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

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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 Oscar night. 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)

Best picture

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


"Black Panther"

“Bohemian Rhapsody”


"A Star Is Born"

"Green Book"


"The Favourite"


Best director

Director Yorgos Lanthimos, left, with actors James Smith and Rachel Weisz on the set of "The Favourite."
Director Yorgos Lanthimos, left, with actors James Smith and Rachel Weisz on the set of “The Favourite.”
(Fox Searchlight via AP Photo)

“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


Alfonso Cuaron, "Roma"

Spike Lee, "BlacKkKlansman"

Yorgos Lanthimos, "The Favourite"

Paweł Pawlikowski, “Cold War”

Adam McKay, “Vice”

Lead actor

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

“Cooper is the front-runner, but it’s been 70 years since someone directed himself to an acting Oscar (Laurence Olivier in 'Hamlet'). Voters love overdue veterans like Mortensen.”

— Tom O’Neil


Bradley Cooper, "A Star is Born"

Viggo Mortensen, "Green Book"

Willem Dafoe, "At Eternity’s Gate"

Christian Bale, "Vice"

Rami Malek, "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Lead actress

Glenn Close as Joan and Jonathan Pryce as Joe in a scene from "The Wife."
Glenn Close as Joan and Jonathan Pryce as Joe in a scene from “The Wife.”
(Graeme Hunter / Sony Pictures Classics)

“Close is verging on the ultimate dubious honor of most nominated loser should she nab her seventh nomination. And with her film the least buzziest in this crop of stunning performances, it's not an unlikely outcome. ”

— Nicole Sperling


Melissa McCarthy, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"

Lady Gaga, "A Star Is Born"

Olivia Colman, "The Favourite"

Glenn Close, "The Wife"

Yalitza Aparicio, "Roma"

Supporting actor

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


Mahershala Ali, "Green Book"

Richard E. Grant, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"

Sam Elliott, "A Star Is Born"

Adam Driver, "BlacKkKlansman"

Sam Rockwell, "Vice"

Supporting actress

Emma Stone in the film "The Favourite."
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


Regina King, "If Beale Street Could Talk"

Emma Stone, "The Favourite"

Rachel Weisz, "The Favourite"

Amy Adams, "Vice"

Marina de Tavira, “Roma"

Adapted screenplay

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



"If Beale Street Could Talk"

"Can You Ever Forgive Me?"

"A Star Is Born"

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

Original screenplay

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



"The Favourite"

"First Reformed"

"Green Book"


Animated feature

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


"Incredibles 2"

"Ralph Breaks the Internet"

"Isle of Dogs"

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"



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.