Saturday, February 23, 2019

Academy Award Predictions, 2019 Edition

Once again, the Academy Awards are upon us (why does it seem to arrive sooner every year?), which means the time has come to make picks for your office pool or Sunday night Oscar party based, at least in part, on films you haven’t seen. And, once again, I’ll post my predictions in the hope you’ll have a better shot at taking home that Starbucks gift card or Solo cup of dollar bills set aside for the winner.

Need a printable PDF of the 2019 Academy Award categories and nominees? People Magazine has one here, or you can use this one from Vanity Fair.

My predictions:

Best Picture:
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
A Star Is Born

There’s talk for Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, and Roma in this category. They’ve each won awards this season, yet several have their detractors. Some don’t think a streaming movie (Roma) or a Marvel superhero picture (Black Panther) should be named the year’s best. Then there are controversies around both Bohemian Rhapsody (accusations against its original director, Bryan Singer) and Green Book (the question of who best tells the story of racism in America.) That would leave The Favourite, but the quirky, darkly comic story about Queen Anne’s reign isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Current oddsmakers would urge you to pick Roma, particularly given that the Academy is becoming a more international body. I’m going out on a thin, shaky limb for Black Panther.

Actor In A Leading Role
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

I walked out of the theater after seeing Bohemian Rhapsody saying, “He’d better be nominated for an Oscar.” Now I hope he wins one. Malek’s Freddie Mercury was a riveting and memorable performance.

Actor In A Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Actress In A Leading Role
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

The bookies in Vegas have Glenn Close as the heavy favorite. Keep that in mind if you go with my pick here. A win for Colman would be an upset.

Actress In A Supporting Role
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War

Cuarón won a BAFTA, Directors Guild, and Golden Globe for directing Roma. Though there’s a lot of sentiment for Spike Lee, I suspect Cuarón will walk off stage with the statue. If you want to take a risk with your ballot, this is a category where it could pay off if you pick Spike Lee.

Animated Feature Film
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Inter the Spider-Verse

One of the few categories I’d call a lock.

Documentary Feature
Free Solo
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons

Free Solo won the BAFTA, but I’m going with RBG for the Oscar win.

Cold War
The Favourite
Never Look Away
A Star Is Born

Costume Design
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Black Panther
The Favourite
Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Queen of Scots

I think this category will be a race between Black Panther and The Favourite. I’m going with Black Panther, as the costumes were integral to the overall vibe of the film and the story behind the fictional Wakanda. However, Academy voters almost always go with sumptuous period pieces in this category, so be aware that traditionalists will cast their votes for The Favourite.

Film Editing
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book

I admit, this was a tough pick. Vice and The Favourite are also strong contenders here.

Foreign Language Film
Cold War
Never Look Away

Though Cold War has a lot of buzz and would win in many other years, 2019 belongs to Roma.

Music, Original Score
Black Panther
If Beale Street Could Talk
Isle of Dogs
Mary Poppins Returns

Music, Original Song
“All The Stars,” Black Panther
“I’ll Fight,” RBG
“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns
“Shallow,” A Star Is Born
“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Another lock. Go with “Shallow.”

Production Design
Black Panther
The Favourite
First Man
Mary Poppins Returns

As with Costume Design, I suspect votes will split between Black Panther and The Favourite, though Roma also has a shot here. I waffled, but went with Black Panther for the same reason I chose it for Best Costume Design. If one of the other films has your heart, go with it. This is one of those up-in-the-air categories that will make the 2019 ceremony interesting.

Visual Effects
Avengers: Infinity War
Christopher Robin
First Man
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story

This is a coin flip between Avengers: Infinity War and First Man. I’m betting on First Man.

Makeup and Hairstyling
Mary Queen of Scots

I’d never have imagined Sam Rockwell and Christian Bale portraying George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. When I saw the trailer for Vice, I was stunned by their physical transformations. The hair and makeup professionals on this film are true artists, and Bale gave them heartfelt thanks in his Golden Globe speech. Go with Vice.

Sound Editing
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
A Quiet Place

I wouldn’t be surprised to see First Man take this, but I’m circling Bohemian Rhapsody on my ballot.

Sound Mixing
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
A Star Is Born

Bohemian Rhapsody nabbed the BAFTA in this category, but again, First Man would be a solid pick for your pool.

Writing, Adapted Screenplay
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born

This is one of the night’s unpredictable categories. BlacKkKlansman won the BAFTA, while Can You Ever Forgive Me? won the Writers Guild and If Beale Street Could Talk picked up the Critics Choice. I’m going with BlacKkKlansman. Academy members want to see an Oscar in Spike Lee’s hands, and this film is deserving.

