All The Oscars A Star Is Born Could Win In 2019

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures.
If you’re one of the many, many people who enjoyed watching Bradley Cooper stroke Lady Gaga’s nose in A Star Is Born over the weekend, you’re in luck. Chances are, we’re all going to be seeing a lot more of the duo over the coming months. The movie has already broken box-office records, taking in a domestic gross of $41.3 million — a huge number for a Hollywood musical on remake number four. According to the New York Times, the film itself cost about $36 million to make, which means that going forward, every dollar that comes in is pure profit.
A Star Is Born had some big shoes to fill (two words: Judy. Garland.), and even bigger expectations to surpass (that trailer is itself a masterpiece), and so far, it’s done all that and more. The film currently holds an A grade in Cinemascore, and a 91% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Evidently, the love story between Jackson Maine (Cooper), an alcoholic rock star whose career is waning, and Ally (Lady Gaga), the angel-voiced ingenue he discovers after stumbling into the drag bar she’s performing in, has struck a chord. The question now is whether or not we’ll be calling Bradley Cooper an Oscar-winning filmmaker come February.
At this point, it seems almost impossible that A Star Is Born won’t be a leading awards season contender. It’s a crowd-pleaser, has the critical backing to be taken seriously, and Hollywood loves a story about the perils of fame. Still, it’s early days yet. In December 2016, La La Land seemed a shoo-in for the golden statue, and then, well, Moonlight happened. (In an ironic turn of events, Barry Jenkins’ latest film, If Beale Street Could Talk, is almost certainly going to be in the running against A Star Is Born, along with Damien Chazelle’s La La Land follow-up, First Man.) Many films that will very probably be considered haven’t even screened yet, including Vice, On The Basis Of Sex, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Bohemian Rhapsody. (And as a result, some of this speculation is just a series wild guesses based on hype and hearsay.)
Nevertheless, bringing home the Oscar would be momentous for a film that, over the years, has been nominated multiple times in its different iterations but never won. Could Lady Gaga rectify Judy Garland’s egregious 1955 snub? Is it even worth holding a Best Original Song competition when you have “Shallow” in the running? Can we create a special award for Best Dog to honour Bradley Cooper’s pooch Charlie? Let’s break down A Star Is Born’s chances in 2019.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures.

It’s been roughly a decade since the Academy decided to expand the number of films considered in the Best Picture category. Prior to that shift, only five films could be nominated for the prestigious award, whereas now it can be as many as 10. As Variety points out, that’s been beneficial to blockbuster films that would have been snubbed in the past in favour of smaller, “more serious” indie films. For example, of the nine films were nominated in 2017, only two (Hidden Figures and La La Land) had passed the $100 million box office mark. That’s good news for A Star Is Born, which given its opening weekend turnout, is on track to do the same. But it’s also means that there’s more room for competition, especially as the Academy seeks to bring in more diverse perspectives in its voting process. It's hard to imagine that the film won’t at least get a nomination in this category, but at this point, the race is still very much up in the air.

Main Competition: Green Book (the film won the popular award at the Toronto International Film Festival), Widows, If Beale Street Could Talk, First Man, The Favourite, Black Panther, Can You Ever Forgive Me, ROMA, BlacKkKlansman.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures.

Lady Gaga’s stripped down, raw performance is the kind that wins Oscars. Hollywood loves a female no-makeup transformation, especially for someone so renowned for their theatrics.

As Ally, Gaga manages to make the audience forget who she is, which is no small feat. Not to mention that her powerhouse vocals totally make the film. And don’t forget that though this is her movie acting debut, the singer won a Golden Globe for her turn in American Horror Story: Hotel in 2016. She’s a pro.

Gaga’s chances at a nomination are good, but she’s got her work cut out for her to nab a win. Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand have both won Golden Globes for Best Actress — Musical or Comedy for their takes on the role, but Garland tragically lost out to Grace Kelly at the Oscars for what was supposed to be her big comeback role. (Tragic fact: Although she won a special child actor Oscar for The Wizard of Oz, Garland actually never nabbed an Academy Award as an adult.) The social media hype around Gaga could help, but ultimately, it’s still an extremely tight race, and way too early to make the call.

Main Competition: Viola Davis (Widows), Carey Mulligan (Wildlife), Olivia Coleman (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite), Glenn Close (The Wife), Joanna Kulig (Cold War), Toni Colette (Hereditary), Keira Knightley (Colette), Margot Robbie (Mary, Queen of Scots), Saoirse Ronan (Mary, Queen of Scots).
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures.

Aside from Best Original Song (we'll get to that), this is the category where A Star Is Born has the best chance. Bradley Cooper poured his heart and soul into this role, and the Academy loves commitment. Cooper had to subject himself to constant self-tanning sessions to reach Jackson’s particularly shade of burnt orange, spent 20 hours a week (over several months) practicing lowering his voice an entire octave, and learned to sing, and play the guitar like a professional musician. A nomination is a given, and a win is entirely deserved. Cooper’s been nominated twice before for Best Actor (Silver Linings Playbook and American Sniper), once for Best Supporting Actor (American Hustle), and as a producer on American Sniper in 2015. He’s not coming out of left field.

But you know who else is transforming his entire being for a role? Christian Bale. The actor (who won an Oscar for Best Actor in 2011 for The Fighter) is virtually unrecognisable as Dick Cheney in the trailer for Vice, which hits theatres in 2019, and if Gary Oldman’s Darkest Hour win proves anything, it’s that Hollywood loves prosthetics.

Main Competition: Ryan Gosling (First Man), Steve Carell (Beautiful Boy), Lucas Hedges (Ben Is Back), Ethan Hawk (First Reformed), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Christian Bale (Vice), Robert Redford (The Old Man In The Gun — his last role!), Willem Dafoe (Eternity’s Gate).
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures.

This one seems like it’s going to be a tug-o-war between Alfonso Cuarón and Spike Lee. Cuarón’s ROMA won the jury prize at the Venice Film Festival in September and came in second (after Green Book), in the popular run-off at TIFF. But Cuarón is already an Oscar-winner for 2013’s Gravity, and Lee on the other hand, has amazingly never been nominated for Best Director, and given the rave reviews for BlacKkKlansman, this could be his year. Still, critics have definitely been impressed by Cooper’s directorial debut, and I think that’ll be enough to get him in the running, at the very least.

Main Competition: Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk), Damien Chazelle (First Man), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Steve McQueen (Widows), Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me), Tamara Jenkins (Private Life), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman).
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Okay, I’m calling it. There is no way that “Shallow” doesn’t win Best Original Song, because there is no other song. Not one. And if Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga don’t show up to sing it as a duet in character I’m going to launch myself off the deep end, watch as I dive in.
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Photo: courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures.

IMHO Sam Elliott deserves this just for that one scene where Bobby blinks back tears as he pulls out of Jackson’s driveway. Also, since Cooper used him as the inspiration for his character’s voice, we basically have Elliott to thank for the whole movie. Give the man an Oscar!

Ultimately though, I’m rooting for Richard E. Grant. His performance as Jack Hock, Lee Israel’s (Melissa McCarthy) charmingly shady friend in Can You Ever Forgive Me is just that mind-bogglingly good.

Main Competition: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me), Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Daniel Kaluuya (Widows), Sam Rockwell (Vice).

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