If this Oscar Ceremony is any proof, 2019 was an amazing year in cinema. I was fortunate enough to see over 80, 2019 released, films. While there are some movies that I think got snubbed from Oscar contention in various categories, I cannot complain about the amazing films that were nominated. The Oscars are only a few hours away now, so, here are my predictions for who will (bold) and I believe should win (*). Along with that, I will be updating this post live to denote who does end up winning. I will not offer commentary on the sound editing/mixing awards or Visual Effects award as I think that those are pretty self-explanatory, and I have not included the Documentary or Short categories as I have only seen a few and cannot properly assess the competition in those categories.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
ANTONIO BANDERAS for Pain and Glory
LEONARDO DICAPRIO for Once upon a Time…in Hollywood
ADAM DRIVER for Marriage Story
JOAQUIN PHOENIX for Joker*—Winner
JONATHAN PRYCE for The Two Popes
Love or hate comic book movies, you cannot deny the incredible performance Joaquin Phoenix gave us in Joker. It is one thing to change your mentality for a role and another entirely to change your entire physicality to embody the role as well. He has been the frontrunner in all of the previous awards in this award season and he very much deserves it.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
TOM HANKS for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
ANTHONY HOPKINS for The Two Popes*
AL PACINO for The Irishman
JOE PESCI for The Irishman
BRAD PITT for Once upon a Time…in Hollywood—Winner
This category is just not fair. Brad Pitt 100% was in a leading role, but since the studio pushed for him as a supporting actor, he is primed to win. He has been racking up all the awards this season and the Academy loves him in OUATIH. Among the actual supporting roles, Anthony Hopkins hands down would win this.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
CYNTHIA ERIVO for Harriet
SCARLETT JOHANSSON for Marriage Story
SAOIRSE RONAN for Little Women
CHARLIZE THERON for Bombshell
RENÉE ZELLWEGER for Judy*—Winner
This is a hard category for me to properly consider seeing as I never had the chance to watch Judy. However, based on all of the other awards and the fact that every single outlet is declaring Judy a lock for this award ever since the movie released, I have to go with this.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
KATHY BATES for Richard Jewell
LAURA DERN for Marriage Story—Winner
SCARLETT JOHANSSON for Jojo Rabbit*
FLORENCE PUGH for Little Women
MARGOT ROBBIE for Bombshell
Everyone is absolutely head-over-heels for Laura Dern in Marriage Story and there is no doubt in my mind that she will win this award. However, I couldn’t disagree more. Scarlett Johansson absolutely crushed every scene she was in during Jojo Rabbit and the dinner scene alone puts her leagues past Dern in my opinion. I think I would even go Florence Pugh over Dern. Dern was indeed great, but I think people are too enamored with her performance.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
I LOST MY BODY
TOY STORY 4*—Winner
The tough part about this award is that the best animated movie, Weathering With You, wasn’t even nominated, but moving past that, Klaus has all the momentum right now. Between virtually sweeping the Annie awards and being a return to fluid 2D animation, the Academy is eating this film up and deservedly so. I believe Toy Story 4 is a much better film between script, animation, and direction, but it was a let down for a lot of people as it didn’t come near Toy Story 3.
THE IRISHMAN (Rodrigo Prieto)
JOKER (Lawrence Sher)
THE LIGHTHOUSE (Jarin Blaschke)
1917 (Roger Deakins)*—Winner
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD (Robert Richardson)
The fact that the entire film is a faux one-shot leaves no explanation needed. Watch 1917 and you’ll understand.
THE IRISHMAN (Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson)
JOJO RABBIT (Mayes C. Rubeo)*
JOKER (Mark Bridges)
LITTLE WOMEN (Jacqueline Durran)—Winner
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD (Arianne Phillips)
The fact that Joker has a lot of momentum in all of its categories and that the costume designers managed to create an entirely original and yet completely recognizable and iconic Joker design wins them this award. I believe Jojo Rabbit in general deserves to win every award (I recognize my bias), but costumes specifically instantly transport you to Nazi-Germany and engulf you in world. Unfortunately, my pick has less that a 5% chance of winning.
THE IRISHMAN—Martin Scorsese
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD—Quentin Tarantino
PARASITE—Bong Joon Ho*—WINNER!!!
I think Sam Mendes wins this easily due to the careful planning, designing, and shooting of the “one-shot” concept for this film. The way he utilizes the intimacy of spending every second of the journey with each step of the characters throws you into the horrors of war and amplifies the atmosphere of the film. That said, the way Bong Joon Ho manages to weave every genre on cinema (except musicals) into one masterpiece of a film and enraptures audiences worldwide should, in my opinion, guarantee him the win—it won’t unfortunately.
