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Oscar Race Tighter Than Ever Before

I managed to correctly predict the Oscar winners for the four main categories last year: The Shape of Water for Best Picture, Guillermo del Toro for Director, Gary Oldman for Lead Actor, and Frances McDormand for Lead Actress. The predictions were based on a statistical model that I developed that uses information on factors associated with past winners (such as other Oscar nominations, total number of Oscar nominations, previous Oscar nominations/wins, Golden Globe wins, Guild wins). See my Oscar Prediction Website for further details of how the predictions are made.

My overall success rate over the last 13 years stands at 83%. Here are my nominations for this year.

Best Picture

There has never been such a tight race for the Best Picture Oscar. Four of the eight nominees have all-important Best Director nominations: The FavouriteViceRoma, and BlacKkKlansman, with 10, 8, 10, and 6 overall nominations, respectively. Producer’s Guild and Golden Globe (Musical or Comedy) wins for Green Book put this movie in the mix too. Any of these five have a reasonable chance of winning, with the statistical model putting The Favourite on top, barely. However, don’t rule out Golden Globe (Drama) winner, Bohemian Rhapsody, or even A Star Is Born or Black Panther with 8 and 7 overall nominations, respectively.

  • The Favourite – 22%
  • Green Book – 20%
  • Vice – 18%
  • Roma – 16%
  • BlacKkKlansman – 15%
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – 3%
  • A Star Is Born – 3%
  • Black Panther – 2%


Even if his movie doesn’t win Best Picture, it is very likely that the director (and writer and producer) of Roma, Alfonso Cuarón, will win the Best Director Oscar. He’s in a strong position as he’s already won the Director’s Guild and Golden Globe Director awards, and he has also been nominated before (winning for Gravity in 2013). Yorgos Lanthimos, Adam McKay, and Spike Lee have outside chances of winning, having directed Best Picture nominated films. Pawel Pawlikowski is a real long shot as his movie, Cold War, curiously hasn’t been nominated for Best Picture.

  • Alfonso Cuarón for Roma – 95%
  • Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite – 2%
  • Adam McKay for Vice – 2%
  • Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman – 2%
  • Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War – <1%

Actor in a Leading Role

Rami Malek has a very good chance of winning Best Actor in a Leading Role for his star-making performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. He’s already won the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe (Drama) Best Actor awards. Malek’s strongest competition comes from Christian Bale, who was previously nominated in this category for American Hustle (2013) and is the 2018 winner of the Golden Globe (Musical or Comedy) Best Actor award for his performance in Vice. Two-time nominees, Bradley Cooper and Viggo Mortensen, have a slim chance of causing an upset for their performances in A Star Is Born and Green Book, respectively. Willem Dafoe is also unlikely to win this year.

  • Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody – 92%
  • Christian Bale in Vice – 5%
  • Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born – 1%
  • Viggo Mortensen in Green Book – 1%
  • Willem Dafoe in At Eternity’s Gate – <1%

Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close scores high for Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe (Drama) awards for her performance in The Wife. She has received three previous nominations for Lead Actress but has never won: Fatal Attraction (1987), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), and Albert Nobbs (2011). She also had a remarkable run of three successive nominations for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 1982, 1983, and 1984, again failing to win. Her stiffest competition comes from Olivia Colman, who won the Lead Actress Golden Globe (Musical or Comedy) for her performance in The Favourite. Indigenous Mexican, Yalitza Aparicio, and global pop star, Lady Gaga, would be popular winners for the Best Picture nominated films Roma and A Star Is Born, respectively. Melissa McCarthy has a slim chance of causing an upset for her strong performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

  • Glenn Close in The Wife – 75%
  • Olivia Colman in The Favourite – 16%
  • Yalitza Aparicio in Roma – 4%
  • Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born – 4%
  • Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? – 2%

Oscar® and Academy Awards® are the trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This post is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Iain Pardoe is an online university instructor who enjoys the movies of Hayao Miyazaki even more than the kids and loves rewatching favourites from his youth with his family when he’s not playing soccer or skiing.