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Controversy, Shmontroversy: Here Are Our Predictions For the 91st Academy Awards

Unlike last year, when the Academy Awards didn't really stand out in the cascading waterfall of sewage what was the United States of 2017, this year's ceremony has been front and center in the public consciousness. Unfortunately, it's not the kind of attention the Academy was probably hoping for.

First, they offered Kevin Hart the host gig, then pulled it when people were all: is the guy on record as making homophobic slurs really someone we want representing an allegedly inclusive entertainment ceremony? Pretty crazy, I know. So after some uncertainty, Hart's officially out, and the Academy decided to go forward without a host at all.

In ordinary years, an Oscars host controversy alone would be enough, but there's nothing "ordinary" or "normal" or "sane" about 2019 America, so the Academy has gone all out, proposing a "Most Popular Film" category, declaring (and then reversing) that only two Best Original Song nominees would be performed live, and then stating that four awards would be presented during commercial breaks. This was also reversed after massive backlash.

Somewhere in this seemingly unending shitshow, Oscars will eventually have to be given out. What follows are my predictions for the 91st Academy Awards. Now it just remains to be seen if anyone can stay up the inevitable 4.5 hours it's going to take for the ceremony to play out.


Amy Adams - Vice
Marina de Tavira - Roma
Regina King - If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone - The Favourite
Rachel Weisz - The Favourite

Who Should Win? This is probably Roma's weakest case for an Oscar, and that's no knock on de Tavira. But as we're going to see in pretty much every acting category this year, there are at least two nominees that wouldn't be total surprises if they won.

Who Will Win? She's already got the Golden Globe and a slew of critics' awards, and with The Favourite splitting the vote, the edge goes to the excellent Regina King.

Who *Really* Wins? Amy Adams haters, who get to watch her go home empty-handed for the sixth time.


Mahershala Ali - Green Book
Adam Driver - BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott - A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant - Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell - Vice

Who Should Win? - Ali is such a versatile talent that it's hard not to root for him, even though Green Book is one of those movies we'll be putting in "Worst Best Picture" lists a year from now. But man, wasn't Grant fantastic in CYEFM? He was. It's not a question. Really the only nominees I'm confident eliminating are Driver and Rockwell, whose updated Zaphod Beeblebrox impression won't help him here.

Who Will Win? It's gotta be Mahershala Ali, right? He was clearly so confident in this win he decided to make Alita: Battle Angel his next movie.

Who *Really* Wins? Hollywood's eroding credibility, if this is the only award Green Book walks away with.


Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Who Should Win? I have a soft spot for Mirai, but it doesn't have a chance in hell, so I'm pulling for Into the Spider-Verse. Frankly, I'm good anything that isn't Isle of Dogs.

Who Will Win? I think Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse squeaks past Incredibles 2.

Who *Really* Wins? All of us. They could've nominated Sherlock Gnomes.


Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

Who Should Win? Cold War and Shoplifters are going to be largely forgotten once the Oscars are over, which is a shame, because both are memorable for vastly different reasons. Unfortunately . . .

Who Will Win? This is going to be only one of the many Oscars Roma wins.

Who *Really* Wins? I'll just be happy if even one more person decides to check out Shoplifters because of this.


“All The Stars” - Black Panther, Kendrick Lamar, SZA
“I’ll Fight” - RBG, Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” - Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
“Shallow” - A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” - The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Who Should Win? This is my biennial reminder that Diane Warren has now been nominated for an Academy Award 10 times and has yet to win. I don't really have a dog in this hunt, and RBG was pretty good, so let's go with "I'll Fight."

Who Will Win? But let's be serious, "Shallow"  is going to win this, and it's going to be the only Oscar for A Star is Born.

Who *Really* Wins? Her song won't win, but this is a vindication of sorts for all us Gillian Welch fans.


