Oscars 2019 predictions: Who will win best picture, best director, best actor, best actress

Roma, Green Book and The Favourite are frontrunners for best picture, but Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman could be wild-card winners.

Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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Jennifer Bisset
6 min read
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If Bohemian Rhapsody can win best drama at the Golden Globes, who knows what will happen at the Oscars.

Oscars 2019 starts giving out gold statues of men on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. PT. Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born and Vice are all up for best picture.

With their 10 nominations each, the frontrunners are looking like Roma and The Favourite, but if the Academy decides to make a surprise selection (Moonlight had the most dramatic surprise win) Bohemian Rhapsody and the rest might be in with a chance.

It's equally tight in the best director, best actor and best actress categories, with a few little details that could sway the vote in a big way.

Here are the nominees we think will most likely win best picture, director, actor and actress.

Watch this: Oscars 2019: How to write the perfect best picture speech and go viral

Best picture

1. Roma: Based off its recent BAFTA wins in both the best picture and best director categories, Alfonso Cuarón's Roma is the safe bet. Also, it's in black-and-white: The Academy loves its auteurs and their serious arthouse, with voters having tipped their fedoras to recent winners Moonlight and Birdman.

2. Green Book: What would hold Roma back and what elevates Green Book, is the general rule of thumb that films with a best film editing nod have a shot at best picture (Birdman is one of the exceptions to this rule). Roma does not have a nomination in the category, but Green Book, The Favourite, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice do.

Also propelling Green Book is its people's choice award win at the Toronto International Film Festival. However, the film's good will, including a Golden Globe for best picture -- musical or comedy, has been marred by arguments it's just another white saviour film a la The Blind Side. Then there's Viggo Mortensen's "N-word" interview, Vallelonga's Islamophobic tweet controversy and a resurfaced article from the '90s about director Peter Farrelly having a way with flashing people. Not to mention Farrelly (whose other credits include There's Something About Mary and Shallow Hal) being snubbed in the best director category.

3. The Favourite: The Favourite comes off a win at the BAFTAs for best British film and just pips Roma in acting nominations: It has three, one for best actress for Olivia Colman and two in best supporting actress for Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz (who just can't stop facing off with one another).


Rachel Weisz (left) and Emma Stone in The Favourite.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Yet surprisingly the British-produced The Favourite lost out to Roma for the BAFTA for best picture. Luckily for The Favourite, the BAFTAs don't seem to hold much sway in Oscars predictions -- last year the BAFTA best picture went to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri instead of eventual Oscar winner The Shape of Water. The two academies haven't agreed for the threeprevious years, either.

4. BlacKkKlansman: Director Spike Lee has a history of being snubbed by the Oscars, and if the controversy surrounding Green Book catches up to it, Lee might be in with a chance for BlacKkKlansman.

But if the Oscars does another Driving Miss Daisy, it'll pick feel-good odd couple dramedy over Lee's politically-charged film. While Bruce Beresford's film won best picture, Lee's controversial 1989 film Do the Right Thing about racial tension in Brooklyn missed out on best film and best director Oscar nominations, despite its influence and critical acclaim.

Even if BlacKkKlansman isn't the wild card that takes the best picture gong, it's at least earned Lee his first Oscars best director nod. Long time coming.

5. Black Panther: The Marvel hit has a tough battle at the Oscars with the Academy's aversion to superhero films. That being said, Gravity and The Shape of Water were winners, and like Green Book and BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther tackles current issues such as race and prejudice.

6. A Star is Born: The Lady Gaga-starring film lacks in the best director and best editing categories (though it should win best original song for Shallow).

7. Vice: The satire has been divisive among critics, despite earning the most Golden Globe nominations of any film.

8. Bohemian Rhapsody: Along with criticism of its treatment of both Freddie Mercury's race and sexuality, Bohemian Rhapsody saw its director Bryan Singer fired for clashes with lead Rami Malek and showing up late to set. He's also subject to multiple sexual assault allegations, which saw his name removed from Bohemian Rhapsody's best British film BAFTA nomination.

Best director


Director of BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee.

David Banks/Getty Images

1. Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman): Lee could make history this Oscars as the first black filmmaker to win best director. There's a chance voters will select the Cannes Grand Prix winner over Cuarón, who could have best picture and best cinematography under his belt anyway.

2. Alfonso Cuarón (Roma): Having already won best director for Gravity in 2013, Cuarón might have to sit back for a historic win for Lee. However, the auteur directed, wrote, produced, edited and added cinematography to his card on his autobiographical film, so a win would be some celebration of the treasured filmmaker. The Golden Globe best director win helps too.

3. Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War): The Polish filmmaker of the second of the black-and-white foreign language films fared better than his counterpart Cuarón at Cannes where he took best director. He slots in over surprise snub Farrelly and could be a surprise winner for his tale of two lovers.

4. Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite): Nominated for best director at the BAFTAs, Lanthimos and his highly original take on the 18th century have some hope of meeting the artful standard the Academy historically looks for.

5. Adam McKay (Vice): Previously nominated for The Big Short, McKay has an outside shot here. The polarising response to his irreverent biopic could prove a major setback.

Best actor


Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Nick Delany

1. Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody): Winner of the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for best actor, Malek is well and truly the frontrunner for his role as Queen front man Freddie Mercury, arguably the best thing about Bohemian Rhapsody.

2. Christian Bale (Vice): With prosthetics and makeup to rival Darkest Hour Oscar winner Gary Oldman, Bale is in the running for what would be his first best actor Oscar. Batman did go the extra mile by gaining that awards-hungry weight to transform himself into former US vice president Dick Cheney.

3. Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born): The director and writer of A Star is Born has been losing out to either Malek or Bale in the acting awards categories. At the very least, the Oscars best acting nod just further confirms his serious filmmaker transformation is complete.

4. Viggo Mortensen (Green Book): Aragorn with a pot belly and New York accent is some transformation, but Mortensen has been left sitting with Cooper behind Malek and Bale. There's the problem of him saying the "N-word" during an interview too.

5. Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate): Dafoe would be a surprise winner for his lauded work as Vincent van Gogh in the biopic, given his is the lone nod At Eternity's Gate received at the Oscars.

Best actress


Glenn Close plays Joan Castleman in The Wife.

Sony Picture Classics

1. Glenn Close (The Wife): The seven-time Oscar nominee shot out of the blocks with a Golden Globe win for best drama actress, and the prospect of a first Close Oscar might sway voters, if they're not bothered by The Wife's zero nominations in other categories.

2. Olivia Colman (The Favourite): The Queen may get her way after Colman's BAFTA and comedy/musical Golden Globe wins, despite Colman really being a supporting actress. It helps that The Favourite has 10 nominations overall.

3. Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born): A shoo-in for best original song with Shallow, Gaga would be a surprise win if she beats out Close and Colman for a second award.

4. Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?): Yes, McCarthy can act. But winning an Oscar for her dark turn as literary forger Lee Israel might be a stretch. Like other transformed comedians, the nod could be reward enough itself.

5. Yalitza Aparicio (Roma): It's a pretty good effort to be nominated for an Oscar in your first role. On top of that, Aparicio is the first Indigenous Mexican to receive a best actress Oscar nomination. But the newcomer beating out Close or Colman would be a David and Goliath feat.

Here's how to watch the 91st Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. PT.