Top contenders for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards (from left): Green Book, Roma, and The Favourite
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Best bets and spoilers: our predictions for tomorrow’s Oscar noms broadcast

We’re keeping our Best Picture nominations to a modest 8 just because—
Andrew Paredes | Jan 21 2019

Anybody who cares about film will be switching on cable news or logging on to the social media accounts of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when the Oscars release their nominations on Tuesday, January 22. The nominees will be announced in two installments. The first half, starting at 5:20 am Pacific Time/8:20 am Eastern (9:20 pm local time) will cover the nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and craft categories like Costume Design, Film Editing, Original Score, and Sound Mixing and Editing. The second half, starting at 5:30:30 am PT/8:30:30 am ET (9:30:30 pm local time)—yes, the Oscars are OC enough to choreograph these things down to the half-minute—will include the rest of the categories. Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani and Black-ish’s Tracee Ellis Ross will read the nominees rosters, which means the Oscars nomination announcements will have exactly two more hosts than the Oscars ceremony itself.

Those are the facts. And now on to the speculation: Welcome to my first effort at predicting who in Hollywood will wake up to exciting news on January 22. In case you missed it, the Oscars widened the race for Best Picture to 10 titles back in 2010, while keeping the rest of the categories to the usual five. Predicting the top three nominees (or top five for Best Picture) is easy enough if you keep an eye on the bellwether awards. It’s filling in those last few slots that’s tricky, because those are the ones that can be displaced by the contenders nipping at their heels. There’s also Oscar’s proclivity for surprising even the most jaded of observers. For instance, even though Best Picture nominees can have a maximum of 10 contenders, the Academy hasn’t actually filled all of the slots since they announced the new ruling in 2009, usually settling for eight to nine nominees. To hedge my bets, I’ve included one or two spoilers per category.

Okay, enough with the intro. Here are my nominee predictions for the major races:

 

BEST PICTURE

Roma

Green Book

A Star Is Born

The Favourite

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

Vice

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma. Photograph from IMDb

Potential Spoilers:

Bohemian Rhapsody, Mary Poppins Returns

I’m going with eight nominees this year because frankly, the field of excellence for film this year has been fallow. (The fact that I had to rank Green Book so high, or include Bohemian Rhapsody in my spoilers list, is a testament to that.)

 

BEST DIRECTOR

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born. Photograph from IMDb

Potential Spoilers:

Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk; Ryan Coogler, Black Panther

This is the category where I’m actively rooting for the spoilers to get in, because Peter Farrelly and his old-fashioned, White Savior/Magical Negro take on race is just…ugh.

 

BEST ACTRESS

Glenn Close, The Wife

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Retuns. Photograph from IMDb

Potential Spoilers:

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma; Toni Collette, Hereditary

 

BEST ACTOR

Christian Bale, Vice

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody. Photograph from IMDb

Potential Spoilers:

John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman; Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

High-profile wins at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards (where he won twice!) mean that Christian Bale is a shoo-in. Ethan Hawke may be a long shot but, hey, I loved his performance.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Amy Adams, Vice

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Claire Foy, First Man

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk. Photograph from IMDb

Potential Spoilers:

Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians; Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place

This looks like a solid, spoiler-free category. All five actresses have been consistently nominated in the bellwether awards (except for a lack of a nod for Regina King at the Screen Actors Guild Awards—a headscatcher). But a surge for Crazy Rich Asians could conceivably carry Michelle Yeoh over the finish line and relegate box-office underperformer First Man to the craft categories.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born

Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Mahershala Ali, Green Book. Photograph from IMDb.

Potential Spoilers:

Sam Rockwell, Vice; Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk

Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters, A Star Is Born

Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole, Black Panther

First Man. Photograph from IMDb

Potential Spoiler:

First Man

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, The Favourite

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Adam McKay, Vice

Paul Schrader, First Reformed

Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, The Favourite. Photograph from IMDb

Potential Spoilers:

Eighth Grade; A Quiet Place

Between the two screenplay categories, original screenplay is by far the more interesting. Even the spoilers are noteworthy.

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Mirai

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Photograph from IMDb

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Roma (Mexico)

Cold War (Poland)

Shoplifters (Japan)

Capernaum (Lebanon)

Burning (South Korea)

Never Look Away. Photograph from IMDb

Potential Spoilers:

Never Look Away (Germany); The Guilty (Denmark)

Even though well-reviewed and high-profile, Burning might find itself knocked out by growing industry support for Never Look Away, which was loosely based on the life of German artist Gerhard Richter.