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The 91st Academy Awards will be airing this Sunday on ABC. It will be interesting to see how many people tune in to Hollywood’s most prestigious awards show, as this may be the most talked-about Oscars in awhile due to a myriad of controversies. The Academy first found resistance from the masses when it announced they would be introducing a “Popular Film” category. After hiring comedian Kevin Hart as the host of this year’s event, they had to subsequently fire him when old homophobic jokes on his Twitter page resurfaced. With producers unable to find a replacement host, the show will go on without one. Finally, when the Academy decided to present some of the more technical awards during commercial break, they once again received backlash and will be airing the awards during regular airtime after all.

With award show ratings plummeting over the last few years, I have a feeling there might be an uptick in viewership. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

With all of that said, let’s get to predictions for the awards I think the general audience most cares about.

*Predictions will be based on previous awards won/nominated, general critical consensus, Rotten Tomatoes scores, Vegas betting odds, and my own opinions about the films.

Best Picture

When it comes to Best Picture, I am normally very confident in my prediction. But this year is different. Black Panther, the first superhero film to get a Best Picture nomination, has garnered a lot of support. Green Book took home the Golden Globe for best drama, but much of the story has been refuted by the family of its subject, Don Shirley. The critically-acclaimed and massive box-office hit A Star is Born has a great chance of winning, as well.

Prediction: I’m going with the Alfonso Cuaron masterpiece, Roma. It’s absolutely adored by critics and has the best odds to win. I think Netflix gets its first Best Picture win, opening up the possibility for more streaming service films to become Academy Award-winning films. (If Bohemian Rhapsody somehow pulls off an upset and wins, I will absolutely lose faith in the voters).

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Another tough category filled with powerhouse names like Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, and Willem Dafoe. Bale’s role as former vice president Dick Cheney in Vice might be the favorite, in my opinion, because of the voters’ penchant for awarding portrayals of historical figures. Viggo Mortensen's character in Green Book feels very stereotypical of a mid-60s Italian man, so I wouldn’t put my money on him.

Prediction: I really think this one comes down to Bradley Cooper and Rami Malek, but I’m going with the up-and-coming star, Malek. His performance was the only great thing Bohemian Rhapsody had to offer, so he gets my pick.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Three newcomers (Lady Gaga, Olivia Colman, Yalitza Aparicio) versus two well-known actresses (Glenn Close, Melissa McCarthy). Glenn Close took home the Golden Globe in this category about a month ago, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes away victorious again. Close received her seventh nomination for her role in The Wife (the film’s only nomination).

Prediction: I’m going with Glenn Close beating Gaga. Seven’s a lucky number, and I think the voters award Close with her first Oscar victory.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Sam Rockwell is back in this category after winning last year for his performance in Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri, along with two long-time actors (Richard E. Grant and Sam Elliot), and two rising stars in Adam Driver and Mahershala Ali. All of the actors in this category have a legitimate shot at talking home the prize, so for this one, I am very much interested to see who comes away with the honor.

Prediction: I’m going to go with Ali. Green Book’s story and overall message have been criticized over the last few months, but Ali’s performance has remained above it. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Grant or Elliot are rewarded for their roles.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz have tallied multiple nominations for their roles in The Favorite, and Amy Adams is already on her sixth Oscar nomination. But it’s first-time nominee Regina King who is currently the favorite for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk.

Prediction: There’s been a lot of discourse over If Beale Street Could Talk being snubbed by a lot of award shows this year, so I think the voters honor the film by giving Regina King a much-deserved victory in this category.

Best Achievement in Directing

Since I watch a lot of films based on who their director is, this is always my favorite category to watch. Alfonso Cuaron, Adam McKay (Vice), and Yorgos Latnthimos (The Favourite) have all been nominated before. Although Spike Lee has been nominated in different categories, it’s almost impossible to believe that this is his first Best Director nomination for his movie BlacKkKlansman.

Prediction: Alfonso Cuaron is the way to go on this one. Roma is already considered a masterclass in the art of filmmaking. Add another notch to the belt for streaming giant Netflix.

Best Animated Feature Film

I love this category for the sole reason that I believe animated films are truly underrated when it comes to award season. Being animated doesn’t mean they are only for kids. (Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.) Anyway, this category comes down to two films: Pixar’s Incredibles 2 and Sony’s surprise hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Prediction: Spiderman should win, as just about everything – animation, story, and characters – was phenomenal. It may even be one of the best superhero films I have ever seen. But I would never count out a Pixar film from taking home the gold, especially when Incredibles 2 lived up to the hype by grossing over $1.2 billion at the box office.

Well, those are the categories I feel most people will care/argue about (and the ones I will be paying attention to). What do you think of my predictions? Let me know how bad my predictions were by leaving a comment after the show has aired.

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