/Oscars 2020 Predictions: ‘1917’ and ‘Parasite’ Will Go to War, But Who Will Win? – TheWrap

Oscars 2020 Predictions: ‘1917’ and ‘Parasite’ Will Go to War, But Who Will Win? – TheWrap

Up to a certain point, this year’s Oscars seem to be one of the most predictable in recent memory. The four acting races seem to have been decided long ago, and many of the other categories have strong frontrunners as well — if Roger Deakins doesn’t win Best Cinematography and “Parasite” isn’t named Best International Feature Film, 3,000 people in the Dolby Theatre will go into shock en masse.

But how much do we really know? Best Picture has a clear frontrunner but also the tantalizing possibility of an upset that wouldn’t surprise too many people. And a number of other categories — including animated feature, documentary feature and short and film editing — could go in a few different directions.

The obvious favorites are “1917” and “Parasite,” both of which should go home from the ceremony with some shiny new statuettes. Meanwhile, the two epics that were once thought to be frontrunners have faded: Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” will certainly win one award and might take home one or two others, but Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” could become his second film, after 2002’s “Gangs of New York,” to go 0-for-10 at the Oscars.

Assuming that PricewaterhouseCoopers hasn’t contracted the ballot counting to the Iowa Democratic Party, here’s what we expect to find in those envelopes on Sunday evening.

BEST PICTURE
Nominees:
“Ford v Ferrari”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”
“Little Women”
“Marriage Story”
“1917”
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
“Parasite”

“Parasite” is positioned to win this award like no film not in English has ever been. It won the SAG ensemble award and the Writers Guild Award, it picked up more guild awards than any other film, it’s by far the critical favorite of 2019 and its director and cast have been the hit of the awards circuit since Cannes. It also fits the recent pattern at the Oscars, in which a big, bold movie wins Best Director but a smaller, actor-driven film wins Best Picture: “Gravity”/”12 Years a Slave,” “The Revenant”/”Spotlight,” “La La Land”/”Moonlight” and “Roma”/”Green Book,” all within the last six years.

And yet “1917” won the Producers Guild Award, the only major award that uses the same preferential system of counting votes that the Academy does. And it won the Golden Globe for drama, the Directors Guild Award and the British Academy Film Award (BAFTA). Films can win those awards and still lose Best Picture — “La La Land” and “Brokeback Mountain” did — but it’s rare.

Unless “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” or “Jojo Rabbit” pulls off a shocker, a film is going to make history on Oscar night: “Parasite” as the first non-English film ever to win the award, “1917” as the first film since “Grand Hotel” in 1932 to win without an acting or editing nomination. The question is which one will be favored by the Oscars’ preferential voting system, in which the second-place choices of the films that receive the fewest votes come into play, or whether that will end up helping “Once Upon a Time” or “Jojo” in unexpected ways.

“Parasite” is a tempting pick that would fit with recent trends, but it also has a de facto best picture category where it will win, Best International Feature Film. And given what else “1917” has won this year, it seems foolish to bet against it.

Predicted winner: “1917”

1917 Sam Mendes

San Mendes on the set of “1917”

BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees:
Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”

To split or not to split? In recent years, the Best Director and Best Picture awards have gone to different movies more often than not. But here’s an even more powerful stat: Over the last 71 years, this award has gone to the director who wins the Directors Guild Award for feature film 63 times — and in the last 16 years, the only time the two awards didn’t match was when the Academy’s Directors Branch forgot to nominate Ben Affleck for “Argo.”

This year, the DGA win gives a big edge to “1917” director Sam Mendes, who pulled off a huge movie that looks like a single shot. “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho would be a popular alternative, and it’d be hard to argue with giving this to Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino, but all signs point to Mendes.

Predicted winner: Sam Mendes, “1917”

BEST ACTOR
Nominees:
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”

The four acting categories seem to be all but locked, with the same four actors winning at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, SAG Awards and BAFTA. It’s hard to envision a scenario in which Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t win this award for “Joker”: The film is the overall leader in nominations, even people who don’t like it are impressed by his performance, and the massive “Joker” backlash that’d need to happen for voters to give this one to, say, the subtle perfection of Antonio Banderas’ performance in “Pain and Glory,” has never materialized.

