Oscars 2019 Predictions: Can Gaga Be Stopped? Will ‘Roma’ Take Home the Top Prize?

Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma.’

Alfonso Cuarón could snatch a Best Director statue for Roma. Carlos Somonte

This year, the competition seems very stiff for those coveted Academy Awards statues—maybe more so than any other year in recent memory. Several of the major categories are still up for grabs, and with a few highly anticipated contenders still to come, the Oscars race is as crowded (and clouded) as ever.

Of course, that makes the entire idea of predicting what movies will win seem a bit ridiculous, but we’re going to do it anyway. Based on the many films we’ve seen already, industry chatter, awards-season performance and Academy history, here’s who we currently think will get nods when the 2019 Oscars nominations are announced January 22.

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(Note: We’ll be updating this list with additional categories, rankings and predictions as we draw closer to the Academy Awards.)

Best Picture

Top Contenders:

A Star Is Born
Roma
Green Book
Black Panther
The Favourite
Vice
BlacKkKlansman
If Beale Street Could Talk

In the Running: 

Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Eighth Grade
Widows
Mary Poppins Returns
First Man
The Mule

One could easily argue that the electrifying A Star Is Born was 2018’s most anticipated movie. Somehow, it lived up to the hype. Though it likely won’t happen, the Bradley Cooper–  and Lady Gaga–led musical drama has a shot at becoming only the fourth film of all time to sweep the top five categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress). However, it’s worth noting that it wasn’t among the top three films considered for the Toronto International Film Festival’s audience award. Over the past 10 years, every single Toronto People’s Choice winner has also landed a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards.

Meanwhile, Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical drama Roma may very well end up being the best reviewed film of the year, though the Academy’s prickly relationship with Netflix could hurt the film’s campaign. Still, it’s such a moving piece of cinema that it simply must be considered among the front-runners, especially after claiming the top prize at the New York Film Critics Circle.

Prediction: A Star Is Born

Best Director

Top Contenders:

Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Damien Chazelle (First Man)

In the Running:

Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Adam McKay (Vice)
Clint Eastwood (The Mule)
Ryan Coogler (Black Panther)
Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade)
Steve McQueen (Widows)

Cooper’s stellar directorial debut is more than deserving of all the praise it has received. BlacKkKlansman is Lee’s best film in a decade. Lanthimos delivers his most commercially digestible movie yet. First Man is immaculately constructed despite its box-office struggles. This field is the deepest it has been in years, but the final prize should—and will very likely—go to Cuarón. Lock it in.

Prediction: Alfonso Cuarón

Best Actress

Top Contenders:

Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)

In the Running:

Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)
Viola Davis (Widows)
Toni Collette (Hereditary)
Rosamund Pike (A Private War)
Carey Mulligan (Wildlife)
Saoirse Ronan (Mary, Queen of Scots)

We’ve talked at length about how incredibly stacked this category is this year. The competition is so fierce that McCarthy was passed over for an Independent Spirit Awards nomination recently, in a six-person field no less. The truth is, Close—a six-time nominee who has never won—gives the best performance we’ve seen all year. But Gaga’s overwhelming star power and attractive narrative (the singer can also really, really act) could very well propel her back up onto that stage after she delivers a fantastic Oscar performance of “Shallow.”

Prediction: Lady Gaga

Best Actor

Top Contenders:

Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Christian Bale (Vice)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)

In the Running:

Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)
Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Ryan Gosling (First Man)
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)
Hugh Jackman (The Front Runner)
Clint Eastwood (The Mule)

The Academy loves a dramatic physical transformation, so much so that five of the past six Best Actor winners have undergone one. Cooper’s leathery skin and whiskey throat, Bale’s weight gain and makeup, Malek’s false teeth and spot-on Freddie Mercury impression—it will all play very well with voters. Unlike last year, in which Gary Oldman cruised through awards season to a guaranteed victory, the Best Actor race has no clear-cut favorite at the moment (though Cooper and Bale are the leading contenders). Let’s see how Vice does when it opens wide in late December.

Prediction: Christian Bale

Oscars 2019 Predictions: Can Gaga Be Stopped? Will ‘Roma’ Take Home the Top Prize?