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The Oscars: Who’ll win, who should win, who shouldn’t

(photo illustration by Ryan Huddle | Globe staff)

One of the most nominated studios is a streaming service. A year that saw any number of good movies from women directors produced nominations for none. The best picture winner may be a black-and-white foreign film. And no one knows what the hell is happening with the ceremonies.

This isn’t your mother’s Oscars. It isn’t anybody’s Oscars. When the 91st annual Academy Awards are broadcast from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles Feb. 24, they will be hostless and a strict three hours long, with four categories ignominiously shunted to the commercial breaks. The eight best picture nominees include two box-office blockbusters (including the first comic-book movie ever nominated), a rock biopic, a political biopic, a Spike Lee joint, a piece of British royalty Oscar bait except it’s weird, an interracial buddy movie that could be the best film of 1988, and “Roma.”

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Following are expert predictions in all categories from Globe film critic Ty Burr and movies editor Janice Page, but, seriously, all bets are off this year. If the late, great screenwriter William Goldman hadn’t died last November, he’d surely be reminding us of his great Hollywood mantra: Nobody Knows Anything.

PICTURE

TY BURR

Will Win: “Roma”

Should Win: “Roma”

Shouldn’t Be Here: “Vice”

Was Robbed: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexican masterpiece has racked up enough previous wins on the awards circuit that it may have the edge over Producer’s Guild winner “Green Book” — but never count out the Academy’s fondness for feel-good schmaltz. Dark horses? “The Favourite,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “A Star Is Born.” How many 2018 films were better than “Vice”? “Beale Street,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” “Leave No Trace,” “Eighth Grade” — the list is practically endless.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Green Book”

Should Win: “The Favourite”

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Shouldn’t Be Here: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Was Robbed: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Controversy? What controversy? There’s a reason why it’s hard to spot the ears on an Oscar statuette: It’s been known to be tone deaf. “Green Book” is a feel-good movie only if you buy into its flip of the “Driving Miss Daisy” formula. But that unconvincing upgrade won’t stop it from taking the top prize, even without a best director nomination for Peter Farrelly.

DIRECTOR

TY BURR

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Should Win: Cuarón

Shouldn’t Be Here: Adam McKay, “Vice”

Was Robbed: Ryan Coogler, “Black Panther”

Cuarón is almost certain to win here for his meticulous marshaling of the many elements of “Roma,” unless the Academy decides it’s finally Spike Lee’s time, which would suit us fine. Coogler graduated to high-end blockbuster filmmaking and created the most provocative, culturally resonant flying-men-in-tights movie in years. McKay deserves an award for over-direction and nothing else.

Marina de Tavira in Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.”
Marina de Tavira in Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.”(Carlos Somonte/Netflix)

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Should Win: Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”

Shouldn’t Be Here: Adam McKay, “Vice”

Was Robbed: So many women

On “Top Chef,” Cuarón would be the refined master and Lanthimos the wacky molecular gastronomist. We can debate whether the art you admire is better than the art you devour even when it makes you a little queasy. I know one thing: This was a stellar year for women, all overlooked, including Chloe Zhao (“The Rider”), Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), and Debra Granik (“Leave No Trace”).

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

TY BURR

Will Win: Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Should Win: Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”

Shouldn’t Be Here: Malek

Was Robbed: Ethan Hawke, “First Reformed”

In a just world, Cooper would get some deserved love here, if nowhere else. Otherwise, it may be best just to cite Slant magazine writer Jake Cole’s tweet from a few weeks back: “Ethan Hawke: *embodies the contemporary crisis of religious and secular faiths and the search for meaning in a dying world*/Hollywood: *blinks*/Rami Malek: ‘Hello darling. Pip pip, I’ve written a pop song and also I’m a bit boy crazy cheerio.’/Hollywood: *thru tears* THANK you.”

