The 92nd Academy Awards – Picks and Prediction

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Finally, the time has come. This Sunday, Hollywood’s biggest stars will assemble in the Dolby Theatre for the 92nd Academy Awards. 2019 was one of the best years for film in the past decade, and so this year’s ceremony will surely honor some excellent films. But, what exactly will win? Well, I can’t tell you for sure, but here’s what I think will win the big awards, and what should win.

Best Picture

This is the biggie. Some of the greatest films of all time have taken home this award. What’s next in line? I am a bit divided on this one. On the one hand, Sam Mendes’ war epic 1917 has been sweeping many awards shows, having won Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Picture (which has predicted Best Picture 7 times since 2010), the Directors Guild of America Award for Best Director (which has awarded that year’s Best Picture 5 times since 2010), and the BAFTA for Best Film, which may just be because it was their home turf (1917 being a British movie, and the BAFTAs being in England). So, all signs point to 1917 as being the safe bet. However, there is a challenger on the horizon. Bong Joon-ho’s genre-bending film Parasite has been picking up a surprising amount of steam this season. The film won Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards, which was a huge shock, and shows a clear support from the Actor’s branch (who comprise the majority of the Academy). On top of that, it has been picking up steam in other categories, as well. It is for sure a shoe-in for Best International Film, but it also won the WGA for Best Original Screenplay, a major predictor for the Oscar (and an award that challenger Quentin Tarantino was expected to have won, but he was not eligible), and the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, effectively beating Tarantino in a race. So, this Korean-language film is a clear favorite this year, and may manage to pull off an upset win against 1917 if the support is strong enough. I will stick to my belief that 1917 will narrowly beat Parasite, but it could easily go the other way.

Will Win: 1917

Should Win: Parasite

 

Acting Categories

These awards are easy to predict, as the same four actors have been sweeping every award they’ve been nominated for this season. Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Renee Zellweger (Judy), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and Laura Dern (Marriage Story) have all won the Golden Globe, Critics Choice, SAG, BAFTA… This has been one of the most boring acting races in recent memory, and while a major Olivia Colman-style upset is maybe possible (I’d say Adam Driver in Leading Actor may pull off a major upset), but I doubt it. 

 

Actor in a Leading Role

Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Should Win: Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

Actress in a Leading Role

Will Win: Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Should Win: Scarlett Johannson (Marriage Story)

 

Actor in a Supporting Role

Will & Should Win: Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Actress in a Supporting Role

Will Win: Laura Dern (Marriage Story)

Should Win: Florence Pugh (Little Women)

Best Director

This is another race that seems like a lock. Sam Mendes has won every major precursor, with the Oscar pretty much his to lose. After all, the DGA has lined up with the Best Director winner 8 times since 2010. Perhaps Bong Joon-ho can pull off an upset, especially if they decide to give 1917 Picture and Bong Director, so that they both get awarded. But as of now, I don’t believe that Bong will win.

Will Win: Sam Mendes (1917)

Should Win: Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)

Best Original Screenplay

This category is a bit difficult. There are two major contenders that each have a great shot. Parasite is becoming a serious threat in some major categories, and this is one of them. This would be a major victory for the film, and could lead to a Best Picture win. (Fun fact: In the past 30 years, no movie has won Best Picture without winning Best Director or a Screenplay award. So those three movies become the front runners by the end of the night.) However, Quentin Tarantino is a serious threat. He has won 2 Original Screenplay Oscars, for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained. And, since he is retiring (supposedly) after his next movie, the Academy may want to reward him again before he bows out. Still, I’m going with Parasite here, with the distinct possibility that Tarantino may win.

Will Win: Bong Joon-ho and Jin Won Han (Parasite)

Should Win: Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)

Best Adapted Screenplay

This is yet another category that is between two strong competitors, this time Little Women and Jojo Rabbit. These two have split Adapted Screenplay awards, with Little Women winning the Critics Choice, and Jojo Rabbit winning the WGA and BAFTA. While Little Women has won fewer key awards, the narrative behind her win is a compelling one – she was snubbed in the Best Director category, with a massive outcry on social media drawing criticism that there were only male nominees. The Academy may want to make up for not nominating her in Director by giving her this award. Plus, the screenplay is very very good. But, I’m going to have to bet with the most likely winner, and that is Jojo Rabbit.

Will Win: Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit)

Should Win: Greta Gerwig (Little Women)

Best Animated Feature

At first glance, this may seem obvious – Toy Story 4 is nominated, so that seems to be the obvious winner. It’s Pixar! However, this film has done much worse this awards season than anyone had anticipated. Missing Link won the Golden Globe in a shocking upset, and the rest of the awards, the BAFTA and 7 Annie Awards (the animated Oscars, essentially), have gone to Netflix’s Klaus. So, that has become the front runner. To add insult to injury, Disney’s other major animated film of last year, Frozen II, wasn’t even nominated, which contributes to the thought that the Academy doesn’t want to award a Disney film. 

Will Win: Klaus

Should Win: Toy Story 4

And some rapid fire predictions: Best Cinematography – 1917, Best Costume Design – Little Women, Best Film Editing – Parasite, Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Bombshell, Best Production Design – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Best Score – Joker, Best Original Song – I’m Gonna Love Me Again (Rocketman), Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing – 1917, Best Visual Effects – 1917, Best Documentary Feature – American Factory, Best International Film – Parasite, Best Animated Short – Hair Love, Best Documentary Short – Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone, Best Live Action Short – Brotherhood.

So, I hope the Academy awards Parasite, but I understand they may still have a bias against subtitled films, no matter how dumb that bias is. This Sunday, history could be made. Parasite could become the first foreign language film to win Best Picture. I’m praying it does, but we’ll see. No matter what, I’m excited to see what wins.