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(UPDATED: December 11, 2018)

The 91st Academy Awards, hosted by no one known at the moment, air on February 24, 2019. Welcome to the eighth year of Every Movie Has a Lesson's "Awards Tracker."  My goal every year is simple: Help each and every one of you win your Oscar pools.  My high score was correctly guessing 20-out-of-24 back in 2014.  This past year, I was 18-for-24.  I'll take that, but it's time to get back to the 20+ threshold.  Stick with me and we'll will some prizes together!

This year, I am proud to now be a member of three awards-voting bodies. As a director and co-founder, I locally represent the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. In 2017, I became a new voter of the Online Film and Television Awards. My big step came this past year when I was accepted into the Online Film Critics Society, the largest national group of online critics. It’s a pleasure and honor to see my own picks make it into the award seasons discussion on those fronts.

Here's how this little page of my personal interest works.  I find value in tracking the trends and following the tea leaves of the all the minor lead-up awards before the Oscars.  I chart the winners of each category with listed winners and comments on the surrounding buzz.  If you're a fan of high quality film and awards shows, there's no better time of the year and Every Movie Has a Lesson is here to make you sharper and smarter every step of the way.  Bookmark this page as I'll update these tallies often!


BEST MOTION PICTURE

LATEST BUZZ:  The major city critics groups have followed New York’s start and the Best Picture wave is finding itself on the Mexican shoreline with Roma. Looking like an absolute dual-category juggernaut, Alfonso Cuaron’s film is looming like the critics’ darling and one esteemed enough to break the Netflix stigma.

WINNERS: 

8- Roma (NY, Chicago, SF, DC, LA, TOR, PHI, SS)

2- Green Book (TIFF, NBR)

1- Leave No Trace (SD)

1- The Favourite (ATL)

1- Eighth Grade (DET)

1- The Rider (GIFA)

1- Shoplifters (Cannes)

1- The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Sundance)

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE (AFI) TOP 10: BlackKklansman, Eighth Grade, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Favourite, First Reformed, Green Book, Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place, A Star is Born


BEST DIRECTOR

LATEST BUZZ:   Cuaron himself is riding this new Roma surge in three categories. This is the second and his specialty. More awards are coming and it is a long haul between now and the February 2nd Directors Guild of America Awards to settle the top pick. On a sidenote, it’s wonderful to see love given to a female director, Debra Granink of Leave No Trace, in early awards.

5- Alfonso Cuaron for Roma (NY, ATL, Chicago, DC, TOR)

2- Debra Granik for Leave No Trace (LA, SD)

1- Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk (PHI)

1- Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman (SF)

1- Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born (NBR)

1- Adam McKay for Vice (DET)

1- Pawel Pawilkowski for Cold War (Cannes)

1- Sara Colangelo for The Kindergarten Teacher (Sundance)


BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

LATEST BUZZ:  The respect due for Ethan Hawke is real and not just at the indie level when it comes to First Reformed. Touted as his best work yet, he’s the kind of respected actor that cements nominations in this category. He deserves the full Oscar recognition and it looks like he’s getting it. This one could be locked up early.

WINNERS: 

9- Ethan Hawke for First Reformed (GIFA, NY, ATL, DET, Chicago, SF, DC, TOR, SD)

1- Christian Bale for Vice (PHI)

1- Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born (DC)

1- Viggo Mortensen for Green Book (NBR)

1- Benjamin Dickey for Blaze (Sundance)

1- Marcello Fonte for Dogman (Cannes)


BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

LATEST BUZZ:   After a big start from Lady Gaga and Toni Colette, this category is proving itself to be the most unpredictable and competitive of the four acting categories. That’s a good problem to have where most years it is sometimes hard to feel great about more than one or two of the final five nominees. There are eight different winners so far and they all make excellent cases.

WINNERS: 

3- Olivia Colman for The Favourite (ATL, DC, TOR)

3- Toni Colette for Hereditary (GIFA, DET, Chicago)

2- Lady Gaga for A Star is Born (NBR, DC)

1- Glenn Close for The Wife (SD)

1- Viola Davis for Widows (PHI)

1- Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me? (SF)

1- Regina Hall for Support the Girls (NY)

1- Samal Yeslyamova for Ayka (Cannes)


BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

LATEST BUZZ:  Richard E. Grant is a scene-stealing hoot next to Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? He is the kind of respected non-American veteran of stage and screen that the Academy fauns over. Great to see Steven Yeun contribute diversity to the field.