Christian Bale (with Amy Adams) in “Vice.”
Christian Bale (with Amy Adams) in “Vice.”(Matt Kennedy/Annapurna Pictures via AP)

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: Christian Bale, “Vice”

Should Win: Bradley Cooper, “A Star
Is Born”

Shouldn’t Be Here: Rami Malek,
“Bohemian Rhapsody”

Was Robbed: John C. Reilly,
“Stan & Ollie”

In film acting, nothing says commitment like weight gain. Bale’s paunchy performance has him headed for another Oscar, unless his Dick Cheney is judged too sympathetic, in which case Malek’s cartoonish Freddie Mercury cover rolls on to greater glory. Cooper is the most deserving, which makes him a long shot. His exquisite self-directed performance is even voiced in the key of Sam Elliott.

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ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

TY BURR

Will Win: Glenn Close, “The Wife”

Should Win: Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”

Shouldn’t Be Here: No one

Was Robbed: Carey Mulligan, “Wildlife”

This is perhaps the year’s strongest category, with so many deserving performances left out that it’s kind of sad: Elsie Fisher of “Eighth Grade,” Helena Howard of “Madeline’s Madeline,” Thomasin McKenzie of “Leave No Trace” — and the oft-overlooked Mulligan, note-perfect as a dissatisfied housewife in “Wildlife,” a movie no one saw. Close is by far the best thing in a meh movie and her time has come.

Glenn Close (with Jonathan Pryce) in “The Wife.”
Glenn Close (with Jonathan Pryce) in “The Wife.” (Graeme Hunter/Sony Pictures Classics)

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: Glenn Close, “The Wife”

Should Win: Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Shouldn’t Be Here: Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”

Was Robbed: Toni Collette, “Hereditary”

Close’s Golden Globes acceptance speech was so good, it probably won her an Academy Award. No one will begrudge her this Oscar after six unsuccessful tries, even if “The Wife” is a minor entry on her long resume. Collette’s powerful embodiment of grief and psychosis in “Hereditary” was more memorable. McCarthy made a cakewalk of the fragile line between drama and black comedy in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” But it’s Close-up time, and she’s ready.

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ACTOR IN A
SUPPORTING ROLE

TY BURR

Will Win: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

Should Win: Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Shouldn’t Be Here: Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”

Was Robbed: Michael B. Jordan, “Black Panther”

Will voters see fit to hand Ali his second supporting trophy in three years? Especially when his role’s virtually a co-lead? Yes, they probably will. Grant’s wonderful in his movie as well as on the red carpet — a win for him would be a gas. Driver deserves an Oscar someday (maybe for the upcoming “The Report”), but Jordan stole a superhero movie while playing the villain.

Mahershala Ali in “Green Book.”
Mahershala Ali in “Green Book.”(Universal Pictures)

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

Should Win: Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Shouldn’t Be Here: Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”

Was Robbed: Timothée Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”

It says a lot about “Green Book” that Ali is nominated in the supporting category while Viggo Mortensen’s chauffeur character is lumped in with the leading men. Grant has the better movie, the better role, and the better performance, not to mention that he should have been nominated for 1987’s “Withnail & I.” Adam Driver is almost always great, but “BlacKkKlansman” only requires him to be decent.

ACTRESS IN A
SUPPORTING ROLE

TY BURR

Will Win: Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Should Win: King

Shouldn’t Be Here: Amy Adams, “Vice”

Was Robbed: Claire Foy, “First Man”

This seems like pretty straightforward math: The “Favourite” duo cancel each other out, the “Roma” nomination may seem award enough, Adams has been in bigger, better roles, and King has dominated earlier awards. Oh, and it’s a great performance (that mirror scene!). Foy’s fierce, tart Janet Armstrong is one of the many missed nominations for “First Man.”

