Oscar predictions: who could, should & will win an award in 2019
Here's which films, actors, actresses and directors would triumph in the perfect world of an Academy Awards ceremony based on merit alone
With controversy stalking this year's Oscars after the withdrawal of a much-maligned idea to introduce a best popular film category and the removal of comedian Kevin Hart as host, it's finally time to get down to the business of the actual awards, which take place today.
With some wide-open categories making the competition harder to predict than usual and Netflix flexing its muscle thanks to 10 nominations for Alfonso Cuarón's Roma there may yet be some surprises on the night.
Here are our predictions for who will win, who could win and our favourites for who should win in the perfect world of an Academy Awards ceremony based on merit alone.
Nominees: Black Panther
A Star Is Born
Vice Who will win: Roma
Alfonso Cuarón's moving, beautifully shot and slowly unfolding memoir of life in Mexico City has taken most of the awards already and would provide a coup for Netflix if it manages to win over the Academy. The fact that it's produced by the company who represent the single biggest challenge to the primacy of Hollywood, may, however, count against it on the night.
Who could win: Green Book
Peter Farrelly's comfortably pat race-relations tale is the kind of easy, palatable film that the Academy often tends to choose in years when other contenders prove a little too challenging. It may yet take home the statue as the safe bet on this year's list.
Who should win: The Favourite
Yorgos Lanthimos' beautifully directed period tale is darkly humorous and features a trio of powerful female performances and is the sharpest, wittiest and most interesting of this year's nominees.
Nominees: Christian Bale for Vice
Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe for At Eternity's Gate
Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen for Green Book Who will win: Rami Malek
The actor's performance as Freddie Mercury has seen him scoop several late awards this season and it's looking like it'll be a first statue win for the young actor whose transformation has wowed critics and fans alike as Bohemian Rhapsody continues to storm the box office.
Who could win: Christian Bale
Vice may have sharply divided critics with its black humour and off-the-wall approach to the story of the life and times of Dick Cheney but everyone agrees that the method actor's almost unrecognisable transformation for the role is an exceptional feat.
Who should win: Christian Bale
Nominees: Yalitza Aparicio for Roma
Glenn Close for The Wife
Olivia Colman for The Favourite
Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Who will win: Glenn Close
She's been nominated six times previously and is one of America's strongest character actors and it looks like the seventh time may well prove to be the charm for Close whose performance has drawn praise and deserved awards already.
Who could win: Lady Gaga
The singer has won several awards for her first major film role in this year's tear-jerking remake of A Star is Born and she may very well upset Close and take home an Oscar.
Who should win: Olivia Colman
The Brit deserves it for her brilliant, empathetic and darkly funny portrayal of the baby-like, manipulative Queen Anne.
Nominees: Mahershala Ali for Green Book
Adam Driver for BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott for A Star Is Born
Richard E Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell for Vice Who will win: Mahershala Ali
Ali's performance as the conflicted, brilliant and determined popular pianist Don Shirley has seen him sweep most of the awards already and would win him a second Oscar following his win in this same category for Moonlight in 2017.
Who could win: Richard E Grant
The awards season has been as much fun for Swaziland-born Grant as his performance in the delightful and hard-to-resist Can You Ever Forgive Me? It's the first nomination that's been a cult favourite ever since he starred in Withnail and I back in 1987.
Who should win: Mahershala Ali
Nominees: Amy Adams for Vice
Marina de Tavira for Roma
Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone for The Favourite
Rachel Weisz for The Favourite Who will win: Regina King
It's King's first nomination and while she didn't earn a nod from the Screen Actor's Guild for her fiery performance in Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk, she's scooped every other award out there and looks set for a first statue.
Who could win: Amy Adams
The Lady Macbeth to Bale's Cheney in Vice, Adams gives a strong performance as the former Veep's long-suffering but ambitious wife, Lynne, and her sixth nomination may be the one that clinches it.
Who should win: Emma Stone
Stone gives a career-best performance as a seemingly charming, ruthlessly ambitious social climber in a film filled with excellent performances from its three leads.
Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
Adam McKay for Vice
Who will win: Alfonso Cuarón
Cuarón's Roma has been cleaning up and the film is certainly a beautiful and carefully executed piece of work, shot by Cuarón himself in gorgeous black and white and delicately telling its empathetic and often heartbreaking personal tale.
Who could win: Spike Lee
America's angriest and most in-your-face director has won a lifetime achievement award from the Academy and been nominated for writing and documentary previously. However, in his 40-year career he's never earned a directing nod and this should be his year for a film that's hard-hitting and speaks about uncomfortable issues that need addressing and recognition in the age of the rise of the alt-right.
Who should win: Spike Lee