The 91st Academy Awards are right around the corner. It’s a huge event for the pop culture world, so I’m pretty excited. I find it fun to guess who the winners will be, so here are my picks for each category. I have seen the majority of the movies nominated, but not every single one. For movies that I have not seen, I did what research I could by watching trailers, reading descriptions, and reading reviews. I’ll be posting a follow up article after the big show to reflect on how my picks did. Here’s a complete list on the nominees: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/22/entertainment/oscar-nominations-2019/index.html
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Amy Adams should win for her role as Lynne Cheney in “Vice.” Amy Adams is a consistently great actress who has won several awards in the past. This is her sixth nomination for an Academy Award. I think this is her time. One nominee that confuses me is Marina de Tavira for “Roma.” She was great, but she was barely in it and not much focus was on her at all.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
The best supporting actor is Mahershala Ali for “Green Book.” He’s already won the Oscar for this category for Moonlight in 2017, and his role as Don Shirley is one of the things holding “Green Book” together. A close second would be Sam Rockwell for playing George W. Bush in Vice. He won for this category last year and was mostly amazing as the former president. However, the performance did seem a bit goofy at times. I loved Adam Driver in “BlacKkKlansman,” but there wasn’t much emotion from him for the most part.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
“Roma” is the clear winner in my mind. It’s nominated for a total of ten awards this year, which proves how extraordinary it is. “Roma” is a very honest, heart-wrenching story that touches on some powerful themes. It’s overall a beautiful story and is a must-see.
I’m somewhat torn on this one, but I’ll have to give it to “Lifeboat.” It’s a powerful and important documentary that informs the audience on something that they may not have known about: the German non-profit that goes out to sea to assist refugees fleeing Africa and saving as many lives as they can. “Black Sheep” was good, but I felt like it left me with some questions, which a documentary really shouldn’t do. “End Game” was a very close second, and I would not be too shocked if that does actually win. I just personally think “Lifeboat” is stronger due to that I felt more informed after watching it.
The strongest film in this category, in my opinion, is “RBG.” It uses a specific subject, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to discuss broader topics like feminism, empowerment, and workplace equality, which is a strong way to tell a story and get their messages across. Films like “Free Solo” and “Minding the Gap” don’t seem nearly as powerful. “Of Fathers and Sons” is extremely moving and thought-provoking, but doesn’t feel as unique as “RBG” does.
“Shallow” from “A Star is Born” is without a doubt the song to win. The other songs nominated are good, but this one is pure, raw emotion in music form. “All the Stars” is mostly just a fun Top 40 song. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” is good, but just sounds like a lullaby or nursery rhyme. “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” is really cheesy and I’m surprised it received a nomination.
ANIMATED SHORT FILM:
This is one of the tougher categories. I personally think “One Small Step” will win. This amusing short has a unique animation style, shows what happens when a child has support and inspiration, and it even made me cry. “Late Afternoon” is almost just as good and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it win. “Animal Behaviour” was a funny sketch, but nothing more. “Boa” was pretty good, but was unintentionally creepy at moments. Just because Disney possesses superior animation technology, it doesn’t mean their short film is better. Sorry “Bao.”
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
This category has some of the strongest nominees this year, but I say “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” should be the winner due to it mixing together animation styles to make something no one has seen before and for its strong, realistic portrayal of living as a minority. “Incredibles 2” was as incredible as the title says and has amazing political themes, but it and “Ralph Breaks the Internet” are just sequels that rely on the original films. Isle of Dogs was outstanding, and it would win if “Spiderverse” didn’t come out this year.
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM:
“Skin” is the strongest nominee in my opinion. It touches on very serious issues involving race, uses clever metaphor, and is incredibly suspenseful. “Detainment” has caused a lot of controversy, so I doubt it’ll win. “Fauve” was a good, suspenseful watch but didn’t have much story.
I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know how well it was “adapted,” but “BlacKkKlansman” is a wonderfully written story about an African American cop infiltrating the KKK. It’s the perfect mix of drama and comedy and cleverly uses events that took place decades ago to relate to issues of today.
Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma” should definitely win for writing. The movie uses elements of Cuarón’s own upbringing, making it a very real story. It also uses a single character to tell a story about several different occurrences in Mexico and how life was like there in the 70s. It’s overall a beautiful, brilliant story. I feel as though “The Favourite” may blend in with other films of the “royalty drama” genre, and “Vice” might not be taken as seriously.
