As the stars gather at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday night, the Oscars countdown has well and truly begun for film fans. But will they get the happy endings they want this weekend for the movies that have meant the most to them? Here are our predictions for who will be honoured by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
You can watch the ceremony and red carpet arrivals on RTÉ2 from 9:00pm on Monday, January 7.
Who We Think Will Win: Regina King
Who We Think Should Win: Regina King
The brilliant relationship chronicle If Beale Street Could Talk opens in Irish cinemas next month. From February 8 you'll be hearing a lot more about Regina King as audiences experience her powerhouse performance playing the mother trying to put her daughter and son-in-law's life back together, while he languishes in jail for a crime he did not commit. A three-time Emmy winner (for her work on American Crime and Seven Seconds), King is the standout on a sublime supporting actress shortlist. She's also nominated in the Globe TV categories for Seven Seconds, so a double-special night even before the early hours of Monday morning.
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Richard E Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice
Who We Think Will Win: Mahershala Ali
Who We Think Should Win: Mahershala Ali
If you find the feelgood factor from Stan and Ollie wearing off at the end of the month, don't fret: you still have Green Book to look forward to. And the smile may last just as long. The chalk-and-cheese road movie sees Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen bring the true story of the friendship between African-American piano virtuoso Don Shirley and Italian-American nightclub bouncer Tony 'Lip' Vallelonga to the big screen, and the chemistry between the two is brilliant. Already a Golden Globe nominee (and Oscar winner) for his work on Moonlight, Ali's Green Book performance mixes poise, poignancy and put-downs to perfection to deliver a touching tribute to the man who lived this life. In an ideal world, Ali would share the award with first-time nominee Richard E Grant for his turn as the loveable rogue opposite Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? - it's in cinemas next month too.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, Vice
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Robert Redford, The Old Man and the Gun
John C Reilly, Stan and Ollie
Who We Think Will Win: Christian Bale
Who We Think Should Win: Christian Bale
Truly one of the most foregone conclusions in Golden Globes history - and that's no disrespect to the great work of all the other nominees. In a career lived like a man who thinks every performance could be his last, Christian Bale has out-Baled himself as former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Vice is neither a musical nor a comedy, but is one of the scariest things you'll see all year. Yes, you forget that you're watching Bale, but trumping even that feat is how he has turned one of the most deeply uncharismatic politicians in history into a near-hypnotic screen presence. Goosebumps. Get ready to feel them when Vice opens later this month.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity's Gate
Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman
Who We Think Will Win: Bradley Cooper
Who We Think Should Win: Bradley Cooper
It's Bradley Cooper's birthday this weekend, and what a way to celebrate. Twice Globe-nominated as an actor for American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, it'll be third time 'lucky' for Cooper in what could well be the defining role of his career as singer Jackson Maine - and there's a long way to go. In his double shift as leading man and director on A Star is Born, Cooper captured the emotional toll of a life lived fast in the public eye, and together with co-star Lady Gaga gave us the most unforgettable screen couple of 2018. He's some singer, too.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade
Charlize Theron, Tully
Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians
Who We a Think Should Win: Olivia Colman
Who We Think Will Win: Olivia Colman
The most deserving of coronations. Olivia Colman told us it was a joy to play all the emotions of the all-over-place Queen Anne in The Favourite, and what a joy it was to watch her rule on the big screen. In a film that wrong-footed you from scene to scene, Colman switched from heartbreaking to hilarious and everything in between and always left you wondering what was about to come out of the monarch's mouth. She brought out the best in co-stars Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, as they did in her, kicking 2019 off with a film that will be top of many a list by the end of it. Long may she rule.
Who We Think Will Win: Lady Gaga
Who We Think Should Win: Lady Gaga
We've witnessed A Star Reborn as Lady Gaga showed us she could have just as stellar a career on the big screen as she does onstage. Her pitch-perfect performance as the ingénue who ends up knowing the fame monster all too well brought that real-life electricity to co-star Bradley Cooper's directorial debut. That said, she never let her own wattage get in the way of crafting a character to cherish - and she saved the best until the very last. Already a Golden Globe winner for her role in American Horror Story in 2015, Gaga will be tripling her tally by also taking home Best Song for Shallow on Sunday. What a night, but it could well be a different story with Glenn Close at the Oscars...
Who We Think Will Win: The Favourite
Who We Think Should Win: The Favourite
Along with Outlander star Caitriona Balfe's fourth nomination in the TV categories, here's where Irish interest lies. Dublin production company Element Pictures was holding some of the purse strings on The Favourite, and it was money brilliantly spent on a regal romp which, ironically, poked fun at the rich throwing it away. The Favourite generated the most laughs of any of this year's nominees (wicked ones, mind), gave Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz roles to kill for (you wouldn't put it past any of the characters they're playing...) and had a snarky swagger that none of the others could match. We were very much amused. Writers Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara will be crowned in the Best Original Screenplay category too.
No doubts: A Star is Born will be the headliner on the night. It was a film where box office clout didn't get in the way of character, making sure that the big moments onstage and the intimate ones off it were all show-stoppers. We've already sung its praises plenty in the other categories above, so expect another standing ovation here.
Who we Think Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Who We Think Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Done deal - no matter how bright Bradley Cooper's A Star is Born shines on Sunday. While both films will stand the test of time in the minds and hearts of audiences, it will be Cuarón who will be the most celebrated for showcasing his craft with his semi-autobiographical story of life in 1970s Mexico. Here was a filmmaker making sure the high wire technique was just as powerful as the heartstring pulling; that they didn't get in each other's way and that repeated viewings down the years will be needed to fully appreciate just how brilliant a job he did on both. Roma will win Best Foreign Language Film at the Globes, too - let's hope the Oscars go the same way next month.
Best Animated Feature Film
While there's a lot of love for The Incredibles 2 (and baby Jack-Jack!), we reckon that for giving the superhero genre a good foot up the costumed-backside, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will weave its way among the award winners. But if there is to be a big surprise on Sunday, could it be Isle of Dogs?