2020 ACADEMY AWARDS: THE FINAL PREDICTIONS

Written By: Daniel Kinsley

The only real “rule” that governs our coverage of most things, and in particular, the Oscars is “only do it as long as it is fun.” and for the most part, indulging in a bit of silly awards-season prognostication is a good deal of fun. This year, we took a few steps back from making predictions about what was going to be nominated, but with the 92nd Academy Awards looming earlier than ever, the result has been a very compressed and wild season. While Netflix managed to rack up a whopping 24 nominations, they stand to actually go home with very little (Justice for The Irishman!) after losing momentum late in the season. Previous Oscar winners like Quentin Tarantino and Sam Mendes remain in the mix, while Parasite stands poised to potentially make history. Unfortunately, many of the storylines surrounding the show are unpleasantly familiar: virtually no POC nominees, no women in Best Director, and a number of frustrating snubs (Justice for Uncut Gems! The Farewell! J-Lo!). This year, the ceremony will once again go without a host (a decision that seems to mostly elicit a shrug) despite Fran and I volunteering for a second year in a row, but whatever…

With the Oscars set to be handed out tonight! (Sunday, February 9th), The Porkchop Express is moving on with our final predictions for the winners. While history is the best indicator of what will win, if we have learned anything from these last few years, it is that anything goes. We’ll be taking a look at 9 major categories, but also making predictions for the remaining categories below (for the first time, ever!) 

Without further ado, our final predictions for the 2020 Oscar Winners.

BEST PICTURE

1917

Ford V. Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

Parasite

This might be the first time in recent memory this writer has seen every nominee (and before they were announced, to boot!) and there is an awful lot of quality here, but only one can be crowned. By and large, since its premiere, 1917 has roared onto the scene as the presumptive front-runner, however, Parasite remains an international sensation with an awful lot of support, and a timely message (the Academy loves themselves a good statement). It feels like it has mostly come down to these two juggernauts, but Once Upon A Time could still play spoiler, and some pundits have even predicted the possibility that Jojo (gaining a late-in-the-game surge) could benefit from the preferential ballot. The decision may depend on who walks home with Best Director, but this writer is going to go with the bold choice. Parasite would make history as the first foreign-language best picture winner…ever. Roma (2018) came close last year, but this year feels like it could be time for the glass ceiling to break. 

WILL WIN: PARASITE 

COULD WIN: 1917, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

SHOULD WIN: ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: HUSTLERS 

***

BEST DIRECTOR

Sam Mendes, 1917

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Todd Phillips, Joker

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite

In a year populated by a number of great films made by women, it is embarrassing the Academy saw fit to nominate none of them. Shout-out to Greta Gerwig, Marielle Heller, Lorene Scafaria, Alma Har’el, and Lulu Wang. Having said that, Mendes has been cleaning up as of late for a film that is incredibly impressive from a technical standpoint, and the smart money says the momentum will carry him all the way to Oscar glory. Still, much like Best Picture, the award feels like it could be split between Bong/Parasite and Mendes/1917. The director’s branch has a tendency to award the showcase achievements (Chazelle, Ang Lee, Cuarón) and Mendes would fit the trend. Phillips should just be happy to be here, while QT and Scorsese both turned in career-best work, but are not really in competition. Ultimately, this writer is betting it will come down to a Picture/Director split between Mendes and Bong, with the former taking the trophy here.

WILL WIN: Sam Mendes, 1917

COULD WIN: Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite 

SHOULD WIN: Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers

***

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: 

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

It has been a stellar year for the category. Unfortunately for those of us who did not enjoy Joker, this is Phoenix’s award to lose. To be clear, Phoenix is one of the finest actors of his generation and has turned in a number of worthy performances. Arthur Fleck is certainly his loudest one (metaphorically speaking) and the sort of thing the Academy loves to reward, as (in the acting categories) Best usually means Most. It is too bad Leo already won, because Rick Dalton is among the top two performances of his career (right up there with The Wolf of Wall Street [2013]). If Phoenix is on one end of the spectrum, Antonio Banderas is on the other, doing subtle, heartbreaking work that is also a career best performance. There is an outside shot Banderas could sneak in a win, thanks to an increased international presence, but consider him a dark-horse. Adam Driver is similarly terrific in an emotionally devastating role (try getting that Being Alive scene out of your head) and he likewise stands a chance at playing spoiler, but he is young and he will be back, and that will likely play against him. Pryce will appeal to the older and whiter members of the Academy (so, most of them) but on the whole, the film likely does not have enough momentum to carry him further than the nomination.

