Oscars predictions slugfest 2019: Documentaries, foreign films and animation, oh my! [WATCH]

To really nail your Oscar predictions you don’t just need to get the lay of the land when it comes to Best Picture. You also need to know your stuff when it comes to Best Foreign Language Film, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Animated Feature, which are often notorious for leaving out perceived front-runners in favor of out-of-left-field inclusions. Gold Derby contributors Charles Bright and Riley Chow recently joined me for a slugfest to debate these tough-to-call races. Watch our video above.

SEE our slugfest predicting the eight below-the-line races.

Best Foreign Language Film seems like a race to see which four films will lose to Alfonso Cuaron‘s “Roma,” which is a strong contender not just for this award but for Best Picture after its multiple victories at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards. The other eight titles shortlisted by the academy are “Ayka,” “Birds of Passage,” “Burning,” “Capernaum,” “Cold War,” “The Guilty,” “Never Look Away,” and “Shoplifters.”

Despite its Critics’ Choice nomination, Chow is expecting South Korea’s “Burning” to miss. Instead, he’s predicting wild-card contender “Birds of Passage,” which is Colombia’s official selection. It would only be Colombia’s second nomination in Oscar history.

SEE 3 Oscar Expert’s predictions slamdown: Brian Truitt (USA Today) vs. Susan Wloszczyna and Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby)

The Best Animated Feature race seems to be solidifying around “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which prevailed at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards. “Incredibles 2” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet” also look like strong contenders on paper, but they’re both followups to films that previously competed in this category, and “‘Toy Story’ aside, [the Oscars] don’t tend to go for sequels,” I point out. “So the idea that they’re going to have two in the same year does seem a little far out there.” In fact, there have never been two animated sequels nominated in the same year. The closest was 2011, when “Kung Fu Panda 2” was up against “Puss in Boots,” but “Puss” was a “Shrek” spin-off, not a sequel, per se.

Best Documentary Feature appears to have a clear front-runner in “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” However, Bright reveals that a member of the documentary branch told him “the real hurdle for that movie is the nomination because if it gets in there, it’s going to win.” But could it miss out on a nomination entirely? That category in particular has been prone to shocking snubs, from “Hoop Dreams” (1994) to “Jane” (2017). “Neighbor” was a crossover success at the box office, but voters don’t always like populist docs.

Watch our slugfest above to see what other surprises and snubs we’re anticipating before making or updating your own predictions right here.

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What surprises do you think that there will be? Make your Oscar predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until nominations are announced on January 22. And join in the debate taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forum.

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