What a difference a year makes – not only does 2020 herald the return of an Oscarcast to local free-to-air TV after ten years, it’s also the first time I am doing this on the inside looking out (so to speak). With the new job comes an actual Oscar pool this year, which means I will be predicting all award categories for once. It is a relatively “easy” year for predictions given the clear paths many of the potential winners have enjoyed on the road to the Oscars, but the big question is if Parasite will buck tradition by clinching any awards outside of Best Foreign Film. It’s literally the only dark horse amongst the major categories, and I am keeping it safe by betting on the surer horses in the predictions below – hope this doesn’t come back and bite me in the proverbial ass.
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Should win: Parasite
1917 has been winning every possible award thrown its way and it’s hard to see the Academy voting otherwise. However, Parasite has seen what seems like a pretty major uptick in noise level over the past month plus, and could potential be the big upset of the night. Parasite is my favourite movie of 2019 and I would not be sad if it stole the award from 1917.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Should win: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Prediction: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
This is a shoo-in for Joaquin, and like or dislike the film, it cannot be denied that he put in a powerful, memorable performance.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Should win: Renee Zellweger, Judy
Prediction: Renee Zellweger, Judy
While her portrayal of the late Judy Garland is occasionally too on-the-nose and too forced an impression, there’s again no denying that it’s definitely the most memorable performance amongst those nominated. The Academy loves these roles, and Renee has been winning every award along the way as well.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Should win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Prediction: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
It’s a hugely enjoyable performance, and his various acceptance speeches along the way have been nothing short of inspired. This one is about as hard a lock as the other main categories.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Should win: Florence Pugh, Little Women
Prediction: Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Florence Pugh’s performance in Little Women outshone Saoirse Ronan’s despite being a supporting role, and was easily the best thing in the film. Unfortunately, Laura Dern has again had a clear runway from the start of awards season and there’s no reason the Academy would vote otherwise.
Best Achievement in Directing
Should win: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Prediction: Sam Mendes, 1917
While 1917 is a great concept piece, Bong Joon Ho’s sublime direction of Parasite really should take top honours. However, even if Parasite wins best picture, it’s hard to see Sam Mendes not getting the “consolation” prize of Best Director. I feel that this is quite the lock but will again be happy to be proven wrong.
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Should win: Parasite
It’s hard not to root for Parasite in this category, even though I also dearly loved what Tarantino did in Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood. QT seems to have lost some steam in this category but it will be a close fight for sure.
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Should win: Jojo Rabbit
Prediction: Jojo Rabbit
I enjoyed all 5 screenplays very much but I think Taika’s star status will improve his odds immensely here.
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Should Win: 1917
Roger Deakins has to win this for the amazing work in 1917. If not for the immaculately planned camerawork throughout the film, the incredibly lit night scene in the middle of the movie would clinch this award on its own.
Best Achievement in Editing
Should Win: Ford v Ferrari
Prediction: Ford v Ferrari
Editing is everything in a racing film, and since 1917 didn’t get a nomination here, FvF would most assuredly take home the trophy instead.
Best Achievement in Production Design
Prediction: Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
There’s a lot of thought put into the production design of Once Upon A Time, and the period details in every scene are spot-on. While Parasite has equally impressive production values, I am doubtful of the number of statues Hollywood would cede to essentially a foreign film.
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Prediction: Little Women
When in doubt, vote for the period drama with the most period gowns and frocks.
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
It would be a bombshell (hur hur) if Bombshell did not clinch the award for disappearing Charlize Theron into Megyn Kelly.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
The score for 1917 is too spare to really be in consideration for the award, even if it’s by Thomas Newman (his cousin Randy is also nominated this year for Marriage Story). So Joker it is.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Prediction: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”, Rocketman
Given the lukewarm awards season Frozen 2 has seen this year, it’s highly unlikely the statuette would end up with the Lopez duo this time. It seems that all signs point to Elton and Bermie bringing this one home, capping a successful awards run.
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
The camera and the sound are the main actors in 1917, and I believe the Academy will not think otherwise.
Best Animated Feature of the Year
Prediction: Toy Story 4
It’s a surprisingly wide category this year and Toy Story 4 could easily be upset by Klaus or even Missing Link. I would like to think that the Academy still gives a Pixar film more leeway than usual so Toy Story 4 seems like a safe(r) choice.
Best Animated Short of the Year
Prediction: Hair Love
It just seems like the type of short film that would win the award, even though I really liked Kitbull as well.
Best Documentary Feature of the Year
Prediction: American Factory
For Sama is a very powerful documentary and stands a good chance to be the black horse winner, but given that the Obamas have a hand in American Factory, plus it’s a pretty universal theme, it’s hard to place my prediction elsewhere.
Best Documentary Short Subject of the Year
Prediction: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
It’s a pretty good documentary with an excellent title, which means it should stand a pretty high chance here.
Best Live Action Short Film of the Year
Prediction: The Neighbors’ Window
While there are some very strong contenders here (Brotherhood and A Sister are both masterful short films), The Neighbors’ Window is the most accessible and also a great short.
Best International Feature Film of the Year
This really cannot possibly go to another film in contention and is probably one of the most locked categories of the night. Unless (and possibly even if) the film goes on to win Best Picture, I would be extremely surprised if the Academy voted any other way.