- The 2019 Oscars has been beset by problems before it has even begun, potentially eclipsing the fact that this year's nomination lineup is the most varied and diverse in recent years. Arts Editor Nina Nannar takes a look at what's gone wrong and who the likely winners will be.
What we do know is that Queen is opening the show.
So far, so good.
After that it’s anyone’s guess.
It has been a shambolic lead up to the 91st Academy Awards.
The loss of host Kevin Hart after homophobic tweets resurfaced was just one of the crises facing the Oscars organisers.
Their main problem is how to stop viewers deserting the show.
Last year, the audience for the Oscars was a record low of 26 million - that’s almost 50% down on what it was four years ago.
But in attempting to make the show more attractive to viewers, the Academy has simply lurched from one disaster to another.
First the announcement that there would be a new category of Outstanding Popular Film, this primarily to allow blockbusters, the films that draw the biggest audiences, to compete on the night.
Uproar followed, with critics asking does that mean all the other films are not "popular"?
The plan was dropped.
Then to shorten the programme, which can run to more than four hours, the Academy said only two of the five best song nominees would be performed during the show.
That plan too was dropped.
Next the announcement that four of the awards, including Cinematography, would be relegated to the ad breaks to save time.
There’s a rumour swirling around Hollywood that Whoopi Goldberg may be brought in to host the show, but at the moment it’s just looking like a rumour.
With the plan to get various A-listers to introduce the various segments instead of one host as usual, it may turn out that audiences tune in just to see if it works, which may even lead to a rise in viewers.
So to the Awards themselves.
Before I offer some predictions I must add that my favourite film of the past year, Leave No Trace did not get a single nomination, but I’m fairly confident on the winners in the main categories.
- Best Film
It’s so good to see Black Panther in the running, marking a true moment for Marvel and the superhero genre.
But this year’s big moment will surely belong to Roma.
Alfonso Cuaron’s autobiographical account of growing up in Mexico should bring Netflix its first Best Film Oscar, a trophy it has longed for, and yet another step in the steaming giant’s march to the status of major player in the film world.
It would be the first time a foreign language film has won this category.
- Best Director
This awards season, Alfonso Cuaron has swept up all the major directing trophies with Roma, so the Oscar is surely his, five years after he won the same award for Gravity.
Cuaron is also set to win for Cinematography, marking the first time anyone has won both that, and the direction Oscar for the same film.
Roma will also probably get Best Foreign Language Film too.
In any other year that would surely go to the beautiful Cold War, one of my favourite films, but director Pawel Pawlikoski’s Polish love story will probably sadly lose out.
- Best Actor
A few months ago, this looked like Christian Bale’s win for sure, for his portrayal of the former US vice president Dick Cheney, but the British actor has been taken over in the race by Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody.
Malek’s win at the Baftas looks set to be followed by a coveted Oscar. The actor is by far the best thing in the film, and voters clearly love his portrayal of Queen front man Freddie Mercury.
My choice would have been Bradley Cooper, who is sensational in A Star Is Born, but I suspect that film’s only win of the night will be for Best Original Song.
- Best Actress
How I wish I could say that this one is definitely Olivia Colman’s for her stunning role as Queen Anne in The Favourite.
You just never know, but it really does look like this is Glenn Close’s year.
Close is the most Oscar nominated actor to have never won - this is her seventh nomination and the Academy usually addresses these anomalies sooner or later (see Spike Lee getting his first directing nomination this year).
Close is great in The Wife, and the Academy is likely to feel it’s her turn.
The truth is that this is one of the most varied and diverse lineups in recent Oscar’s history.
Let’s just hope the show itself is worthy of the talent it will be celebrating.