2019 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win and Who Should Win?

Best Picture

Predicted Winner:  Roma

This category is rife for a surprise on Oscar night, but to play it safe, I’ll predict Roma. Though we can’t ignore that fact that this film has a lot going against it. Despite its wins for Best Picture (or its equivalent) at the Critics’ Choice, DGA, and the BAFTAs, there are a few reasons to expect Roma will not win.

First off, it’s a foreign film, and no foreign film has ever won the top prize at the Oscars. It’s also a Netflix distribution, and the classical roots of the Academy haven’t smiled upon that before now. It was not nominated for Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards, and with the exception of last year’s The Shape of Water, no movie this century has won Best Picture without that crucial nomination. It also wasn’t nominated for Best Editing – an enormous hinderance for its chances of winning. Lastly, while the movie was both beautiful and sincere, it lacked a certain punch and, honestly, was a little boring at times.

So this leaves a few options – Green Book, BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born, or maybe even Black Panther – none of which scream “front runner” to me (which is why I defaulted to Roma). Green Book is riddled in minor controversies, ASIB didn’t get a Best Director nod, Black Panther is likely to rank low on the preferential ballots of older voters, and BlacKkKlansman is helmed by a divisive and notoriously under-recognized filmmaker.

With those options, I’d have to say A Star is Born or Green Book would have the best chance against Roma. But again, anything could happen – with the exception of Vice or The Favourite winning. I think we can also count Bohemian out, thanks to a few controversies of its own.

If I could vote for Best Picture, my #1 spot would go to BlacKkKlansman, followed very closely by Green Book. Check out my full ranked list below.

AJ’s Rankings (aka my preferences):

  1. BlacKkKlansman
  2. Green Book
  3. A Star is Born
  4. Roma
  5. Bohemian Rhapsody
  6. Vice
  7. The Favourite
  8. Black Panther

Should Have Been Nominated: Annihilation, Searching, A Simple Favor

Best Director

Predicted Winner: Cuarón, Roma

While Roma’s Best Picture win isn’t guaranteed, its Best Director win pretty much is. Cuarón’s passion project was realized with Oscar-worthy efforts like working with inexperienced performers and releasing in black and white. His biggest opponent was supposed to be Cooper, but given his absence from this category, a Cuarón win is a sure thing.

AJ’s Rankings:

1. Cuarón, Roma
2Lee, BlacKkKlansman
3. Pawlikowski, Cold War
4. McKay, Vice
5Lanthimos, The Favourite

Should Have Been Nominated: Cooper, A Star is Born; Farrelly, Green Book

Best Actress

Predicted Winner: Glenn Close, The Wife

Admittedly, I only watched The Wife because of the Oscar hype surrounding Close’s performance, and for the first hour or so of the movie, I was wondering if that hype was justified.

And in one moment, everything changed with a simple facial expression. Close’s character’s restrained rage in a scene where her husband is giving a speech was enough, in my opinion, to secure her the nomination. The subsequent scenes should solidify her win.

If not for Glenn’s overdue recognition this year, I’d be rooting for Yalitza Aparicio for her performance in Roma. The subtle and reserved portrayal from this former schoolteacher was wonderful, moving, and heartbreaking.

AJ’s Rankings

1. Glenn Close, The Wife
2. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
. Olivia Colman, The Favourite
4. Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
5. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Should Have Been Nominated: Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians

Best Actor

Predicted Winner: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Malek has virtually swept the awards circuit for his performance as Freddie Mercury, and immersive would be an understatement when describing the results of his work. So, it seems he will in fact be the champion on Oscar night.

That said, let’s not forget a couple of hurdles he has to get over, including the controversy surrounding the film and the pool of voters he has to sway. All of the other awards he has won were at ceremonies where both film and TV actors voted – and Malek was a well-regarded television actor before helming this blockbuster. That’s not the case for the Oscars, where veteran film voters may be more inclined to reward the work of a film star…like Christian Bale (who snagged a Globe and two Critics’ Choice Awards for his work in Vice) or early frontrunner Bradley Cooper.

I really, really, really want Bradley Cooper to win this. I truly think it’s the best leading performance of the year and one of his absolute best. Plus, he’s been nominated three times before for acting, and so I think it’s fair to say his time has come. Because of that, I wouldn’t count him out just yet. But maybe I’m dreaming.

AJ’s Rankings:

1. Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
2. Christian Bale, Vice
3. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
4Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Also Nominated: Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

Should Have Been Nominated: John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Winner: Amy Adams, Vice

Hot take, I know. But let me explain.

