First 2019 Predictions
Damien Chazelle "First Man"
Barry Jenkins "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Adam McKay "Backseat"
Steve McQueen "Widows"
Martin Scorsese "The Irishman"
Other Contenders - Benh Zeitlin "Wendy", Joel Edgerton "Boy Erased", Mike Leigh "Peterloo", Orson Welles "The Other Side of the Wind", Luca Guadagnino "Rio", Luca Guadagnino "Suspiria", Ryan Coogler "Black Panther", Ryan Coogler "Creed", Jonah Hill "Mid '90s", Richard Linklater "Where'd You Go Bernadette?", Jason Reitman "The Front Runner", Jason Reitman "Tully", Paul Dano "Wildlife", Rob Marshall "Mary Poppins Returns", Bradley Cooper "A Star is Born", Yorgos Lanthimos "The Favourite", Spike Lee "BlacKKKLansman", Josie Rourke "Mary, Queen of Scots", Wes Anderson "Isle of Dogs", Dan Fogelman "Life Itself", Felix van Groeningen "Beautiful Boy", Asghar Farhadi "Everybody Knows", Marielle Heller "Can You Ever Forgive Me", Mimi Leder "On the Basis of Sex", Robert Zemeckis "The Women of Marwen", Julian Schnabel "At Eternity's Gate", David Robert Mitchell "Under the Silver Lake", Claire Denis "High Life", James Gray "Ad Astra", Xavier Dolan "The Life and Death of John F. Donovan", Steven Spielberg "Ready Player One", Lars Von Trier "The House that Jack Built", Andrew Haigh "Lean on Pete", Alex Garland "Annihilation", Tamara Jenkins "Private Life", Ron Howard "Solo: A Star Wars Story", Terry Gilliam "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote", Anthony and Joe Russo "Avengers: Infinity War", Chloe Zhao "The Rider", Paul King "Paddington 2", John Krasinski "A Quiet Place", Lynne Ramsay "You Were Never Really There"
Commentary - Where to even begin? Martin Scorsese always seems like a safe bet. Even his last-minute Wolf of Wall Street managed to capture Oscar attention and few people had actually seen it. Returning to his gangster roots could prove to once again be Oscar gold. Two years ago, two friends, Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle battled it out and split the top two prizes. They both return this year with buzzed projects that could return them to the race. Adam McKay was an odd contender, the man who brought us Anchorman never felt like he would be Oscar bait. But after The Big Short, and the fact that is upcoming film is a Dick Cheney biopic, makes me think his new career as an awards contender director will continue. Finally, Steve McQueen has yet to make a movie since 12 Years a Slave, and if this one gets even half the buzz the last one did, he is in. These are my first five, but there are plenty more to keep on the radar. Previous Oscar nominees and winners like Benh Zeitlin, Mike Leigh, Ricahrd Linklater, Jason Reitman (with two possibilities), Rob Marshall, Bradley Cooper, Spike Lee, Julian Schnabel, Robert Zemeckis, Yorgos Lanthimos, Steven Spielberg, Tamara Jenkins, Ron Howard, and Asghar Farhadi have already proven their popularity in at least one Oscar category. There are the indie auteurs and visionaries like Luca Guadagnino, Marielle Heller, Claire Denis, David Robert Mitchell, Xavier Dolan, Lynne Ramsay, Terry Gilliam, Mimi Leder, and Wes Anderson in the running. There are names that need to be looked at like Joel Edgerton, Jonah Hill, Dan Fogelman, Josie Rourke, Felix van Groeningen, nd the return of Orson Welles. Finally, don't forget the big guys like John Krasinski, the Russo Brothers, and the one that you should really watch for, Ryan Coogler (with two possibilities).