WINNERS: 

4- Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me? (NY, Chicago, PHI, SD)

2- Sam Elliott for A Star is Born (NBR, ATL)

2- Steven Yeun for Burning (LA, TOR)

1- Timothee Chalamat for Beautiful Boy (SD)

1- Mahershala Ali for Green Book (DC)

1- Michael B. Jordan for Black Panther (SF)

1- Josh Hamilton for Eighth Grade (DET)


BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

LATEST BUZZ:   Regina King from Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight follow-up If Beale Street Could Talk opens as the first double winner here between NBR and the NYFCC. Let’s see if the film has new eyes and long legs from Jenkins when it debuts to the public this December. Like Laurie Metcalf and Alison Janney a year ago, King is a respected TV and film vet with her best role in years. Check out Emma Stone gunning for Oscar #2!

WINNERS: 

8- Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk (NBR, NY, DET, SF, DC, LA, TOR, PHI)

1- Emma Stone for The Favourite (ATL)

1- Olivia Colman for The Favourite (Chicago)


BEST ENSEMBLE (non-Oscar category)

LATEST BUZZ:   Gotham went out of its way to create a special prize this year for Yorgos Lanthimos’ ensemble in The Favourite. SAG normally pushes this non-Oscar category into focus, but more critics groups are including ensemble categories. Instead of whatever “popular film” category the Academy tried on this summer, Best Ensemble would be a new and worthy category that would make a great deal more sense. That and finally rewarding stunt work. The National Board of Review wonderfully awarded diversity with the cast of Crazy Rich Asians taking their ensemble award. Great choice!

WINNERS: 

2- The Favourite (GIFA, ATL)

1- The Favourite (DC)

1- Crazy Rich Asians (NBR)

1- Vice (DET)

1- Game Night (SD)


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

LATEST BUZZ:   As wished for, Paul Schrader has kept the roll going, putting distance between himself and the field. Shout out to the debuting Bo Burnham winning an award outright against all comers.

WINNERS: 

6- Paul Schrader for First Reformed (GIFA, NBR, NY, Chicago, SF, TOR)

3- Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara for The Favourite (ATL, DC, TOR)

1- Bo Burnham for Eighth Grade (SD)

1- Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Curry, and Peter Farrelly for Green Book (DET)

1- Adam McKay for Vice (DET)

1- Christine Choe for Nancy (Sundance)

1- Alice Rohrwacher for Happy as Lazarro (Cannes)

1- Jafar Panahi for 3 Faces (Cannes)


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

LATEST BUZZ:  Barry Jenkins is gilded for screenplay success since Moonlight. Maybe Can You Ever Forgive Me? can emerge next as another contender against If Beale Street Could Talk.

WINNERS: 

2- Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk (NBR, Chicago)

2- Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty for Can You Ever Forgive Me? (DC, LA)

1- Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows, and Fabien Nury for The Death of Stalin (SD)

1- Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman (SF)

1- Audrey Wells for The Hate U Give (PHI)


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

LATEST BUZZ:  The official short list for this category is already out and includes the anticipated big studio front runners (Ralph 2, The Incredibles 2, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse) and foreign/indie dark horses (Isle of Dogs, Tall Tales). Is this another year where Pixar cannot be caught? Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse starts that push.

WINNERS: 

5- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (NY, DET, Chicago, SF, LA)

3- Isle of Dogs (DC, TOR, SD)

2- Incredibles 2 (NBR, PHI)


BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS:  None yet in this category


BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS: 

1- Matria (Sundance)


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

LATEST BUZZ:  If you would have asked me this summer which film is winning the Oscar, I would have told you the Fred Rogers treasure Won’t You Be My Neighbor? would be running away and hiding with the eventual statue. Six months later, contenders are coming out of nowhere with big praise attached. Is that a sign of things to come? We’ll see. This category is a big pile of random every year. I still think the Rogers feature wins in February.

