Obscenely early on January 22nd, everyone in the movie industry, and the general public for that matter, will finally know who has been nominated for the 91st annual Academy Awards. Oscar voting began this past Monday – no, I won’t tell you who was on my ballot – and concludes on January 14th. Eight days later hundreds in the movie industry will find out whether they will spend the next month working the rubber chicken publicity circuit or heading to their next paying gigs.
Unlike most of the last several years we headed into January without a clear cut favorite in the Best Picture category and recent awards from other organizations for films such as Green Book, A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody have done nothing to make that picture any clearer. So I’ll do my best to blow some of the sawdust away and try to put the major categories into perspective. As always, however, don’t take these predictions as gospel and don’t go running to Ladbroke’s to lay a fiver.
The Nominees Are- Though the Academy rules allow up to ten films to be nominated in this category the number usually hovers around nine. If that’s the case then the favorites to grab a nomination, in alphabetical order, are A Star Is Born, BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk and Roma with Crazy Rich Asians stealing a surprise nod as well.
And The Oscar Goes To- It will be interesting to see what effect the fallout from director Peter Farrelly’s and writer Nick Vallelonga’s recent controversies will have on Green Book‘s chances. It won the Golden Globes (in the Comedy/Musical category for some reason) but that’s not always a harbinger of what’s to come on Oscar night. Whether they want to admit it or not, there are still many Never-Netflix’ers in the Academy so Roma may face an uphill battle. Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Motion Picture Drama at the Globes but if Oscar voters want to reward the film they’re more likely to go the Rami Malek route for Best Actor. A Star Is Born may turn out to be the most viable option for voters but it also may end up being everyone’s second choice. If Green Book can spend the next month talking about the message of the film rather than the controversies involving its principals then it will win. If not, then Bradley Cooper may be standing on the Dolby Theater stage at the end of the night on February 22nd. The pick here is Green Book.
The Nominees Are- This should be one of the easier groups to pick. Christian Bale for Vice, Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born, Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody and Viggo Mortensen for Green Book are as close to sure things as the Oscars get. Figure John David Washington to secure the fifth spot for his role in BlacKkKlansman over Ethan Hawke in First Reformed.
And The Oscar Goes To- Not to sound like a cliched Oscar speech but all of these performances are award worthy. Bale and Malek are probably the favorites and Oscar voters love non-fiction performances. Christian Bale won a Supporting Actor Oscar in 2011 for The Fighter but has never won the main prize. Figure that streak comes to an end.
The Nominees Are- The top three are fairly set in Glenn Close for The Wife, Olivia Colman for The Favourite and Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born. I think Oscar voters will reward Yalitza Aparicio’s subtle performance in Roma, leaving the fifth spot open for either Nicole Kidman for Destroyer or Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me? McCarthy seemed like a shoo-in early in the campaign but voters certainly love Kidman (she’s been nominated four times, winning once for The Hours).
And The Oscar Goes To- This is shaping up to be a three-way photo finish. Close has been nominated six times without winning. Gaga gives a top-notch performance in her first starring film role, something the Oscars loves to reward. And Colman seems to be having the time of her life on the Oscar campaign trail. The guess here is that the 7th time is the charm for Glenn Close for her exceptional performance.
Best Supporting Actor
The Nominees Are- So now it gets tricky. The sure bets look to be Mahershala Ali for Green Book, Sam Elliott for A Star Is Born and Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Sam Rockwell’s role as George W. Bush in Vice is certainly award-worthy and should make the final list and the pick here is that Adam Driver takes the final nod for his role in BlacKkKlansman over Michael B. Jordan for Black Panther and Timothee Chalamet for Beautiful Boy, though if there was any justice John C. Reilly would crack the top five for Stan and Ollie.
And The Oscar Goes To- Mahershala Ali is probably the favorite at this point in the race with Richard E. Grant also in contention. But ponder for a second that Sam Elliott’s first Hollywood role was 50 years ago in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, albeit in the not-terribly-memorable role of Card Player #2. During those five decades Elliott has never been nominated by the Academy. Never. If both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga get shut out of their respective acting categories, voters may want to reward the film in some fashion other than Best Song and what better way than to bring Oscar attendees to tears by bestowing an Oscar on a beloved industry treasure like Elliott.
Best Supporting Actress
The Nominees Are- Talk about a star-studded category. There’s a good chance that the names being read on the morning of January 22nd include some of the finest actresses in Hollywood today. Amy Adams is an Oscar darling and should be nominated for her role in Vice. Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk has to be included in the list of favorites in this category and she just won the Golden Globe. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz certainly deserve a nod for their roles in The Favourite. The last spot will probably go to Claire Foy for First Man but don’t rule out Margot Robbie for Mary Queen of Scots.
And The Oscar Goes To- Regina King gets a bookend partner for her Golden Globe.
The Nominees Are- Write down Alfonso Cuaron for Roma and Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born in pen, Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman in pencil and Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite and Peter Farrelly for Green Bookon an Etch-a-Sketch. Adam McKay for Vice and If Beale Street Could Talk‘s Barry Jenkins could each sneak in as well.
And The Oscar Goes To- Cuaron won in 2014 for his previous film, Gravity. That film did not win Best Picture, however, losing out to Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Could lightning strike twice with a win for the director but not for the film? Here’s thinking it will.
This article originally appeared on Forbes