With a little help from the bookies, we make our predictions for the Oscars 2019 – who will win, who should win, and who got left out in the cold
Predicting who will win at the Oscars is a game we like to play every year here at Jackal towers – and it’s a game we inevitably always lose. This year though, with a little help from the bookies, I’ve managed to narrow down who’s most likely to walk away with a gold statuette. But just because the odds are in their favour, doesn’t mean they should be named the winners. Here’s who we think really deserve the top awards at the Oscars – and the films that got missed from the shortlist altogether.
What will win – The Favourite (20/1)
Even though Roma is overwhelmingly the favourite to win the big prize this Oscars season– and despite the fact it won at the BAFTAs – I just can’t see it happening. As I wrote before, a foreign language film has never won the Academy Award for Best Picture before, which does not bode well for Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece. Following The Favourite‘s seven wins at the BAFTAs, it’s very likely that Yorgos Lanthimos’sfilm will come up trumps on 24 February instead.
What should win – Roma (1/3)
It’s a rare occurrence for a foreign language film even to be put up for the Best Picture category – there’s only been 10 nominations in the ninety-year history of the Oscars. Which means the fact the Roma is up there with The Favourite and Bohemian Rhapsody, instead of being relegated to the Best Foreign Language Film category, is even more impressive. But Alfonso Cuarón’s lyrical, moving family saga is undoubtedly the breakout star of this year’s awards season, so if the bookies are right and it does win, it’ll be undoubtedly well-deserved.
Conspicuously absent – Widows
A far cry from both The Favourite and Roma – but brilliant in its own way – is Steve McQueen’s gripping heist drama Widows, which has been sadly overlooked by all the awards ceremonies this year. A lesson in suspense, intrigue and masterful film making, it’s a high octane, yet precisely crafted, movie that goes far beyond what you expect from the heist film genre.
What will win – Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody (2/7)
With odds slashed to 2/7, Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury in crowd-pleasing (if not quite critic-pleasing) Bohemian Rhapsody is a shoe-in for the Best Actor award. But this biopic, and Rami Malek’s physical transformation for the role, weren’t the only ones of note at the Academy Awards this year.
What should win – Christian Bale for Vice 7/2
Indeed, the most dramatic transformation this awards season has to be that of the lean and mean Christian Bale into a portly Dick Cheney. Of course the master of method acting is no stranger to shredding or piling on the pounds for a role – he lost 28kg for The Machinist in 2005, before regaining 45kg (in the same year, no less) to play Batman. But in Vice Bale is intense, oily and utterly absorbing as a toad-like Cheney, grasping his character’s nihilism and hunger for power to a tee. It’s a superb turn for the four-times Oscar nominated, one-time winner – and deserves him a spot on the podium.
Conspicuously absent – Joaquin Phoenix for You Were Never Really Here
With the Oscars, timing is everything. Although You Were Never Really Here premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2017, it was released in April 2018, meaning it is technically in the running for this year’s awards. But, like many films released in the first half of the year, it’s been overlooked for the Oscars, despite Joaquin Phoenix’s career-best turn as a damaged, PTSD-struck veteran who rescues teenage girls from sex traffickers.
What will win – Olivia Coleman for The Favourite (9/2)
Britain’s hardest working actress cleaned up at both the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes this year, signalling that it’ll probably be easy sailing to Oscar success for Olivia Coleman. And it is well deserved – her turn as the petulant, spoilt and lonely Queen Anne in The Favourite is one of the most memorable performances of the year. Any other year, and I’d happily hand her the statuette. But this year should be Glenn Close’s year.
What should win – Glenn Close for The Wife 9/2
The Oscars is a funny old establishment. It doles out its awards on a rather abstract basis, meaning flash-in-the-pan stars get rewarded, while industry stalwarts are consistently left out in the cold. At least Leo finally got his award in 2016 (for The Revenant) – and now it’s Glenn Close’s turn. Nominated a grand total of seven times at the Academy Awards, she’s in the running for Best Actress for her role in The Wife, the intelligent, sophisticated and subtle adaptation of the book by Meg Wolitzer. Of course, much like Leo, this is not the part Close should have won it for – it should have been Fatal Attraction or Albert Nobbs – but she deserves her moment in the sun more than most.
Conspicuously absent – Saoirse Ronan for Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Queen of Scots was seriously overlooked in categories across the Oscars, but the fact that Saoirse Ronan didn’t receive a nod for her portrayal of the eponymous queen is surprising. Her strong, heartfelt performance carries the film on its shoulders, and is a tour de force of her undoubtedly significant acting talent.
What will win – Matthew Libatique for A Star Is Born (11/1)
A Star Is Born is the frontrunner at the bookies, thanks to cinematographer Matthew Libatique’s ministrations. His efforts at filming live scenes at Coachella and Glastonbury will help to carry him first past the winning post at this awards.
What should win – Łukasz Żal for Cold War 16/1
Although up against some strong showings in the cinematography category, the film that stands out the most is undoubtedly Cold War, shot by Polish cinematographer Łukasz Żal. The black and white film wonderfully embodies the classicism of the silver screen, with lingering long shots and sweeping crowd scenes that hark back to the golden age of cinema. Żal has already won this year’s prestigious American Society of Cinematographers award, but whether that translates into Oscars success is another thing entirely.
Conspicuously absent – Bruno Delbonnel for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Now that Netflix’s own-brand creations are being recognised by the Academy (Roma was made for the platform), it’s astonishing that the Coen brothers’ six-instalment saga The Ballad of Buster Scruggs has been entirely overlooked. The work of the film’s cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel is especially worthy of a mention here: his breathtaking, painterly shots of sweeping Nebraskan prairie, desolate New Mexico desert and and the lush forests of Colorado make this film a visual masterpiece in its own right, raising the bar for films made for both the small screen and the big.