BlacKkKlansman - Terence Blanchard
Black Panther - Ludwig Goransson
If Beale Street Could Talk - Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs - Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns - Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Who Should Win? I know what shouldn't win: Mary Poppins Returns. How did this forgettable dreck get nominated for so many awards? You Lin Manuel maniacs are something else.

Who Will Win? I'm personally hoping Terence Blanchard wins for BlacKkKlansman, but momentum would appear to favor If Beale Street Could Talk. I can live with that.

Who *Really* Wins? Thomas Newman and James Newton Howard, who weren't nominated this year and thus won't have to watch someone else snake the statuette.


The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
BlacKkKlansman - Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
Can You Ever Forgive Me? - Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
If Beale Street Could Talk - Barry Jenkins
A Star Is Born - Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Who Should Win? I'm pretty sure the Academy doesn't have a statute of limitations when it comes to adaptations, but they should officially institute one so I don't have to watch any more versions of A Star is Born, or movies about Robin Hood.

Who Will Win? An early win for BlacKkKlansman would be cool if it heralded a sweep of Best Director and Best Picture for Spike Lee (it won't).

Who *Really* Wins? I just want to hear a Spike Lee Academy Award acceptance speech.


The Favourite - Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
First Reformed - Paul Schrader
Green Book - Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
Roma - Alfonso Cuarón
Vice - Adam McKay

Who Should Win? First Reformed writer/director Paul Schrader, who scripted Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Mishima, and Affliction (he also directed those last two), has never even been nominated for an Academy Award until now. I'm not in favor of so-called "lifetime achievement Oscars," but Jesus Christ, people.

Who Will Win? Sadly for Schrader, The Favourite looks like, well, the favorite. And I can't even be mad. It was fantastic.

Who *Really* Wins? Every Yorgos Lanthimos fan who made a loved one sit through The Lobster or The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Cough.


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

Who Should Win? I'm not discounting a Richard E. Grant upset, but it really looks like Can You Ever Forgive Me? is going to get completely frozen out. I think even Aparicio has better odds than McCarthy, and Roma is her film debut.

Who Will Win? Sorry, BAFTA winner Olivia Colman, but this is America, and for Glenn Close the seventh(!) Oscar nomination will be the charm.

Who *Really* Wins? Everyone looking forward to watching Bradley Cooper clap uncomfortably for three hours.


Christian Bale - Vice
Bradley Cooper - A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe - At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek - Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen - Green Book

Who Should Win? This is by far the weakest category. I'd call it "historically subpar," and that's just for leaving Ethan Hawke out. I think it'd be hilarious if Dafoe won this, but I like watching the world burn.

Who Will Win? I'm going with the contrarian take and saying Christian Bale — delivering an Academy-friendly combo breaker of portraying a historical figure and gaining a lot of weight — ekes this out over Malek. My gut tells me the backlash against Bohemian Rhapsody's Bryan Singer may have actual legs this time. Or maybe it's wishful thinking.

Who *Really* Wins? Opponents of nostalgia for 2nd worst President George W. Bush.


Spike Lee - BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski - Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos - The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón - Roma
Adam McKay - Vice

Who Should Win? It really doesn't matter who you're backing here (unless it's McKay, honestly), because the winner of this is as inevitable as the current pulling your children out to sea.

Who Will Win?
If you didn't get the hint, go watch Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, right now.

Who *Really* Wins? The audience, who gets to see how the Best Director presenter flubs "Pawlikowski" and "Lanthimos."


Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
A Star Is Born

Who Should Win? As long as it isn't Green Book or that Queen whitewash, or unless a wormhole opens in the space-time continuum and grants those nominations to Eighth Grade or Blindspotting, I'm good with whatever.

Who Will Win? But it's gonna be Roma.

Who *Really* Wins? If anything good has come from the farce of Bohemian Rhapsody  being nominated for Best Picture, at least it helped publicize the many reasons Bryan Singer needs to be launched into the sun. Now go watch Eighth Grade.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar