91st Academy Awards Nominations and Predictions

At precisely 5:20 am this morning, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the upcoming 91st Academy Awards aka Oscars (Yours truly watched these announcements live on Facebook this morning while getting ready for work).

The way this awards season has gone thus far, my anticipation of these announcements has been a mixture of hope and dread. 2018 was another fantastic year for film, yet a lot of mediocre films have received awards recognition while many incredible films have gotten hardly any attention at all. The Golden Globes in particular, left a bad taste taste in my mouth. I kept telling myself that the Academy wouldn’t make the same mistakes, that they wouldn’t recognize mediocrity. Well, needless to say, this morning’s news gave a mixed bag of both snub and surprise. Below, you’ll see a list of all the nominees with the exception of the Shorts categories (I won’t have any opinion on those until they play at the Ken Cinema next month); along with my predictions for who will end up winning, and maybe a few other opinions as well…

SOUND EDITING:
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
A Quiet Place
Roma 

Nothing really surprising here. I feel like Roma or A Quiet Place are both solid contenders, but my money is on First Man to take the prize.

SOUND MIXING:
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
Roma
A Star is Born

Generally, you’ll see Sound Editing go hand in hand, so I’m gonna go ahead and predict First Man to take this one as well.

FILM EDITING:
BlacKkKlansman – Barry Alexander Brown
Bohemian Rhapsody – John Ottman
The Favourite – Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Green Book – Patrick J. Don Vito
Vice – Hank Corwin

Well, the only one I correctly guessed to get nominated among these was The Favourite, so I’m gonna tag that as my prediction to win. I also wouldn’t be completely surprised if BlacKkKlansman ended up winning. Also, if I’m being honest, I’m a little bitter that films like Widows or A Star is Born didn’t receive recognition for this.

MAKE-UP & HAIR:
Border
Mary Queen of Scots
Vice

I’m so happy that Border got some love for this! I’m also sad that Suspiria didn’t receive any. Seriously, they transformed Tilda Swinton into three separate, unrecognizable characters! Anyways, I would love to see Border win for this, but I feel like Vice will end up winning. I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

COSTUME DESIGN:
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Mary Zophres
Black Panther – Ruth Carter
The Favourite – Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns – Sandy Powell
Mary Queen of Scots – Alexandra Byrne

This is a great block of nominees, but I don’t see any film other than The Favourite winning this, and deservedly so. The costumes were fantastic!

PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Black Panther
The Favourite
First Man
Mary Poppins Returns
Roma

Much like Costume Design, there are some incredible nominees here. Black Panther was especially great with the sets they created for Wakanda! However, I’m going to go with The Favourite again. The palace interiors in particular were absolutely incredible!

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

The visuals for Avengers: Infinity War were insane, especially when looking at the huge battle sequences. Recreating the iconic Overlook Hotel in Ready Player One make me think I was back in The Shining. As great as this work was, First Man takes the cake for with Visual Effects. The entire moon landing sequence alone was Oscar-worthy. If there’s any Oscars First Man can win, this one is the most likely.

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

This category actually had a couple surprises for me. I was expecting Three Identical Strangers and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? to receive nominations for this over Hale County This Morning, This Evening and Of Fathers and Sons. This year seemed stronger than usual for Documentaries. My personal favorite was Three Identical Strangers, so that snub really stung. Free Solo and Minding the Gap were both incredible, but I feel like RBG is going to get the win. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the beloved figures in the nation right now, and deservedly so.

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Cold War – Lukasz Zal
The Favourite – Robbie Ryan
Never Look Away – Caleb Deschanel
Roma – Alfonso Cuaron
A Star is Born – Matthew Libatique

Cinematography is one of my personal favorites. I’m a sucker for gorgeous visuals. I’m disappointed that If Beale Street Could Talk got snubbed on this. It’s an absolutely gorgeous film and should have been recognized for it. Regardless, I think there’s any way Roma can lose this. It is without question, the most beautiful film I’ve seen all year.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

I was surprised to see that Burning got snubbed on this one. South Korea was finally going to get some attention from the Academy! Anyways, this is another category where I don’t see Roma losing. If anything, maybe Cold War can pull the upset, but I’m almost 100% positive Roma will win. Generally, if a film is nominated for both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Picture, then it’s a surefire bet it will win for Foreign Film.

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

I think this is the only category where I correctly guessed all five nominees. I loved Incredibles 2 and Isle of Dogs, but I was absolutely floored by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. From what I’ve seen on social media, I’m not alone on that. It’s the best superhero film I saw in all of 2018, and arguably my favorite Spider-Man film I’ve ever seen. This film takes animation to a whole new level. It’s a total game changer. I don’t think there’s any way this won’t win.

ORIGINAL SCORE:
Black Panther – Ludwig Goransson
BlacKkKlansman – Terence Blanchard
If Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs – Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppin Returns – Marc Shaiman

Welp, I had Justin Hurwitz winning this for First Man, and he didn’t even get nominated! So, that’s a bummer. In light of this major snub, I’m going to fall back to my second choice, If Beale Street Could Talk.