WILL WIN: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

COULD WIN: Antonio Banderas, Pain & Glory/ Adam Driver, Marriage Story

SHOULD WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems/ Robert De Niro, The Irishman/ Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

***

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Renée Zellweger, Judy

Frankly, all of the acting awards feel sewn up in a way that many other categories do not. Renée Zellweger has been riding a comeback narrative all season long for a performance that also feels a bit like “Most Acting” but the Academy loves a good transformation, and when it is also about Hollywood itself…forget it. Saoirse Ronan is a four-time nominee (at only 25, which is incredible) and she stands to be a perennial nominee who will get her win eventually (or become the new Amy Adams; justice for Amy!) ScarJo, on the other hand, made history by becoming the 12th person ever to be nominated twice in the same year. Like her co-star Driver, there is a small chance that she could sneak in, though that seems unlikely.  

WILL WIN: Renée Zellweger, Judy

COULD WIN: Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

SHOULD WIN: Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: Lupita Nyong’o, Us

***

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

It is nice to see Hanks getting a nod as he did really stellar work as Fred Rogers that might have otherwise been ignored because it is too subtle (or maybe just too unsurprising that Hanks can play nice and graceful). Joe Pesci came out of retirement (thanks to the persistence of De Niro and Marty) and quietly turned in what might be the best performance of his career… and he is still going to lose because Brad Pitt also happened to turn in his best performance (actually, two of them: justice for Ad Astra!). The laconic and super-cool turn as Cliff Booth is a role truly only Pitt could have played to such perfection. Pair that with his aging into one of our best and most interesting character actors (with leading man looks) and the narrative is just too good to bet against.

WILL WIN: Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

COULD WIN: Joe Pesci, The Irishman

SHOULD WIN: Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: Matt Damon, Ford Vs Ferrari

***

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell

Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Scarlett Johnasson, Jojo Rabbit

Florence Pugh, Little Women

Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Another acting category, another near certainty. Laura Dern has been cleaning house all season for her turn as a dynamic divorce lawyer in Marriage Story and as a much beloved actress, it seems pretty close to a sure thing that she wins the Oscar. She faces some small competition from Pugh (her Little Women co-star) who had one hell of a year, and ScarJo stands an outside shot depending on how receptive the Academy is to Jojo, but like the other acting categories, this one feels decided, and it is Dern’s award to lose.

WILL WIN: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

COULD WIN: Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

SHOULD WIN: Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

***

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Knives Out, Rian Johnson

Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach

1917, Sam Mendes & Kristy Wilson-Cairns 

Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino

Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho & Han Jin Won

While it is a robust category, it does not feel totally wide-open, even this late. Rian Johnson is by all accounts very well-liked, but the nod is the real win for Knives Out (and it is well deserved). Similarly, 1917 feels less like a writing triumph than a visual one, and while Marriage Story is Baumbach’s most accessible script, it has not picked up much traction. As it has increasingly fallen out of favor with Best Picture, QT’s latest masterpiece (and ode to movie-making) still feels like the front-runner in this category. It would mark his third win for writing, though, and Bong could still play spoiler as Parasite may pull an upset. 

WILL WIN: Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino

COULD WIN: Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho & Han Jin Won

SHOULD WIN: Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino

SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: Dolemite Is My Name, Larry Karaszewski & Scott Alexander

***

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Irishman, Steven Zaillan

Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi

Joker, Todd Phillips & Scott Silver

Little Women, Greta Gerwig

The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

Waititi winning the WGA award was a genuine surprise, as the much-beloved Little Women stands its best chance at taking home gold with a win here. The Academy has spread the wealth around in recent years, and screenplay seems like the place to reward a well liked movie that isn’t going all the way (see last year’s win for Spike and BlacKkKlansman). The narrative plays for both films, and it is still very likely that the competition comes down to those two. In a just world, Steven Zaillan deserves the award in a walk, but as far as is writer is concerned, anything but Joker will not go down too bitterly.

WILL WIN: Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi

COULD WIN: Little Women, Greta Gerwig

SHOULD WIN: The Irishman, Steven Zaillan

SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE: A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster

***

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Klaus

Missing Link

Toy Story 4

It is perhaps a testament to the staying power of Pixar (frankly, a narrative that has gotten tired for this writer, at least) that the massively disappointing Toy Story 4 remains the front-runner. Similarly, it is a shame that the How To Train Your Dragon franchise will never be properly rewarded, as even a win for its weakest entry would feel like a win. Netflix stands the best  chance at beating Pixar with Klaus or l Lost My Body, both of which have managed to win precursors and are well-liked.

WILL WIN: Toy Story 4

COULD WIN: Klaus/I Lost My Body

SHOULD WIN: I Lost My Body

***

THE REST OF THE WINNERS (PREDICTIONS) 

BEST ANIMATED SHORT: Hair Love

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Roger Deakins, 1917

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Arianne Phillips, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: Brotherhood

BEST DOCUMENTARY: American Factory

BEST FILM EDITING: Parasite

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM: Parasite

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING: Bombshell

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Barbara Ling, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Hildur Guonadottir, Joker

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “I’m Gonna Love Me Tonight” (Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Rocketman)

BEST SOUND EDITING: Ford Vs Ferrari

BEST SOUND MIXING: Ford Vs Ferrari 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: 1917

One thought on “2020 ACADEMY AWARDS: THE FINAL PREDICTIONS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s