Face it: If Phoenix has any disappointment on Oscar night, it’ll be that the menu at the Governors Ball is mostly, but not completely, plant-based.

Predicted winner: Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”

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

This category provided the biggest surprise at last year’s Oscars, when presumed winner Glenn Close lost to Olivia Colman in “The Favourite.” But Colman had won at BAFTA, so her upset win didn’t come completely out of the blue. Renée Zellweger’s portrayal of Judy Garland in “Judy,” on the other hand, hasn’t faced any serious competition all season — while Charlize Theron got some initial buzz for playing Megyn Kelly in “Bombshell,” the movie never quite got the traction it needed to make her a serious challenger. (It doesn’t help that she’s asking Hollywood to identify with and root for a Fox News personality.)

Like Best Actor, this should be one more walk to the podium for a performer who’s been there all season.

Predicted winner: Renée Zellweger, “Judy”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Brad Pitt

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees:
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”

The supporting categories provide surprises more frequently than the lead categories, but you won’t see a surprise here this year. In a lineup of pretty iconic actors, the effortless charm of Brad Pitt’s performance has carried over into a string of delightful acceptance speeches, and who doesn’t want to see him deliver one more on the stage of the Dolby? Barring a last-minute decision to make it up to Tom Hanks for 19 years of snubs (nope, that’s not gonna happen), Pitt is the one sure winner for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

Predicted winner: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”

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

Lately, there’s been a growing buzz for two women who could be saluted for more than one 2019 performance: Florence Pugh, who was terrific in “Little Women,” “Midsommar” and “Fighting With My Family,” and Scarlett Johansson, who was nominated for both “Jojo Rabbit” and “Marriage Story.” But Laura Dern was in two movies last year, too, “Marriage Story” and “Little Women,” and everybody in Hollywood loves her. She’s been winning all season and she’s not about to stop now.

Predicted winner: Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nominees:
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”
“Little Women”
“The Two Popes”

For a while, this category seemed to be one of the best chances for “The Irishman” to avoid an Oscar-night shutout. But “Little Women” won the Scripter Award and seemed poised to win here, too — until “Jojo Rabbit” had a very good final weekend before the Oscars, winning at the Writers Guild Awards on Saturday and at BAFTA on Sunday.

Barring a surprise from “The Irishman” or “Joker,” this now appears to be a showdown between “Little Women” and “Jojo Rabbit.” And it might be the prime opportunity for voters to recognize the latter film, which we underestimate at our own risk.

Predicted winner: “Jojo Rabbit”

Parasite Bong Joon Ho

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Nominees:
“Knives Out”
“Marriage Story”
“1917”
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
“Parasite”

Even as Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” began to slip from its status as one of the Best Picture frontrunners, the Best Original Screenplay category seemed likely to give him an Oscar win. But “Parasite” has been coming on very strong in the homestretch: It won the Writers Guild Award, which you can’t hold against Tarantino because his script wasn’t eligible, and then won the next day at BAFTA, where “Once Upon a Time” was eligible and had been nominated.

Academy voters do like Tarantino, who has been nominated four times and has won for “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained.” But BAFTA voters gave him those same four nominations and those same two wins, plus another nom for “The Hateful Eight” — so for “Parasite” to win there is a real danger sign for Tarantino. Plus, this could be the voters’ only chance to give “Parasite” writer-director Bong Joon Ho an Oscar win of his own — the Best International Feature Film Oscar will officially go to South Korea, not to Bong.