Regina King in “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
Regina King in “If Beale Street Could Talk.”(Annapurna Pictures)

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Should Win: King

Shouldn’t Be Here: Marina de Tavira, “Roma”

Was Robbed: Sissy Spacek, “The Old Man & the Gun”

This one should be a lock, and it should be the Academy’s biggest nod to “Beale Street,” a movie that should have won best picture. Why King and Spacek? Because each elevated her movie and demanded to be seen, in roles that were truly supporting. They’re also my dream presidential ticket for 2020.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

TY BURR

Will Win: “Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly

Should Win: “First Reformed,” Paul Schrader

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Academy recognized Paul Schrader for what may be his strongest screenplay since “Taxi Driver” (and with some of the same concerns)? Yes, it would. But don’t count on it when Nick Vallelonga spent 30 years trying to get his dad’s story made.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Green Book”

Should Win: “The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara

Any movie that includes the line “I’ve sent for some lobsters. I thought we could race them and then eat them.” gets my vote. Any movie where the white man shows the black man how to appreciate fried chicken, however well-intended, just makes me crazy. Also, I think there’s bipartisan agreement among parents that Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade” got robbed.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

TY BURR

Will Win: “BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee

Should Win: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty

A good, tough category, all of them worthy. Academy voters may well honor Spike Lee here in lieu of the director or picture categories. All well and good, but when they say no one writes them like that anymore, they’re talking about the old-school wit and class of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “BlacKkKlansman”

Should Win: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Spike Lee has a long history of being snubbed by Oscar. Here he might finally get a piece of one, which could make for an interesting acceptance speech. Holofcener, also underappreciated by Hollywood, sadly won’t win anything. The struggle continues.

ANIMATED FEATURE

TY BURR

Will Win: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Should Win: “Spider-Man”

What?! A Pixar movie won’t win? Not when it’s as scattershot (if massively profitable) as “Incredibles 2.” And not when the competition is the insanely clever, exuberantly creative “Spider-Verse,” a movie that arguably belongs in the best picture category as well.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Should Win: “Spider-Man”

Though one can never count out Brad Bird and Pixar, it doesn’t take acute Spidey sense to predict that this is Spidey’s year.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE

TY BURR

Will Win: “Cold War” (Poland)

Should Win: “Shoplifters” (Japan)

If “Roma” wins this award, it’s a pretty clear sign it won’t take best picture — no film has ever won for both. If “Roma” is on track for the big award, though, Poland’s “Cold War” is poised to take it. Japan’s “Shoplifters” is quietly wonderful and one of 2018’s very best movies.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Roma” (Mexico)

Should Win: “Shoplifters”

Whither “Roma”? Will it take this award but lose best picture? Will it make Oscar history by winning both? Or will its doubled chances only cause it to be shut out twice? Whatever happens, “Shoplifters” was always the better movie. In fact, some of us would say “Shoplifters” was the best movie of 2018, in any language. And don’t miss Lebanon’s “Capernaum,” either.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

TY BURR

Will Win: “RBG”

Should Win: “Minding the Gap”

Another tough category, in subject matter as well as competitiveness. Most likely it’ll come down to a showdown between audience favorite “RBG” and cliff-climbing wowzapalooza “Free Solo.” But coming-of-age skateboard doc “Minding the Gap” digs deeper and more movingly than either, and is brilliantly shot to boot.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Free Solo”

Should Win: “Free Solo”

If technical difficulty vaults “Free Solo” into a class by itself, it’s the climbing doc’s humanity that really makes it soar. But will it be enough to surmount Hollywood’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg worship? There are no losers in this category. Whatever happens, see them all. And don’t forget “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

VISUAL EFFECTS

TY BURR

Will Win: “Avengers: Infinity War,” Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, Dan Sudick

Should Win: “First Man,” Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles, J.D. Schwalm

Asked to choose between a blockbuster simulation of a purple Josh Brolin disintegrating half of the Marvel Universe or re-creating the 1969 lunar landing in all its IMAX splendor, voters will probably not shoot for the moon. Also, the Winnie-the-Pooh movie might sneak in here.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Avengers: Infinity War”

Should Win: “First Man”