Speaking of overdue Oscars, isn’t it fair to throw Amy Adams into the conversation? She’s been nominated five times before, and the Academy may just want to finally award her.

But let’s address the heat of my take – me not naming Regina King frontrunner. Listen, I’m a huge Regina King fan, and am thrilled she’s been getting recognized at the Globes, Emmys, and now the Oscars in recent years. But let’s be honest. In Beale Street, she had about four seconds of screen time, and she really wasn’t that memorable. She may be (rightfully) overlooked in favor of someone like Adams, or even Rachel Weisz, who pulled out the BAFTA win in this category last week.

King also was not even nominated at the SAG Awards or the BAFTAs, which are peer awards for the film industry. She did, however, win the Critics’ Choice and the Globe. Sounds a lot like the Stallone loss back in ’16.

Personally, my vote would’ve gone to Emma Stone. Her performance wasn’t as subtle as Weisz’s in The Favourite, but she still gets my support for being my favorite part of that movie.

AJ’s Rankings:

1. Emma Stone, The Favourite
2Amy Adams, Vice
3. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
4. Marina de Tavira, Roma
5. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Should Have Been Nominated: Blake Lively, A Simple Favor; Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Winner: Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Ali’s win in this same category two years ago angered me, but this year, the anger has shifted to indifference. He’s clearly the best and most-deserving of this nominated bunch, but the field is so weak this year that I don’t think that’s saying much.

In my ideal world, we’d have seen Daniel Kaluuya nominated (and winning) for his performance in Widows. Oh well.

AJ’s Rankings:

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book
2Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
3. Sam Rockwell, Vice
4Sam Elliott, A Star is Born
5. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Should have been nominated: Daniel Kaluuya, Widows; Na-kel Smith, mid90s; Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy; Jesse Plemons, Game Night

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Winner: BlacKkKlansman

I don’t see anything beating BlacKkKlansman in this category. It’s timely, it’s funny, and most importantly, it is the best of these nominees. On top of that, Spike Lee’s Oscar is long overdue in the eyes of many. It checks all the boxes for a win.

The only spoiler in my eyes would be Beale Street – penned by Academy beloved Barry Jenkins. And since Lee hasn’t won to date, there’s as much reason to think they’ll snub him again as there is to think they’ll finally award him.

AJ’s Rankings:

1. BlacKkKlansman
2. A Star is Born
3. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
4. If Beale Street Could Talk
5. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Should Have Been Nominated: A Simple Favor, Widows

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Winner: Green Book

This is a close one. As much as I want to say Green Book will drive away with this one, the controversy surrounding one of the writers might tip the scale in the favor of The Favourite. While I would hate to see this happen, I wouldn’t be able to say I didn’t see it coming. Still, the Green Book win at the Globes and PGA show that its reputation isn’t entirely tarnished.

AJ’s Rankings:

1. Green Book
2. Roma
3. Vice
4. The Favourite
5. First Reformed

Should Have Been Nominated: Eighth Grade, Searching

And now, the rest of the nominees for feature film…

Best Cinematography
Prediction: Roma
Preference: Roma

Best Costume Design
Prediction: Black Panther
Preference: The Favourite

Best Film Editing
Prediction: Bohemian Rhapsody
Preference: BlacKkKlansman

Best Production Design
Prediction: The Favourite
Preference: The Favourite

Best Original Score
Prediction: If Beale Street Could Talk
Preference: If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Sound Editing
Prediction: A Quiet Place
Preference: First Man

Best Sound Mixing
Prediction: A Star is Born
Preference: A Star is Born

Best Visual Effects
Prediction: First Man
Preference: Avengers: Infinity War

Best Animated Feature
Prediction: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Preference: Incredibles 2

Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Prediction: Vice
Preference: Vice

Best Original Song
Prediction: Shallow (A Star is Born)
Preference: Shallow (A Star is Born)

Tallied Win Projections

Roma: 3
Bohemian Rhapsody: 2
Green Book: 2
A Star is Born: 2
Vice: 2
Black Panther: 1
BlacKkKlansman: 1
The Favourite: 1
First Man: 1
If Beale Street Could Talk: 1
A Quiet Place: 1
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: 1
The Wife: 1

AJ’s Top 10 Movies of 2018

best movies of 2018

Alright – let me level with you guys.

I really did not love the movies I saw in 2018, and for the second time in three years, I really don’t feel I can justify putting any movie I saw at the #1 spot.

So, I’m going to have to do something that I did once and hoped I would never have to do again – alphabetize my Top 10 of the year.

