Academy Award Predictions: Roma vs. Green Book vs. Black Panther?

All good things must come to an end, though based on your personal opinions this awards season may not have been a good thing. Films came and went (First ManMary Poppins ReturnsFirst Reformed) and others (Bohemian Rhapsody, Green BookThe Favourite) stayed to varying degrees of anger or pleasure. A Star Is Born kicked off the season as the de-facto frontrunner and fumbled when things started to get competitive; it hasn’t been able to regain any of the lost momentum as the season has drummed along. 

Roma has seemingly taken its place, but there’s still a bunch of uncertainty swirling around its chances as an actual winner. With wins at the Golden Globes, the PGA and TIFF’s People’s Choice Award, Green Book is seemingly next in line despite a ton of controversy and valid criticisms against the film. Also not a stranger to controversy, Bohemian Rhapsody‘s success both financially and awards wise despite it being a terrible film continues to confound even the most tenured Oscar watchers. Do people really love Queen that much? Evidently, yes. The heat around Vice was extinguished the moment the embargo was let up. Eight nominations is nothing to balk at, but nobody seems to be rushing to give this Frankenstein of a movie any awards. There seems to be a lot of love for The Favourite, but it doesn’t sound like it translates into the widespread kind of love needed to succeed on the preferential ballot. 

And then there’s Black Panther, which has both the box office receipts, critical acclaim to and a SAG ensemble win that makes it a worthy Best Picture winner. But a disappointing nomination count, despite a win at the Screen Actors Guild, is giving me pause from thinking it’s as big of a threat as the other aforementioned films. 

With each film having their own list of pro’s and con’s, it feels like a huge toss up in predicting who will win. Nevertheless, I take a stab at it below. 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

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  • Border
  • Mary Queen of Scots
  • Vice 

Will Win and Should Win: This has got to be an easy win for ViceThough Adam McKay’s take on Dick Cheney’s story has proven to be divisive, one thing many agree on is Christian Bale’s transformation, which owes a lot to the makeup. Last year’s winner, Darkest Hour, had a similar narrative with Best Actor winner Gary Oldman transforming into Winston Churchill. I’m not a fan of the film, but I can’t deny that Bale is a dead ringer for Cheney (even if the performance doesn’t do much to support that). Though the less we talk about those tragic wigs Amy Adams is saddled with… the better.

Should Have Been NominatedThe Favourite! For God’s sake, if only because of Nicholas Hoult’s fantastic wig

Best Film Editing

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  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite 
  • Green Book
  • Vice

Will Win: Whew, let’s just recognize how much of a flaming dumpster fire this category is, saved only by the inclusion of BlacKkKlansman and The Favourite. Though ‘Best Editing’ and ‘Most Editing’ mean completely different things, this category tends to reward the latter. Which is why, unfortunately, I’m predicting either Bohemian Rhapsody or Vice. I give the edge to the latter because it’s not only technically better (which isn’t saying much), but because the editing plays a huge role in the narrative. The Big Short was a huge threat to win this award in its year before it was (rightfully) thwarted by Mad Max: Fury Road

Could Win: Again, don’t rule out Bohemian Rhapsody (voters allegedly LOVE this movie, lord knows why), but I could also see BlacKkKlansman taking this. It’s another movie that voters are clearly very besotted with, and has been a huge presence in the awards race all season long. It votes split between Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody, this could be the winner. 

Should Win: The Favourite is so delicately edited you barely even notice it. 

Should Have Been NominatedBlack PantherRomaIf Beale Street Could TalkCan You Ever Forgive Me? would have made for better choices than ViceGreen Book and Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Visual Effects

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  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Christopher Robin
  • First Man
  • Ready Player One 
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

Will Win and Should Win: This is a bit of a toss up. First Man should have been a lock in all of these tech categories, but underperformed. Though I didn’t love the movie as a whole, the sheer craft of it is impossible to deny; that moon landing sequence is a stunner, and should be a done deal…

Could Win: … but I could just as easily see Avengers: Infinity War or Ready Player One snagging this. 

Best Original Score

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  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Isle of Dogs 
  • Mary Poppins Returns 

Will and Should Win: I know that a lot of people are predicting Black Panther, but I’m thinking (and hoping) the Academy rewards the clear choice, which is Nicholas Britell’s swoony, romantic and utterly heartbreaking work on If Beale Street Could Talk. A sequel of sorts to his work on Moonlight, Britell’s score is a huge part of the movie’s effectiveness. And after giving the shaft to the film (only three nominations?!), this would be a nice way to honor the movie.

