The Academy Awards: who will win in 2019

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Photo provided by Disney 

Paul Garbarino and Paul Garbarino

2018 was a bad film year.

Hollywood didn’t go without its gems in 2018; some notable reels landed on the big screen last year. However, reminiscing on previous years, 2018 didn’t match the quality content in the past that brought home awards and dazzled audiences.  

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” was fast and thrilling and didn’t go without its awe-inspiring stunts, but it still pales in comparison to other recent action movie pieces like 2015’s masterpiece high-octane yet thought-provoking “Mad Max: Fury Road.”  

“A Star is Born” was a tear-jerking love story featuring two artists using their relationship to propel their careers and unleash their talents, but it doesn’t come close to rivaling “La La Land,” the far more innovative and technically impressive love story of 2016.  

“If Beale Street Could Talk” fits nicely in director Barry Jenkins’ filmography but didn’t shine as bright as “Moonlight,” his 2016 best-picture winner.

And politics seeped its way into film industry per usual, corrupting the film viewing experience and fair film analysis. “First Man” is a gorgeous journey into the spirit of a man haunted by the death of his daughter, unequivocally among the best of the year, but the completely ignorant flag controversy proved damning, as the film didn’t receive a best picture nomination from the Golden Globes.  

And while the philosophy behind “Black Panther” was a message needed by contemporary political discourse, the film is muddled by its cookie-cutter superhero formula and failure to fully capitalize on its captivating villain. The importance of a film’s message is not enough to a grant a best-picture nomination that could take the place of a far more deserving film, but it seems the Hollywood Foreign Press Association submitted to political forces and gave it a Best Picture nomination at the Golden Globes anyway, a nomination that should have went to several other films instead.

Nevertheless, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will have to choose films worthy of their golden statues at their annual Oscars presentation on Feb. 24, and while a few of the award categories possess clear front runners, most will come down to a coin toss.

Here is a list of what will most likely take home the gold in the top categories at the Oscars — and what really should win.

BEST PICTURE

What will win: “A Star is Born”

This is the fourth rendition of the story of two lovers featuring a talented man who elevates the career of the woman he falls in love with, and it’s an impressive debut from Bradley Cooper as his first time in the director’s chair. The performances are enthralling, the music is inspiring, the story is impassioned. It somewhat deviates from a traditional best picture pick, which the Academy usually reserves for more thought-provoking or “artsy” features.

But a story that parallels the life of Lady Gaga is going to stir a level of popularity that’s palpable. “A Star is Born” is still far from the best film of the year. With some poor pacing and amateur directorial moments, there are dozens of other films more deserving of the award. Though this category is a toss-up with other strong contenders, with generally high praise from critics and seemingly unanimous popular approval of the film, “A Star is Born” will be taking home Best Picture.  

What should win: “Roma”

Director Alfonso Cuarón’s (“Gravity,” “Children of Men”) black and white look into the life of a Mexican maid to a white upper-class family in 1970s Mexico is both a masterclass in filmmaking and is the most important movie of 2018. Cuarón expertly moves the camera as if the audience is a passive observer of the events that unfold and the emotions the characters feel. All the chaotic events that directly influence the life of our protagonist, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), parallel the adversity in her life and constantly remind audiences of our vulnerability as people.

It’s a refreshing drama with a completely organic storyline, one that puts a spotlight on people’s unique idiosyncrasies and truly captures humanity. While it’s on Netflix, this film has been overlooked by general audiences, and may be robbed of its well-deserved title as best-picture of 2018. It will surely get a nomination at the least, but with a little hope maybe the Academy will make the right choice.

BEST ACTRESS

Who will win: Lady Gaga (“A Star is Born”)

This category is more of a toss-up; with Olivia Colman’s performance in “The Favourite” and Glenn Close’s in The Wife also in high contention, this award may be more of a battle. Nevertheless, based on Lady Gaga’s popularity and her emotional performance as Ally in “A Star is Born,” she’ll be the one delivering an acceptance speech on the night of the show. A Star is Born in its entirety is an ode to Lady Gaga, so to say that helps would be an understatement.

Who should win: Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”)

“I don’t think I’m an actor.” When asked about her breakout performance as Cleo in “Roma”, this was Yalitza’s response to the reporter, capturing how personal this role was to the rising Hispanic actress. And it showed. Nothing about her performance felt contrived, she flowed on screen with a natural ease and melded with the movement of the plot. Her performance is powerful and will certainly move more sentimental viewers to tears. She has little chance of winning though may get a nomination, but she deserves this award more than the other contenders.

BEST ACTOR

Who will win: Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”)

Christian Bale (“Vice”) and Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”) may not let Cooper get away with this award without a fight, but Cooper is unequivocally the front runner. With a surprising musical performance and a very convincing act as a drunken singer longing to produce something more meaningful than his songs. For him, that was to unveil the hidden talents of an unlikely star. Cooper’s popularity and history of great performances will propel him to the win.

Who should win: Christian Bale (“Vice”)

While Cooper delivered the performance people wanted, no one transforms on screen in 2018 cinema quite like Bale. Under all the makeup, prosthetics and acting genius, Bale disappears from “Vice” and all you see is Dick Cheney, the powerful vice president he lives and breathes on screen. Bale will most certainly receive a nomination, but it’s unlikely he’ll triumph over Cooper despite being the one truly deserving of the award.

BEST DIRECTOR

Who will win and should win: Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”)

The Academy will get this one right; Cuarón displays the best of directing techniques in 2018 film, and the Academy knows it. His camera movements in “Roma” are immersive. He displays a level of maturity and stoicism with his work that is rarely seen among film. With long takes, slow pans and carefully chosen camera angles, “Roma” stands out as one of the most technically impressive films of the year despite its low budget and intimately real content.

OTHER KEY AWARDS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Who will win: Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)

Who should win: Claire Foy (“First Man”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Who will win and should win: Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Who will win: “The Favourite”

Who should win: “Roma”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Who will win: “BlacKkKlansman”

Who should win: “First Man”

BEST FILM EDITING

Who will win: “Roma”

Who should win: “First Man”

BEST SCORE

Who will win: “First Man”

Who should win: “Isle of Dogs”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Who will win: “Roma”

Who should win: “First Man”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Who will win: “The Favourite”

Who should win: “Isle of Dogs”