2019 Oscars at a Glance: December Oscar Nomination Predictions

Our final shouts for the 2019 Oscar noms this year.


Before we head into the brief sleepy period between now and the early weeks of January, it’s time to cover the tech and top categories at the Oscars, especially now that Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and the Screen Actors Guild have signed off on their nominees. Let’s dive in.


Best Visual Effects

Changes: Mortal Engines out, First Man in

After Critics Choice, and now the poor critical reception of the Mortal Engines adaptation, I’m thinking the last things the Oscars will want to do is nominate it. Rarely do special effects in critical bombs end up with a nomination. Instead, after seeing First Man nominated for its visual effects at the Critics Choice, I’m thinking that’s got a shot. The other four predicted nominees remain the same: Ready Player One, Avengers: Infinity War, Aquaman, and Black Panther.


Best Sound Editing

Changes: Incredibles 2 out, A Quiet Place in

No real updates here other than dropping Incredibles for A Quiet Place, especially when you look at Quiet Place being nominated at least once at all the three major precursors who have announced nominations. The Pixar juggernaut definitely is not out of it, but I’m putting First Man, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Mission: Impossible-Fallout ahead of it.


Best Sound Mixing

Changes: none

I still have First Man, Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place, Black Panther, and A Star is Born. Avengers, Incredibles 2, and Mission: Impossible are still viable here, though, so I might bounce one or more of them in.


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Changes: Nutcracker out, The Favourite in

We will find out next week which seven films make the shortlist for this category, and keep in mind ten films will make the shortlist for Visual Effects, too. For now, I’m thinking Vice, Mary Queen of Scots, and The Favourite will be the three final nominees, and that’s predicting that all three make the shortlist. The Academy has mistakenly left films like Rush and Into the Woods off the shortlist, leaving films like Bad Grandpa to be nominated, and sure, it had good work in it, but better than Rush? Get outta town.


Best Original Song

Changes: Black Panther and Dumplin’ in, On the Basis of Sex and Star is Born out

Now hold on. If you don’t recall from my November predictions here, I had two songs from Star is Born in my predictions. However, with both the Globes and Critics Choice only having one of the songs, “Shallows” in, I’ll go with that going forward. Since then, we’ve seen a decline in films like On the Basis of Sex, and a rise for Black Panther’s “All the Stars” and Dumplin’s “Girl in the Movies”. So I think both of those make it in, and in addition I continue to predict “Wrapped-Up” from Vox Lux, and the song from Mary Poppins Returns that I will predict, for now, is “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”.


Best Original Score

Changes: Widows out, Isle of Dogs in

I’m close to the same here with First Man, Black Panther, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Mary Poppins Returns all still in. Now that Alexandre Desplat’s score for Isle of Dogs has both a Globe and Critics Choice nom in its pocket, I’ll say Oscars will follow. They love Desplat, and he just won last year. Widows, overall, has just fallen off the radar in most categories, this one included.


Best Production Design

Changes: none

I’m still going with The Favourite, Black Panther, Mary Poppins Returns, First Man, and Mary Queen of Scots. There is a shot for something contemporary like Crazy Rich Asians to make it in, especially in respect to its nod from Critics Choice in this category, so it’s not just these five fighting it out.


Best Costume Design

Changes: none

The same five I had lined up from November still apply here: The Favourite, Black Panther, Mary Poppins Returns, Mary Queen of Scots, and Colette. Like Production Design, there’s a few different options to go through, most notably Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Crazy Rich Asians if they want to go contemporary.


Best Film Editing

Changes: If Beale Street Could Talk and The Favourite out, First Man and BlacKkKlansman in

My change here relies on the strength of the overall film’s performance over the last two weeks, and one thing has been made clear: Beale Street is not exactly hitting it out of the park. Missing out entirely at SAG and a disappointment in the number of nominations at both Globes and Critics Choice shows it’s one that’ll either be a big hit at the Oscars or hit and miss. For now, I’m predicting the latter. First Man, in the meantime, has felt like one I was leaving out when I shouldn’t have, and the same goes for BlacKkKlansman. That film has, almost universally at the three precursors, over performed. Now I think film editing is also a slot it can score a nod in, and it fills out the category along with Widows, A Star is Born and Roma. However, you can’t discount The Favourite, Vice, and Black Panther entirely yet. This may be a category I change a few more times before it’s all said and done.


Best Cinematography

Changes: none

I’m confident in my five picks for now: Roma, If Beale Street Could Talk, First Man, The Favourite, and Black Panther. I see A Star is Born being widely accepted through a good number of tech and top categories, ala 12 Years a Slave, which missed out on the cinematography category that year. Right now, I predict the same will happen for Star.


Best Foreign Language Film

I believe this is the first time I’m predicting this category, so let’s just say it flat out: no way that Roma loses this race. I mean, come on. I don’t see a Pan’s Labyrinth scenario here where it gets the boatload of nominations, yet falls short in the Foreign category. The other four nominees, after hearing from the precursors, will be Cold War, Capernaum, Shoplifters, and Burning. We will see if all five of these make the shortlist next week for Foreign Language, but I get the feeling they all will.