All I know is, when Ryan Gosling steps onto the moon in “First Man,” it’s one of the most dazzling sights in the entire IMAX universe. For any voters looking to recognize Damien Chazelle’s sadly underrated film, this might not be a bad place to do it.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

TY BURR

Will Win: “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón

Should Win: “Roma”

Alfonso Cuarón’s epic widescreen black-and-white cinematography, heavily influenced by 20th-century Mexican mural painting, has won all the major pre-Oscar awards and will win here. Too bad they’ll award this during the ad break, when you’re in the bathroom.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Roma”

Should Win: “Roma”

Cuarón’s black-and-white memoir is a visual masterpiece. None of the nominees will challenge him, but Rachel Morrison deserved the chance. The Cambridge native’s lensing of “Black Panther” was just the latest display of her extraordinary talent.

FILM EDITING

TY BURR

Will Win: “Vice,” Hank Corwin

Should Win: “BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown

Academy voters tend to confuse best editing with most editing, so the Ronco chop-o-matic history of “Vice” could take the prize. Unless the ham-handed cutting of “Bohemian Rhapsody” wins. Actual best editing of 2018? The interweaving of Klan initiation and lynching oral history in “BlacKkKlansman.”

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Vice”

Should Win: “The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis

Everything in “Vice” is designed to be noticed, and Corwin does his job very well. If only the ending of “BlacKkKlansman” didn’t feel so tacked on, Barry Alexander Brown would be my pick. Instead, I’m going with Mavropsaridis for his seasoned handling of Yorgos Lanthimos’s quirky vision.

SOUND EDITING

TY BURR

Will Win: “First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan

Should Win: “First Man”

Three of the nominees are absolute master classes in sound design: the rattle and hum of the moon shots in “First Man,” the every-noise-could-kill-you suspense of “A Quiet Place,” and the amazingly detailed soundscapes of “Roma.” I’ll plunk for “First Man.”

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “First Man”

Should Win: “A Quiet Place,” Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl

The idea of giving best sound editing to “A Quiet Place” is just too perfect. It won’t make up for snubbing Emily Blunt in the actress race, though.

SOUND MIXING

TY BURR

Will Win: “A Star Is Born,” Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder, Steve Morrow

Should Win: “A Star Is Born”

Sound mixing balances out the elements the sound editors come up with, and no 2018 movie juggled sonic intimacy and arena-rock thunder better than “A Star Is Born.” Unless “Star” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” cancel each other out, in which case it’s anyone’s call.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “A Star Is Born”

Should Win: “A Star Is Born”

Music-minded movies generally carry this category, which favors “Star” or “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Maybe there will be a tie, decided by a sing-off, or a cage match.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

TY BURR

Will Win: “The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton

Should Win: “Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim

Oscar voters tend to like opulent period decor and “The Favourite” has Queen Anne chairs and Queen Anne. “Black Panther” might score a win here, but the fetishistic re-creation of high 1964 Mouse House style in “Poppins” is nutty enough to deserve some kind of award.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler

Should Win: “Black Panther”

Do I seem like someone who would bet against Wakanda’s sense of style? Please.

COSTUME DESIGN

TY BURR

Will Win: “The Favourite,” Sandy Powell

Should Win: “Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter

Will the Academy go the traditional route and reward three-time winner Sandy Powell for the royal finery of “The Favourite”? Or will the win go (finally) to three-time nominee Ruth E. Carter for the Afro-futurism of “Black Panther”? Just to complicate the calculus, Powell’s competing against herself for “Mary Poppins Returns.”

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Black Panther”

Should Win: “Black Panther”

See Production Design.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

TY BURR

Will Win: “Vice,” Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, Patricia Dehaney

Should Win: “Border,” Göran Lundström, Pamela Goldammer

Christian Bale’s chameleonic transformation into phlegmatic Dick Cheney will impress enough voters to sweep the category. I’m betting not enough people saw the trollish incarnations of “Border,” though. And where’s “Stan and Ollie”? Turning John C. Reilly into Oliver N. Hardy is true movie magic.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Vice”

Should Win: “Vice”

Christian Bale does not become Dick Cheney merely by gaining 40 pounds and clenching his teeth. Bale’s transformation was just as extraordinary as Gary Oldman’s Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” and it, too, won an Oscar.

