The Hate U Give.” That said, Close has been on the path to victory ever since her Golden Globe in January. 

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”

Who should and will win: Mahershala Ali ("Green Book")

If you’re counting years of dedicated service, Elliott should lasso the gold, but “A Star” is far from his best performance, so look for Ali to scoop this one up.

Supporting Actress:
  • Amy Adams, “Vice”
  • Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
  • Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
  • Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Who will and should win: Regina King ("If Beale Street Could Talk")

King has been deservedly taking home awards in previous races and is the odds-on favorite here as well. 

  • Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
  • Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
  • Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
  • Adam McKay, “Vice”

Who will win: Cuaron

Who should win: Lee

There has not been an award Cuaron has not won so far, but Lee not only gave us his strongest film in years, but made it commercially appealing as well. 

Adapted Screenplay:
  • “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • “BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
  • “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
  • “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
  • “A Star Is Born,” Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Who will and should win: Lee

The one is Lee’s category to lose, which he won’t. 

Original Screenplay:
  • “The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
  • “First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
  • “Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
  • “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
  • “Vice,” Adam McKay

Who will win: “The Favourite”

Who should win: “First Reformed”

Despite it being one of the most-nominated films of this year, “The Favourite” isn’t favored to earn many except for here and costume design, and “Reformed” is one of Schrader’s best (and he was responsible for “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull”). 

Animated Feature:
  • “Incredibles 2”
  • “Isle of Dogs” 
  • “Mirai” 
  • “Ralph Breaks the Internet” 
  • “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” 

What will and should win: "Spider-Man” perhaps deserves to be in the Best Picture category as well, but it will have to settle for a win here.

Best Documentary Feature:
  • “Free Solo” 
  • “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
  • “Minding the Gap”
  • “Of Fathers and Sons” 
  • “RBG”

What wIll and should win: “Free Solo”

“Minding the Gap” is utterly enthralling, and “RGB” ia a real crowd-pleaser, but on a sheer cinematic scale, it’s hard to match “Free Solo.”

Here are some other predictions for the night:

Original Score:

Who will win: Nicholas Britell channels ‘70s Harlem with all its joys and terror with his score for “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

Original Song:

Who will win: Channeling her inner Streisand, Gaga is a lock for “Shallow” from “A Star is Born.”


Who will win: Regardless of your thoughts on the film, Cuaron certainly deserves this one for “Roma.”

Best Film Editing: 

Who will win: “Vice” will most likely win for the amount of editing the film required. 

Best Foreign Language Film:

Who will win: “Roma,” por cierto.

  • Rob is the head of the English and Communications Department at Delaware Technical Community College, where he teaches film. He is also one of the founders of the Rehoboth Beach Film Society. Email him at