What an Oscar season it’s been so far! Critics groups, SAG, and the Hollywood Foreign Press have already weighed in with their nominations and some winners and there is no doubt we are headed for some fireworks as the new year approaches. There are a slew of films that will be vying for that coveted Academy Award Best Picture nomination, and a handful that are in contention for the win. Let’s take a closer look at this fascinating race.

We start back in August, when the trifecta of prestigious festivals, Venice, Telluride, and Toronto kicked off the race. The first major breakthrough was A Star Is Born. After its Venice bow, many experts went so far as to declare the Best Picture race over. The film generated an intense, passionate following and stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper were seemingly everywhere. However, as most people know, it’s not always good to be the early frontrunner.

When Roma next premiered, the enthusiasm was deafening. Everyone called it Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece and the film was widely regarded as technically perfect. Then, Green Book captured the Toronto Film Festival Audience Award, a prize that usually equates to an Oscar nomination, if not more. Here it should be pointed out that while past Audience Award winners Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech went on to win Best Picture, more recent winners have fallen short, including last year’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

At this point, most pundits saw it as a three horse race. This was further confirmed when the National Board of Review announced their winners in late November. They awarded Best Picture to Green Book. What’s interesting is that their Best Picture winner doesn’t usually WIN the Oscar. Shortly after, both the NY and LA Film Critics gave Roma their top prize. Numerous other cities followed suit. It was very obvious that Roma was the critics’ darling of the season.

Then, the Golden Globes hit, which didn’t change much, except both Black Panther and Blackkklansman were included in the Best Picture Drama category. Both films also garnered similar nominations with the Broadcast Film Critics Awards. This was huge for AMPAS, as they had been pushing hard for more commercial films to be recognized, and even went so far to introduce the controversial Best Popular Film category, which was later rescinded. Everyone knew that award was to go to Black Panther! Vice also made a splash, leading the Golden Globes in total nominations.

As for the remaining Best Picture slots, there are a multitude of films vying for nominations. Steve McQueen’s Widows was highly anticipated, but it didn’t gain much traction after its release. Early releases such as Eighth Grade, A Quiet Place, and First Reformed may have a chance. Out of those choices, we like A Quiet Place the most for its originality and also because it was a commercial hit. There has been buzz surrounding popular Bohemian Rhapsody and Mary Poppins Returns. It’s hard to see either making the cut though, as their critical ratings were not that high. Barry Jenkins is so beloved for Moonlight that voters will be hard pressed to ignore his follow-up If Beale Street Could Talk. Which leaves us with a film that used to be on everyone’s radar, but has seemingly fallen off in the last few months: First Man. After the festivals, Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land was being talked about as a potential Best Picture winner, but it got quickly overshadowed by A Star Is Born and Green Book. We think the Academy however will resurrect, this inspirational American story and give it the recognition it deserves.

Our 2019 Oscar Best Picture nominee predictions are therefore:

Green Book

Black Panther

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Vice

A Star Is Born

Blackkklansman

Roma

The Favourite