Trophy Talk

Rotten Tomatoes Predicts the Oscar Winners

Win your office pool with our predictions for who will win (and should win) Sunday Night.

by | February 21, 2019 | Comments

Most of the awards pundits agree BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, Roma, and The Favourite are all serious threats in this still wide-open Best Picture race. But after careful consideration, we here at RT have narrowed down our picks for who will win – as well as who should win – in all 24 categories. We looked to our Awards Leaderboard and the Tomatometer for guidance, along with historical voting patterns, the state of the conversation right now, and insights from the Rotten Tomatoes staff — which is why our staff predictions in a couple of the categories differ from the recommendations in the video above. Don’t agree with our picks? Let us know in the comments.

Follow us on social all day Sunday, February 24th for reactions, and check back with Rotten Tomatoes after the ceremony to hear our take on memorable moments, and the biggest snubs and surprises.


Best Picture

Roma
(Photo by @ Netflix)

Who will Win?
Roma (2018) 96%

What should win?
The reigning champion of our Awards Leaderboard is also our pick to win it all. Everyone at RT agreed that Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical period piece deserved the honor. With high-profile Academy members like Steven Spielberg still criticizing the streaming giant for competing for an Academy Award, let alone winning one, a late-season shocker could happen, but our money is still on Cuarón’s masterpiece.


Best Actor

Bohemian Rhapsody
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

Who will win?
Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) 61%

Who should win?
After wins at the SAGs, BAFTAs, and Golden Globes, Rami Malek has run away with the season, despite the fact that Bohemian Rhapsody has the lowest Tomatometer score of any film nominated in the top five categories. The Mr. Robot actor’s turn as Queen’s late frontman Freddie Mercury has eclipsed early front runner Christian Bale’s performance as former Vice-President Dick Cheney. We do agree Bale should be the one to win on Sunday, but history and momentum tells us that’s not likely.


Best Actress

(Photo by Sony Pictures Classics)

Who will win?
Glenn Close – The Wife (2018) 85%

Who should win?
To paraphrase a quote from her fourth Oscar-nominated performance in Fatal Attraction: “Glenn Close is not gonna be ignored.” After a surprise win and moving speech at the Golden Globes in January, there has been nothing stopping Glenn Close on the road to her seventh Oscar nomination and likely her first win. Adding a SAG win for Lead Actress has helped her pull away from early favorite Lady Gaga, with whom she tied at the Critics Choice Awards. In our staff discussion, there was much praise for Gaga’s take on the role played by Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand, but we ultimately voted that Close also deserved to win, for her entire career (which we chronicled in a extended chat with her earlier this year) as much as for what she did in The Wife.


Best Supporting Actor

Green Book
(Photo by @ Universal Pictures)

Who will win?
Mahershala Ali – Green Book (2018) 78%

Who should win?
Firmly in the driver’s seat for the award season, Academy Awards winner Mahershala Ali is most likely going to win another golden statue. Green Book has had a bumpy road, but the nonsensical gaffes, Twitter apologies, and accusations of historical inaccuracy have had little effect on Ali’s Oscar chances. A clean sweep of the major awards (BAFTA, HFPA, Critics Choice, SAG) makes him our pick to win. In discussions, however, nearly our entire staff agreed that Richard E. Grant should be crowned instead. After 32 years as a working actor, Grant has melted our collective hearts with his childlike glee during the grueling campaign season. When we sat down with him last year to chat about the nomination, we noted how humbled he was to be in contention for his work in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and that just makes him all the more deserving.


Best Supporting Actress

If Beale Street Could Talk
(Photo by @ Annapurna Pictures)

Who will win?
Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) 95%

Who should win?
It is good to be the King. While at the Oscar nominee luncheon earlier this month, Regina King was noticeably popular among her fellow nominees. (The loudest applause breaks were for her and Mahershala Ali, as they walked to stage for the iconic Oscar class photo.) As Sharon in Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, she embodied the best of what a mother should be while simultaneously breaking our hearts with her tear-wrenching performance. The BAFTA and SAG snubs had us concerned, and there was more than a little love for Rachel Weisz in The Favourite among RT staff, but in the end, Regina is winning – as she should. And we have been saying as much since our interview last year.