WINNERS: 

5- Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (ATL, SF, DC, TOR, PHI)

2- Minding the Gap (NY, Chicago)

2- Three Identical Strangers (DET, SD)

1- RBG (NBR)

1- Shirkers (LA)

1- Hale County This Morning, This Evening (GIFA)

1- Free Solo (TIFF)

1- Kailash (Sundance)

1- The Sentence (Sundance)


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS:  None yet in this category


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

LATEST BUZZ:  New voting rules could sharpen and clean up this category to be less random and more focused. Check them out here. In the meantime, the earliest tea leaves belong to these two Sundance winners and the Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters. All eyes will be on the awards seasons performance of Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma to be the Netflix film that pushes away the negative stigma currently being held by the streaming service by old school cinema voters. That film may be too good to deny, but does that put it as a Best Picture contender, a Foreign Language frontrunner, or both?

WINNERS: 

5- Roma (ATL, Chicago, SF, DC, PHI)

2- Burning (LA, TOR)

2- Shoplifters (LA, SD)

1- Cold War (NY)

1- Butterflies (Sundance)

1- The Guilty (Sundance)


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

LATEST BUZZ:   Alfonso Cuaron, at the advice of his go-to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, shot his own film with Roma. The results were extraordinary. I agree with New York here. I haven’t seen better cinematography all year and it comes from a film that doesn’t have a speck of color. That’s pretty special.

WINNERS: 

7- Alfonso Cuaron for Roma (NY, ATL, Chicago, SF, DC, LA, PHI)


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN/ART DIRECTION

LATEST BUZZ:  A quick shout out to the Cannes Film Festival Vulcan Award winner Burning for opening the winners of this artistic category. The foreign film may not have the clout to be this year’s The Handmaiden in the artistic and technical categories, but a win is a win and it earns the kudos.

WINNERS: 

3- Hannah Beachler for Black Panther (SF, DC, LA)

1- Fiona Crombie for The Favourite (Chicago)

1- Jum-Hee Shin for Burning (Cannes)


BEST FILM EDITING

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS: 

1- Alfonso Cuaron and Adam Gough for Roma (Chicago)

1- Tom Cross for First Man (DC)

1- Joshua Altman and Bing Liu for  Minding the Gap (LA)

1- Bob Murawski and Orson Welles for The Other Side of the Wind (SF)


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS:  None yet in this category


BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR-STYLING

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS:  None yet in this category


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS: 

1- Annihilation (Chicago)


BEST SOUND EDITING

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS:  None yet in this category


BEST SOUND MIXING

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS:  None yet in this category


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

LATEST BUZZ:  The very deserving pomp of First Man is the first victor here. Expect competition to come in a wide-open year for scores with no clear standout. I’d love to see some accolades head in the direction of Ludwig Gorannsson for Black Panther, but Hurwitz works just fine too.

WINNERS: 

3- Nicholas Britell for If Beale Street Could Talk (Chicago, DC, LA)

1- Justin Hurwitz for First Man (ATL)

1- Thom Yorke for Suspiria (PHI)


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

LATEST BUZZ:  Coming soon!

WINNERS:  None yet in this category


ACRONYM KEY FOR AWARD GROUPS

African-American Film Critics Association (AA), ACE Eddie Awards (ACE), Art Directors Guild Awards (ADG), Annie Awards (Annie), American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), Atlanta Film Critics (ATL), Austin Film Critics Association (AUS), British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Black Film Critics Circle (BF), Boston Society of Film Critics (Boston), Boston Online Film Critics Association (BO), Cannes Film Festival (Cannes), Cinema Audio Society (CAS), Costume Designers Guild (CDG), Chicago Film Critics Association (Chicago), Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC), Broadcast Film Critics Association/Critics Choice Awards (CC), Columbus/Central Ohio Film Critics Associations (CO), Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association (DC), Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association (DFW), Denver Film Critics Society (DEN), Detroit Film Critics Society (DET), Directors Guild of America (DGA), Dublin Film Critics Circle (DUB), Alliance of Women Film Journalists/EDA Awards (EDA), European Film Awards (EFA), Cinema Eye Awards (EYE), Florida Film Critics Circle (FL), Georgia Film Critics Association (GA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association/Dorian Awards (GAL), Gotham Independent Film Awards (GIFA), Hollywood Foreign Press Association/Golden Globes (Globe), Hollywood Film Awards (HFA), Houston Film Critics Society (HOU), Iowa Film Critics Association (IA), Indiana Film Journalist Associations (IN), International Documentary Association (IDA), Kansas City Film Critics Circle (KC), Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LA), London Film Critics Circle (London), Las Vegas Film Critics Association/Sierra Winners (LV), Makeup and Hair-styling Guild (MHG), National Board of Review (NBR), North Carolina Film Critics Association (NC), National Society of Film Critics (NSFC), North Texas Film Critics Association (NT), Nevada Film Critics Society (NV), New York Film Critics Circle (NY), New York Online Film Critics Association (NYO), Online Film and Television Awards (OFTA), Oklahoma Film Critics Circle (OK), Online Film Critics Society (Online), The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/Academy Awards (Oscar), Producers Guild of America (PGA), Philadelphia Film Critics Circle (PHI), Phoenix Critic Circle (PCC), Phoenix Film Critics Society (PHX), Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG), International Press Academy/Satellite Awards (Satellite), San Diego Film Critics Society (SD), Southeastern Film Critics Association (SE), Seattle Film Critics Society (SEA), San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SF),  Independent Spirit Awards (Spirit), Sight and Sound Magazine (SS), St. Louis Film Critics (STL), Sundance Film Festival (Sundance), Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Toronto Film Critics Association (TOR), USC Libraries Scripter Award (USC), Utah Film Critics Association (UT), Vancouver Critics Circle (VAN), Venice International Film Festival (VIFF), Visual Effects Society Awards (VES), Village Voice Film Critics Poll (VV), Writers Guild of America (WGA)

