Oscar Predictions: Holidays, Short Lists, and a Surprise Film to Lead the Nominations

OSCAR CIRCUIT: As Hollywood begins their shutdown procedures for the holidays, screeners are being piled into a briefcase of sorts, private jets are being boarded, and Academy voters are prioritizing what they need to watch over the break.  When they return in the new year, the Producers Guild Awards nominations, along with the Golden Globes ceremony will commence right before voting opens on Jan. 7 until Jan. 14.

During this crucial week, Writers Guild, Directors Guild, BAFTA, Makeup Guild, Costume Designers, and the Critics Choice ceremony will all have an opportunity to impact voters’ decisions.  Dec. 17 saw the drop of multiple shortlists for several tech races, which indicate some strong support, and possible omissions coming our way when Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 22.

The Academy announced the finalists for Documentary Feature, Foreign Language, Visual Effects, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Original Song, and the three individual shorts categories: Animated, Live Action, and Documentary.

What was equally as surprising wasn’t just what was included or omitted, but just how predictable some of the races were, in particular, Foreign Language film.  Cutting down to just nine films, we tend to expect a “slaughter” of sorts, with big thought-to-be contenders missing out.  Most of, if not, all the usual suspects were present including “Never Look Away,” “Shoplifters,” “Capernaum,” “Roma,” “Cold War,” and “Burning.”  It can be argued that “Border” from NEON and “Girl” from Netflix were shocking eliminations, but in the case of the latter, it will still contend for a Makeup and Hairstyling nomination.  As we cut a large submission pool down this much, you can expect plenty of big films to fall out.  There was a push for films like “I Am Not a Witch,” “Woman at War,” and “The Wild Pear Tree,” that all ended up coming up short.

The Music branch has a big road ahead as they took 156 submitted scores and 90 songs, and trimmed them down to 15.  On the composer side, AwardsCircuit’s original predicted five all survived the cut while all the Golden Globe nominees translated as well.  Before precursors were handed out, it was expected to be a deathmatch between Nicholas Britell’s “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Justin Hurwitz’s “First Man” for the Oscar.  As time has elapsed, “Mary Poppins Returns” may have emerged as a favorite in this category with an outside shot for Terence Blanchard’s work on “BlacKkKlansman.”  The most unexpected inclusions included “Annihilation” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” While both deserved, it wasn’t expected to find its way to the bakeoff section.

When it came to the Original Songs, one Golden Globe nominee will sit this year out and its Annie Lennox’s “Requiem for a Private War” from Aviron Pictures’ “A Private War.”  Both “Mary Poppins Returns” numbers made the cut while just the sole submitted “Shallow” from “A Star is Born” still looks primely positioned for Oscars stage, leaving Lady Gaga to win her first Academy Award.  The numbers from “On the Basis of Sex,” “Free Solo,” “Hearts Beat Loud,” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” couldn’t muster enough support from the branch.  Instead, they chose to keep “Treasure” from “Beautiful Boy” and “The Big Unknown” from “Widows” for a while longer.

The Makeup and Hairstyling categories widdled down to 7 leaving the aforementioned “Border” alongside expected contenders “Black Panther,” “Stan & Ollie,” and “Vice.”  Admittedly afraid that will be left off, I was personally excited to see “Mary Queen of Scots” stuck around for the slaughter.  “Bohemian Rhapsody” continues its unexpected run towards major Oscar attention with a bakeoff mention while “Suspiria” might have more legs under it than we thought.  Some of the big “passovers” were “The Favourite,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” and “Deadpool 2,” whose predecessor famously missed here last time.

When it came to the Documentary Feature race, all the top contenders made the cut including “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” from Focus Features, “Minding the Gap” from Hulu, “Three Identical Strangers” from NEON, “RBG” from Magnolia Pictures, and “Free Solo” from National Geographic.  One of the more surprising things to come out of the announcement was that only one of Netflix’s submissions made the cut, “Shirkers.”  Missing the cut was “Quincy” and “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead” which received high praise during their festival and theatrical runs.  While the Mr. Rogers documentary has dominated the precursor conversation up until this point, there’s palpable support for films like “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” which won the Gotham and “Minding the Gap.”

Finally, when moving over to the Visual Effects category, ten films remain after being narrowed down to 20 a few weeks back.  The remaining films didn’t raise too many eyebrows although the inclusion of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” was disappointing to some considering films like “Aquaman” and “A Quiet Place” will now sit this one out.  AwardsCircuit’s top 5 predicted choices all made the cut and now the big question remains is will “Solo: A Star Wars Story” be the first “Star Wars” film not to get any Oscar nominations?  Considering Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” made the bakeoff in two categories, one wonders if it could pop up in a few spots on Oscar morning.

Down below, you can see the collective Oscar Predictions but if you’re looking for commentary and a full list ranking, go to The Circuit Hub for all your latest predictions and news.  Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Updated: 12/17/2018


  • Bohemian Rhapsody” (20th Century Fox)
    Jim Beach, Robert DeNiro, Graham King, Brian May, Peter Oberth
  • BlacKkKlansman” (Focus Features)
    Jason Blum, Spike Lee, Raymond Mansfield, Sean McKittrick, Jordan Peele, Shaun Redick
  • Black Panther” (Marvel)
    Kevin Feige
  • The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
    Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos, Lee Magiday
  • Green Book” (Universal Pictures)
    Jim Burke, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Charles B. Wessler
  • If Beale Street Could Talk” (Annapurna Pictures)
    Megan Ellison, Dede Gardner, Barry Jenkins, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski
  • Mary Poppins Returns” (Walt Disney Pictures)
    John DeLuca, Rob Marshall, Marc Platt
  • Roma” (Netflix)
    Nicolás Celis, Alfonso Cuarón, Gabriela Rodriguez
  • A Star is Born” (Warner Bros.)
    Bradley Cooper, Bill Gerber, Lynette Howell Taylor, Jon Peters, Todd Phillips


  • Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”)
  • Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”)
  • Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”)
  • Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”)


  • Christian Bale (“Vice”)
  • Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”)
  • Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)
  • Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”)
  • John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman”)


  • Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”)
  • Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
  • Glenn Close (“The Wife”)
  • Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”)
  • Lady Gaga (“A Star is Born”)


  • Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”)
  • Timothée Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”)
  • Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”)
  • Sam Elliott (“A Star is Born”)
  • Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)


  • Amy Adams (“Vice”)
  • Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
  • Margot Robbie (“Mary Queen of Scots”)
  • Emma Stone (“The Favourite”)
  • Rachel Weisz (“The Favourite”)


  • Eighth Grade” (Bo Burnham)
  • The Favourite” (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara)
  • Green Book” (Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly)
  • Roma” (Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Vice” (Adam McKay)


  • BlacKkKlansman” (Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott)
  • Black Panther” (Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole)
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty)
  • Leave No Trace” (Debra Granik, Anne Rossellini)
  • A Star is Born” (Will Fetters, Bradley Cooper, Eric Roth)


  • Incredibles 2” (Nicole Paradis Grindle, Brad Bird)
  • Isle of Dogs” (Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales, Scott Rudin)
  • Mirai” (Mamoru Hosoda)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet” (Phil Johnston, Rich Moore, Clark Spencer)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman)


  • BlacKkKlansman” (Curt Beech, Cathy T. Marshall)
  • Black Panther” (Hannah Beachler, Jay Hart)
  • The Favourite” (Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton)
  • Mary Poppins Returns” (John Myhre, Gordon Sim)
  • Mary Queen of Scots” (James Merifield, Gina Cromwell)


  • Black Panther” (Rachel Morrison)
  • The Favourite” (Robbie Ryan)
  • First Man” (Linus Sandgren)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk” (James Laxton)
  • Roma” (Alfonso Cuarón)


  • BlacKkKlansman” (Marci Rodgers)
  • Black Panther” (Ruth E. Carter)
  • The Favourite” (Sandy Powell)
  • Mary Poppins Returns” (Sandy Powell)
  • Mary Queen of Scots” (Alexandra Byrne)


  • BlacKkKlansman” (Barry Alexander Brown)
  • Black Panther” (Debbie Berman, Michael P. Shawver)
  • A Star is Born” (Jay Cassidy)
  • Roma” (Alfonso Cuarón, Adam Gough)
  • Vice” (Hank Corwin)


  • Black Panther” (Joel Harlow, Camille Friend, Ken Diaz)
  • Bohemian Rhapsody” (Jan Sewell, Charlie Hounslow-Smith, Rebecca Cole)
  • Border” (Goran Lundstrom, Pamela Goldammer)


  • Black Panther” (Steve Boeddecker, Brandon Proctor, Peter Devlin)
  • First Man” (Mary H. Ellis, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee)
  • Mary Poppins Returns” (Mike Prestwood Smith, Michael Keller, Simon Hayes)
  • Roma” (Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan, José Antonio García)
  • A Star is Born” (Steve Morrow, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder)


  • Black Panther” (Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker)
  • First Man” (Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan)
  • Mary Poppins Returns” (Renee Tondelli, Eugene Gearty)
  • A Quiet Place” (Ethan Van Der Ryn, Erik Aadahl)
  • A Star is Born” (Alan Robert Murray)


  • Avengers: Infinity War” (Dan Deleeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, Dan Sudick)
  • Black Panther” (Geoffrey Baumann, Jesse James Chisholm, Craig Hammack, Dan Sudick)
  • First Man” (Paul Lambert, J.D. Schwalm, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles)
  • Mary Poppins Returns” (Matt Johnson, Steve Warner, Jim Capobianco, Kyle McCulloch)
  • Ready Player One” (Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew Butler, David Shirk)


  • Black Panther” (Ludwig Göransson)
  • First Man” (Justin Hurwitz)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk” (Nicholas Britell)
  • Isle of Dogs” (Alexandre Desplat)
  • Mary Poppins Returns” (Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman)


  • “All the Stars” from “Black Panther” (Kendrick Lamar, Anthony Tiffith, Mark Spears, Solana Rowe, Al Schuckburgh)
  • “Revelation” from “Boy Erased” (Jon Thor Birgisson, Troye Sivan, Brett McLaughlin)
  • “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from “Mary Poppins Returns” (Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman)
  • “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” (Diane Warren)
  • “Shallow” from “A Star is Born” (Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt)


  • Crime + Punishment” (Stephen Maing, Ross Tuttle, Eric Daniel Metzgar)
  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening” (RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes, Su Kim)
  • Minding the Gap” (Bing Liu, Diane Quon)
  • Three Identical Strangers” (Tim Wardle)
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (Morgan Neville)


  • Burning” (SOUTH KOREA)
  • Capernaum” (LEBANON)
  • Cold War” (POLAND)
  • Roma” (MEXICO)
  • Shoplifters” (JAPAN)


  • Animal Behaviour
  • Bao
  • Bird Karma
  • Late Afternoon
  • Pépé le Morse


  • End Game
  • My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes
  • Period. End of Sentence
  • Zion


  • Caroline
  • Chuchotage
  • Detainment
  • Fauve
  • May Day


  1. “Black Panther” – 12
  2. “A Star is Born” – 10
  3. “The Favourite” – 9
  4. “Mary Poppins Returns” – 9
  5. “BlacKkKlansman” – 8
  6. “Roma” – 8

Be Sure To Check Out Our Official Oscar Predictions Page To See Where The Contenders Rank!

What do you think?


Written by Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.


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