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From 'A Star Is Born' to 'Roma': The 2019 Oscars Buzzmeter

From 'A Star Is Born' to 'Roma': The 2019 Oscars Buzzmeter
"A Star Is Born," "Green Book," "Roma" and "Black Panther" are in the hunt for accolades this awards season. (Warner Bros. | Universal Pictures | Carlos Somonte | Disney/Marvel Studios)

It’s officially out with the summer blockbusters and in with the prestige entries as awards season gets underway. But — to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ relief no doubt — there are actually several big box office performers in the hunt for Oscar gold this year, with Marvel’s “Black Panther” and Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut “A Star Is Born” leading the way.

But can they ride waves of ticket sales to the ultimate prize of best picture? Or will a more traditional drama crash the party? From now until the 91st Academy Awards, six of the most qualified Oscar pundits, film writers and critics will predict which of the contending movies and performers will come out on top at this year's Oscar nominations on Jan. 22. The winners won’t be revealed until Feb. 24, so check back often to see who’s up and who’s down on the Buzzmeter.

Our panelists:

Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Nicole Sperling (Vanity Fair), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Glenn Whipp (The Envelope), Justin Chang (L.A. Times), Kenneth Turan (L.A. Times)

Here are their picks in the key categories, with the top vote-getters highlighted in red:

Best picture | "Black Panther," "Green Book," "Roma," "A Star Is Born"

FILM-BLACKPANTHER
Chadwick Boseman in "Black Panther." Marvel Studios

“The studios have the strongest slate of Oscar contenders in recent memory, from genre-bending Marvel movie ‘Black Panther’ and fall hit musical ‘A Star Is Born’ to Toronto audience award-winner ‘Green Book,’ even if Netflix is testing its Oscar clout with Alfonso Cuaron's groundbreaking black-and-white Mexican Oscar entry ‘Roma.’”

— Anne Thompson

Critics' Picks

"Black Panther": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"Roma": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"A Star Is Born": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"Green Book": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"BlacKkKlansman": Chang, O’Neil, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"The Favourite": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Whipp

"If Beale Street Could Talk": Chang, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"First Man": Chang, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"Vice": O’Neil, Sperling, Turan, Whipp

"Eighth Grade": Sperling, Whipp

"Can You Ever Forgive Me?": Sperling, Thompson

"Leave No Trace": Thompson, Turan

"Mary Poppins Returns": O’Neil, Sperling

"First Reformed": O’Neil

"Widows": Turan


Best director | Alfonso Cuaron, Bradley Cooper, Spike Lee

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper in a scene from the movie "A Star is Born." Clay Enos / Warner Bros. Pictures

“Despite the sure-footed direction by female filmmakers such as Marielle Heller, Chloe Zhao and Debra Granik, this year's crop of directors will likely once again be all male. Still, this eclectic bunch turned out impressive, recognition-deserving work this year so we can't be too mad. ”

— Nicole Sperling

Critics' Picks

Alfonso Cuaron, "Roma": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Bradley Cooper, "A Star Is Born": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan

Spike Lee, "BlacKkKlansman": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Yorgos Lanthimos, "The Favourite": Chang, Sperling, Thompson, Whipp

Ryan Coogler, "Black Panther": Chang, Sperling, Thompson, Turan

Damien Chazelle, "First Man": O’Neil, Turan

Barry Jenkins, "If Beale Street Could Talk": Whipp

Steve McQueen, "Widows": Whipp

Peter Farrelly, "Green Book": O’Neil


Lead actor | Bradley Cooper, Viggo Mortensen

Green Book
Mahershala Ali, left, and Viggo Mortensen in the period drama "Green Book." Patti Perret / Universal Pictures

“Bradley is considered to be the frontrunner, but it’s been 70 years since anyone directed themselves in an Oscar-winning performance (Laurence Olivier in ‘Hamlet’). Beware: Voters love to hail overdue veterans like Viggo, especially when they undergo physical transformations. (He gained 40 pounds for the role.).”

— Tom O’Neil

Critics' Picks

Bradley Cooper, "A Star is Born": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Viggo Mortensen, "Green Book": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Whipp

Willem Dafoe, "At Eternity’s Gate": Chang, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Ryan Gosling, "First Man": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson

Christian Bale, "Vice": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Turan,

Ethan Hawke, "First Reformed": Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Robert Redford, "The Old Man and the Gun": Sperling, Turan

John David Washington, "BlacKkKlansman": Whipp

Rami Malek, "Bohemian Rhapsody": O’Neil


Lead actress | Melissa McCarthy, Lady Gaga, Olivia Colman, Glenn Close

© Meta Film London ltd
Glenn Close as Joan and Jonathan Pryce as Joe in a scene from "The Wife." Graeme Hunter / Sony Pictures Classics

“Our cup runneth over with choices for lead actress. So many tremendous performances, so little time.”