ADDITIONAL SCORECARD: Metacritic


CALENDAR

OCTOBER

Wednesday, Oct. 3: Clio Awards
Thursday, Oct. 18: Gotham Awards nominations announced
Sunday, Oct. 21: Mark Twain Award
Monday, Oct. 22: Streamy Awards
Friday, Oct. 26: BAFTA Britannia Awards

NOVEMBER
Sunday, Nov. 11: People’s Choice Awards
Thursday, Nov. 15: Hollywood Professional Association Awards
Friday, Nov. 16: Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations announced
Sunday, Nov. 18: Governors Awards 
Tuesday, Nov. 20: PGA Awards nominations (documentary motion pictures) announced
Monday, Nov. 26: Gotham Awards
Tuesday, Nov. 27: National Board of Review winners announced
Thursday, Nov. 29: American Cinematheque gala

DECEMBER

Monday, Dec. 3: Annie Awards nominations announced
Wednesday, Dec. 5: Grammy Awards nominations announced
Thursday, Dec. 6: Golden Globe Awards nominations announced
Thursday, Dec. 6: WGA Awards nominations (TV, new media, radio, news, promo writing, graphic animation) announced
Monday, Dec. 10: Critics’ Choice Awards film and TV nominations announced
Wednesday, Dec. 12: SAG Awards nominations announced

JANUARY

Friday, Jan. 4: PGA Awards nominations (TV shows, theatrical movies and theatrical animated movies) announced
Saturday, Jan. 5: National Society of Film Critics award winners announced
Sunday, Jan. 6: Golden Globe Awards
Monday, Jan. 7: WGA Awards nominations (theatrical and doc screenplay and video game) announced
Monday, Jan. 7: DGA Awards nominations (TV, commercial and documentary nominees) announced
Tuesday, Jan. 8: Cinema Audio Society nominations
Tuesday, Jan. 8: DGA nominations (feature and first-time film nominees) announced
Tuesday, Jan. 8: National Board of Review awards gala
Thursday, Jan 10: Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild nominations announced
Thursday, Jan 10: Costume Designers Guild Awards nominations
Sunday, Jan. 13: Critics’ Choice Awards
Tuesday, Jan. 15: USC Scripter nominees announced
Saturday, Jan. 19: PGA Awards
Tuesday, Jan. 22: Oscar Nominations announced
Sunday, Jan. 27: Screen Actors Guild Awards
Thursday, Jan. 31: Casting Society of America's Annual Artios Awards

FEBRUARY

Saturday, Feb. 2: Annie Awards
Saturday, Feb. 2: Directors Guild Awards
Monday, Feb. 4: Oscar Nominees Luncheon
Saturday, Feb. 9: Academy's Scientific and Technical Awards
Saturday, Feb. 9: USC Scripter Awards
Sunday, Feb. 10: Grammy Awards
Tuesday, Feb. 19: Costume Designers Guild Awards
Saturday, Feb. 16: Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards
Saturday, Feb. 16: Cinema Audio Society Awards
Sunday, Feb. 17: WGA Awards
Saturday, Feb. 23: Film Independent Spirit Awards
Sunday, Feb. 24: Academy Awards

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