Predicted winner: “Parasite”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nominees:
“The Irishman”
“Joker”
“The Lighthouse”
“1917”
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”

When “1917” first screened for voters and press in late November, viewers and pundits agreed on three things: It was a strong Best Picture contender and it was going to win for its score and its cinematography. The first of those is clearly true, the second has turned into a big question mark and the third seems to be a lock. Roger Deakins, who couldn’t catch a break from Oscar voters for the longest time, is poised to win his second Oscar in three years for planning and executing the one-take look of “1917,” and for that astonishing sequence in the bombed-out French town.

If he somehow doesn’t win, Robert Richardson probably has the best chance to take this one for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” But this award is Deakins’ to lose … and he’s not going to lose.

Predicted winner: “1917”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Nominees:
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”

There may have been a time when the smart move in this category was to pick the frilliest and poofiest nominee to win — but that time is no more, what with “Black Panther” beating “The Favourite” last year and “Mad Max: Fury Road” topping “Cinderella” and “The Danish Girl” a couple of years earlier. Still, this year’s frontrunner does appear to be the one nominee with some (relatively) frilly dresses, “Little Women.” And it might help that this is one of the few places to honor that film, which was popular enough to land a Best Picture nomination.

Of course, every other nominated film in the category is a best-pic nominee, too. And you can’t rule out the lure of those groovy period threads in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” … or the appeal of “Jojo Rabbit,” the costumey-est of the nominees … or even the power of that red suit in “Joker.”

Predicted winner: “Little Women”

Ford v Ferrari

BEST FILM EDITING
Nominees:
“Ford v Ferrari”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”
“Parasite”

Some people say you need a Best Film Editing nomination in order to win Best Picture (though 2014’s “Birdman” didn’t have one), but you don’t need to be the Best Picture winner to win here: In the past 10 years, only “The Hurt Locker” and “Argo” have turned that trick. Typically, this award goes to a film that is nominated for but doesn’t win Best Picture, and one with a liberal amount of action. That seems to favor “Ford v Ferrari,” but “Jojo Rabbit” and “Parasite” won the top awards from the American Cinema Editors, so you have to take them seriously.

And you certainly have to take legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker seriously. She’s been nominated a record-tying eight times and could become the first editor to win four Oscars if her work on “The Irishman” prevails here. But could complaints about the film’s excessive length hurt her chances? Sure — if it wins, it’ll be the category’s longest winner since “Lawrence of Arabia” won 57 years ago.

Predicted winner: “Ford v Ferrari”

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Nominees:
“Bombshell”
“Joker”
“Judy”
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
“1917”

Make an actor look like a famous person, win an Oscar. That worked two years ago for “Darkest Hour” (Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill) and last year for “Vice” (Christian Bale as Dick Cheney), and it should happen this year for “Bombshell,” which features Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson and John Lithgow as Roger Ailes. By contrast, “Judy” had only one transformation, of Renée Zellweger into Judy Garland — and neither it nor any of the other nominees’ work was startling enough to make voters forget that they had trouble telling Charlize from Megyn.

Predicted winner: “Bombshell”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees:
“Joker”
“Little Women”
“Marriage Story”
“1917”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

After 14 nominations without a win, this was supposed to be the year for Thomas Newman, whose music for “1917” was essential to the movie’s power. But over the last few weeks, Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, only the ninth woman ever nominated for scoring, has been winning awards for her ominous score to “Joker,” including the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, Society of Composers and Lyricists and BAFTA. Though Newman still has a shot, the momentum seems to be with Guðnadóttir.

Predicted winner: “Joker”

rocketman elton john taron egerton

Paramount

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

Could Diane Warren actually win her first Oscar after 11 nominations for “Breakthrough,” a faith-based indie that’s probably the least-seen nominee this side of the shorts? Sure, she could — it wouldn’t be any stranger than her and Lady Gaga losing the Oscar a few years ago to the worst James Bond song ever written. But she’s a longshot behind the song that Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote for the movie about Elton John and Bernie Taupin, “Rocketman,” and behind Cynthia Erivo’s song from “Harriet.”

And while you can never write off Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who are 2-for-2 at the Oscars with songs from animated features, their song from “Frozen II” is more adventurous and less inescapable than “Let It Go” from the first “Frozen.” Elton will likely get to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his “Lion King” win with another trophy.

