2020 Academy Award/Oscar Predictions

Here we go! It’s the big weekend guys, Oscar weekend where Hollywood’s biggest stars turn out to pat each others backs while some of the best films of 2019 are honored for their achievements and contributions to the medium and politically charged Facebook ranters with no time on their hands pay too much attention to an award show they claim to despise. I love this time of year! Anyways with the big show only two days away I once again have put together my predictions for the ceremony picking who I think will, should and could win the biggest awards of the night.

As I do every year, I went through all (well most) of the categories at the upcoming Academy Awards and made my predictions of which movies are destined to win, which ones I think should win and which movies are waiting in the wings to provide an upset. Because of the focus on this blog I did not include the short films and documentary categories as I’m not as familiar with those nominees so I have no place deciding who will and won’t walk away with the hardware.

Who do you think will be walking away a winner this weekend? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check back next week for my breakdown of the winners. You can also catch the big show yourself this Sunday night, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. on ABC.



Best Picture

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“Marriage Story”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“Ford v Ferrari”

WILL WIN: “1917”

SHOULD WIN: “Parasite”

DARK HORSE: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”


Honestly either “1917” or “Parasite” winning Best Picture would be awesome and it’s near impossible for me to pick which one I’d truly prefer. However, if we’re looking at the full package including everything from writing and storytelling to acting, cinematography and theming “Parasite” is a much more deserving film. That’s not to deny “1917” greatness by any means. In fact, in my review of the World War I flick I even called it the “true best movie of 2019” even though its wide release occurred in early 2020. But what it came down to for me was the Academy’s tendency to favor English-language movies over foreign films for the top honor of the night. After all, “Roma” was by far the most deserving option last year and lost to the divisive “Green Book” and no foreign film has ever won the Academy’s biggest prize. On the flip side several war films including “Platoon”, “The Hurt Locker” and “Patton” have gone on to earn the award. While “Parasite” might be the most deserving on paper, this seems to be “1917’s” award to lose and if either film fails to earn enough votes the Golden Globe-winning “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might give us another worthy winner as the dark horse.



Best Director

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”



DARK HORSE: Bong Joon-ho


I always find it interesting when directors win the Oscar but their film don’t win best picture. Regardless of which film, “1917” or “Parasite”, earns the top honor this year I think Sam Mendes will compliment his Globe with his second Best Director statuette and he really does deserve it. While Bong Joon-ho deserves to be a heavy contender, Mendes had a vision and truly saw it through with his seemingly single-take “1917”. I remember watching the movie and immediately realizing why Mendes won the Golden Globe over Joon-ho who had made a more well-rounded film. Mendes sacrificed the meat in order to give us a truly delicious cinematic treat layered with simplicity and complexity at the same time. Still it would be cool to see Joon-ho, the only non-Caucasian director in the mix, earn a well deserved victory if the Academy decides to recognize someone new.



Best Actor in a Leading Role

Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”


WILL/SHOULD WIN: Joaquin Phoenix

DARK HORSE: Adam Driver


This is Phoenix’s award to lose and most people have him pegged as the inevitable winner. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the film, the best thing about “Joker” was Phoenix who truly sacrificed for the role transforming his body and embracing his character’s broken psyche in full. But nothing is ever set in stone until it’s won and Adam Driver is the heavy favorite to defeat Phoenix if anyone will. If Phoenix does get unrightiously shoved to the side seeing Driver win for “Marriage Story”, a film that has been criminally underrated and was one of 2019’s best, would be the only solace.



Best Actress in a Leading Role

Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”


WILL/SHOULD WIN: Renée Zellweger

DARK HORSE: Scarlett Johansson


This category is the same as the Actor one. Renée Zellweger has this one in the bag as the one great thing everyone can agree on from “Judy”. Like Phoenix, Zellweger completely embodied her character and all the layers of her emotional strife so it almost seems criminal that she would lose. But, again, if she does lose it could, and should, be to Scarlett Johansson for her impressive performance in “Marriage Story” which served as the perfect compliment to Adam Driver to help completely sell the heartbreaking tale of a once-perfect marriage gone wrong.



Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”


WILL WIN: Brad Pitt



Brad Pitt seems destined for his first ever Oscar for acting in 2020 (he has one as a producer) after providing a standout performance from “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” but it won’t come easy especially considering some of the men he has to compete against. The one I think could play spoiler is Tom Hanks who provided one of the best performances of his already illustrious career in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” as the legendary Mr. Rogers and I’ll go one step further in saying maybe Hanks should win as his performance was much more nuanced than Pitt’s. Honestly though, I think all four of the big acting categories are pretty predictable and Pitt’s eventually win to compliment his Golden Globe victory should be no exception.



Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”
Florence Pugh, “Little Women”
Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”



DARK HORSE: Florence Pugh/Scarlett Johansson


I’m really happy Florence Pugh got nominated for this category, but I’m extremely irritated that Akwafina was left out. With that I can only assume that like the other three acting categories this one will follow suit with the Globes and award Laura Dern the statuette. Not that she doesn’t deserve it but Awkwafina would have been the best competition. I don’t see Robbie or Bates having a shot in this category nor do I think they deserved to be nominated over Awkwafina and seeing as neither Pugh nor Johansson were nominated for Globes it’s hard to tell which one could be the biggest competition for Dern so I’m considering them both Dark Horses. We’ll see if either one earns enough support to provide the upset.




Best Animated Feature Film

“Toy Story 4”
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
“Missing Link”
“I Lost My Body”


SHOULD/WILL WIN: “Toy Story 4”

DARK HORSE: “Missing Link”


This is a strange category this year seeing as “Missing Link” came from nowhere to win the Golden Globe and two of these movies, “I Lost My Body” and “Klaus”, were Netflix releases that didn’t earn Globe nominations, although while “Klaus” is an unknown to me it appears to be picking up steam as a contender. I just don’t see “Missing Link” pulling off the same upset with the Oscars where Pixar seems to rule having only lost three times of eleven previous nominations. It’s hard to bet against “Toy Story 4” especially now that Pixar and Disney know what they’re up against and “Frozen II” was snubbed allowing the company to put all it’s focus on the Pixar sequel. Still I’m counting “Missing Link” as an underdog here. There’s a reason it won a Globe and whether that’s respect for it’s artistry or focused campaigning whose to say the Academy won’t give it the same recognition?



Best International Feature Film

South Korea, “Parasite”
Spain, “Pain and Glory”
France, “Les Misérables”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”




There’s no dark horse here. “Parasite” will win. No other movie in this category has received the same buzz or critical acclaim and without “The Farewell” in the mix, which was disqualified due to the Oscar’s rules concerning how much English is allowed in these films, there’s really no chance “Parasite” loses and if it does it will be one of the biggest upsets in recent memory. This one’s simple: the Best Picture and Best Director nominations alone make is a shoe-in.



Best Original Screenplay

“Marriage Story”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Knives Out”


SHOULD/WILL WIN: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

DARK HORSE: “Parasite”


This one was tricky call for me. Both “Parasite” and “Once Upon a Time…” have had a lot of steam going into the Oscars and Quentin Tarantino usually rules this category when he’s in it so it seems like an easy pick to award him the Academy Award to match his Golden Globe. However “Parasite” presents some legitimate competition and although it didn’t win the Globe it’s not out of the ordinary for the Academy to honor someone who was defeated at the Globes or even a completely random outlier. I think Tarantino will inevitably win his third Best Original Screenplay Oscar but don’t count out Bong Joon-Ho and Han Jin Won especially if “Parasite” ends up being the dominant winner everyone thinks it could become over the course of the night.



