The 91st Oscars take place Feb. 24, and it’s already set to be an unusual show, from the lack of a host after Kevin Hart was ousted after his anti-LGBT tweets resurfaced, to four awards being presented during commercial breaks. But this year, the Oscars are also trying to appeal to a wider audience after repeated years of controversy and declining viewership. With that in mind, here are my picks for some of the more significant awards honoring best in film this past year.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Who will win: Mary Queen of Scots
Who should win: Vice
Even the poster for Mary Queen of Scots screams “Oscar bait.” Though not receiving many nominations, the film will likely receive honors for its effort in makeup. Vice is a close second place for flawlessly transforming Sam Rockwell and Christian Bale into George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, respectively. Although Vice may steal it, it doesn’t feel quite as likely.
Best Costume Design
Who will win: Black Panther
Who should win: Black Panther
In the past, historically accurate costumes have been honored. Movies like Mary Queen of Scots and The Favourite make this year’s costume design race one of the most competitive categories. The truth is that Black Panther’s costumes fed into the story seamlessly while still standing out amongst the movie’s many achievements. They’re simultaneously high-tech and ancient, immediately evoking the rich cultural history of a completely fictional country.
Who will win: Roma
Who should win: Roma
The biggest snub this year will be the cinematography award — not due to who will win, but because the award will be presented during a commercial break. Cinematography is central to creating a film’s tone; it’s the main device used to tell a visual story. It’s a serious tragedy it will not be shown to wider audiences during the broadcast.
That said, Roma has some truly beautiful camera work from Alfonso Cuarón, who also directed the film. The framing combined with the long takes make Roma the clear winner. The only possible sleeper would be Cold War, but rest assured, the Academy is honoring a black-and-white film this year.
Best Original Song
Who will win: “Shallow” from A Star is Born
Who should win: “Shallow” from A Star is Born
This category is usually more exciting. While there may be better songs nominated this year, the Oscars tend to honor a song with a cultural impact beyond the movie itself. No other song nominated became as popular as “Shallow.” The song will be the only win for A Star is Born this year.
Best Animated Feature Film
Who will win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Who should win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
This one is pretty cut and dry. There were a lot of great animated films this year, but Into the Spider-Verse explored the animated medium in a way that I haven’t seen a movie do in years. It’s entertaining, emotional, honest, hilarious and — most importantly for this category — a pleasure to look at.
Best Production Design
Who will win: Black Panther
Who should win: The Favourite
Black Panther likely won’t win Best Picture, but the Oscars are going to honor the film in as many ways as they can. Unfortunately, a little overuse of green screen made parts of the movie less visually pleasing. The Favourite had stunning production design linked to its setting, making it the deserving winner.
Best Visual Effects
Who will win: Avengers: Infinity War
Who should win: Avengers: Infinity War
The rendering of Thanos was a huge achievement. Josh Brolin’s motion capture performance was really brought to life in the film. Though imperfect, the effort showed and a mo-cap performance rarely looks so good. The Oscars failed to honor the Planet of the Apes series for their achievements in motion capture, so hopefully this year will change. Truth be told, a lot of films could win this category. I won’t be upset unless Ready Player One wins.
Some of these are big, exciting awards, but most aren’t exactly the biggest awards of the season. Next week I’ll have a deeper look into who will — and should — win the major awards like acting, directing, and yes, Best Picture.