91st Academy Awards - And Taylor Williams Predictions

The 91st Academy Awards are this weekend, with the ceremony taking place on Sunday, February 24. This year’s broadcast has not been without its share of controversies. Actually this year’s broadcast has been riddled with controversy.

 First there was the planned introduction of the Best Popular Film category, which was eventually put on hold as the Academy re-evaluates the situation. A lot of the backlash here came about with Black Panther falling under this year’s “For Your Considerations.” Some viewed this move as the Academy’s attempt to stiff Black Panther of a Best Picture nomination.

Then there was Kevin Hart being announced as host, before stepping down in the following days after backlash over previous anti-gay comments and jokes were brought back into the public eye. The Academy has since decided to run with no host at this year’s event after no one else stepped up to fill in. This will be the first Oscars since 1991 without a host.

Much of the proposed changes to this year’s broadcast have been announced in hopes to boost ratings and keep the runtime of the ceremony under three hours, after the last few ceremonies have run closer to four. Proposed changes to cut runtime had the ceremony cutting down on Best Original Song performances from the full five nominees to only two, while also presenting four awards – Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Live-Action Short – during commercial breaks. Both of these decisions received large amounts of backlash, with the removal of four awards from the broadcast receiving the brunt of it, with some 50+ filmmakers blasting the decision in an open letter to the president of the Academy.

I, personally, really enjoy the Oscars. I love what they represent – recognizing excellence in filmmaking. While they’re not perfect by any stretch, I do believe they mostly achieve in recognizing the films and the people responsible for creating these masterful works of art.

As I’ve done over the last few years, I will be making some predictions on how the ceremony will shake out. This year I will be adding Best Film Editing to the list of categories I make predictions on, so instead of the usual 10, I’ll be making 11 predictions.

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Last year, I tried a bit of a different strategy for presenting my picks, whereas in the first two years I just made outright picks. I’ll be continuing on with last year’s strategy which is to provide a Who Will Win, Who I Want To Win, and a Sleeper Pick prediction for each category. In terms of actual scoring, the Who Will Win prediction is the one that matters. Last year I went 10/10. This past year has been a down year for me in terms of volume of films I’ve seen in theaters, so I’ve not seen all of the nominated films, which will make this a touch more difficult, but I enjoy doing it nonetheless, so here are my predictions for the 91st Academy Awards.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

  • The Favourite – Written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara

  • First Reformed – Written by Paul Schrader

  • Green Book – Written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly

  • Roma – Written by Alfonso Cuarón

  • Vice – Written by Adam McKay

 Who Will Win: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara – The Favourite

Who I Want To Win: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara – The Favourite

Sleeper Pick: Adam McKay - Vice

 The Favourite appears to be, well, the favourite here. Green Book would likely be the one to dethrone it, should it not take home the prize. As for a sleeper pick I’m going with Vice here.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

 Nominees:

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

  • BlacKkKlansman – Screenplay by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee

  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

  • If Beale Street Could Talk – Screenplay by Barry Jenkins

  • A Star Is Born – Screenplay by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters

Who Will Win: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee - BlacKkKlansman

Who I Want To Win: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee - BlacKkKlansman

Sleeper Pick: Joel & Ethan Coen – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

BlacKkKlansman has been the definite frontrunner here but took a blow with Can You Ever Forgive Me? Taking the Writer’s Guild award. That being said, I do think Spike and co. will hold on to take this one. The Coen Brothers’ slot in as my sleeper for this category.

 

Best Film Editing

Nominees:

  • BlacKkKlansman – Barry Alexander Brown

  • Bohemian Rhapsody – John Ottman

  • The Favourite – Yorgos Mavropsaridis

  • Green Book – Patrick J. Don Vito

  • Vice – Hank Corwin

 Who Will Win: John Ottman – Bohemian Rhapsody

Who I Want To Win: Barry Alexander Brown - BlacKkKlansman

Sleeper Pick: Hank Corwin - Vice

John Ottman appears to be in the driver seat here for Bohemian Rhapsody, though I’d prefer to see Barry Alexander Brown take the prize for BlacKkKlansman. It’s such a top-to-bottom well-made film, which the same can’t be said about Bohemian Rhapsody in my opinion. Sleeper pick is Hank Corwin here for Vice.

 

Best Cinematography

 Nominees:

  • Cold War – Łukasz Żal

  • The Favourite – Robbie Ryan

  • Never Look Away – Caleb Deschanel

  • Roma – Alfonso Cuarón

  • A Star Is Born – Matthew Libatique

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón - Roma

Who I Want To Win: Alfonso Cuarón - Roma

Sleeper Pick: Robbie Ryan – The Favourite

This one is undoubtedly going to Alfonso Cuarón for Roma. The film is beautifully shot and more than deserving of the award. Sleeper here is Robbie Ryan for The Favourite.