Predicted winner: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Nominees:
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“1917”
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
“Parasite”

This probably comes down to two amazing sets (the rich and poor homes in “Parasite”) v. a recreation of 1969 Los Angeles (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”) v. miles of trenches, tunnels and countryside (“1917”). In recent years, voters have been leaning toward elaborate fantasy over period reconstructions — and maybe the nominee that comes closest to fitting that bill is the one that brings the “once upon a time” to Hollywood.

Predicted winner: “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”

BEST SOUND EDITING
Nominees:
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Joker”
“1917”
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

The eternal question in predicting the sound categories: Will voters pick the same movie in both categories or will they differentiate between editing (the creation of artificial sounds and sound effects) and mixing (the overall audio balance)? In three of the last four years and seven of the last 10, the same film has won both, which is one of the reasons why the Academy is considering consolidating the two categories.

So if the same movie wins both categories, will it be the war movie, “1917,” or the car-racing movie, “Ford v Ferrari”? The latter film won the top award from both of the Hollywood sound organizations, the Cinema Audio Society and the Motion Picture Sound Editors, but war movies typically do well here, and “1917” figures to be a voter favorite up and down the ballot. If there’s a split between the categories, editing is where “Ford v Ferrari” could well prevail.

Predicted winner: “1917”

BEST SOUND MIXING
Nominees:
“Ad Astra”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Joker”
“1917”
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”

There’s only one difference in the nominations between sound editing and sound mixing, with the artier, lower-budget space movie “Ad Astra” slipping into the spot vacated by “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” But like the other sound category, this is a race between “1917” and “Ford v Ferrari” — and, we suspect, another narrow win for the WWI movie.

Predicted winner: “1917”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Nominees:
“Avengers: Endgame”
“The Irishman”
“The Lion King”
“1917”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

“The Lion King” won the top prize at the Visual Effects Society Awards, and a film that consists of nothing but visual effects ought to be a serious contender in this category. But in recent years, Academy voters have usually gone for lower-key visual effects, with last year’s win for “First Man” over “Avengers: Infinity War” only one example. In addition, a Best Picture nominee has lost to a non-nominee only once in the last 49 years, when the low-budget “Ex Machina” somehow beat “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian” and “The Revenant” in 2015.

The best-pic stat should give “1917” and “The Irishman” the edge here — but with the de-aging effects in the latter film drawing a decidedly mixed reaction, the war movie could be an easier one for voters to embrace.

Predicted winner: “1917”

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Nominees:
“Corpus Christi”
“Honeyland”
“Les Miserables”
“Pain and Glory”
“Parasite”

There are other easy categories to predict at this year’s Oscars, but nothing quite this easy. The five previous films nominated for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film in the same year all won in the latter category, and there’s really no chance that streak will change just because they’ve renamed the category.

Unless the Academy voters all got together when we weren’t looking and decided to give this award to “Pain and Glory” or “Les Miserables” so they can save “Parasite” for Best Picture, Bong Joon Ho’s film is going to follow in the footsteps of “Z,” “Life Is Beautiful,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Amour” and “Roma” with an easy win here.

Predicted winner: “Parasite”

American Factory

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Nominees:
“American Factory”
“The Cave”
“The Edge of Democracy”
“For Sama”
“Honeyland”

There’s talk that “Honeyland” could win because all the Academy’s international members will vote for that Macedonian film, which is also nominated in the Best International Feature Film category. But the category also contains two films set in Syria and one in Brazil — so if regional loyalties figure in the voting, it might benefit the one nominee that is from the United States, “American Factory.”

“American Factory” is also a formidable contender because it’s about American and Chinese relations at a time when those are in the news; it’s made by two acclaimed and well-liked filmmakers, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert; it’s executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, the first film from their Higher Ground Productions; and it’s on Netflix, making it the most seen of the nominees. But “For Sama” is an emotionally wrenching doc that focuses on a mother and child bond in a ravaged Syrian town, and “Honeyland” does get some boost from that international nomination. In a very close race between those three films, “American Factory” may have a slight edge.

