A Psychologist’s Oscar Predictions for 2019

Feel free to borrow these predictions for office pools.


The Oscar telecast is this weekend and it’s without a host for the first time in 30 years.

The last time that happened, Rob Lowe ended up singing with Snow White and none of us have fully recovered to this day. Between the hostless Oscars, the poor handling of their myriad controversies, and the relatively flat slate of films, I’m probably looking forward to this year’s ceremony less than ever before.

But that won’t stop me from making my foolish predictions once again.

Feel free to borrow these predictions for office pools. I have a better-than-average track record, so copy away.  Unlike more recent years, this year I’m going to give you predictions for all 24 categories. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it will make the night more fun, like a four-hour Bingo game.

The psychology of predicting stuff is pretty straightforward: we all like to be right and predicting things in advance demonstrates we have some specialized knowledge. We all know that’s baloney, though, especially if you’ve ever done an NCAA bracket where your mom picked better than you based on the uniform colors.

Still, it’s fun to think our knowledge or insights helped us pick well.

For a few of these Oscar categories, I’ll have a runner-up pick, but for most, I just make a definitive prediction. Here goes, starting with the biggie, Best Picture.

This is a really tricky one because most critics believe Roma was the best picture of the year, but it debuted on Netflix (as well as some art house theaters for Oscar consideration), so for the Academy to give it to Roma is an acknowledgment that streaming services are actually legit ways to open a movie. That would be a philosophical sea change for them.

However, Green Book, the presumptive runner-up and crowd pleaser, has been mired with controversy about the stories point of view (white guy talking about racism) and the director (behaving badly on earlier movie sets), so who knows. That one could take all kinds of funny turns.

Wouldn’t it be wild if Black Panther snuck in there and won?

I’ll stick with my gut and say they’ll go with the film most are saying is the best of the year. Here are all the picks for this year’s Oscars:

Best PictureRoma, but don’t be too surprised by Green Book

Best Actress – Glenn Close

Best Actor – Rami Malek, but could go to Christian Bale

Best Supporting Actress – Regina King

Best Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali

Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron, though Spike Lee has a serious chance

Best Adapted ScreenplayBlacKkKlansman

Best Original ScreenplayThe Favourite

Best CinematographyRoma

Best EditingVice

Best Production DesignBlack Panther, but The Favourite could sneak in

Best Costume DesignThe Favourite, but Black Panther could take this one

Best MakeupVice

Best ScoreBlack Panther

Best Song – Shallow (A Star is Born)

Best Sound EditingFirst Man

Best Sound MixingA Star is Born

Best Visual EffectsAvengers: Infinity War

Best Animated FeatureSpider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Best Animated ShortBao

Best Foreign Language FilmRoma

Best DocumentaryFree Solo

Best Documentary ShortPeriod. End of Sentence (though Black Sheep is a strong contender)

Best Live Action ShortMarguerite

Now these are not always the films that I would vote for or that I hope would win (though many are), but simply the ones that I think have the best chance for winning. There are always upsets, including in the major categories, so picking a perfect board is very hard to do.  

Let’s hope for some good surprises–and a broadcast that is actually good, despite all the trouble of the past year.


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