Did the Oscars get it right? Who won vs who SHOULD have won

25 February 2019 - 12:28
By tymon smith AND Tymon Smith
Rami Malek accepts the Best Actor award for 'Bohemian Rhapsody' during the 91st Annual Academy Awards ceremony on February 24 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Image: VALERIE MACON / AFP Rami Malek accepts the Best Actor award for 'Bohemian Rhapsody' during the 91st Annual Academy Awards ceremony on February 24 2019 in Hollywood, California.

In the perfect world of an Academy Awards ceremony based on merit alone, here's who our film critic thinks should have taken home the accolades in key categories in 2019:



  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Green Book
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born
  • Vice

Which film won: 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 was a safe choice.

Which film SHOULD have won: The Favourite

Yorgos Lanthimos' beautifully directed period tale is darkly humorous and features a trio of powerful female performances. It was the the sharpest, wittiest and most interesting of this year's 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 won: Rami Malek

The actor's performance as Freddie Mercury has seen him scoop several awards this season — including his first Oscar. The young actor's transformation into the Queen frontman has wowed critics and fans alike and Bohemian Rhapsody continues to storm the box office.

Who SHOULD have won: 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.



  • 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?

Olivia Colman was a WORTHY winner

The Brit deserves her Oscar for her brilliant, empathetic and darkly funny portrayal of the baby-like, manipulative Queen Anne.



  • 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

Mahershala Ali was a WORTHY winner

Ali's performance as the conflicted, brilliant and determined popular pianist Don Shirley has seen him sweep most of the awards this season. It won him a well-deserved second Oscar following his win in this same category for Moonlight in 2017.



  • 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 won: Regina King

This was 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.

Who SHOULD have won: 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 won: 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 SHOULD have won: 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 have been his year to win 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.

This article is adapted from one originally published in the Sunday Times Lifestyle magazine.