Oscars 2019 Predictions – Best Actor

As the Oscars draw ever closer, we now find ourselves looking at one of the ‘Big Four’ categories of the night – Best Actor.

89th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage

Will win: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Should win: Christian Bale (Vice)
Also nominated: Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

What got everybody talking about Bohemian Rhapsody was the performance at the heart of the film, which saw Rami Malek give his take on the legendary Freddie Mercury. It’s earned him most acting awards going and is almost guaranteed to bag him an Oscar on Sunday, but quite honestly it is not the best performance in this category.

The problem is not necessarily with Malek, who certainly does his best – it’s more that some people cannot be imitated. There was an innate effervescence about Mercury which can’t be copied. You’re either born with it or you’re not. Bohemian Rhapsody sees Malek make a very earnest attempt to capture it, but he doesn’t quite manage to do so. The grand finale sees Malek’s Mercury take to the stage for Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance at Wembley. It’s supposed to be a momentous, climactic scene but it ultimately falls a little flat because, frankly, the real thing was better.

Malek Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek gives it his best as Freddie Mercury. He’ll win an Oscar for his efforts, but he falls just short of doing the great man justice.

Chasing Malek’s shadow in this category is Christian Bale, the eponymous star of Adam McKay’s Vice. If you want to see a real masterclass in impersonation, Bohemian Rhapsody is the film for you. In Vice, however, there are no impersonations. Christian Bale doesn’t play Dick Cheney, he becomes him. The physicality, the steely gaze, the simmering menace – every nuance is there, every detail is right. He is undoubtedly the more deserving recipient of the Best Actor award, but in truth his is a performance less about acting and more about total transformation.

The other nominees in this category largely serve to make up the numbers. Willem Dafoe is perhaps the most unexpected addition for his role as Vincent van Gogh in Julian Schnabel’s dire, turgid At Eternity’s Gate. Meanwhile Viggo Mortensen does a decent enough job in Green Book but is hardly at a career best. To give him credit, Bradley Cooper is genuinely very good as the world-weary Jackson Maine in A Star is Born  (and proves he can sing just as well as he can act), and this is probably the best we’ve seen him since American Sniper. But he’ll have to wait a little while yet for his Oscar. Whilst this year’s should be going to Bale, it’s heading straight for Rami Malek.

Christian Bale Vice

Totally transformed: Christian Bale becomes Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s Vice.

Oscars 2019 Predictions – Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design

In today’s Oscar prediction post, we take a look at two technical categories that have always been closely linked.

89th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Will win: Vice
Should win:
Vice
Also nominated: Border, Mary Queen of Scots

Christian Bale has undergone a lot of transformations over the years for the sake of his craft, but none are as impressive as his metamorphosis into the much maligned former-Vice President Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s Vice. What Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney have achieved here is truly remarkable. They have allowed Bale, Sam Rockwell (as President George W. Bush), Amy Adams (as Lynne Cheney), Steve Carell (as Donald Rumsfeld) et al. to utterly inhabit and become their characters in what is undoubtedly some of the best makeup and hairstyling work that has been seen in recent years.

Vice

Christian Bale undergoes a total transformation in Vice. Unrecognisable as himself, he is instantly recognisable as the menacing Dick Cheney.

Best Costume Design

Will win: The Favourite
Should win: 
The Favourite
Also nominated: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Black Panther, Mary Poppins Returns, Mary Queen of Scots

Sandy Powell is no stranger to the Academy Awards. She already has three to her name and has even been nominated twice in this category this year, which is great testament to her dominance in this field. However, that’s not to say she doesn’t face tough opposition; Ruth E. Carter’s costumes for Black Panther have become iconic since the film hit our screens, and there’s a powerful opulence about Alexandra Byrne’s work on Mary Queen of Scots. But there is no competing against the glorious, extravagant Sandy Powell creations that can be seen in The Favourite.

The Favourite

Sandy Powell’s work on The Favourite is hotly tipped to pick up an Academy Award later this month.