Oscars 2019 odds: what film will win best picture?

Will A Star Is Born come up big? Will Roma herald in a new age of streaming dominance? Will Black Panther be the first superhero movie to win? We break down the frontrunners in this year's Oscar race.

We break down the frontrunners in this year's Oscar race, from A Star is Born to Roma

Who will win the Oscar for best picture? We take a closer look at the frontrunners. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The Oscar race is officially in full swing, and it's been an interesting one so far. A Star Is Born, the film expected to reign supreme all awards season, hasn't lived up to the hype, making room for some surprises, such as Bohemian Rhapsody's best picture Golden Globe win, all while Roma, Alfonso Cuarón's Netflix masterpiece, has slowly moved to the front of the pack.

With Oscar nominations out, and just a few key awards left before the big show — the SAG Awards on Jan. 27, the Director's Guild Awards on Feb. 1 and the BAFTAs on Feb. 10 — we take a look at the the films most likely to win the Academy Award for best picture.

Below, we've included what key awards the films have already won, the odds each picture has been given on, and what sort of Oscar narrative has been building around each picture. We'll update the the post as more awards are given, right up until the big night on Feb. 24. 

Film  Roma
Director  Alfonso Cuarón
Already won  Venice Golden Lion; Golden Globe (best director, best foreign language picture); Critics' Choice (best picture, best director, best foreign language film); Directors Guild of America Award, best feature film; BAFTA (best film, best director, cinematography) 
Odds of winning  4/1
Oscar narrative  Roma entered the Oscar race as one of two frontrunners for several reasons. The main one is director Alfonso Cuarón, a critical darling who has already won a director Oscar for 2014's Gravity. Roma is his passion project. He wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical film, which is based on his upbringing in Mexico City, and was released on Netflix. It's the first best picture nomination for Netflix, so an Oscar win would mark a milestone for the steaming service, which has been shut out of the Academy Awards in the past for anything other than documentaries. If anything, it's the final hurdle that would transform Netflix from Hollywood disruptor into the new status quo. If that happens, needless to say Spielberg would not be happy

Film  A Star is Born
Director  Bradley Cooper
Already won  Golden Globe (best original song); BAFTA (best original music)
Odds of winning  17/2
Oscar narrative  The general consensus early in awards season was that A Star Is Born was the film to beat, but it's far from the shallow now after practically getting shut out at the Golden Globes, where some expected it to sweep, as well as every other guild award. It went into Oscar season as a frontrunner, with 7/1 odds, but lost all momentum. If it manages to pull off a best picture win, it would be a major upset, not to mention a huge moment for first-time director Bradley Cooper; a best actress or song win would also land Lady Gaga her first Academy Award.   

Film  Green Book
Director  Peter Farrelly
Already won  Golden Globe (best screenplay, best picture - comedy or musical, best supporting actor - Mahershala Ali); TIFF people's choice award; Producers Guild of America Award; BAFTA (best supporting actor)
Odds of winning  6/1 
Oscar narrative  Green Book was an early favourite after taking home the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, a fairly reliable Oscar predictor. It also took home the big award at the Producers Guild Awards, one of the more reliable predictors for the Oscar — of the 30 winners, 20 have gone on to win the best picture. But the film hasn't been without its controversy, with some accusing it of whitewashing a pivotal moment in the civil rights era and making light of the Jim Crow south. The film has also been condemned by family members of the late pianist Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali), who claim that the film misrepresents his character. Ali, for his part, has apologize to Shirley's family. Although none of this seems to have slowed down the momentum for Green Book, particularly Ali's portrayal of the piano legend. 

Film  Bohemian Rhapsody
Director  Bryan Singer/Dexter Fletcher
Already won  Golden Globe (best picture - drama, best actor - Rami Malek); American Cinema Editors, best edited feature film (dramatic); BAFTA (best actor)
Odds of winning  19/2
Oscar narrative  Not unlike Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody has its fair share of controversies: director Bryan Singer was fired two-thirds of the way through finishing the film due to reported on-set fights with star Rami Malek, and just days after he was let go, he was sued for allegedly sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy, which he denied. Even though the film was finished by director Dexter Fletcher, voters will have a hard time separating Singer from the project. Still, the controversies didn't prevent the film from taking the biggest award of the night at the Golden Globes, which Singer took credit for on his Instagram, posting a picture of him on set with the caption, "What an honor. Thank you #HollywoodForeignPress."

Film  The Favourite
Director  Yorgos Lanthimos
Already won  Golden Globe (best actress); Critics' Choice (best acting ensemble, best actress - comedy); Venice grand jury prize; American Cinema Editors, best edited feature film (comedy); BAFTA (best supporting actress - Rachel Weisz)
Odds of winning  7/1
Oscar narrative  The Favourite is tied with Roma for most Oscar nominations with 10, and is the best bet for an underdog vote for this year's race. The period comedy, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster), came out big at the Critics' Choice awards, where it earned more nominations than any other film and took home the best acting ensemble. It also leads in BAFTA nominations with 12, including best picture. While not a box office smash, The Favourite is one of the mostly highly rated films of the year, and currently sits at 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.   

Film  Vice
Director  Adam McKay
Already won  Golden Globe (best actor); Critics' Choice (best actor)
Odds of winning  19/2
Oscar narrative  While Christian Bale's transformative portrayal of Dick Cheney sees him as the frontrunner for best actor (he also won in 2010 for The Fighter), whether McKay's political satire can come out big is another question. McKay won an Oscar in 2016 for The Big Short screenplay, and a best picture win would be a first for him. One thing Vice has going for it is if voters want to make a political statement. What better way than giving best picture to a biopic of a controversial right-wing figure?

Film  Black Panther
Director  Ryan Coogler
Already won  Critics' Choice (best production design, best visual effects, best costume design)
Odds of winning  8/1
Oscar narrative  It may have once been a longshot, but the second highest grossing movie of 2018, a film that would have been all but guaranteed a win in the short-lived Oscar "popular picture" category, still has a chance. A recent win for outstanding performance by a cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the SAG's best picture equivalent, has also improved its odds marginally, moving Black Panther closer to the front of the pack. Although its still a long shot — the last film to go from winning the SAG to taking home the best picture Oscar was 2015's Spotlight. If it does win, it would be the first superhero movie to do so. In fact, just the nomination for best picture is another record-setting achievement for Black Panther and the superhero genre as a whole.  

Film  BlacKkKlansman
Director  Spike Lee
Already won  Cannes grand prix; BAFTA (best adapted screenplay)
Odds of winning  7/1
Oscar narrative  It's hard to believe it, but Spike Lee has never won an Oscar, and has only been nominated twice (one for best documentary with 4 Little Girls and one for best original screenplay with Do the Right Thing). Similar to Martin Scorsese, who didn't win an Oscar until 2004, when The Departed took home best picture and best director, a picture or director win for Lee would be a fitting way to honour the long, celebrated career of a director who's proven he is still at the top of his game.

Who do you think will win the best picture Oscar? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Jesse Kinos-Goodin

Producer, CBC q

Jesse Kinos-Goodin is a Toronto-based journalist and digital producer for q. He can be found on Twitter @JesseKG or email


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