— Nicole Sperling

Critics' Picks

Melissa McCarthy, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Lady Gaga, "A Star Is Born": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Olivia Colman, "The Favourite": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Whipp

Glenn Close, "The Wife": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Turan, Whipp

Viola Davis, "Widows": Chang, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Yalitza Aparicio, "Roma": Sperling, Thompson

Julia Roberts, "Ben Is Back": O’Neil

Rosamund Pike, "A Private War": Turan


Supporting actor | Mahershala Ali, Richard E. Grant, Sam Elliott

Richard Grant
Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in the film "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" Mary Cybulski / 20th Century Fox Film Corp.

“Can veterans Elliott and Grant both make the cut?”

— Kenneth Turan

Critics' Picks

Mahershala Ali, "Green Book": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Richard E. Grant, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Turan, Whipp

Sam Elliott, "A Star Is Born": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan

Timothee Chalamet, "Beautiful Boy": Thompson, O’Neil, Turan, Whipp

Michael B. Jordan, "Black Panther": Chang, Sperling, Thompson

Russell Hornsby, "The Hate U Give": Sperling, Thompson

Adam Driver, "BlacKkKlansman": Turan, Whipp

Brian Tyree Henry, "If Beale Street Could Talk": Whipp

Sam Rockwell, "Vice": O’Neil

Steven Yeun, "Burning": Chang


Supporting actress | Emma Stone, Regina King

Emma Stone
Emma Stone in the film "The Favourite." Yorgos Lanthimos / 20th Century Fox Film Corp.

“Fox Searchlight’s strategy of placing Stone and Weisz in supporting will pay off big with nominations for them and costar Colman.”

— Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

Regina King, "If Beale Street Could Talk": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Emma Stone, "The Favourite": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

Rachel Weisz, "The Favourite": O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Whipp

Amy Adams, "Vice": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling

Elizabeth Debicki, "Widows": Chang, Sperling, Whipp

Claire Foy, "First Man": Thompson, Turan

Nicole Kidman, "Boy Erased": O’Neil, Turan, Whipp

Lupita Nyong’o, "Black Panther": Thompson

Michelle Yeoh, “Crazy Rich Asians": Chang

Sissy Spacek, "The Old Man and the Gun": Turan


Adapted screenplay | “BlacKkKlansman,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Spike Lee
From left to right, director Spike Lee, actors Topher Grace and Adam Driver on the set of "BlacKkKlansman." David Lee / Focus Features

“Spike Lee could pull off a Charlie Chaplin and win his first Oscar soon after receiving an honorary one, which was bestowed in part to make up for all those past slaps.”

— Tom O’Neil

Critics' Picks

"BlacKkKlansman": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"If Beale Street Could Talk": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"Can You Ever Forgive Me?": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"A Star Is Born": Chang, Sperling, Thompson

"Widows": Chang, Whipp

"Leave No Trace": Thompson

"The Front Runner": Turan

"Wildlife": Turan

"Burning": Whipp

"First Man": Sperling

"Boy Erased": O’Neil

"The Death of Stalin": O’Neil


Original screenplay | “Roma,” “The Favourite”

ROMA
Filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron on the set of "Roma." Carlos Somonte / Netflix

“I expect ‘Roma’ to be the first non-English-language film since ‘Amour’ to earn picture, directing and writing nominations.”

— Justin Chang

Critics' Picks

"Roma": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"The Favourite": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"First Reformed": Chang, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"Green Book": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson

"Vice": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Turan

"Eighth Grade": Sperling, Thompson, Whipp

"Cold War": O’Neil, Turan, Whipp


Animated feature | “Incredibles 2,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “Isle of Dogs”

incredibles 2
A scene from "Incredibles 2." Disney Pixar

“It’s often Pixar vs. Disney in this race as two mighty sequels go head to head; Wes Anderson’s artfully stylized stop-motion ‘Isle of Dogs’ is nipping at their heels, along with Mamoru Hosoda’s family fantasy ‘Mirai.’ ”

— Anne Thompson

Critics' Picks

"Incredibles 2": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"Ralph Breaks the Internet": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"Isle of Dogs": Chang, O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Turan, Whipp

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse": O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Whipp

"Mirai": O’Neil, Sperling, Thompson, Whipp

"Big Fish and Begonia": Chang, Turan

"Early Man": Chang, Turan


UPDATES:

8:35 a.m.: This article was updated with each critic’s picks for best picture.

This article was originally published at 2 a.m.

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