Let’s get this over with, and hope that 2019 makes up for its preceding subpar cinematic year that had little to offer aside from these ten outstanding motion pictures (honestly, though – these ten movies are all awesome).


This February release was sorely overlooked. Natalie Portman helms this female-driven sci-fi thriller as an ex-Army college professor thrust into a treacherous and alien world of mysterious biologically inconsistency. The pacing, music, and tantalizing ambiguity will throw you back to the days of classic sci-fi, while the production design and visual effects suffice to thrill a modern audience.

Avengers: Infinity War

Don’t let anyone – including the Academy – tell you this isn’t the best superhero movie of 2018. Infinity War tackles the herculean task of balancing the narratives of dozens of superheroes, all while boasting fantastic visuals and being effectively funny. Yes, it’s just a play up for the final act, but I’d be lying if I said that final scene didn’t gut punch me when I first watched it.


I never, ever thought I would have a Spike Lee in my Top 10 list, but BlackKklansman is a master work of timely drama, dark comedy, and signature filmmaking tactics. I’d gladly leave the shove-it-down-your-throat pre-credits scene, but otherwise, this flick is pretty darn flawless. Hopefully we’ll see Lee on stage next month accepting his first Oscar.

Green Book

The movie is cheesy, sure, but it’s kind of like cheese atop the most delicious pizza you can imagine. In other words, Green Book is a delight. I kept waiting for it to take an easy escape or to get overly sappy, but it kept surprising me at every turn. It’s easily my favorite comedy of the year, and is a welcomed entry into the existing saga of rewatchable road trip flicks.

Incredibles 2

The long-awaited sequel didn’t exceed the original in my eyes, but the humor, action, and crisp animation in Incredibles 2 is enough to make it welcomed addition in Pixar canon – and earn it a spot on this list.


Perhaps my most unpopular opinion for movies this year would be finding mid90s to be superior than Eighth Grade. I’ll readily admit my fondness for both nostalgia and coming-of-age movies, but mid90s is more than effective in checking both of those boxes, thanks in large part to Jonah Hill, Sunny Suljic, and Na-Kel Smith.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

I walked out of Fallout thinking the words spoken by George Clooney in From Dusk Till Dawn – “Goddamn, that was intense.” The best entry in the M:I franchise since the third (another unpopular opinion), Fallout benefits from moving the face-mask-removal twist to the middle of the narrative, leaving more time for falling action…and just plain action. This movie’s a blast, and a technical achievement of sound, effects, stunts, and editing.


One of two outstanding mysteries released this year (see below for the other), Searching combines the film presentation tactics of Unfriended with those in found footage movies like Chronicle. The result is a captivating whodunit for the 21st century, anchored by a strong performance from John Cho.

A Simple Favor

I left the theater claiming I had seen one of the best mysteries – if not the best – this decade (though t0 be fair, I saw this before Searching). The enthralling, sexy, and raw story is highly elevated by the comedy (“Does Nicky have any dietary restrictions?” “Yeah, just don’t feed him shit he doesn’t like.”) and the performances – particularly Blake Lively’s, which in my opinion is one of the biggest awards oversights this year.

A Star is Born

Okay, you got me – I’m feeling backlash from the A Star is Born backlash. But the more I think back on this movie, the easier it is to overlook the flaws. The cinematography, the music, and Bradley Cooper’s performance all lend themselves to this directorial debut that is beyond noteworthy.

2019 Oscars: Snubs, Surpises, and Disappointing Omissions

oscar snubs
The 2019 Academy Awards will air on Sunday, February 24th.

The 2019 Oscar nominations have been announced, and boy do I have opinions.

Which honestly surprises me, because I was pretty indifferent towards movies this year.

That said, I did marvel at certain aspects of a few films – many of which were not recognized by the Academy this year. I’m speaking of Daniel Kaluuya’s chilling performance in Widows, Justin Hurwitz’s breathtaking score for First Man, and the stunning visuals of Annihilation.

But aside from my personal gripes on who I wish had been nominated, there were still some supposed Oscar shoo-ins like Bradley Cooper were shut out of their categories.

So, below are my takes on the biggest snubs, surprises, and disappointing omissions from this year’s Oscar ballot.


Supposed locks – or those on-the-bubble with high potential – that somehow didn’t make the cut.

Bradley Cooper

What happened here? Is this another Ben Affleck for Argo mishap, or did the Academy really not love ASIB that much?

Eighth Grade

The script for Bo Burnham’s beloved passion project was not nominated for Best Original Screenplay. I guess home-schooled Academy voters couldn’t relate to the painstakingly accurate depiction of middle school.

oscar snubs surprises

Nicole Kidman

Sure, she played the supportive wife and mother in Boy Erased – a historical favorite and expected stereotype in this category. But, she played the part beautifully, and her nomination would have been completely justified.