Could Win: Black Panther could just as easily take this, and it wouldn’t be a bad choice either. But watch out for Isle of Dogs, which features work from our reigning champ Alexandre Desplat (who also won a few years before for The Grand Budapest Hotel). 

Best Sound Editing

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  • Black Panther
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • First Man
  • A Quiet Place 
  • Roma 

Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody won both the BAFTA as well as both Motion Picture Sound Editor awards. It’s probably locked to repeat here and in Sound Mixing. 

Could Win: Watch out for A Quiet Place and maybe even First Man here. 

Should Win: I would really be happy with anyone not named Bohemian Rhapsody taking this, but I have to say the tech on First Man was nothing short of exemplary, especially the sound editing and mixing. 

Best Sound Mixing

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

  • Black Panther
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • First Man
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born

Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody won both the BAFTA as well as both Motion Picture Sound Editor awards. It’s probably locked to repeat here and in Sound Mixing. 

Could Win: Watch out for First Man here. 

Should Win: See Sound Editing.

Best Costume Design

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  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • Black Panther
  • The Favourite 
  • Mary Poppins Returns 
  • Mary Queen of Scots

Will and Should Win: The Favourite benefits from its period stylings, and for just being excellent in general. Specifically the way the costumes detail Abigail’s (Emma Stone) rise from rags to riches, and Lady Sarah’s (Rachel Weisz) excellent pants and dramatic eye patch.

Could Win: Watch out for Black Panther. The excellence in the craft of this movie runs so deep, and those costumes are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Should Win: I would be happy with either Black Panther or The Favourite.

Should Have Been Nominated: Swap out Mary Queen of Scots for A Simple Favor

Best Cinematography

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  • Cold War
  • The Favourite 
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma 
  • A Star Is Born

Will and Should Win: What a stacked category! That said, this has got to go to Roma. Not only is it stunning and the best in the category, but Alfonso Cuarón’s narrative of shooting the film by himself is undeniable. 

Could Win: But watch out for Cold War, also stunning and shot in black and white. Its inclusion in the major categories came as a bit of a surprise, but there’s clearly a lot of love for this movie that runs deep within the Academy. 

Should Have Been Nominated: It was never going to happen, but Pawel Pogorzelski’s work on Hereditary was every bit as stunning as it was horrifying. Similarly, James Laxton’s work on If Beale Street Could Talk swept me off of my feet and fully immersed me into 1970s Harlem. 

Best Production Design

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  • Black Panther
  • The Favourite 
  • First Man 
  • Mary Poppins Returns 
  • Roma 

Will Win: The craftsmanship of The Favourite is hard to deny, and much like with its costumes, it’s hard to imagine the period elements not being a major reason for voters to throw their support behind it. 

Could Win: Again, like I had said with Costumes, Black Panther is meticulously crafted and could absolutely be a spoiler for The Favourite

Should Win: I would be happy with either Black Panther orThe Favourite.

Best Original Song

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  • “All The Stars,” Black Panther
  • “I’ll Fight,” RBG
  • “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns
  • “Shallow,” A Star Is Born
  • “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Will and Should Win: There’s no question that Gaga oOoOoOooOhHaAaaAaaaAAAAAAAA’d her way to an Oscar the moment that A Star Is Born trailer dropped. She also benefits from losing this category a few years ago for “Till it Happens To You,” and since Best Actress is probably going to Glenn Close, this can be the Academy’s way to honor her and the film. 

Could Win: Maybe there’s a world where “All The Stars” upsets? (Probably not)

Should Have Been Nominated: I know everyone loves “Shallow,” and that Warner Bros. were originally planning a double campaign for “Shallow” and “I’ll Never Love Again,” but “Always Remember Us This Way” is the best song on the soundtrack for A Star Is Born and deserved more attention.

Best Animated Feature

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

Will and Should Win: I think there’s real love for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It’s the best of the category from both a storytelling and animation standpoint. I know the Golden Globes don’t have any overlap with the Oscars, but its surprise win there and the sheer critical adoration will push it over the edge (I hope). 

Could Win: Look. I don’t think anyone hates Incredibles 2. It’s fantastic, and not just because we’ve been asking for a sequel since the first one came out. It would be a great choice… in a year where it wasn’t up against Spider-Verse. Still, don’t rule it out. It made a ton of money, and the Disney of it all isn’t to be counted out. 

