By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
Nov 27, 2018 @ 11:30 am
Warner Brothers

While most people are prepping for the holidays this time of year, chillier temps and the close of 2018 also indicate another approaching event: awards season, particularly the Oscars.

The Oscars, otherwise known as the Academy Awards, are a group of 24 awards given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for artistic and technical accomplishment across acting, cinematography, and costume design (among others). The first Academy Awards was held on May 16, 1929 at the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and 2019 will mark the 91st year of one of Hollywood’s biggest nights.

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Which means one thing: Everyone is starting to work on their Oscars 2019 predictions, including who will come home with a win in 2019 in each of the more well-known categories, such as Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Curious about which box-office contenders are in the running to win? Here are the expert predictions, as well as a bit of information about who might be on the other end when they announce, “And the winner is …”

Warner Brothers

Best Picture

The general consensus seems to be that you will definitely see Bradley Cooper's directorial debut, A Star Is Born, in this category. Not only has the movie and its actors — Lady Gaga and Cooper amongst them — received high praise, but Entertainment Weekly points out that it also offers something that the industry loves: a story about, well, the industry.

You can also count on seeing Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic, First Man, in the mix. In fact, Forbes put it at the top of its list, saying: “The picture is about as can't-miss as a Hollywood studio has come up with recently.”

Other contenders include Spike Lee's BlackkKlansman, Beautiful Boy from Brad Pitt's Plan B studio, Adam McKay's Vice, and The Front Runner, from director Jason Reitman. You might also see nominations for Black Panther, Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk, Roma, and Green Book.

Predicted winner:

  • First Man

Possible contenders:

  • A Star is Born
  • BlackkKlansman
  • Beautiful Boy
  • The Front Runner
  • Black Panther
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Roma
  • Green Book
Daniel McFadden/Universal Studios

Best Director

Again, you’re bound to find Damien Chazelle as a top choice in this category for First Man. Vulture reported that Alfonso Cuarón for Roma, Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk, Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman, and Steve McQueen for Widows are also contenders. “With Chazelle, Cuarón, Jenkins, and McQueen, you could fill nearly the whole directing slate with filmmakers who have either won Best Director or directed Best Picture winners in the past five years,” Vulture noted.

While it’s tough for newcomers to break into this category, Bradley Cooper might just earn a spot for A Star Is Born. Rolling Stone said, “the actor-turned-
director’s defiantly fresh approach allows A Star Is Born to emerge as a skyrocket of soul-stirring music, drama and heartbreak … The Oscar race has now officially begun.”

Two others to watch in this category: Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite and Peter Farrelly for Green Book.

Predicted winner:

  • Damien Chazelle – First Man

Possible contenders:

  • Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
  • Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
  • Steve McQueen – Widows
  • Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
  • Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite
  • Peter Farrelly – Green Book
Daniel McFadden/Universal Studios

Best Actor

Early favorites in this category appear to be Christian Bale for Vice, Ryan Gosling for First Man, and Robert Redford for The Old Man & the Gun, according to Forbes. Bradley Cooper might see a nomination for A Star Is Born, as could Ethan Hawke for his role as a reverend in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed.

Steve Carell is also getting buzz for his role in Beautiful Boy. In fact, CNN noted that, “the movie plays as an awards-bait-y showcase for Carell, again amply demonstrating his chops as a dramatic actor.” Carell was nominated in the best actor category in 2015 for his role in Foxcatcher.

Also meriting praise and predictions: Rami Malek for his role as Queen’s Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, John David Washington for BlacKkKlansman, Hugh Jackman for Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner, and Lucas Hedges for Boy Erased, a movie about two religious parents (Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman) who send their son (Hedges) to a gay conversion camp.

Predicted winner:

  • Christian Bale – Vice

Possible contenders:

  • Ryan Gosling – First Man
  • Robert Redford – The Old Man & the Gun
  • Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born
  • Ethan Hawke – First Reformed
  • Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • John David Washington – BlacKkKlansman
  • Hugh Jackman – The Front Runner
  • Lucas Hedges – Boy Erased
Twentieth Century Fox

Best Actress

Glenn Close (The Wife), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Viola Davis (Widows), and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born) are also likely contenders in this category. Forbes said that while they couldn’t nail down just one standout actress, Lady Gaga, “would appear to be the one sure thing in this category.”