Best Director

Roma
(Photo by Netflix)

Who will win?
Alfonso Cuarón – Roma (2018) 96%

Who should win?
Why did it take so long for the Academy to nominate Spike Lee for Best Director? We may never know. In the end, it was BlacKkKlansman, not Do The Right Thing or Malcolm X, for which the Brooklyn director finally got his due. Thought-provoking and hilarious, the 1970s-set buddy cop tale of a Black police officer infiltrating the KKK has provided Lee with his best reviews since Inside Man. Everyone at RT agreed Lee should’ve won long ago, and we’re glad to see him finally recognized in this category, but this year Alfonso Cuarón is winning for Roma, as he should, no question.


Best Original Screenplay

Atsushi Nishijima/Fox Seachlight Pictures
(Photo by Atsushi Nishijima/Fox Seachlight Pictures)

Who will win?
Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara – The Favourite (2018) 93%

Who should win?
In a surprise late-season surge, The Favourite emerged as our pick for Best Original Screenplay. Losing at the WGA Awards to Eighth Grade dampened the hopes of Oscar nominees Green Book, Roma, and Vice. As The Favourite was deemed ineligible by the WGA, a surprise win by Bo Burnham’s debut screenplay, effectively crowned Yorgos Lanthimos’ period dramedy as the one to beat. As far as who should win, RT staff agreed with the writers guild. We thought Eighth Grade should be vying for the Oscar – it should win – and we’re still heartbroken that it isn’t.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Focus Features
(Photo by Focus Features)

Who will win?
Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman (2018) 96%

Who should win?
We predicted Spike Lee would fall short of the Best Director Oscar, but the Academy is likely to make up for it here. For all the reasons we said earlier, Spike should get his long overdue Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. We also thought that it was a shame, however, because that meant Barry Jenkins would lose. We all agreed Spike will win but we were split 50-50 on who should between Jenkins or Lee.


Animated Feature

Sony Pictures Animation
(Photo by Sony Pictures Animation)

Who will win?
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) 97%

Who should win?
Another near-unanimous vote. We picked Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse as the best Animated film of 2018. It should win and we think it will.


Documentary Feature

National Geographic Documentary Films
(Photo by National Geographic Documentary Films)

Who will win?
Free Solo (2018) 99%

Who should win?
A staff viewing of Free Solo, the tale of an elite climber who attempts a “free climb” (no ropes or nets) on Yosemite’s El Capitan, sealed it for most of us. On pace to be the highest grossing documentary of the year, it’s our pick to walk home with a golden statuette. RBG has its fans in the Academy, but Free Solo is the kind of doc that leaves you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. That said, we are still stunned the Mr. Rogers biodoc Won’t You Be My Neighbor? failed to gain a nod. We still think it was the best doc from last year, and it’s our pick for what should win – despite the fact the Academy snubbed it.


Foreign Language

(Photo by Netflix)

Who will win?
Roma (2018) 96%

Who should win?
Roma. We are more certain of this win than Best Picture. Even if the Netflix naysayers win out in the Best Picture race, they have little chance of shaking Cuarón’s hold on this one.


Original Score

Annapurna Pictures
(Photo by Annapurna Pictures)

Who will win?
Nicholas Britell – If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) 95%

Who should win?
Justin Hurwitz’s snub for First Man left the door wide open for Nicholas Britell’s score, one we all agreed was haunting and brilliant. It should and will beat the others; including the Black Panther score, which also had its defenders among the RT staff.


Original Song

(L-R) BRADLEY COOPER as Jack and LADY GAGA as Ally in the drama "A STAR IS BORN," from Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Live Nation Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Who will win?
“Shallow” by  Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born (2018) 89%

Who should win?
“HAAA AH AH AH AAAH” We’re off the deep end, watch Gaga will win. There’s no chance she’s losing now!