Predicted winner: “American Factory”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Nominees:
“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

If you watch these five top-notch nominees back-to-back, the one that hits hardest is probably the Korean film “In the Absence,” a heartbreaking and infuriating indictment of the government response to the Sewol ferry disaster. In the days when voters had to see all the nominated films at AMPAS screenings, that would probably give it the win.

But the BAFTA-winning “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)” has the same things going for it that 2017’s winner “Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405” did: a great title and a story that leaves you with some uplift. (It’s also a better movie than “Heaven.”) And “St. Louis Superman” is a timely reminder that politics can sometimes do good, and one of the few nominated films with a black protagonist. Like doc feature, this is a very close race.

Predicted winner: “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”

Toy Story 4 Woody Bo Peep

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

“Toy Story 4” must overcome a couple of hurdles here. The first is that in the 18-year history of this category, only one sequel has ever won. (Good news: It was “Toy Story 3.”) The second is that the Academy’s love for Pixar has cooled in recent years: After winning the Oscar for six of its eight releases between 2001 and 2010 (with nominations for the other two), it has put out 10 movies, landed five nominations and won three times. For most studios, that’d be great; for Pixar, it’s a slump.

But what can beat it? Netflix’s “Klaus” won big at the Annie Awards, but it’s hard to trust its sweep at an awards show historically prone to manipulation. A different Netflix film, “I Lost My Body,” will get the arthouse vote and might have an outside chance if it is widely seen, which is doubtful. Laika’s “Missing Link” isn’t that studio’s best but has been campaigning hard and has a shot if Pixar fatigue has truly set in. And it feels a little late for the Academy to recognize DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon” series.

Pixar has won nine times in 18 years, and “Toy Story 4” has already won at five of the six guild awards shows that honor animated films.  Pixar fatigue or not, there’s nothing really positioned to take it down.

Predicted winner: “Toy Story 4”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Nominees:
“Dcera (Daughter)”
“Hair Love”
“Kitbull”
“Memorable”
“Sister”

The French film “Memorable,” about an aging artist with dementia, may be the most artistic and substantial of the nominees — but if voters in the category were looking for artistic and substantial, they would have nominated Theodore Ushev’s masterful “The Physics of Sorrow,” which made the shortlist but inexplicably did not advance. So even though “Memorable” and the Chinese-American film “Sister” are imaginative and moving, this race may well come down to the two big-studio offerings, Sony’s “Hair Love” and Pixar’s “Kitbull.”

Of the two, “Hair Love” tells a charming and winning story, and is one of the few ways in which voters can recognize diversity in this #OscarsMostlyWhite year. But “Kitbull” is a touching tale of cooperation and friendship between a stray kitten and abused dog — and since the rules in this category were changed to allow the entire membership to vote without attending special screenings, Pixar and Disney have won four times in seven years, including two Pixar wins in the last three years.

Predicted winner: “Kitbull”

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Nominees:
“Brotherhood”
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbors’ Window”
“Saria”
“A Sister”

“The Neighbors’ Window,” the narrative debut from two-time documentary nominee Marshall Curry, is the category’s only English-language nominee, and the kind of expertly-made, crowd-pleasing film that veers from comedy to sorrow and once would have coasted to a win in this category. With a more international Academy, though, it faces strong competition from “Saria,” which tells a devastating story and packs a real punch; “Brotherhood,” a disquieting family drama that speaks to issues that plague the Middle East; and even “Nefta Football Club,” a comedy with the kind of twist ending that voters sometimes appreciate.

While the Academy often makes confounding choices in this category, all of the nominees are strong. This will be the fifth time in the last decade with only one American nominee in the category — and three of the first four times, that film has won. That may give “The Neighbors’ Window” a slight edge in a competitive field.

Predicted winner: “The Neighbors’ Window”