“Mary Poppins Returns” deserves this one. Its sets blend a dark, old English setting with something much more whimsical that is simply wonderful. “Black Panther” was mostly green screens and CGI. “First Man” had some great production design, but it didn’t do much to stand out from other movies in the genre, like “Apollo 13.” Nothing from the production design of “Roma” stood out to me.
The best cinematography among the nominees is in “A Star Is Born.” The lighting and colors used work together to successfully make the viewer feel exactly what the characters are feeling. None of the other nominees for this category had anything specific jump out for their cinematography.
The blend of traditional tribal African attire mixed with a futuristic design should win “Black Panther” the Oscar for this category. It’s beautiful, is important in the context of the movie, and is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” had great costumes, but they were mostly just cowboy costumes not too different from ones we’ve seen before. I feel the same way with “Mary Queen of Scots” and royal attire.
I’d be blown away if “A Quiet Place” does not win for Sound Editing. For one, the movie is more or less about sound. Also, every sound is so impactful that every minor noise jumps out to the viewer. The only other nominee in this category that comes close to doing that is “First Man,” but it’s not quite as strong as “A Quiet Place.”
“Bohemian Rhapsody” shows what Queen went through to discover a new sound for their music, creating some scenes that mix sound in incredible ways. Also, those stadium scenes with the “ay ohs” are such a perfect example of what talented sound mixing sounds like. I don’t have any doubts this one will win.
The score using traditional African orchestrated music for “Black Panther” is on a grand scale and stands above the rest. The only other nominee that had a score jump out to me was “Isle of Dogs,” and I can see it winning. However, I do think “Black Panther” had the stronger score.
This is an especially tough category this year, but I have to give it to “Ready Player One” for using some of the most well-thought-out computer generated effects blended seamlessly with traditional effects to create an entire whimsical world. Part of me does want “Christopher Robin” to win, but I feel as though it should have actually been nominated for other categories like Cinematography or Production Design. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is another strong candidate, but for some reason, the previous three “Star Wars” movies that have been nominated for this category have not won. This leads me to believe this will be the case for “Solo.” I’m baffled as to how “Avenger: Infinity War” is nominated. A lot of their CGI looked like it was straight from a PS2-era video game.
I personally felt “Bohemian Rhapsody” was the strongest for editing because of its clever transitions, especially between large time gaps. “BlackKkKlansman” had some great editing, especially toward the end of the film. However, “Bohemian Rhapsody” had the superior editing throughout the whole movie.
MAKEUP AND HAIR STYLING:
The makeup in “Vice” is so perfect that I could not have ever guessed that Christian Bale or Sam Rockwell were in the movie. They look identical to the people they are playing, which is a huge feat for the makeup department. There are only two other nominees for this category, and their hair and makeup are not nearly as strong.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Rami Malek deserves the win for playing Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” His portrayal of the music legend was flawless. His acting is one of the main things that carried the film. Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale were outshined by other actors in their movies.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
I’m going to be bold for this one and root for the underdog. I’m picking Melissa McCarthy for her role in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” She has a couple of Emmys, proving that she is extremely talented when directors let her act and not just use her for cheesy slapstick. I don’t think Yalitza Aparicio had much expression in “Roma,” but I get that that was the point for her character. Lady Gaga may also be a good choice, but “A Star is Born” needs both her and Bradley Cooper together to make it shine. McCarthy’s acting alone held her film up.
This one has to go to Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma.” He created a masterpiece using events from his own life, and his closeness to the project shows. The shots in this film are nothing short of influential, ranging from seeing a riot from a top floor window to following a tiny lizard crawling along. Spike Lee is a close second for “BlacKkKlansman,” but most of the shots throughout the film were pretty standard.
This is the most difficult category this year, but if I have to pick one film to win, I say the award of Best Picture should go to “BlacKkKlansman.” “Roma” is an extremely strong candidate, but it doesn’t quite have the entertainment value like “BlacKkKlansman” does. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is just as strong, but some of the themes of the film were not expanded upon as much as they should have. “BlacKkKlansman” finds the perfect mixture of having entertainment value and strong themes about real-world issues, which is what a truly great movie needs.
The Academy Awards are February 24th at 8:00 PM on ABC.