Listen up, Derbyites! Oscar weekend is upon us and once again the brilliant minds of Gold Derby experts, editors and users have crunched the numbers to come up with our annual Oscar odds. Generally our odds are second to none, but I’m here to remind everyone that going with the consensus is a losing game! Sure, if you’re here to steal some answers for your local office pool, by all means take them. You’ll likely win in a landslide. But wouldn’t you rather take the crown as the reigning champion of the most competitive Oscar contest of all?
Since the inception of this website, the most knowledgeable of pundits have gathered here to debate who will go home with Oscars. Some incredible long shots have been called and some unstoppable favorites have been established. That’s why it is a crying shame that not a single user has ever achieved one feat: 100% accuracy in the Gold Derby Oscar contest. I’m confident one of us can achieve that milestone this year, but it won’t happen if you’re not willing to call some bold, unapologetic long shots.
Each year our combined Oscar odds have been shockingly consistent, predicting anywhere from 75 to 85 percent of the winners. That being said, we always have a handful of users who are able to manage over 90 percent accuracy and blow everyone else out of the water. The key to joining that exclusive circle is knowing where to call the upsets. In this wild and crazy Oscar season, I’d wager whoever wins this contest will call between four and seven long shots. I encourage everyone to review your picks before Oscar Sunday and see how many you’re calling. If you’re lined up with the combined odds in every category, you will likely get a pretty good score. But if you want to beat the best, you’ll need to make some changes.
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Personally, I’m calling six upsets this year, meaning I think the consensus will get 18/24 categories correct. But I want to be the first person to get 100 percent! So, I’m willing to share my bold long shots in hopes of inspiring more people to move outside of their comfort zones so one of us can make history. Below are my choices that go against the Gold Derby masses. What upsets are you willing to predict?
Best Costume Design: “Black Panther”
Ruth E. Carter‘s colorful, eclectic costume design in “Black Panther” is currently ranked second in our combined odds behind Sandy Powell‘s 18th century designs in “The Favourite.” The reason I’m picking “Black Panther” to pull an upset in this category is because the costumes are so different than any of of the other nominees. From beautiful tribal gowns to superhero costumes, the designs are diverse and inspiring. I believe “The Favourite,” “Mary Queen of Scots,” “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Ballad of Buster Scruggs” will split the vote with all of their period-piece designs and open the door for the world of Wakanda.
Best Production Design: “Black Panther”
Once again I believe “Black Panther” can take down the current front-runner, “The Favourite,” in what I believe is an incredibly tight race. While the set design for “The Favorite” was lavish and exquisite, the production design of “Black Panther” brings us into an entirely new world. “Black Panther” has the added benefit of being the only true Sci-Fi fantasy design among four more traditional nominees. Historically, those designs have fared well at the Oscars.
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Best Score: “Black Panther”
I know, I know. Enough with the “Black Panther” you’re saying! But once again, I truly believe “Black Panther” should and will win this Oscar. Currently sitting in second place behind the gorgeous score from “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Black Panther” has the more eclectic composition. From gorgeous strings, to African drums and beautiful tribal anthems, this score truly is a masterpiece. While “If Beale Street Could Talk” serves the film brilliantly, it is less complex and scores a film that is not nominated for Best Picture. If that isn’t enough to convince you, consider the fact that “Black Panther” recently defeated last year’s champion, “The Shape of Water,” at the Grammy Awards for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.
Best Visual Effects: “First Man”
Certainly “First Man” does not have the most in-your-face visual effects in this category, but it’s the only one nominated for anything else. It is rare for a film to win this category if it’s the sole nomination. “The Jungle Book” was the only film in recent years to pull that off. On top of that, while current front-runner “Avengers: Infinity War” deserves to win, the special effects aren’t exactly anything new. Why would the Academy Awards suddenly choose to reward this franchise now? “First Man” won the Visual Effects Society award for supporting effects and being the more pretentious film could lead it to Oscar gold, similar to “Ex-Machina” winning in 2016.
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Best Documentary Short: “Period. End of Sentence”
Currently sitting in second place behind “Black Sheep,” “Period. End of Sentence” is simply the only short documentary that makes the audience smile — even a little bit. I think this is a case of being the apple in a bag of oranges and voters will find humor and hope in this documentary about women overcoming stigma and creating a business for themselves.
Best Live Action Short: “Skin”
“Skin” is currently in second place behind “Marguerite” and I understand why. “Marguerite” is the only film in this category that isn’t dark, disturbing and downright uncomfortable to watch. But there are a few reasons I believe “Skin” can pull off an upset. First of all, it’s the only American film in the bunch and it deals with a relevant topic in a very surprising way. It’s also the one with the highest production value and it feels like a complete film. I couldn’t stop thinking about “Skin” after I watched this group of shorts and for that reason, I’m picking it to win on Sunday.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on February 24