Monday, July 22, 2024

Predicting The 91st Academy Awards: The Acting Categories

By Matt Neglia 

We have heard from the Critics Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and most recently, the BAFTAs. Now, all that’s left are the Academy Awards. As I’ve done the past couple of years, I will be doing a deep dive into each category to analyze who I think might win the Academy Award on February 24th using a combination of stats from the creation of the SAG Awards in 1994 to today along with gut instinct and intuition (which this year certainly requires). First up are the acting categories which have thrown us a few curveballs this season. Let’s take a look.

Click below to see my in-depth analysis on each of the four acting categories.


Best Supporting Actor Oscar 2019

Let’s start off with the easiest category to predict amongst the four acting categories this year and that is, Best Supporting Actor.

The nominees are…

Mahershala Ali – “Green Book
Adam Driver – “BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott – “A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant – “Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell – “Vice

​And here are the stats for previous years…


A few things to take away from the stats here are this…Mahershala Ali has got this in the bag. No Supporting Actor has ever swept the Critics Choice, Golden Globe, SAG & BAFTA and gone on to lose the Oscar. Had he lost at BAFTA to Richard E. Grant or at SAG to Sam Elliott, there would be more of a conversation here but that did not happen and with the love for “Green Book” throughout the industry being what it is and Ali emerging from the film as the one thing most people can agree upon as the best aspect of the movie, this win makes a lot of sense. In defense of Elliott & Grant though, there has only be one time ever that a Supporting Actor nominee won the Oscar without winning any of the other televised awards and that was James Coburn in 1998 for “Affliction.” However, winners were scattered that year with each award going to a different contender. As I said before, this is Ali’s to lose….and he won’t lose.

PREDICTED WINNER: Mahershala Ali – “Green Book“​
RUNNER-UP: Sam Elliott – “
A Star Is Born
PREFERRED WINNER: Richard E. Grant – “
Can You Ever Forgive Me?


Best Supporting Actress Oscar 2019

Here is where things get a lot more complicated. Best Supporting Actress has been a whirlwind this year after the critics darling, Regina King, failed to receive both SAG & BAFTA nominations for her performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” a film that also underperformed on Oscar nomination morning against her competition. Those nominees are…

Amy Adams – “Vice
Marina de Tavira – “Roma
Regina King – “If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone – “The Favourite
Rachel Weisz – “The Favourite

​And let’s take a look at the stats from recent years to see what it can tell us about this race.


Breaking down the winners for each awards group looks like this…

​Critics Choice: 15/23 – 65%
Golden Globe: 15/24 – 63%
SAG: 17/25 – 68%
BAFTA: 15/24 – 63%

We immediately have to rule out the SAG Award for Emily Blunt was not nominated for her fantastic performance in “A Quiet Place,” leaving us with only Critics Choice, Golden Globe (both won by Regina King) and BAFTA to play with this year.

Working in BAFTA winner Rachel Weisz’s favor is that her film is quite beloved by the Academy with 10 nominations compared to the 3 that “If Beale Street Could Talk” received, which doesn’t even include Best Picture. Only 9 times since 1994 has the Best Supporting Actress winner come from a film not nominated for Best Picture, the most recent times being in 2015 for Alicia Vikander and last year’s winner Allison Janney. While that’s not a bad number, it’s still less than 50%.

However, working against Weisz is that she is a previous winner in this category and no Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner has ever repeated in this category since the creation of the SAG Award in 1994. Also, the amount of times the BAFTA winner won the Oscar without any other wins from the other groups has only occurred 4/24 times in 1996, 1998, 2007 & 2008. While this does present a path for Rachel Weisz to win, the odds are still not overall terrific.

Other findings include that there has only been one instance where a contender won the Critics Choice & Golden Globe Award but did not win the SAG or BAFTA (nominated or not) like Regina King did this year and that was in 1995 for Mira Sorvino. Also, only two ladies have ever won the Oscar in this category without a SAG Nomination and that was Marcia Gay Harden for “Pollock” in 2000 and Jennifer Connelly in 2001 for “A Beautiful Mind” (Because she was nominated that year in the Best Leading Actress category instead).