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

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs got nominated for this! Awesome! I mean, it’s not going to win, but it is very cool that it picked up the nomination. For the winner, you will have to look no further than “Shallow” from A Star is Born. There is no category in this whole list that I am more sure of than this one. There is no way that Lady Gaga isn’t going home with this Oscar; and once again, deservedly so.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Joel & Ethan Coen
BlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and 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 and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters

This is another tough one. There are some great scripts here, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see BlacKkKlansman or A Star is Born win for this, however, I think Can You Ever Forgive Me? is going to come out on top. This film didn’t garner too many nominations, but I feel like this is the one it has the best chance of winning. The dialogue alone is fantastic.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
The Favourite – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
First Reformed – Paul Schrader
Green Book – Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
Roma – Alfonso Cuaron
Vice – Adam McKay

I’m heartbroken that Eighth Grade got snubbed on this one. It’s a fantastic film that absolutely deserved a nomination. I’m also bummed to see films like Sorry To Bother You and Annihilation get the shaft for this. I was excited to see First Reformed get some love though. If I had to pick though, I’m going to go with The Favourite again. If this somehow loses to something like Vice, I’m going to riot in the streets.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Amy Adams – Vice
Marina de Tavira – Roma
Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone – The Favourite
Rachel Weisz – The Favourite

Well, I have a lot of feelings about this one. After seeing Vox Lux at the San Diego International Film Festival, I was certain that Natalie Portman would nab both nomination and the win for this one. Apparently I was the only one who thought this. I also have to say that despite how much I think Amy Adams is an incredible actress, I truly don’t believe she deserved a nomination for Vice. I was pretty shocked to see Claire Foy get snubbed for this. She was one of the favorites. I was pleasantly surprised to see Marina de Tavira get a nomination though. She was great! Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were both fantastic and gave some of my favorite performances of the year, however, I’m afraid they’re going to split the vote for The Favourite, leaving Regina King to win the prize. She was fantastic in If Beale Street Could Talk, so it’d be great to see her win.

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

It’s a crime that neither Daniel Kaluuya or Timothee Chalamet didn’t get recognized for their works in Widows or Beautiful Boy. Those were arguably the two best supporting actor performances I saw all year. Oh well. Don’t even get me started on Sam Rockwell. He’s one of my favorite actors, but like Amy Adams, he does not deserve recognition for Vice. It’d be awesome to see Sam Elliott or Richard E. Grant to win, and I wouldn’t be completely surprised if that happened. Green Book has become one of the most controversial films in a sea of controversial films this year, but Mahershala Ali is without a doubt the least controversial thing about it. He gave a stellar performance, and I think this is the one Oscar that Green Book will end up with.

ACTRESS:
Yalitza Aparicio – Roma
Glenn Close – The Wife
Oliva Colman – The Favourite
Lady Gaga – A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

I bummed to see Emily Blunt get the snub for Mary Poppins Returns, but very pleasantly surprised to see Yalitza Aparicio earn a nomination for Roma. This might be the toughest category to pick a winner. My personal favorite of these is Olivia Colman. I can easily see her winning. Lady Gaga is formidable in this category, but I think winning for Original Song will hurt her chance at taking Actress. If I had to bet, I’m going to go with Glenn Close to win the Oscar. She’s been nominated six other times, but never won, so I feel like a win here would help make up for all of those losses. I can’t complain though, she gave a powerhouse performance.

ACTOR:
Christian Bale – Vice
Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born
Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen – Green Book

While Best Actress is one of the strongest categories this year, I feel like Best Actor is one of the weakest. John David Washington getting snubbed for BlacKkKlansman stung, but Ethan Hawke getting snubbed for First Reformed is just unforgivable. Once again, my pick to win didn’t even get nominated. He gave the performance of his career, and he lost out while mediocre films like Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice get nominated. Christian Bale is one of my all time favorite actors, but he was just okay in Vice. In case you haven’t noticed a trend, I really didn’t like Vice. I’d be delighted to see Willem Dafoe win, but I don’t think he really has a chance in this one. With the snub against Ethan Hawke, I’m all in for Bradley Cooper taking the prize. Also, I think the fact that he got snubbed on Best Director will help his cause for this one.

DIRECTOR:
Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite
Alfonso Cuaron – Roma
Adam McKay – Vice

After all these years, Spike Lee finally got an Oscar nomination for Best Director! Finally! This is exciting news, but he’s probably not going to win. On the snub side, directors like Lynne Ramsey, Barry Jenkins, and Damien Chazelle totally got the shaft! C’mon Academy! You’re killing me!!! Anyways, I was also surprised to see Pawel Pawlikowski get nominated for Cold War. This might actually help it win for Best Foreign Film. I was also pleasantly excited to see Yorgos Lanthimos get nominated for The Favourite. I was afraid he was going to get the snub too. I’d say Alfonso Cuaron has the best chance of winning this one. He was just one of the greatest directors working today, and Roma is no exception.

PICTURE:
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
Roma
A Star is Born
Vice

We’ve reached it! The grand prize! I correctly guessed that there’d be eight nominees this year, but as far as specifics, I was off on two. That Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice got nominated for Best Picture over films like First Man and If Beale Street Could Talk just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know if I ever will. I think I’m at least safe in assuming neither film will end up winning, god-willing. I really enjoyed Black Panther, but I’m not quite sure if it’s Best Picture material, however, I bear it no ill will. I’m happy for it, and I’m happy that a superhero film finally get nominated for the big award. A couple months ago, I would’ve picked Green Book as a safe choice to win, but I don’t think it really has a chance anymore, which is just fine with me. It’s an enjoyable film, yet very problematic. I think The Favourite and A Star is Born are both very serious contenders and I would be just fine with either one winning, but I feel like Roma is going to end up winning Best Picture. It’s a truly remarkable film, and absolutely deserves to win.

So, those are my predictions for the upcoming Academy Awards. Obviously, I was disappointed that films like Annihilation, Eighth Grade, Leave No Trace, Widows, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, The Hate U Give, Blaze, Suspiria, Crazy Rich Asians, You Were Never Really Here, Vox Lux, Paddington 2, The Death of Stalin, Hereditary, and many other films get zero recognition from the Academy. I was very happy that films like, Roma, The Favourite, and A Star is Born get so many nominations. Every year has surprises and disappointments. This year felt like it more than most. Regardless, our favorite films are our favorite films, we will all continue to love them, regardless of whatever awards attention they receive or don’t receive.

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