Best Documentary Feature

Changes: Whitney out, Crime + Punishment in

Not a ton of news here in this category. The critics prizes have, for the most part, rejected Won’t You be My Neighbor, but it cleaned up at the Critics Choice Documentary Awards, taking three awards. I see it benefiting largely from the popular vote aspect of the Oscars, where it might be unstoppable. The other three nominees from last time, Free Solo, Three Identical Strangers, and Minding the Gap are still very much alive and well in the discussion, but Whitney has dropped out of sight and mind, whereas Crime + Punishment has stuck around.


Best Animated Feature

Changes: none

All five of my predicted nominees, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Mirai, and Ralph Breaks the Internet, were all nominated at the Globes and made the list of Critics Choice, so it looks like there’s no stopping this train anytime soon.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Changes: Widows out, A Star is Born in

I’ve ditched Widows here in favor of the strength-filled Star is Born, which really hasn’t disappointed anywhere along the way (if you don’t count 2 of its songs getting nominated). The other four nominees will remain BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk, First Man, and Can You Ever Forgive Me.


Best Original Screenplay

Changes: Roma out, Eighth Grade in

While Roma has been nominated by both the Globes and Critics Choice, I worry about the popularity of indie hits First Reformed and Eighth Grade overpowering it amongst the writers branch at the nominations stage. When you think about it, Alfonso Cuaron disappointed 5 years ago in this category when Gravity failed to receive a nomination. For now, and I may change my mind later, I’ll predict that history will repeat itself. The other nominees will be Vice, Green Book and The Favourite.


Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Changes: none

While Regina King and Claire Foy missed out at SAG, I’m not seeing one actress who can replace either of them in the list of nominees, and the five I had picked out made it in at the Globes, too. Therefore, my list of King for If Beale Street Could Talk, Foy for First Man, both Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz for The Favourite, and Amy Adams for Vice, remains the same. The possible other nominees include Margot Robbie for Mary Queen of Scots and Nicole Kidman for Boy Erased.


Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Changes: Sam Rockwell and Daniel Kaluuya out, Sam Elliott and Adam Driver in

Swapped out Sam for Sam. Yep, that sentence exists. Anyways, Rockwell might have been the preferred Sam at the Globes, but Elliott made it in at both SAGs and Critics Choice over Rockwell, so the superior Sam appears to be Elliott. Okay, enough of this Sam business. Daniel Kaluuya just lacked the screen time in Widows, and while I admittedly enjoyed his performance in Widows over his Oscar-nominated performance in Get Out, there’s no denying Adam Driver for his role in BlacKkKlansman. Elliott is in for A Star is Born, as is Timothee Chalamet for Beautiful Boy, Mahershala Ali for Green Book, and Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me.


Best Actress in a Leading Role

Changes: Viola Davis out, Emily Blunt in

I feel like this category is beginning to take shape. Viola Davis, unfortunately, has failed to land a single nomination yet this year for Widows, though it’s a role that would have been tough to get in for, too. Emily Blunt, in the meantime, has been spreading her magic as Mary Poppins, and I feel her first nomination will finally come this year. Also in is Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me), and Olivia Colman (The Favourite).


Best Actor in a Leading Role

Changes: Ethan Hawke and Ryan Gosling out, John David Washington and Rami Malek in

SAG definitely helped sort out who’s in and out of the conversation with this category. While Ethan Hawke seemed a reliable nomination a month ago, and he has been cleaning up at the critics prizes, failing to land a Globe and SAG nom almost leaves him out of the conversation entirely. The same goes for Ryan Gosling, who had the same problem. Meanwhile, both Rami (Bohemian Rhapsody) and John (BlacKkKlansman) made it in for both SAG and Globes, but he did miss out at Critics Choice, so admittedly his nomination may not come through, but Rami feels inevitable at this point in time. These two will join Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), and Viggo Mortensen (Green Book).


Best Director

Changes: none

Believe it or not, I’m not changing my mind with this category. I still have Barry Jenkins in for If Beale Street Could Talk, Alfonso Cuaron for Roma, Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman, Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born, and Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite. Even though both Peter Farrelly (Green Book) and Adam McKay (Vice) were nominated by Critics Choice and the Globes in the director race, I think the two comedicly-known directors cancel each other out at the Oscars, and Barry Jenkins, who admittedly is on the hot seat right now, would be have to nail a Directors Guild nomination to secure his position, but if he doesn’t get in there, there’s no way he makes the five.


Best Picture

Changes: Can You Ever Forgive Me out, Mary Poppins Returns in

Remembering that mathematically it’s almost impossible for this category to land on ten nominations (it’ll probably land in the seven to nine range), I’ll still pick ten films as possible noms. I’m thinking Mary Poppins has earned itself the notariety to be included here, especially with a great performance at both the Globes and Critics Choice, and landing a nomination for Emily Blunt at SAG. Still, the other nine nominees remain the same: First Man, The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born, Vice, BlacKkKlansman, and Black Panther. And just so everybody knows, I’m dumping Beale Street as my predicted winner in this category, and, for the moment, am changing over to A Star is Born, in spite of my lukewarm reaction to the film, personally speaking.

So there you go, a lot to digest here. There’s still a little over a month before the Oscar nominations are announced, January 22nd. A lot can happen to change things up between now and then, so when we meet up again for some updated predictions, I may have changed my mind entirely on some categories.

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