The upcoming 2019 Academy Awards are already beginning to cause a stir, and film fans everywhere are beginning to compile lists of potential winners.

The prestigious event will take place on Monday 25 February 2019, and will celebrate the best films and figures of 2018. Although there’s still just under two months of methodical and exciting viewing ahead before the ceremony, people feel they have a pretty good prediction of nominees. Taking a guess at the Oscar front-runners can sometimes be tricky; however, voicing your favourites always comes naturally.

Although some of these choices won’t be considered on the night, this is an opportunity to platform some terrific talent and cinema. Obviously it would take a long time to put forward names for each category, so this piece will focus on the big four: Best Picture, Director, Leading Actor and Leading Actress. So, here it goes with Best Picture.

The likely winner is Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born, which many would agree is a fair champion. It was a terrifically performed highlight of 2018, and has pleased a very varied audience. However, it would be incredible – and of course, highly unlikely – to see the coveted award go to Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, which tells the story of Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke) wrestling with his faith and beliefs. Here, it was awarded number one of “the ten best films of 2018”, and for good reason. It acutely observes much of the injustice and despair of our modern society, and comments brilliantly on religion, grief, morality, extremism and loneliness. It should not be missed. 

Director Paul Kehr and Actor Ethan Hawke attend MoMA’s Contenders Screening of ‘First Reformed’ at MoMA Titus One on November 29, 2018 in New York City.

Best Director is a little tougher to predict. The two most likely contenders are Yorgos Lanthimos and Alfonso Cuarón, for their work on The Favourite and Roma respectively. These are championed works, and are likely to achieve awards recognition throughout the night. However, how wonderful it would be to see Panos Cosmatos take home the directing award. His second film Mandy stars Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough, telling a revenge-tale which delves into otherworldly realms of surrealism and extreme cinema. It is the kind of film which comes along all too rarely, and Cosmatos displays such skill and devotion at the helm.

Then, we have Best Actress. The contenders for the award this year are so impressive, with the likes of Lady Gaga, Olivia Colman, Glenn Close and Yalitza Aparicio all having a shot. When one looks over the releases of the year, it’s clear that all of these deserve a nomination, and many have even thrown in Toni Collette’s impressive Hereditary performance. Despite this, as of now it would be hard to disagree with many declaring Lady Gaga as the favourite. Her portrayal of Ally was phenomenal, and her chemistry with Cooper is undeniable. It’s such a touching and human performance, and one we’re likely to be discussing heavily on the 25 February. 

Actress Toni Collette attends the screening of ‘Hereditary’ hosted by A24 at Metrograph on June 5, 2018 in New York City.

Lastly for our main predictions we have Best Actor. Names which have come up are Rami Malek, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale, who have all fulfilled notable roles this year. It would be fair to put forward Ethan Hawke’s performance in First Reformed, and it is undeniably one of the most captivating of his entire career. Yet, it would be criminal not to acknowledge Matt Dillon’s stunning performance as serial-killer Jack, in Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built. The film has proved incredibly controversial – as expected – and critically the film proved more than divisive. Fortunately, those who expressed a distaste for the film admitted that Dillon’s portrayal was unforgettable. Humorous, disturbing, compelling, fascinating; he paints a vivid picture. There’s no chance he’ll be nominated, but he’ll surely be praised elsewhere.

It’s set to be an interesting evening, and hopefully some of these performances receive due acknowledgement. Who would you all like to see take home the top four awards? Comment below.

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