Can you really predict the Oscars?

Deemed the most prestigious awards in the film industry, the Academy Awards are hosted each year in a fancy theatre and televised for the world to see. Living in the UK, it is always a slight pain having to stay up until roughly 5am to catch all the glitz and glamour of my favourite awards show. Nonetheless, each year I book the Monday off work and do exactly that; grab the popcorn, the scoresheet and many coffees while I sit down to watch the show live.

It has become a tradition in my house that we make our predictions on an over-complicated scoresheet of my design and compete to see who knows the industry best. Of course, I am the reigning champion (not that I’m bragging) but this year is shaping up to be the most difficult to call.

Rotten Tomatoes have created their own Oscars Ballot this year making my terrible scoresheet obsolete. You can find it here. I’d highly recommend printing this ballot and making some guesses of your own. Let me know which nominees you’ve chosen and see if you can beat me. I’ll be putting my full choices on Twitter and Instagram if you want to challenge me (I’m @jordanduguid on Twitter and @jordan_duguid on Instagram… excuse the shameless plug)

Whether you’ve seen all of the nominated films or not (I’m ashamed at how few I’ve watched this year), the Oscars happens to mark the end of awards season and so we have many other awards ceremonies to research. With a bit of studying, we can attempt to calculate who will win the most coveted trophies in all of Hollywood. It’s still just guesswork, but for some reason I just love it. On to the predictions!

Best Supporting Actor

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

This is one of very few awards that I am 99.9% certain about. After sweeping the board at all of the major awards shows so far, Mahershala Ali is almost guaranteed to win the Academy award. I may not have made it out to see Green Book yet but going by his previous performances and his Oscar win for Moonlight, Ali is a phenomenal talent that deserves this win.

Best Supporting Actress

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

Best Supporting Actress is a strange race this year, with the other major awards shows confusing things quite a bit. Prior to awards season, Regina King was the definite front runner, which seemed to be cemented by her nominations and subsequent wins at the Golden Globes and the Critic’s Choice awards. However, when the SAG awards and BAFTAs came around, King wasn’t even nominated, with the BAFTA going to fellow Oscar nominee Rachel Weisz.
That being said, my bet is still going on Regina King as the Screen Actor’s Guild winner, Emily Blunt, isn’t even in contention for the Academy award.

Best Actor

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

Looking at the previous awards, and the buzz surrounding him, I’m pretty certain that Best Actor will go to Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody. He’s supposedly quite beloved within Hollywood, and his SAG win practically guarantees him the Oscar, mostly for the fact that a lot of the same people vote for both. He also bagged the BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Actor which boosts his chances even more as Hollywood likes to be seen to agree. The Critic’s Choice did go to Christian Bale, but the Academy doesn’t really care much for critics.

Best Actress

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

Currently holding the record for the actress with the most Oscar nominations without winning, Glenn Close is well overdue an Academy awards win. Her performance in The Wife is now her seventh nomination but having won at the Screen Actors Guild awards and Golden Globes (as well as the Critic’s Choice), Close is a shoo-in for Best Actress.

The only potential spanner in the works is Olivia Colman, who won at the BAFTAs and is currently much loved amongst Hollywood. However, I truly believe there would be uproar if Glenn Close doesn’t finally win.

Best Director

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

Another near guarantee, Alfonso Cuarón has taken home the Best Director trophy at all of the other major awards shows. The most important win is the Director’s Guild of America, voted for by many of the same people that vote at the Oscars, and Cuarón took that home.

Spike Lee has a very small chance here, being possibly the biggest household name of this year’s nominees, but with no other directing wins under his belt, this is pretty much a one-horse race.

Best Picture

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

Finally, we’re at the coveted Best Picture award. Annoyances aside (if they can nominate ten films, why only nominate eight?), this year is one of the most wide-open Oscar races I’ve known.

I’ve chosen Roma purely because it has won the most awards so far this season. There isn’t a direct award to compare it to within the Guilds, but looking at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Critic’s Choice, Roma has pocketed the most wins out of the nominees.

The biggest factor going against Roma, however, is that it was made by Netflix, and the Academy does not like the rise of streaming; fearing that it may cause the downfall of cinema as we know it. This could cause many voters to cast their votes elsewhere, and with the overcomplicated method by which the Best Picture votes are counted, Roma would need as many first-choice votes as it can get.

I feel that almost every nominee in this category has been ‘the frontrunner’ at one point or another (sorry BlacKkKlansman and Vice). Up until a few weeks ago, I would have pegged The Favourite as the next potential winner, and according to Iain Pardoe*, it still is the statistical frontrunner, possibly because of its wins at the BAFTAs (for Outstanding British Film) and the Critic’s Choice awards (for Acting Ensemble).

With that being said, I now believe that if Roma doesn’t win, the trophy will go to Green Book. It may have only won the Golden Globe (for Best Musical or Comedy for some reason), but the buzz surrounding the film and Mahershala Ali’s performance seems to be picking up steam again, despite some controversy earlier in the year.

There is still a (very small) chance that Black Panther could win following its win for Best Ensemble Cast at the SAG awards. Its chances are very small, and I think there would be a strange mix of joy, outrage and confusion from audiences if it did win, but it sure would be monumental.

One final factor that I usually look at (clearly having too much time on my hands) is Google Trends. It’s not as big of an indication of the winner, but it is interesting to see where the searches and conversations lie online as we get closer to the ceremony. If you don’t know, Google Trends uses online searches (and probably its other products) to analyse the level of interest in whatever term you enter. I usually check the highs and lows over the past year, always seeing an increase around nominations and awards, but mainly looking for which films pick up the most interest towards the Oscars air date. With that overly long explanation in mind, this year it looks like both Green Book and Roma are picking up the most interest at the moment, with Roma’s trajectory jumping up ever so slightly more.

Ultimately, I’ve decided to stick with Roma for my pick, but I am fully prepared to be wrong on the night.

*Iain Pardoe is an amazing mathematician who, each year, runs an incredible statistical analysis to predict the Oscar winners. You can find out more at his website.

A couple of others just for fun

There are some nominations that are practically guaranteed to win, no research or analysis required.

Best Animated Feature FilmSpider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

It was genuinely the best animated film of last year, and possibly of many years prior. If it doesn’t win, I will personally write a strongly worded letter to the academy – and then never post it because airmail is expensive!

Best Original SongShallow from A Star Is Born

They need to give Lady Gaga something to stay in her good books. Plus, it’s a genuinely good song.

Best Makeup and HairstylingVice

Where there are prosthetics, there’s an award.

Best Original ScoreBlack Panther

With the huge success of Black Panther, they will need to give the film at least one award, and I feel like this will be its pity Oscar.

If you’re in the UK, you can catch the Oscars live on Sky Cinema Oscars starting at 1am on Monday 25th February. If you want to catch the stars walking the red carpet, you’ll have to tune in at 11:30pm on Sunday night. It’ll be a late night/early morning for us Brits watching the show live, so make sure you’ve got plenty of coffee and snacks to keep you going.