Best Documentary Feature

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  • Free Solo
  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening 
  • Minding the Gap
  • Of Fathers and Sons 
  • RBG

Will Win: Consensus (and the BAFTA) tells me that this is probably Free Solo‘s to lose. 

Could Win: Perhaps given the timeliness of the material, RBG is a dark horse? It did make a lot of money as well. Don’t count it out. 

Best Foreign Language Film

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  • Capernaum
  • Cold War
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma 
  • Shoplifters

Will Win: Many would tell you based on the acclaim and hype, Roma has this in the bag. But here’s the thing, no foreign language film has ever won Best Picture. I do think that will change this year (more on that later), however, I don’t think Roma will win both categories. I think the other black and white foreign language film, Cold War takes this. It came very very very close to landing a Best Picture nomination (and a Best Actress nomination according to insiders). It did, however, manage to land a Best Director nomination, edging out presumed favorites Bradley Cooper and Peter Farrelly. If The Academy feels that Roma is getting its due in Picture, Director and some of the below the line categories, this could be the best way for them to reward another film they have love for. Keep in mind director Pawel Pawlikowski’s last film, Ida, won this award back in 2014. 

Could Win: Then again, they could just go ahead and give it to Roma. That’s not outside of the realm of possibility. However, those who love Shoplifters (which won the Palm d’Or at Cannes) really love it. That accounts for a lot when using the preferential ballot. 

Best Original Screenplay

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  • The Favourite 
  • First Reformed 
  • Green Book
  • Roma
  • Vice 

Will Win: People who partake in awards season really love Green Book, it’s been made clear that despite the controversy and the middling reviews and box office performance. Backlash be damned, they will not be kept from showering love upon this film. And though it didn’t nab that Best Director nomination like we were dreading, I don’t think anything is keeping the film from winning a few awards. Even after a dreadful speech at the Golden Globes, I think this is Nick Vallelonga and co.’s to lose. 

Could Win: Both The Favourite and Roma led the nominations, and should not be discounted. 

Should Win: The Favourite. It’s the best by a country mile. 

Should Have Been Nominated: Justice for Eighth Grade!!!!!!!!!!!

Best Adapted Screenplay

BlacKkKlansman

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • A Star Is Born

Will Win: Put your money on BlacKkKlansman. Not only has Spike Lee never won a competitive Oscar before (crazy, I know) but the film has been an enduring favorite all season long. Not to mention, it was a hit. 

Could Win: If Bradley Cooper isn’t going to win Actor or Best Picture, and he wasn’t nominated in Director, this could be a chance for the Academy to hand him an award for a crazy feat of feature filmmaking, that just so happens to be his debut as both director and screenwriter. It’s one of Hollywood’s most popular stories, and like BlacKkKlansman, it was a hit. 

Should Win: It’s a great category, but I would love if either Can You Ever Forgive Me? or If Beale Street Could Talk took this home. Two films that have been criminally under looked all season long.

Should Have Been NominatedInto the Spider-VerseCrazy Rich Asians and/or A Simple Favor feel like better choices than The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (sorry not sorry Coen Brothers’ fan boys).

Best Supporting Actress

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  • Amy Adams, Vice 
  • Marina De Tavira, Roma
  • Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Emma Stone, The Favourite 
  • Rachel Weisz, The Favourite 

Will and Should Win: It feels so crazy that the de-facto frontrunner, Regina King, has won nearly every award in sight and was shut out of both SAG and BAFTA. Her triumph at the Golden Globes definitely gave her a boost, and Emily Blunt’s surprise win for A Quiet Place over Amy Adams at SAG tells me this is not the role that will get her that elusive first Oscar. I’m not 100% confident the Academy will make the correct decision and give it to King, but at the same time it feels so obvious. She apparently received the most applause at the nominees’ luncheon, which does account for something… 

Could Win: There’s a lot of whispers about surprise nominee Marina De Tavira. I will admit, I bought into the theory originally… but I think it’s kind of funny everyone is counting out Rachel Weisz. Sure, she’s won this award already. That said, it was awhile ago. This performance is completely different from the performance she won for, and in a movie voters clearly love. Maybe not enough to give Best Picture, but some craft prizes and an acting award? It tracks. Not to mention she won the BAFTA, where King was not nominated. 

