Oscar Awards 2019 Predictions: Who Should Win and Who Are the Dark Horses?

What are we going to do about the Oscars? In the past few years, the granddaddy of all award shows has weathered unthinkably embarrassing fiascos, from #OscarsSoWhite to #EnvelopeGate. (Team La La Land forever!) The events leading up to the 91st annual event have been nothing short of a public relations disaster.

Let’s go there, shall we? The now-jettisoned Most Popular Oscar category. The ouster of would-be host Kevin Hart. The announcement that four trophies would be handed out during commercial breaks – then overturning that. So what are we going to do about the Oscars? Devour every glorious moment, of course — and hope our favorites are golden. Here’s my forecast for all 24 categories, keeping in mind that my No. 1 prediction is that we’ll all have something to talk about on Monday morning. Happy watching!

Best Picture
Who Will Win? Roma
Dark Horse: Black Panther
This year, the biggest category is the trickiest to predict. All signs point to Alfonso Cuarón’s poignant love letter to his Mexican upbringing. Heck, if you throw a dart at a collage of 1,000 critical reviews of the Netflix drama, chances are high that it would land on the word “masterpiece.” Rewarding it with the ultimate honor would also be a triumphant message in these politically divisive times. But, I wouldn’t be shocked if Academy voters instead chose to reward the gazillion-dollar-grossing, SAG-winning Black Panther, despite Ryan Coogler’s Best Director snub. Other factors to consider: Green Book won the Producers Guild Award; Bohemian Rhapsody won the big Golden Globe; and A Star Is Born won the hearts of many, many fans.

Best Actress
Who Will Win? Glenn Close
Dark Horse: Olivia Colman
After seven nominations, Close is not going to be ignored – and she deserves it just for the scene alone in which her character puffs on a cigarette in a Stockholm hotel restaurant and artfully dodges Christian Slater’s nosy reporter questions. (PSA: The Wife makes for a great airplane movie. Be sure to watch if you haven’t already.) Her Close-est competitor is Colman, who’d be a shoo-in for her scene-chewing portrayal of Queen Anne had she competed in the Best Supporting Actress category. Lady Gaga will be the one Best Actress nominee in the room who gets the Best Original Song category.

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Lady Gaga and Rami Malek Steve Granitz/WireImage; Dan MacMedan/Getty Images)

Best Actor
Who Will Win? Rami Malek
Dark Horse: Christian Bale
Even the people that hate Bohemian Rhapsody with a fervent vigor can begrudgingly admit that Malek’s confident take on Queen front man Freddie Mercury mesmerizes. The Golden Globe and SAG winner is a champion, indeed. Bale’s transformation as former vice president Dick Cheney astounds as well, but more because it still seems impossible to believe that the dashing guy with that thick Welsh accent working the awards circuit is the same overweight, balding American bureaucrat on the screen. The role is a bit more one-note, though.

Best Supporting Actress
Who Will Win? Regina King
Dark Horse: Marina de Tavira
Very soon in the near future, Amy Adams will walk to the podium and grab that Oscar. But not this year. (Emily Blunt’s surprise win at the SAGs sealed her fate.) The smart money is on King, an Emmy-winning veteran actress — she was a smart-aleck teen on the NBC sitcom 227 a full decade before Jerry Maguire! — who brings passion and heart to the role of a protective mother in the drama. The only snag is that Beale Street was so little-seen that she didn’t even get a SAG nomination. That’s why I could also envision de Tavira — also playing a strong-willed mother — riding a Roma tidal wave all the way to victory.

Best Supporting Actor
Who Will Win? Mahershala Ali
Dark Horse: Sam Elliott
Green Book has been radioactive this awards season, with a new controversy arising seemingly every week surrounding this true tale of the friendship between white club bouncer Tony Lip and black musician Don Shirley circa 1962. But Ali has been immune to the drama, collecting several trophies to add to the hardware he received just two years ago for Moonlight. As well he should: His complex, fully nuanced performance is the soul of the movie. Just make a note that Elliott is a beloved actor’s actor who’s been doing solid work for 40-plus years.

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Alfonso Cuarón Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Best Director
Who Will Win? Alfonso Cuarón
Dark Horse: Spike Lee
This is a sure thing for Cuarón, who’s burned serious calories over the past few months walking from his seat in the audience to the stage and holding up all his trophies. His black-and-white film is visually beautiful and will earn him his second Best Director nod in the past five years. (Amazingly, he and his friends Alejandro Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro will have won five out of the past six Best Director awards.) That means the legendary Lee — amazingly, a first-time nominee in the category — will have to applaud from afar.

Best of the Rest
Original Screenplay — The Favourite
Best Adapted Screenplay — BlackKklansman
Best Cinematography — Roma
Best Costume Design — The Favourite
Best Film Editing — BlackKklansman
Best Makeup & Hairstyling — Vice
Best Production Design — The Favourite
Best Score — If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Song — “Shallow” (duh)
Best Sound Editing — First Man
Best Sound Mixing — First Man
Best Visual Effects — Avengers: Infinity War
Best Animated Feature — Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
Best Documentary Feature — RBG
Best Foreign Language Film — Roma
Best Animated Short — Bao
Best Documentary Short — Black Sheep
Best Live Action Short — Marguerite

The 91st Annual Academy Awards air on ABC Sunday, February 24, at 8 p.m. ET.

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