McCarthy emerges in this category with a dramatic role, a turn from her usual comedic parts, including her role in Bridesmaids that earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination in 2012. The New York Times called her Can You Ever Forgive Me? role, “criminally good, making it a definite possibility as a contender.

Entertainment Weekly said another one to watch in this category is Nicole Kidman for her role in Destroyer. Parade also weighed in on Kidman’s performance as Erin Bell, writing: “Nicole Kidman is getting heavy Best Actress Oscar buzz for her portrayal of an undercover cop infiltrating her way through the ranks of a gang that destroyed her past.” Kidman won the Best Actress category in 2002 for her role in The Hours.

USA Today pointed to Carey Mulligan for her role as Jeanette in Wildlife, calling her a, “dark-horse contender to earn her second Oscar best actress nomination for the role.” Mulligan was nominated in 2009 for an Academy Award for her role in An Education.

Or perhaps Toni Colette could buck the Oscars' prejudice against genre films and be honored for her hair-raising performance in Ari Aster's intense horror flick Hereditary.

Predicted winner:

  • Lady Gaga – A Star is Born

Possible contenders:

  • Glenn Close – The Wife
  • Viola Davis – Widows
  • Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Nicole Kidman – Destroyer
  • Carey Mulligan – Wildlife
  • Toni Colette – Hereditary
Francois Duhamel/Amazon Studios

Best Supporting Actor

Vulture’s Nate Jones says Sam Elliot is a top choice for his role as Bobby Maine, the manager and older brother to Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine, in A Star Is Born. He even said he “could see a lifetime-achievement narrative emerging for the never-nominated actor.”

SPIN noted of Elliott’s performance: “The outsized tragic gusto Elliott brings to the role makes him essential to A Star Is Born’s emotional charge.”

Also a top contender in the Best Supporting Actor Category is Timothée Chalamet for his role as a drug-addicted teen in Beautiful Boy, as well as Russell Crowe for Boy Erased, Richard E. Grant for Fox Searchlight’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Adam Driver for BlacKkKlansman, and Michael B. Jordan for Black Panther.

Meanwhile, Oscar winner Mahershala Ali is getting praise for his role in Farrelly’s Green Book. Ali won the 2017 Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Moonlight.

Predicted winner:

  • Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born

Possible contenders:

  • Timothée Chalamet – Beautiful Boy
  • Russell Crowe – Boy Erased
  • Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman
  • Michael B Jordan – Black Panther
  • Mahershala Ali – Green Book
Tatum Mangus / Annapurna Pictures

Best Supporting Actress

You’re bound to see more nominations from First Man and If Beale Street Could Talk in this category with nods going to Claire Foy and Regina King, respectively. Chazelle told Rolling Stone of Foy as his choice for First Man: “I believe she can do anything. She has that Meryl Streep thing. She’s a true chameleon.”

Other top contenders in this category are Amy Adams, who plays Lynne Cheney in Vice, Margot Robbie for her role as Elizabeth in Queen of Scots, and Amy Ryan, who plays Vicki, the ex-wife of Steve Carrell’s David in Beautiful Boy.

Don’t be surprised if you also find Nicole Kidman in this category. She’s being praised for her role as Nancy Eamons in Boy Erased. USA Today called Kidman “fascinating to watch of late,” noting her multiple movie performances, as well as an award-winning role as Celeste Wright, a domestic abuse survivor in HBO's Big Little Lies.

Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are getting nods as well, both for their roles in Yorgos Lanthimos’ historical period film about Queen Anne (played by Olivia Colman), The Favourite.

And speaking of Meryl Streep: She’s starring in Mary Poppins Returns later this year and, well, it’s Meryl so you just never know.

Predicted winner:

  • Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk

Most likely contenders:

  • Claire Foy – First Man
  • Nicole Kidman – Boy Erased
  • Amy Adams – Vice
  • Amy Ryan – Beautiful Boy
  • Margot Robbie – Queen of Scots
  • Emma Stone – The Favourite
  • Rachel Weisz – The Favourite
  • Meryl Streep – Mary Poppins Returns