In terms of dates, this is the earliest Oscar ceremony in history. But didn’t it seem like it was never going to get here? Once again, the granddaddy of all awards shows — now in its 92nd year — has weathered an exhausting maelstrom, from the all-male directing nominations to the lack of diversity in the acting categories. Jennifer Lopez didn’t get her nomination; Taylor Swift didn’t even make the shortlist for Best Original Song for Cats. 1917 was a lock for Best Picture, then it wasn’t, now it is again, maybe?
A host would have had a field day with all the above, but for the second consecutive year, we’re on our own. There’s only one thing left to do: Devour every glorious moment and hope our favorites are golden. Here’s my forecast for all 24 categories, keeping in mind that my No. 1 prediction is that we’ll all have something to buzz about on Monday morning. Especially if Brad Pitt goes there. Happy watching!
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Will Win: 1917
Spoiler Alert: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Just like last year, the biggest category is the trickiest to predict. The World War I drama — which unspools as one continuous take — is the Prestige Pick in that it’s a stunning technical achievement enhanced by an important, heart-tugging narrative that likely appealed to Academy members ages 19 to 90. It also won the Golden Globe for best drama, the BAFTA and the Producer’s Guild Award. That means something! But, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a sprawling homage to the very industry putting on this shindig. And don’t dismiss the wild cards: The Irishman is an epic directed by one of the All-Time Greats; the much-beloved and provocative Parasite took the SAG Best Ensemble award; and Joker leads the pack with 11 nominations.
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renee Zellweger, Judy
Will Win: Renee Zellweger
Spoiler Alert: Scarlett Johansson
“The movie is fine but Renee Zellweger is amazing.” That’s been the party line ever since Judy premiered at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day Weekend. Now she’s a lock to take gold for the second time. Her portrayal of Judy Garland soars, and it’s the kind of role capable of melting even the iciest of Academy hearts. Her closest competition — and I’m using the word “closest” loosely — is Johansson, who had such a standout year that she received two acting nominations. (And that’s not even including her work in Avengers: Endgame.) No win this year, but she’ll be fine.
Antonio Banderas, Pain & Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix
Spoiler Alert: Adam Driver
More than a decade after Heath Ledger took gold for taking on Joker, Phoenix is poised to follow suit. (Who says you need to play a member of the royal family to strike gold?!) And while his troubled character chilled to the bone, the win is also a bit of a make-good for his decades of extraordinary and challenging work in front of the camera. That means runner-up Adam Driver will come up short despite an equally stirring — albeit less showy — performance.
Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Will Win: Laura Dern
Spoiler Alert: Florence Pugh
Justice for J.Lo!!!!!!! Anyway, even if Jennifer Lopez were nominated for Hustlers, she’d still have to sit in the audience and feign happiness when Laura Dern‘s name is called. The veteran actress has been racking up trophies for her performance as an ultra-smooth divorce attorney in Marriage Story and the Oscar will be her piece de resistance on the mantle. Just note that Best Supporting Actress is also the unofficial ingénue category, so Pugh has an outside shot.
Best Supporting Actor
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
Will Win: Brad Pitt
Spoiler Alert: Joe Pesci
Pitt has this baby sewn up so let’s get to the real suspense at hand: Will he make another hilarious self-deprecating swipe at his own personal life in his acceptance speech? I say no. The Oscar is too important and a dig at his past will cheapen the moment. In fact, I’m secretly glad that Jennifer Aniston won’t be in the audience for a cutaway shot. After delivering such a killer performance (and, frankly, making it look easy for 30 years), Pitt deserves to own the spotlight. Consolation prize goes to Joe Pesci, who emerged from his film hiatus to play against type as a reserved mafia Don.
Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Will Win: Bong Joon Ho
Spoiler Alert: Sam Mendes
And now, the controversial all-male category of directors. And though a nod for, say, Greta Gerwig (Little Women) or Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) would have been terrific, the truth is that the five nominated directors presided over distinct works of art. The slight edge here goes to Bong Joon Ho, whose vision of class warfare in South Korea was the most dynamic of all. Mendes also has a great shot, though all those whisper-complaints that the one-shot movie is more gimmick than style don’t help.
Best of the Rest
Original Screenplay — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best Adapted Screenplay — Jojo Rabbit
Best Cinematography — 1917
Best Costume Design — Little Women
Best Film Editing — Ford V Ferrari
Best Makeup & Hairstyling — Bombshell
Best Production Design — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best Score — 1917
Best Song — “I’m Gonna Love Me Again”
Best Sound Editing — 1917
Best Sound Mixing — 1917
Best Visual Effects — Avengers: Endgame
Best Animated Feature — Toy Story 4
Best Documentary Feature — American Factory
Best Foreign Language Film — Parasite
Best Animated Short — Hair Love
Best Documentary Short — Learning to Skate in a Warzone
Best Live Action Short — Brotherhood
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