Okay, I know. This is insane. But I enjoyed doing it last year, so it’s happening again! The 91st Academy Awards haven’t even been held, and I’ve only seen, like, twelve films from 2019 at this point. I love writing about the awards season, but, to be honest with you, I find the annual best picture frontrunner backlash to be draining. So, therefore, I think it’s much easier for me to write about next year’s awards season. And don’t you worry, I have a pretty good idea of what is coming out this year. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Okay, so, first, I have to preface these predictions by saying that I won’t present nomination predictions for each and every award. Neither the Short Film categories, the documentary category, nor the foreign-language film category will be put under the spotlight in this post. But that’s just some of the categories that I won’t have a look at right now. Sorry folks, this post is all about predicting the nominations for the above-the-line film categories, which means that many of the technical awards won’t be discussed here.
Best Animated Feature Film
- Toy Story 4, Disney / Pixar.
- Missing Link, Laika.
- Frozen 2, Disney.
- Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie, Aardman Animations.
- The Addams Family, Nitrogen Studios / MGM.
2019 is going to be a weird but not necessarily bad year for animation. There is a very good chance that the 92nd Academy Awards animation-category will only feature sequels or remakes. Missing Link is the only completely original product on my list, which says a lot.
Also, yes, this line-up means that The LEGO Movie is once again ignored by the Academy here. Other nomination possibilities include The Secret Life of Pets 2 and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- The Last Thing He Wanted, written by Dee Rees & Marco Villalobos.
- The Laundromat, written by Scott Z. Burns.
- The Good Liar, written by Jeffrey Hatcher.
- The Irishman, written by Steven Zaillian.
- Little Women, written by Greta Gerwig.
Is it risky going for three Netflix films here? Maybe. Do I think Netflix has turned a corner and become a legitimate Oscar contender? Definitely. Other nomination possibilities include After the Wedding, The Goldfinch, Cats, The Kitchen, and Star Wars: Episode IX.
Best Original Screenplay
- Harriet, written by Gregory Allen Howard.
- Lucy in the Sky, written by Brian C. Brown, Elliott DiGuiseppi, and Noah Hawley.
- The French Dispatch, written by Wes Anderson.
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, written by Quentin Tarantino.
- The Farewell, written by Lulu Wang.
Other nomination possibilities include 1917, Ad Astra, Rocketman, Ford v. Ferrari, Jordan Peele’s Us, Josh Trank’s Fonzo, The Report, Late Night, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and Julius Onah’s Luce.
Best Supporting Actor
- Willem Dafoe, The Last Thing He Wanted.
- Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
- Joe Pesci, The Irishman.
- Timothee Chalamet, The French Dispatch.
- Matthew Rhys, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
I think this is finally going to be Dafoe’s year, unless, of course, someone like Pitt or Pesci deliver strong enough performances to knock out acting legend Willem Dafoe once again. Other nomination possibilities include Jon Hamm (The Report / Lucy in the Sky), Tim Roth (Luce), and Tommy Lee Jones (Ad Astra).
Best Supporting Actress
- Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
- Meryl Streep, Little Women.
- Octavia Spencer, Luce.
- Annette Bening, The Report.
- Julianne Moore, After the Wedding.
I’m hearing great things about Spencer in Luce, and I’m presuming Moore, in After the Wedding, is great in a role that I have a pretty good sense of since I’ve seen the original Danish film. But Robbie is my frontrunner simply because the Sharon Tate-role seems like such a perfect role for Robbie. We don’t really know what angle Tarantino is going with, but I’m betting on Robbie for now.
- Tom Hardy, Fonzo.
- Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
- Adam Driver, The Report.
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
- Ian McKellen, The Good Liar.
DiCaprio has his Oscar. McKellen and Driver do not. But, just imagine this, Tom Hardy as an older Al Capone battling with dementia? Doesn’t that sound like a great Oscar-baity role? Other nomination possibilities include Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (Luce), Brad Pitt (Ad Astra), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Robert De Niro (The Irishman), and Matt Damon or Christian Bale (Ford v. Ferrari).
- Cynthia Erivo, Harriet.
- Natalie Portman, Lucy in the Sky.
- Meryl Streep, The Laundromat.
- Emma Thompson, Late Night.
- Awkwafina, The Farewell.
It isn’t currently clear whether or not Streep’s role is lead or supporting in The Laundromat, but I’m rolling the dice and taking a shot — and other sports analogies. The frontrunner is easy for me to pick, though. Erivo is a strong theater actress, and, in 2018, she became a star on the big screen in two extremely underrated films. She’s going to be great as Harriet Tubman.
Other nomination possibilities include Alfre Woodard (Clemency), Michelle Williams (After the Wedding), Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), Anne Hathaway (The Last Thing He Wanted), Renee Zellweger (Judy), and the female lead of The French Dispatch (not currently clear).
- Sam Mendes, 1917.
- Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
- Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch.
- Scott Z. Burns, The Report.
- Martin Scorsese, The Irishman.
Is it disappointing that there are no female nominees? Yep, but after the Academy snubbed Lynne Ramsay this year, I just don’t have hope that they’ll overlook people like Mendes, Tarantino, Anderson, and Scorsese (if their films are all good), and instead choose a female director. Greta Gerwig, Lulu Wang, Kasi Lemmons, Marielle Heller, or Dee Rees might be able to get in there, but I just don’t believe the Academy will look their way. It’s a pessimistic way to look at it, but that’s where I’m at with the Academy’s director’s branch.
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Sony Pictures Releasing.
- The French Dispatch, Fox Searchlight Pictures.
- 1917, Universal Pictures.
- The Report, Amazon Studios.
- Lucy in the Sky (Previously titled ‘Pale Blue Dot‘), Fox Searchlight Pictures.
- Fonzo, Bron Studios.
- The Farewell, A24.
- Harriet, Focus Features.
- The Last Thing He Wanted, Netflix.
- The Irishman, Netflix.
I desperately want The Irishman to be a big hit with critics, audiences, and the industry, but it also seems like an awfully risky project, so I’m putting it at #10. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood would be next in line for a nomination. At the top, though, I feel very comfortable with my predicted top three.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a much-anticipated film that the industry will have its eyes on for obvious reasons, The French Dispatch is a fascinating return to live-action for Wes Anderson, and 1917 is Sam Mendes’ Dunkirk-like war-film (I’m assuming). I can’t wait to see them.
But wait, I guess there is one more category that I should mention…
Best Popular Film
- Us, directed by Jordan Peele.
- The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau.
- Avengers: Endgame, directed by Anthony & Joe Russo.
- Rocketman, directed by Dexter Fletcher.
- Star Wars: Episode IX, directed by J. J. Abrams.
Sure, the introduction of this award was so controversial that the Academy got cold feet and delayed it, but it hasn’t yet been officially canceled, so I guess I should still try to predict it. Other nomination possibilities include Dumbo, Aladdin, IT: Chapter Two, Joker, Captain Marvel, Knives Out, and all of the animated films.
– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.