Writing, Original Screenplay
The Favourite
First Reformed
Green Book

Another tough category to predict, as The Favourite won the BAFTA and Green Book picked up the Golden Globe in this category. Given the international voting pool and the unique script, I’m going with The Favourite.

Short Film, Animated
Animal Behaviour
Late Afternoon
One Small Step

Short Subject, Documentary
Black Sheep
End Game
A Night at the Garden
Period. End of Sentence

If you read predictions from five or more experts, you’ll see each of these films mentioned as the likely winner. Throw a dart at this category. I’m going for optimism.

Short Film, Live Action

Aside from the winners, I predict that: 1) Regina King will be one of the best dressed women; 2) Mahershala Ali will deliver a solemn but uplifting speech sure to be quoted on Monday morning news programs; 3) Lady Gaga will wear a necklace valued at over a million dollars, requiring her to have a separate security detail specifically for the jewelry; and 4) Barbra Streisand’s nails will be the star of her envelope opening.

What about you? Which movies and performances caught your attention? Any predictions for the show itself? Feel free to post to the comments!

Friday, January 11, 2019

ICYMI: Giveaway of A Royal Scandals Wedding

Over the holidays, the bibliophiles at BookBub offered a giveaway of Scandal With a Prince. I'm thrilled so many of you were introduced to the Royal Scandals series through Megan and Stefano's story, and that you've found your way to my website and/or blog for more information.

After Scandal With a Prince was published, several of my newsletter subscribers emailed to ask for more about Megan and Stefano. Though the couple makes appearances in several other books in the Royal Scandals series, I thought it'd be fun to write a story that focused on Stefano, Megan, and their daughter, Anna, specifically.

To that end, I wrote A Royal Scandals Wedding to give readers a peek behind the scenes of Megan and Stefano's big day, and to offer it completely free to newsletter subscribers to express my thanks for being so supportive of the Royal Scandals series.

As of today, there are six full-length novels and three novellas in the series. You can find the complete list on my website at There will eventually be stories for all the Barrali and Cornaro siblings, so stay tuned.

If you aren't on the newsletter list but would like to be, you can join right here. You'll receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you do, you'll receive another email with all you need to download A Royal Scandals Wedding to the reading device of your choice. Newsletter subscribers receive updates, insider info, and more. The list is spam-free and isn't shared with anyone outside

It's a great joy to know that many of you spent your holidays with the Barrali family. I hope you enjoy this bonus look into the lives of Prince Stefano, Megan, and their daughter, Anna.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Audio On Sale

If you're an Audible member (or have been thinking about subscribing), there's a big sale right now. Nearly all books, including the entire Royal Scandals series, are 50-70% off. There's never been a better time to give them a try.

If you're unsure about the experience of listening to a book rather than reading, you can listen to excerpts on my website. Actress Hollis McCarthy narrates the entire series and does an incredible job bringing the characters to life. To hear her performance, go to the books page for the Royal Scandals title of your choice, click on it, then look for the audio sample button underneath the cover.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Bowen Bride

Every so often, when a writer types The End, they know the pages hold magic. I experienced one of those moments when I finished The Bowen Bride. Even better, I'd planned it as the launch for a new series, one set in a charming fictional town in Nebraska.

I sent the book off to my editor, who felt the same magic I did (whew!), and I got to work plotting the next book.

Then the wheels of New York publishing turned, as they inevitably do, and the publisher decided to close the imprint that was publishing the book. As a result, the book had a tiny print run and readers had a difficult time finding it. On the bright side, those readers who did find and read The Bowen Bride loved it, and it was named a finalist for the RITA Award, which is the highest honor given to romance fiction.

I told myself that when the time was right, I'd find a way to republish the book and continue the series. Fortunately, that time has come. Updated and with a brand new cover, The Bowen Bride is now available at retailers everywhere, in both ebook and print (with audio in the works!)

The Bowen Bride tells the story of a man certain he's missed his shot at love, a woman who's adjusting to her hometown after time spent away, and a bridal shop with its own special secret. You'll meet neighbors and friends, and experience the magic that makes certain small towns endlessly fascinating.

I can't wait to hear what you think. As you read, I'm hard at work on more stories that take place in the wide world of my Royal Scandals series, and in the new, intimate setting of Bowen, Nebraska.

Friday, November 23, 2018

An Early Holiday Gift

Heads up! For a very limited time, the novella collection A Royal Scandals Christmas is available FREE in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It's never been on sale, let alone free, so get it while you can.

Already read it? Share this link with a friend, which will enable them to download from the country and retailer of their choice: A Royal Scandals Christmas

This collection contains the full text of all three Royal Scandals holiday novellas:

Christmas With a Prince
Christmas on the Royal Yacht
Christmas With a Palace Thief

Have a wonderful holiday season!