Marcia Gay Harden’s shocking win in 2000 will forever have a precedent set that a winner can emerge from this category without having won any of the previous awards thus giving a path to Amy Adams (who is on her 6th nomination with no win, second to only Glenn Close as the highest nominated actor alive without an Oscar win….but more on that in a bit) and Marina de Tavira who has been generating a lot of chat amongst award pundits since her surprise nomination for “Roma,” another film that was clearly beloved by the Academy and tied with “The Favourite” for the most overall nominations.

The odds are not good for both Regina King and Rachel Weisz. It’s a really tough call between the two of them. One scenario which a lot of people have been looking at is what happened in 2015 in the Best Supporting Actor category. Sylvester Stallone, like Regina King, won the Golden Globe and the Critics Choice Award for his performance in “Creed.” However, he was snubbed by the two awards bodies which have Academy membership crossover, the SAG and BAFTA just like Regina King was this year. The SAG that year went to Idris Elba for “Beasts Of No Nation,” who was not nominated for the Oscar (just like Emily Blunt this year) and the Oscar went to the BAFTA winner, Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies.” The parallels are certainly freaky but will history repeat itself?

​My gut tells me no.

PREDICTED WINNER: Regina King – “If Beale Street Could Talk“​
RUNNER-UP: Rachel Weisz – “
The Favourite
If Beale Street Could Talk“​


Best Actor Oscar 2019

Whew. That was a lot to agonize over. Hopefully Best Actor gives us an easier time here. The nominees this year for Best Actor are…

Christian Bale – “Vice
Bradley Cooper – “A Star Is Born
​Willem Dafoe – “At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek – “Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen – “Green Book

And here is the breakdown of the awards these men have won and what previous years have looked like as well.


Here is the Oscar success rate for each one of the awards groups.

Critics Choice: 16/23 – 70%
Golden Globe: 18/24 – 75%
SAG: 17/24 – 71%
BAFTA: 14/24 – 58%

Honestly….the path is pretty much set for Rami Malek to win the Oscar for his performance as Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury. The predicted winner for most of the season was Bradley Cooper, but the man has failed to win a single award from either the BFCA, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild of British Academy. He literally needs a crazy scenario like 2001 or 2002 to occur again where Denzel Washington (“Training Day”) and Adrian Brody (“The Pianist”) were able to leap frog over their competition and surprise their way to an Oscar victory without any other major wins.

Christian Bale on the other hand, has been the only other nominee than Malek to win other awards this season for his uncanny transformation of Dick Cheney in “Vice.” He’s won the Critics Choice Award and the Golden Globe (Musical/Comedy). Now, there have been instances where those awards have led to victory despite not having won the SAG or BAFTA. In 2000, Russell Crowe won only the Critics Choice award and went on to win the Oscar for “Gladiator.” And in 2003, Sean Penn won the same awards Bale did (the Critics Choice and the Golden Globe), lost the SAG & BAFTA but still went on to win the Oscar for his performance in “Mystic River.” However, Sean Penn did not go up against a challenger that year who had won the GG/BAFTA/SAG combo and his Golden Globe victory was in the Best Actor-Drama category. Bale won for Musical/Comedy and that award does not have the best correlation to an Oscar victory: only 3/18 times (16%) has the winner of that award gone on to win the Oscar. It is much better if you have the Best Actor-Drama win at the Golden Globes instead.

But even still, a GG/SAG/BAFTA combo for Malek is pretty hard to beat. Two recent scenarios where this combination won out was in 2011 and 2014 where George Clooney and Michael Keaton both won the Critics Choice Award and the Golden Globe, like Christian Bale. Both of them were in best Picture nominees and both were highly respected, with Keaton looking for his first win and Clooney (like Bale) looking for his first win in Lead Actor after having won before in Supporting a few years prior. However, they both failed to win the Oscar against Eddie Redmayne and Jean Dujardin who both won the other Golden Globe Award, the SAG and BAFTA, which is exactly what Malek has this year.

I wouldn’t bet against Malek. Believe it or not though, I find it more likely that Bradley Cooper has a better chance to beat him than Christian Bale does due to last minute sympathy for not being nominated for Best Director, which could’ve been pulling votes away from Cooper in Best Actor all season long at the other awards shows. With controversy surrounding Rami Malek’s decision to not speak out against “Bohemian Rhapsody” director Bryan Singer for sexual abuse allegations and goodwill for Cooper building just in time for voting to start, I wouldn’t be surprised if the 44 year old 7-time nominee pulls it off. 