ORIGINAL SCORE

TY BURR

Will Win: “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell

Should Win: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Do Academy members have ears? If so, it’ll be hard to ignore Nicholas Britell’s meltingly beautiful score for “Beale Street,” the finest ear candy in this category. But don’t count out the never-nominated Terence Blanchard for “BlacKkKlansman” or Ludwig Göransson’s propulsive “Black Panther” score.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Should Win: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Ty said it all, so I’ll shut up while you grab your headphones and listen to the “Beale Street” score.

ORIGINAL SONG

TY BURR

Will Win: “Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”), Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt, Benjamin Rice

Should Win: “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”), Gillian Welch, David Rawlings

The Lady Gaga-Bradley Cooper anthem has been a lock since “A Star Is Born” came out last October. It’s a song that’s undeniable, and it won’t be denied. I’m sort of kidding about the goofball “Buster Scruggs” tune, but wouldn’t it be fun to see the expressions in the Dolby Theatre if it won?

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Shallow”

Should Win: “Shallow”

Cue the tears, and the diva speech made through tears. Gaga’s in the house, poised to collect her little gold man with a shout out to Bradley Cooper and a gush of unpolished words that are far from sha-sha-la-la-la-low.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT

TY BURR

Will Win: “Period. End of Sentence”

Should Win: N/A

Caveat: I haven’t seen any of these films. But those who have seem split between the upbeat “Period. End of Sentence,” about gendered social attitudes toward menstruation in rural India, and “Black Sheep,” a harrowing tale of a Nigerian boy in England doing all he can to fit in with the local racists.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Period. End of Sentence”

Should Win: “Period. End of Sentence”

Can a film about menstruation win an Oscar? Let’s hope so, because despite overreaching at times (not even Cathy Rigby’s Stayfree commercials were this resolutely radiant), “Period” is a bold and important film. “Black Sheep” is also worthy, but its many reenactments may not sit well with documentary purists. “A Night at the Garden,” nothing more than footage from a 1939 rally of 20,000 Nazi-saluting Americans, is nothing less than chilling.

LIVE ACTION SHORT

TY BURR

Will Win: “Marguerite”

Should Win: “ Marguerite”

Four out of the five nominees are grim downers, only one of which — the heavy-handed anti-racism parable “Skin” — seems to have any point. The fifth is “Marguerite,” a story of an elderly woman recalling life’s missed chances. It’s sentimental but sweet and, in this company, it stands out.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Marguerite”

Should Win: “Detainment”

Expect to be disturbed by “Detainment,” a dramatization of the horrific 1993 murder of British toddler James Bulger. Though voters might opt instead for the tender lesbian love story in “Marguerite,” those who ignore the caution tape should at least be satisfied that “Detainment” attempts to go beyond the sensational surface of this case. Ely Solan and Leon Hughes portray baby-faced killers as complex as they are riveting.

ANIMATED SHORT

TY BURR

Will Win: “Bao”

Should Win: “Weekends”

“Bao” is weird but charming and gorgeously animated; also it’s a Pixar movie, and one of the few directed by a woman (Domee Shi). It will probably win and that’s fine, even if “Weekends” turns a childhood-of-divorce scenario into something mysterious and surreal.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Bao”

Should Win: “Bao”

Pixar shorts are generally unbeatable, and this one is no exception. The empty-nester narrative is oddly adorable and poignant, even when it turns creepy. Also, you may want to rethink your next order of takeout Chinese.


Ty Burr can be reached at ty.burr@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @tyburr. Janice Page can be reached at janice.page@globe.com.