Staff Picks: Who Will/Should Win the Oscars

Updated: Feb 24, 2019

Best Picture

Who Will Win: Roma

Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma is slated to make history as the first foreign language film to ever pick up the Best Picture prize at the Academy Awards. Roma has already won major awards at many of this year’s other preeminent award shows, such as the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. The same can be said for Peter Farrelly’s Green Book. However, Green Book has been embroiled in several scandals since the film’s release, which makes it an unlikely choice for Best Picture. This, coupled with the fact that there are currently more members from outside of the United States in the Academy now more than ever, makes it likely that Roma will walk away with Best Picture. If Roma wins Best Picture, it will set another precedent — it will also be the first Netflix film to ever win the Academy’s highest honor, which will surely give more credence to streaming releases.

Who Should Win: A Star is Born

A Star is Born should absolutely win Best Picture. Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut was joyful and heart-wrenching — the kind of movie that makes you remember why you love film. The film succeeds in making a well-trodden territory feel epic and relatable. Though this is the fourth rendition of A Star is Born, Cooper’s reimagining of the film feels fresh and vital. I’m not alone in feeling this way — A Star is Born has been a fan favorite since its release in October — which speaks to the fact that there was something so wonderful about going to the movies to see such a traditional Hollywood film. That feels absent from the current cinematic landscape and it has for quite some time. A Star is Born allowed us all to shamelessly indulge in a tragic romance. This shouldn’t be discounted as frivolous! A Star is Born provided a welcome reprieve from our current uncertain political climate. It was — hands down — one of this year’s best loved films and, given the Academy’s concern about relevancy, it would be wise to select A Star is Born as Best Picture.

– Torinn

Best Animated Picture

Who Will Win: The Incredibles 2

The Incredibles 2 broke many box office records this year, and gained critical acclaim from many people. It is definitely the most popular and widely-viewed animated film of the year, and the Academy is typically biased towards Disney films. Furthermore, since Academy members seem to only vote based on which movie their kids liked the most in this category, and have gone on record saying they haven’t seen the foreign entries in past years, this is the most likely pick.

Who Should Win: Literally any other movie besides Wreck It Ralph 2

Disney/Pixar has been dominating the Best Animated Feature category ever since Finding Nemo won in 2003, and this category has only existed since 2001. There has been variation in terms of what has won in the past (most notably Spirited Away in 2002, the only foreign animated feature to have ever taken the prize), but no winner besides Spirited Away has been traditionally animated, or animated via stop-motion. This year, we have two contenders to break those trends: Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson’s beautifully-animated stop motion feature, and Mirai, which marks the first nomination for Japanese visionary Mamarou Hosoda. If either wins, then it could open the door for more types of animation to be recognized and win awards in the future. Furthermore, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is also a great candidate for winning because of its creative, innovative use of 3D technology, and the fact that it’s just a phenomenal film in general. If either The Incredibles 2 or Wreck-It Ralph 2 wins, then it will just repeat the cycle of Disney animated features dominating this category, which is unfair to those unaffiliated with the company. – Hannah

Best Director

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón

Alfonso Cuaron seems to be the frontrunner for his work directing Roma. If he wins, this will be his second time receiving the Oscar for Best Director. Roma is a visual masterpiece. Each frame is carefully composed with heartfelt detail, given that this is a story Cuarón brought to life based on his own childhood. Although the film is slow in the first half, Cuarón’s passion comes through and ensures that the emotional impact of the film is one of a kind.

Who Should Win: Spike Lee

Although I enjoyed Roma, I would love to see Spike Lee win the award for his direction of BlacKkKlansman. Surprisingly, this is Lee’s first Academy Award nomination for Best Director. He would be the first black filmmaker to win the category. BlacKkKlansman is truly an incredible film, and Lee deserves recognition for his work. Each performance is impactful and each scene is meaningful. Although Alfonso Cuarón has won throughout this awards season, Lee is my pick for this category. – Sydney

Best Actress

Who Will Win: Glenn Close

Since the Golden Globes, Glenn Close has been dominating the Best Actress category. The only exception is the Critics Choice Award, where Close tied with Lady Gaga. This of course was absolutely fake. How can an acting category, one of the biggest in the industry, score a tie? The only explanation I can think of is Gaga’s win that night was a pity award from Critics Choice. They thought she needed more love, considering how Gaga’s performance was more buzz-worthy than that of everyone else in the Best Actress category. As the Oscars is a fancy institution and THE awards show, the Academy Awards won’t fool around with any nonsense with ties and will probably vote for the actress who has been the critical darling this entire awards season, which is Close.