 

Best Director

Nominees:

  • Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman

  • Paweł Pawlikowski – Cold War

  • Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite

  • Alfonso Cuarón – Roma

  • Adam McKay – Vice

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón - Roma

Who I Want To Win: Alfonso Cuarón - Roma

Sleeper Pick: Spike Lee - BlacKkKlansman

Alfonso Cuarón is again in the driver’s seat here. He took home the Director’s Guild Award which has gone on to the win the Oscar in 23 of the last 24 years I believe. Don’t expect that to change here, but if it were to, Spike Lee would be the one to take it. However, I’m listing Spike as a sleeper here because history is not on his side at all.

 

Best Animated Feature

Nominees:

  • Incredibles 2 – Brad Bird, John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle

  • Isle of Dogs – Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson

  • Mirai – Mamoru Hosoda and Yūichirō Saitō

  • Ralph Breaks the Internet – Rich Moore, Phil Johnston and Clark Spencer

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Who Will Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Who I Want To Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Sleeper Pick: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not just the best animated film of the year, it is one of the best films of the past year. There’s no way it doesn’t take home the award. That being said, Ralph Breaks the Internet is my sleeper here.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees:

  • Mahershala Ali – Green Book as Don Shirley

  • Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman as Philip "Flip" Zimmerman

  • Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born as Bobby Maine

  • Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Jack Hock

  • Sam Rockwell – Vice as George W. Bush

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali – Green Book

Who I Want To Win: Mahershala Ali – Green Book

Sleeper Pick: Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Mahershala Ali looks poised to take home his second Oscar for Supporting Actor in the last three years after netting his first for his performance in Moonlight. Richard E. Grant slots in as my sleeper pick here.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

  • Amy Adams – Vice as Lynne Cheney

  • Marina de Tavira – Roma as Sofía

  • Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk as Sharon Rivers

  • Emma Stone – The Favourite as Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham

  • Rachel Weisz – The Favourite as Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough

Who Will Win: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk

Who I Want To Win: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk

Sleeper Pick: Amy Adams - Vice

This is one of the toughest categories to pick with Regina King performing well throughout awards season taking the Golden Globe, but Rachel Weisz took the BAFTA. The Guild awards are usually the best place to look when it comes to Oscar winners, but this year’s Screen Actor’s Guild winner was Emily Blunt for A Quiet Place and she’s not even nominated. So who wins this category? I really have no idea, so I’ll go with Regina King. Amy Adams is my sleeper pick here.

 

Best Actor

Nominees:

  • Christian Bale – Vice as Dick Cheney

  • Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born as Jackson "Jack" Maine

  • Willem Dafoe – At Eternity's Gate as Vincent van Gogh

  • Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody as Freddie Mercury

  • Viggo Mortensen – Green Book as Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga

Who Will Win: Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody

Who I Want To Win: Christian Bale - Vice

Sleeper Pick: Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born

Rami Malek is the frontrunner here. I don’t see him losing, though I think Christian Bale is probably more deserving of the win. Sleeper is Bradley Cooper who’s A Star Is Born has largely fallen off the awards radar.

 

Best Actress

Nominees:

  • Yalitza Aparicio – Roma as Cleodegaria "Cleo" Gutiérrez

  • Glenn Close – The Wife as Joan Castleman

  • Olivia Colman – The Favourite as Anne, Queen of Great Britain

  • Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born as Ally Maine

  • Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Lee Israel

Who Will Win: Glenn Close – The Wife

Who I Want To Win: Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born

Sleeper Pick: Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

This one has been tight between Glenn Close and Lady Gaga. I think Glenn Close will be the one on the stage on Sunday night however, despite wanting Gaga to win. Melissa McCarthy slots in as the sleeper pick here.

 

Best Picture

Nominees:

  • Black Panther – Kevin Feige

  • BlacKkKlansman – Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee

  • Bohemian Rhapsody – Graham King

  • The Favourite – Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos

  • Green Book – Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga

  • Roma – Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón

  • A Star Is Born – Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor

  • Vice – Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin J. Messick

Who Will Win: Roma

Who I Want To Win: Roma

Sleeper Pick: BlacKkKlansman

This is another tight race with Green Book and Roma looking like they’re vying for the win. I do think Roma has the best chance of winning here and is the deserving winner. If it doesn’t go to one of those two, look to see BlacKkKlansman taking home the biggest prize of the night.

 

That wraps up my predictions for the 91st Academy Awards. Stay tuned for an Oscars wrap-up podcast episode of Motion Picture Commentary airing next Thursday. Until next time…