Should Have Been Nominated: Blake Lively’s work in A Simple Favor was never going to be nominated, but damn, what a fantastic nominee she would have made (for an actual supporting performance). Elizabeth Debicki’s turn in Widows being criminally ignored all season long feels like a slap in the face, and then there’s Michelle Yeoh from Crazy Rich Asians who, given the critical and commercial success of that movie, should have had the red carpet rolled out for her. 

Best Supporting Actor

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  • Mahershala Ali, Green Book
  • Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? 
  • Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born
  • Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
  • Sam Rockwell, Vice

Will Win: Get ready to refer to Mahershala Ali as a two time Academy Award winner. 

Could and Should Win: Richard E. Grant not only turned in one of the best performances of the year, but his performance should be the standard for supporting performances to aspire towards. I’ve read a lot of interviews with voters that have him as their pick! I’m not optimistic enough to predict him, but I would love to be wrong.

Should Have Been Nominated: Critics tried (and failed) to bang the drum for Steven Yeun’s performance in Burning all year, but alas, the Academy was besotted for Sam Rockwell‘s near cameo in Vice instead. There were some whispers for Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther that never got as loud as they needed to, while last year’s Best Actor nominee Daniel Kaluuya crafted a truly terrifying villain without uttering a single word in Widows. Kaluuya’s co-star, Bryan Tyree Henry, was fantastic in both Widows and If Beale Street Could Talk. Alex Wolfe’s performance in Hereditary is one for the ages, even if it was completely ignored by every award body. 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

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  • Glenn Close, The Wife 
  • Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born 
  • Olivia Colman, The Favourite 
  • Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? 
  • Yalitza Aparicio, Roma 

Will Win: It’s her time! After being counted out in favor of Lady GagaGlenn Close will win that elusive Oscar after a one-two-punch from victories at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild. 

Could Win: Olivia Colman also won at the Golden Globes and at the BAFTA’s, making her a formidable dark horse. Still, I think the passion behind giving Glenn Close an Oscar outweighs any other variable. Plus, there are some (very wrong) whispers about The Favourite not being a good representation of women!

Should Win: Melissa McCarthy is the best in the category and it’s not even close. 

Should Have Been Nominated: Toni Collette! Toni Collette! Toni Collette! I will never stop being mad about A24 completely dropping the ball on what should have been a very robust campaign behind her extraordinary performance.  

Best Actor in a Leading Role

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

Will Win: Nothing can stop Rami Malek from poorly impersonating his way to an Academy Award. 

Should Win: Bradley Cooper was done so wrong this season. Perhaps some of that is by his own hand, but if we’re talking about ‘Best,’ Bradley is head and shoulders above every other nominee in this category. 

Should Have Been Nominated: John David Washington’s performance was the one from BlacKkKlansman that deserved to be singled out. I get that people like Adam Driver, but, really? Him? Did we watch the same movie? 

Best Director

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

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón has won every directing prize this season. The Oscar will be no different. 

Should Win: It’s hard for me to argue with Cuarón’s win. Not only did he direct the hell out of Roma but he did it will doing several other things at once. You could make a case for all of the nominees (except McKay). Almost a perfect line up. 

Should Have Been Nominated: I could talk about how Can You Ever Forgive Me? was shut out of several other categories this year, but it really bums me out that Marielle Heller could not find room amongst these five, especially when Adam McKay managed to steal a nomination. It’s such a subtle, masterful piece of directing; if Heller was a man, she would have easily found room. 

Best Picture

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  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Green Book
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born
  • Vice

Will Win: Gun to my head, it’s Roma. It feels like a movie people can meet in the middle about, plus it’s great and will garner a lot of below the line support. Who doesn’t love Alfonso Cuarón? 

Could WinIf the Netflix of it all, however, gets in the way of the Cuarón love fest (and they feel they rewarded it enough in other categories), Black Panther (SAG Ensemble winner) or Green Book (PGA and Golden Globe winner) feel like very viable threats. Each film has their own pros and cons. In the end, it’ll be the movie that is the least disliked that pulls ahead.

Should Win: The best of this bunch is The Favourite, easily. But if we’re talking about Best Picture being representative of impact on the year as a whole, it’s Black Panther

Should Have Been Nominated: The inclusion of Bohemian RhapsodyVice and Green Book over If Beale Street Could TalkCan You Ever Forgive Me? or even Into the Spider-Verse is absolutely embarrassing. That two of those have been pegged as spoilers for Best Picture? Even more embarrassing.