Who Should Win: Lady Gaga

I watched A Star is Born and was blown away by Lady Gaga’s performance. Once Close started nabbing awards, I thought, “Alright, Ms. Close, maybe you ARE better than Gaga.” So I watched The Wife during a flight back to Philadelphia and I was so… underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, Close is fantastic in The Wife, but Gaga’s role as Ally is a lot more complicated and demanding. Most importantly, Gaga could not be more unrecognizable as the make-up free, insecure, and, at times, quiet Ally. She could not be more out of her element, and yet delivered such a convincing performance. Even though I think Close is going to win, I hope to all the film gods that the Academy members wake the fuck up and give Gaga the award she more than deserves. – Soubie

Best Actor

Who Will Win: Rami Malek

Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek is certain to win Best Actor. Malek has already been honored at the Golden Globes, as well as the SAG and BAFTA awards. His compelling performance as Queen’s Freddie Mercury has enabled what is, otherwise, a completely mediocre film to successfully walk way with the Best Drama prize at the Golden Globes. Any sort of upset would be utterly shocking.

Who Should Win: Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper gives the best performance of his career as Jackson Maine in A Star is Born. Cooper’s portrayal of the alcoholic southern rock star was so beautiful and multidimensional that he made viewers root for Jackson, even in his ugliest moments. So many depictions of addicts are flat — portraying them as either solely victims of circumstance or mere monsters. But Cooper approaches Jackson with the tenderness and intelligence to make us not only understand why Ally loves him, but fall in love with him ourselves. In addition to this, Cooper completely altered his voice for the role. Not only did he deepen it and pick up a southern drawl, but he sang all of the song’s in the film live. This is especially significant given that Malek was only lip-synching in Bohemian Rhapsody. This is Cooper’s fourth acting nomination without a win at the Academy Awards and he has never deserved the prize more. I would love to see him walk away with a golden statue. – Torinn

Best Supporting Actress

Who Will Win: Regina King

Regina King took home the Golden Globe in this category, and has received many other accolades for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk. In fact, for all the film and critic societies that nominated or gave out awards to If Beale Street Could Talk, Regina King has consistently won, or been given high honors. Based on this, I think it’s safe to say she will win over the Academy too.

Who Should Win: Amy Adams

The fact that Amy Adams has not received an Oscar at this point of time is a disgrace, in my opinion. Her performance in Vice may not be her best role to date (I would argue her role as Louise Banks in Arrival was her best, and she didn’t even get a nomination for it), but her performance was more impressive than even Christian Bale’s in the film. She truly gives it her all in her portrayal of Lynne Cheney as a Lady MacBeth-style matriarch, and puts a unique twist on the “supportive wife character” seen in many biopics, which I think she should be recognized for. – Hannah

Best Supporting Actor

Who Will Win: Sam Rockwell

(Explained at the end)

Who Should Win: Adam Driver

Projecting who might win this category requires a bit of analysis of the related categories. Richard E. Grant is nominated for his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me, a film in which he starred alongside the beloved Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy was nominated against Lady Gaga, who likely will win the award. It would be a strange choice to not select McCarthy and instead give an Oscar to Grant. So he’s out. Mahershala Ali was my initial guess for this category. His movie, Green Book, touches on topics that the Academy knows it needs to actually start to recognize. And I think Ali would have been an easy pick for them, too, if there wasn't controversy surrounding his character. A Star is Born is a perfect movie, and one that many of us have seen more than once. Sam Elliott does a fantastic job of adding dimension to Bradley Cooper’s troubled past. Yet, he is overshadowed by Cooper and Gaga.

So: Adam Driver and Sam Rockwell. There’s a chance that the Academy will feel that they’ve done enough by bringing Black Panther into the mix, easily ignoring the black films that dominated the box office last year. Adam Driver, being connected to one such film, BlacKkKlansman, will likely be glossed over, but for no good reason except that Spike Lee will probably win the film’s only award for Best Director (it’s about time!). Driver gives a fantastic performance as Flip Zimmerman, Ron Stallworth’s (John David Washington) supportive colleague who helps him infiltrate the KKK. It’s one of Driver’s best roles yet. I would love for him to win. But he probably won’t. Sam Rockwell in Vice, then, is who I expect to win. As a charismatic George W. Bush, Rockwell consistently steals the show. He’s an uncontroversial pick, especially considering our collective amnesia about the controversies baked into the Bush presidency. He superbly assumes the role of President Bush -- well enough to win him the award. – Staci

©2018 by The Penn Moviegoer. Proudly created with