PREDICTED WINNER: Rami Malek – “Bohemian Rhapsody“​
RUNNER-UP: Bradley Cooper – “
A Star Is Born
PREFERRED WINNER: Bradley Cooper – “
A Star Is Born


Best Actress Oscar 2019

And now we come to the final acting category for the 2018 season: Best Actress. What was once considered the most competitive category of the year, with a large array of various quality filled performances to choose from, has now become focused on a few contenders.

Here are the nominees for this year’s Best Actress Oscar…

Yalitza Aparicio – “Roma
Glenn Close – “The Wife
Olivia Colman – “The Favourite
Lady Gaga – “A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

​And here is the stat breakdown for this category since the creation of the SAG Awards in 1994…


Here is the overall success rate for each one of the awards groups above…

Critics Choice: 13/23 – 57%
Golden Globe: 20/24 – 83%
SAG: 18/24 – 75%
BAFTA: 13/24 – 54%

With a long career that spans decades and 7 acting Oscar nominations to her name, Glenn Close is heading into Oscar night with a CC/GG/SAG combo. Those three awards have higher percentage correlations to the Oscar winner than the BAFTA does. The 71-year-old actress looks poised to finally win her first Academy Award for her performance in “The Wife” but it’s not a lock by any stretch.

​Close’s film has only one Oscar nomination and that is for her. While there may be enough love for just her and her alone, statistically, performers in this category who are the sole representation for their film have not fared the best. Since 1994, the Best Actress Oscar winner has been the only nomination from their film 3 times: Jessica Lange in 1982, Charlize Theron in 2003 and the actress win that has been most compared to Close’s this season, Julianne Moore in 2014, which all together adds up to a 12.5% for Close to pull off a win against her competition.

The only two other performers to win acting prizes in this category this year are Lady Gaga (who tied Critics Choice with Glenn Close) and Olivia Colman, who won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA. Honestly, I don’t like Gaga’s odds here at all. The last time Critics Choice had a tie (Sandra Bullock & Meryl Streep in 2009), the Oscar went to the Golden Globe/SAG winner, which favors Close. Also, no Best Actress Oscar winner has ever won only the Critics Choice Award and no other major awards. 1st time nominees in Best Actress do tend to do pretty well here with Helen Hunt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Marion Cotillard, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lawrence and Brie Larson all winning the Oscar on their first try resulting in a 42% chance for Lady Gaga….but those odds also apply to Olivia Colman for her acclaimed performance in “The Favourite.”

Colman has some precedent on her side to defeat Close. In 2007, Julie Christie won the Critics Choice, Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild Awards but lost the Oscar to Golden Globe and BAFTA winner Marion Cotillard, which could very well happen here again. Other times where actresses have won the GG/BAFTA and gone on to win the Oscar happened in 2002 with Nicole Kidman winning for “The Hours,” 2008 with Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (which was a special instance, considering she competed in Supporting for most of the season until BAFT/Oscar) and in 2011 where Meryl Streep won her second Lead Actress Oscar for “The Iron Lady.” These percentages are low which doesn’t bode well for Colman but a potential win should not ruled out either.

It’s kind of hard to argue against not only Close’s narrative though but also her CC/GG/SAG combo which has resulted in 11/24 Oscar victories for other actresses. Granted, 8 of those 11 were for sweep years, which Close has not been able to do this season but I would say the odds are still heavily in her favor regardless. And let’s be real here….do we honestly think the Academy will ever forgive themselves if they let Close go her whole career with 7 nominations and not a single Oscar win?

PREDICTED WINNER: Glenn Close – “The Wife“​
RUNNER-UP: Olivia Colman – “
The Favourite“​
A Star Is Born

So tell me, who do you think will win Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actorand Supporting Actress at the Oscars? Was my insight helpful at all in either cementing your pick or changing it? Let us know in the comments below or on our Twitter account and be on the lookout as I dive deep into all the other categories on our march towards the 91st Academy Awards.

You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture

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Matt Neglia
Matt Neglia
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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