Best Adapted Screenplay

“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“The Two Popes”


WILL WIN: “Little Women”


DARK HORSE: “The Irishman”


This was an even more difficult category to predict. It’s a strong crop of contenders and while a lot of people believe “JoJo Rabbit” will earn the trophy I think it’s between three other films. “The Irishman” to me is the Dark Horse, the potential upset if you will and if there’s any category where it’s likely to win this is probably it. However, I think “Joker” is the most deserving winner in terms of how creative the writers got with the concept, taking the Batman villain and turning him into a symbol of the downtrodden and the overlooked in society. “Little Women” though I the likely winner in my eyes if for no other reason than the Academy wanting to save face and give Greta Gerwig a win when they snubbed her for Best Director. “Little Women” is very well adapted so if it does win I wouldn’t be angry but I do hope “Joker” walks away with the trophy.



Best Visual Effects

“Avengers: Endgame”
“The Lion King”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“The Irishman”



DARK HORSE: “Avengers: Endgame”


While I would truly love to see “Endgame” win this award given the overwhelming number of visual effects incorporated into the film it’s really had to overlook the majesty that is “1917”. Utilizing a combination of camera tricks, practical effects and minimal digital effects the movie looks like it’s all one continuous shot and that alone gives it the best visual flair of any movie on this list. The other four nominees all depend on CGI and computers and while “1917” surely uses those methods it’s much less obvious. Considering that many see the use of CGI as a cop out it’s likely that “1917” will topple its competition here.



Best Original Score

“1917,” Thomas Newman
“Joker,” Hildur Gudnadottir
“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat
“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams



DARK HORSE: “1917”


It’s not uncommon in this category for the Globes and Academy to honor different nominees with the win, but this year I think they’ll be in sync. “Joker” uses its music perfectly to help define Arthur Fleck’s decent into madness and while there is some great competition here I really do feel it’s the most deserving and most likely score to win it all. It would also be cool to see Hildur Guðnadóttir become the first woman since 1997 to win an Oscar for conducting a score after she became the first solo woman to win the honor at the Globes. If “Joker” does lose “1917” BETTER win because that film’s score is equally fantastic and haunting.



Best Original Song

“I’m Standing With You,” from “Breakthrough”
“Into the Unknown,” from “Frozen II”
“Stand Up,” from “Harriet”
“ (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” from “Rocketman”
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” from “Toy Story 4”


WILL WIN: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again”

SHOULD WIN/DARK HORSE: “Into the Unknown”


Yeah, I really do think that “Frozen II’s” signature song should win this honor. I love the song, so sue me. But let’s face it, it won’t. “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” is a deserving song and winning the Golden Globe gives it an edge in an otherwise unpredictable category for 2020. The fact that it’s a song sung by an artist for a movie about said artist seems to be a good selling point for voters as well and it’s not a bad tune. I just think “Into the Unknown” is more memorable. Regardless “Rocketman” was horribly ignored for this year’s ceremony so seeing it win SOMETHING is fine by me.



Best Cinematography

“1917,” Roger Deakins
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robert Richardson
“The Irishman,” Rodrigo Prieto
“Joker,” Lawrence Sher
“The Lighthouse,” Jarin Blaschke





I love this award. It may very well be one of my favorite awards in the entire ceremony. Cinematography for me is always a fun part of a film as it defines the visual aesthetic of a movie and no film from 2019 had a better visual style than “1917”. I’ve already touched on its one-shot approach to editing and it’s done so well and the cuts so well hidden that it would be criminal not to honor it at the ceremony. After all, “Birdman” won for the same reasons in 2014 and “Roma” used a lot of long takes which helped it earn the win last year. “1917” definitely deserves the win here and I want it to win. “Joker” is probably its biggest competition from my perspective but I think this one is “1917’s” to lose.