In all seriousness, Laga Gaga has won every contest this year for her and Bradley Cooper’s mega-hit “Shallow.” Our only pick for A Star is Born is also the strongest pick we have on the ballot.


Sound Editing

Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount
(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount )

Who will win?
A Quiet Place (2018) 95%

Who should win?
With a premise that relied on silence — and the occasional interruption of that silence — A Quiet Place only worked as well as it did because of its top-notch sound editing, which was essential for heightening the terror of the horror hit. There was also a ton of love for First Man at RT, but the Academy has been fairly resounding in its rejection of the Neil Armstrong biopic. We agree it’s more technologically impressive and should win, but sadly won’t.


Sound Mixing

20th Century Fox
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

Who will win?
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) 61%

Who should win?
Our staff (all of whom can correctly describe the difference between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing) had to admit, what was done in Bohemian Rhapsody was exceptional. Taking home the top prizes at both the sound guilds early this month only further confirmed it as our pick for what will and should win.


Makeup and Hairstyling

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s VICE, an Annapurna Pictures release. Credit : Annapurna Pictures 2018 © Annapurna Pictures, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
(Photo by Annapurna Pictures)

Who will win?
Vice (2018) 66%

Who should win?
Like Gary Oldman last year in Darkest Hour, Christian Bale was unrecognizable as Dick Cheney in Vice – due in large part to the exceptional make-up. So, just as Darkest Hour won last year, we predict Vice will take it this year. We adored Border’s makeup as well and think it should win, but the modern-day ‘fairy-tale’ has little chance of beating Vice.


Costume Design

Yorgos Lanthimos / TM & copyright © Fox Searchlight Pictures
(Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos/Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Who will win?
The Favourite (2018) 93%

Who should win?
We will be the first to cheer if our pick for Best Costume Design is wrong, as we think Black Panther and Ruth E. Carter should win. But Sandy Powell is nominated twice for The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns. Couple that brag-worthy achievement with the Academy’s history of picking period costumes over fantasy, and The Favourite is the safer bet.


Cinematography

Netflix
(Photo by Netflix)

Who will win?
Roma (2018) 96%

Who should win?
Roma again. If a black-and-white movie feels rich and vibrant, it’s usually due to one thing: world-class cinematography. Roma will add to its accolades as the one that should and will win for Best Cinematography.


Production Design

Marvel Studios
(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Who will win?
Black Panther (2018) 97%

Who should win?
Our only pick for Black Panther comes in Production Design, as Hannah Beachler has swept the guilds and critics associations. The throne room in Wakanda alone puts her above all other contenders as the one to who should and will win.


Film Editing

Alex Bailey/20th Century Fox
(Photo by Alex Bailey/20th Century Fox)

Who will win?
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) 61%

Who should win?
We predict another win for Bohemian Rhapsody, which brings the unconventional Oscar contender’s total to three — the tight editing of its Live Aid sequence is unmatched. Though we agreed Spike Lee’s longtime editor, Barry Alexander Brown, who is enjoying his first nomination, should take home the prize, Bohemian Rhapsody is the hands-down favorite.


Visual Effects

Marvel Studios
(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Who will win?
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 85%

Who should win?
One day, we will be able to honor motion-capture performances with an Oscar. Until then, we’ll have to settle for a visual effects Oscar for what Josh Brolin did as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Avengers is taking it, as we think it should. It’s worth noting that the very influential Steven Spielberg helmed Ready Player One, and his pedigree may sway voters (plenty of our staff picked it), but the majority voted for the first part of the Russo brothers’ Marvel epic.


The Shorts

Netflix
(Photo by Netflix)

For this section we relied on the truly obsessive members of our staff who has seen all (or most of the shorts). These are their picks and likely your best bet if you haven’t seen any of them.

Documentary Short – Period. End of Sentence.

Short Film (Live Action) – Skin

Short Film (Animated) – Bao


The 91st annual Academy Awards will be presented Sunday, January 24, at 5:20pm PST / 8:20pm EST.

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