FORD V FERRARI—Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland—Winner
THE IRISHMAN—Thelma Schoonmaker
JOJO RABBIT—Tom Eagles
Parasite will become the topic of masterclasses on editing and film making. I honestly cannot see how it will lose. The only dark horse I can see getting in its way is Ford v Ferrari because the editing in that film is stunning as well.
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
BOMBSHELL—Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker*—Winner
JOKER—Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL—Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten and David White
1917—Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole
The makeup and hairstyling of the residents of Gotham create a layer of grime that exhibits the sliminess of the film, and the makeup on Joker alone is incredible. That said, when Bombshell came out people believed that it was actually Megyn Kelly and the other FOXNews hosts in the film rather than their respective actors and actresses. However, with the drama that surrounds Bombshell, I think it will lose the film the votes it needs to secure a win.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
LITTLE WOMEN—Alexandre Desplat
MARRIAGE STORY—Randy Newman
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER—John Williams
No debating on this one. The soundtrack for Joker is absolutely jaw dropping. Go give it a listen and prove me wrong.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
I CAN’T LET YOU THROW YOURSELF AWAY—from Toy Story 4; Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
(I’M GONNA) LOVE ME AGAIN—from Rocketman; Music by Elton John; Lyric by Bernie Taupin*—WINNER
I’M STANDING WITH YOU—from Breakthrough; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
INTO THE UNKNOWN—from Frozen II; Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
STAND UP—from Harriet; Music and Lyric by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo
If Disney had submitted “The Next Right Thing” from Frozen then maybe there would be a competition, none of the nominated songs come close to the greatness of Elton John. There is no dispute here in my opinion.
FORD V FERRARI—Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold, Producers
THE IRISHMAN—Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers
JOJO RABBIT—Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi and Chelsea Winstanley, Producers*
JOKER—Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers
LITTLE WOMEN—Amy Pascal, Producer
MARRIAGE STORY—Noah Baumbach and David Heyman, Producers
1917—Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall, Producers
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD—David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh and Quentin Tarantino, Producers
PARASITE—Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho, Producers*—WINNER!!!!!
1917 is holding all of the momentum going into tonight’s award as everyone is loving what Sam Mendes has brought us. That said, in my opinion Jojo Rabbit and Parasite are the two best films of the year, with Jojo being my new favorite film of all time. I feel like if these films came out sooner, then maybe they would have a better shot at winning. However, Parasite only has about a 20%chance while Jojo Rabbit is looking at under a 5%. 1917 is my third favorite of the year so I won’t be mad if and when it wins, I’ll just be a lot happier if one of my picks win instead.
THE IRISHMAN—Production Design: Bob Shaw; Set Decoration: Regina Graves
JOJO RABBIT—Production Design: Ra Vincent; Set Decoration: Nora Sopková*
1917—Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD—Production Design: Barbara Ling; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh—Winner
PARASITE—Production Design: Lee Ha Jun; Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo
Once again I’m rooting for Jojo, but I think it will very clearly be Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood simply because the Academy loves Hollywood and all things Hollywood. OUATIH completely transformed modern day Hollywood as every set in the film was completely practical. There is a very slim chance it loses this category, but if it does it will probably go to 1917.
FORD V FERRARI—Donald Sylvester*—Winner
JOKER—Alan Robert Murray
1917—Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD—Wylie Stateman
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER—Matthew Wood and David Acord
AD ASTRA—Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano
FORD V FERRARI—Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow*
JOKER—Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland
1917—Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson—Winner
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD—Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler and Mark Ulano
AVENGERS: ENDGAME—Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken and Dan Sudick
THE IRISHMAN—Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser and Stephane Grabli
THE LION KING—Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newman*
1917—Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy—Winner?
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER—Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
THE IRISHMAN—Screenplay by Steven Zaillian
JOJO RABBIT—Screenplay by Taika Waititi*—WINNER!!!
JOKER—Written by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
LITTLE WOMEN—Written for the screen by Greta Gerwig
THE TWO POPES—Written by Anthony McCarten
None of the other scripts come close to Jojo Rabbit. One second you are laughing, the next you are bawling your eyes out, and the next you are terrified. This script fires on all cylinders and it deserves this win. Plus, the script is so good that it has made its way into class materials at USC film program which in and of itself should show the absolute brilliance of the script.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
KNIVES OUT—Written by Rian Johnson
MARRIAGE STORY—Written by Noah Baumbach
1917—Written by Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD—Written by Quentin Tarantino
PARASITE—Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won; Story by Bong Joon Ho*—Winner
Parasite’s script transcends genre. One second you are watching a thriller, the next a romantic comedy, then a heist, then a social commentary, then satire, then horror, then grindhouse, and list goes on and on. The writing of this film is a pure masterpiece and, as grumpy Tarantino may get, it deserves this way more than all of the other nominated films in this category.
Good luck to all the films this year and let’s hope for a great show!