Best Production Design

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”


WILL WIN: “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood”

SHOULD WIN: “Parasite”

DARK HORSE: “1917”


I love “1917’s” production design, which is why I considered it a dark horse, but I enjoyed “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Parasite” a little more. This award honors the art direction of a film which helps create a unified vision in the presentation. “1917” does this well and is very atmospheric, but the different sets and locations used for “Once Upon a Time…” and “Parasite” make them more diverse visually so to me it’s between them who will or should win the award. I think Tarantino’s film will be the big winner here but I’m hoping “Parasite” can perform the upset because the use of different settings and locations was essential to its story about differing social classes. Although…“Once Upon A Time…” does a fine job capturing the back end of Hollywood’s Golden Age and, as everyone knows, Hollywood loves to celebrate itself so a movie like that is bound to get a fair share of votes.



Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”


WILL WIN: “Bombshell”




Look, I commend the makers of “Bombshell” for making Charlize Theron look like Megyn Kelly, I really do but that’s about the only convincing thing they did in that film. However, that’s a little hypocritical of me because the Joker is the only real makeup job in his film too and Renee Zellweger’s makeover as Judy Garland is also the one impressive thing about “Judy”. Basically this year’s award is between several movies that only have one defining character to show off their makeup efforts, including “Maleficent”. “1917” is probably the most diverse but not as complicated as the other four so it’s probably the outlier here. Anyways “Bombshell” will probably get the win, but I think “Joker” should have it personally. This seems to be the one award “Bombshell” has a true shot to win after becoming a near-miss Oscar bait film so I’m sure their campaigning hard and will likely walk away with the gold.




Best Costume Design

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Little Women”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”


WILL/SHOULD WIN: “Little Women”

DARK HORSE: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”


“Little Women” NEEDS to win this award. It’s a period piece and the costumes and clothes were all well thought out and gorgeously designed. This should be an easy win and it’s usually in the Academy’s wheelhouse to recognize how well period piece films present their chosen eras. But ‘Little Women” has some strong competition with “Once Upon a Time…” which worked to capture not just the on-screen costumes of the in-film actors, but the casual style of the era as well. The past winners of this film from the previous decade are a mixed bag so there’s really no precedent set for which way the Academy will vote, but I think “Little Women” will win over their hearts. It really is the most deserving movie in this category when you get down to it.



Best Film Editing

“The Irishman”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Jojo Rabbit”

WILL WIN: “Parasite”

SHOULD WIN: “Ford v Ferrari”



I put “Joker” as the Dark Horse here but it’s a real long shot. Personally, for me I LOVED the editing in “Ford V. Ferrari” which used numerous small takes with actual cars to make it look like they were presenting a full race. A lot of practical effects were used in the making of the movie and the energy never stops even at its most mundane moments, but it’s all about the racing and from that perspective it was a well edited movie. “Parasite” however seems to be the favorite seeing as “1917” was strangely left out despite its editing being a big reason why it’s one-shot style works so well. “Parasite” is very well edited, but I think “Ford v Ferrari” is flashier and more energetic so it gets my personal vote while “Parasite” is my expected winner.



Best Sound Mixing

“Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Ad Astra”



DARK HORSE: “Ad Astra”


Honestly, I don’t think any movie is going to beat “1917” here based on precedent alone. Lately, war films usually win this category when they’re nominated. “Hacksaw Ridge”, “Dunkirk”, “The Hurt Locker”, and “Black Hawk Down” all took the award over the last two decades. “1917” is the most deserving as well using sound to its advantage for both atmosphere and effect perfectly. “Ad Astra” is my Dark Horse pick not only because it’s a deserving runner-up but also because if war movies don’t win then science fiction tends to with “Gravity”, “Inception” and “King Kong” all victorious over the last 20 years. “1917” will win it though and it will likely win the next award coming up as well.



Best Sound Editing

“Ford v Ferrari”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”



DARK HORSE: “Ford v Ferrari”


“Ford v Ferrari” is well made when it comes to sound especially with how it portrays the racing action, crashes, and even the characters speaking with each other during races. It’s a fine piece of work. But the two sound awards usually go hand in hand at the Oscars although its not an exact science. More often than not the same movie will win both awards if it’s nominated and in this case I think “1917”, which, again, used sound perfectly to establish atmosphere and drama without overpowering the story, will appropriately take both wins in 2020.

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