John David Washington  

I’m not super torn up over this one, but with Golden Globe and SAG nominations under his belt, I was pretty sure he had this nomination locked down.

oscar nominations

Timothée Chalemet

Last year’s Best Actor dark horse was the early frontrunner for this award back in the summer, but as momentum for Beautiful Boy slowed, Chalamet was sadly forgotten.

Justin Hurwitz

The two-time Oscar winner composed one of the year’s best scores. I’m just assuming the Academy stopped watching First Man half way through out of boredom and didn’t listen to that heightening track during the moon landing, because that’s the only explanation as to why this was left off. Thankfully, Hurwitz was earlier awarded a much-deserved Golden Globe for his First Man work, so hopefully that can help him sleep at night.

Troye Sivan

The singer and songwriter for “Revelation” from Boy Erased was nominated for a Golden Globe for the song, but the Academy didn’t deliver with a nomination at the Oscars. Let’s be real, though – he wouldn’t have beat Lady GaGa anyways.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Not only was it entertaining as heck, Fallout was a technical masterpiece. It was rife for nominations in many categories, but Sound Editing should have been a given.

A Quiet Place

It’s nice that it got a Sound Editing nomination and all, but Sound Mixing would have been a more appropriate nomination for this semi-silent thriller, especially over a movie like Roma.

Black Panther

I hesitated to include this snub for Visual Effects, because Black Panther’s visuals were really bad. But it was considered the biggest competition to go on and win the award, so its absence is still technically snub-worthy.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The Mr. Rogers documentary was supposed to win this thing…wasn’t it?


Nominations that I did not see coming.

oscar nominees

Regina King

I was fully convinced – given her omission from this category at the peer-nominated SAG and BAFTA ceremonies – that King’s name would not be announced this morning. I was wrong, though I still believe we’ll hear someone else’s name called at the Oscars – like Amy Adams, perhaps.

Pawel Pawlikowski

My initial reaction: Who? The director of critically-acclaimed Polish movie Cold War – which went on to snag a Best Foreign Film nod – scored an out-of-nowhere nomination for his work. Having yet to see Cold War, I can’t comment on the merit of his nomination, but can speak to my shock at his name appearing over once-frontrunner Bradley Cooper, fan favorite Ryan Coogler, and former Best Director nominee (and Best Screenplay winner) Barry Jenkins.

Marina de Tavira

The Roma matriarch hadn’t gotten much awards buzz leading up to the Oscars, and her nomination over names like Claire Foy and Nicole Kidman is certainly an upset, pushing Curaón’s film to tie The Favourite for the most nominations for a single film this year.

2019 oscars

Willem Dafoe

The At Eternity’s Gate star was supposedly forgotten. His likelihood for a spot on this list was marginal at best a few months ago, with the more likely fifth nominee being John David Washington for BlackKklansman or Ethan Hawke for First Reformed.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Looks like the Academy isn’t giving the cold shoulder to Netflix anymore. Alongside Roma, this Coen Brothers film gave more credentials to the streaming service with nominations for Best Song, Costume Design, and – wait for it – Adapted Screenplay.

Best Film Editing

I have no idea what to make of this category. Roma, Black Panther, First Man, and A Star is Born left off? Green Book and Bohemian sneak in? Film Editing can often translate to success in Best Picture – pay close attention to this category.

Disappointing Omissions

Movies I only dreamed would get a justified nomination.

Daniel Kaluuya

I mean, did you guys even see his performance in Widows? The dude was terrifying! He was way better here than he was in Get Out, which scored him a Best Actor nomination last year.

oscars nominations 2019


Jonah Hill’s directorial debut left a little to be desired, but it was still a lot of fun. I had aspirations to hear his name be called in the Best Original Screenplay category, and – in a dream world – maybe hear Na-kel Smith’s name in the Best Supporting Actor category for his touching performance as Ray.

oscar snubs and suprises


This year’s most visceral film had potential for an abundance of Oscars: Visual Effects (for which it was not even shortlisted), Original Score (just listen), Production Design, and Best Picture. Maybe it got nominated in all of these categories in The Shimmer.

oscar noms

A Simple Favor

I know, this one’s pushing it, but I loved this movie. It was one of the best mysteries in recent years, and in a world where The Academy gravitates toward crowd favorites, I think we could have seen this get nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and for Blake Lively’s engrossing performance as Emily.