Final predictions for the 92nd Academy Awards

Well, the big day is almost upon us and one of the shortest awards seasons in recent history comes to a close with the 92nd Academy Awards. Once again, we don’t have an unassailable frontrunner for Best Picture, which is always rather exciting. It doesn’t help prognosticators make their final predictions, but you just have to throw your hat in the ring and hope for the best.

It’s not just Best Picture that’s up in the air. Many of the below-the-line tech categories are also difficult to predict, particularly both Screenplay categories, which used to be fairly set in stone. At least we have our four acting categories seemingly locked up, given the same four actors have won at SAG, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice and the Golden Globes. Could we see an upset there somewhere?

As I always say, these predictions are just reading tea leaves, so take them with a grain of salt. Alas, one must try, so, without further ado, here are my final predictions for the 92nd Academy Awards.

BEST PICTURE
1917
Ford v. Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite

Will win: 1917
Should win: Parasite
Possible shocker: Jojo Rabbit
Shameful snub: Uncut Gems

In the last few years, predicting Best Picture has been a difficult battle between my head and my heart. My head looks at the stats and precursor awards and knows one film appears to be the obvious prediction, but my heart aches for something else I’d rather see win. This year, that’s 1917 vs. Parasite. And, for the first time in years, I’m going with my head as my final prediction.

With Best Picture style wins at PGA, BAFTA, and the Golden Globes, 1917 has ticked the most boxes to prove its status as our frontrunner. While it’s true something like La La Land experienced a similar run of success before it ultimately lost to Moonlight, 1917 hasn’t experienced the intense backlash that destroyed La La Land‘s campaign. Chalk that up to the fact we have a much shorter awards season this year and 1917 only being unveiled in December.

That being said, war movies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so Parasite still stands a solid chance of making history to become the first foreign-language film in history to win Best Picture. But the tea leaves simply aren’t there to suggest such a thing will happen. The preferential ballot could prove to work in its favour, but one could also make that argument with 1917.

If there is to be a shock winner, it looks to be Jojo Rabbit, which has seemingly picked up a lot of buzz in the final stages of voting. Again, there’s nothing in precursor season to hint at this occurring but never say never. No matter what happens, a great film is winning Best Picture. That’s more than we could say last year.

BEST DIRECTOR
Bong Joon-Ho – Parasite
Sam Mendes – 1917
Todd Phillips – Joker
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Will win: Sam Mendes
Should win: Bong Joon-Ho
Possible shocker: Quentin Tarantino
Shameful snub: Taika Waititi

After the rapturous response to Parasite, it looked like Best Director could be going to a foreign language filmmaker for the second year in a row. But then Mendes swept awards season, taking Best Director at DGA, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and the Golden Globes. With that quartet of victories, it’s almost unfathomable to think he won’t win the Oscar. There’s the slimmest of chances of a Bong upset, but it’s not happening. And, yet again, poor Tarantino will have to wait for his time to come.

BEST ACTRESS
Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Renée Zellweger – Judy

Will win: Renée Zellweger
Should win: Saoirse Ronan
Possible shocker: Scarlett Johansson
Shameful snub: Lupita Nyong’o

With her roaring comeback performance, Zellweger has placed an iron lock on this award since Judy debuted back at TIFF in September. While the film itself wasn’t particularly well-received, few could deny the power of her transformative performance, which is always the kind of role the Academy laps up. Throw in the fact she’s playing a beloved movie star who never won an Oscar and it was practically predestined Zellweger would take this home. If there is anyone who may suffer voter exhaustion (like we saw with Glenn Close last year), it could be Zellweger, especially given she’s already won previously. That bodes well for double-nominee Johansson. History is certainly on her side. Of the 12 times an actor has been nominated twice in the same ceremony, seven of them have managed a win. If there is an upset on the cards, Best Actress could be the place we see it.

BEST ACTOR
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

Will win: Joaquin Phoenix
Should win: Adam Driver
Possible shocker: Leonardo DiCaprio
Shameful snub: Adam Sandler

Nobody but Phoenix is winning this category. He’s won at SAG, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice and the Golden Globes. This is now his fourth nomination without a win. And, regardless of your feelings about Joker, you cannot deny his performance as the clown prince of Gotham was simply astonishing. Personally, I prefer Driver’s heartbreaking performance in Marriage Story, but his time will come later.

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
Should win: Florence Pugh
Possible shocker: Scarlett Johansson
Shameful snub: Zhao Shuzhen

While most of us were dreaming of this being Jennifer Lopez’s moment of glory, she couldn’t even land a nomination, which still confounds me. Regardless, Dern hasn’t skipped a beat all season, taking home SAG, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and the Golden Globe, making her another of the acting locks of the night. She’s Hollywood royalty who’s seen a huge career resurgence over the last few years. She’s heavily involved with the Academy (she ran for president a few years ago and is on the board of trustees for their upcoming multi-million dollar museum), so she’s beloved by the voting members. And she gives a killer performance in Marriage Story. Double-nominee Johansson could also cause an upset here, but it’s highly unlikely.

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
Should win: Brad Pitt
Possible shocker: Joe Pesci
Shameful snub: Song Kang-Ho

Much like Phoenix, nobody but Pitt is winning this prize. Of the five actors, he’s the only nominee to have never won an Academy Award for acting (although he does have an Oscar for producing 12 Years a Slave). Like Phoenix, Zellweger, and Dern, he also enters the ceremony with wins at SAG, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and the Golden Globes. And he’s been giving sensational acceptance speeches all season long. He’s a bonafide movie star and everybody wants to see him on that stage. Next.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1917
Knives Out
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite

Will win: Parasite
Should win: Parasite
Possible shocker: 1917
Shameful snub: Booksmart

A mighty tough category to call with an epic showdown between Bong Joon-Ho for Parasite and Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Tarantino has won this category twice before, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take it home for the third time. However, Parasite comes into the ceremony with keys win at WGA (Tarantino wasn’t eligible, so it’s a skewed victory) and BAFTA, meaning it has all the last-minute buzz. The love for Bong is strong and that should be enough.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Irishman
Joker
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
The Two Popes

Will win: Jojo Rabbit
Should win: Little Women
Possible shocker: The Irishman
Shameful snub: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It seemed like this was Greta Gerwig’s to lose, especially after her snub for Best Director and her victory at USC Scripters Awards. But in the last few weeks, the tide has completely turned, and Taika Waititi has emerged as the late-breaking frontrunner. After Jojo Rabbit scored key wins at WGA and BAFTA, Waititi has surged to the front of the pack. Gerwig still absolutely could win, so it’s a coin-flip category, folks. Both are deserving and one is heading for a painful loss. Gulp.

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

Will win: Toy Story 4
Should win: How I Lost My Body
Possible shocker: Missing Link
Shameful snub: Frozen II

After several years of this category feeling entirely predictable, we have one of the most exciting races we’ve ever seen for Animated Feature. We all anticipated yet another Disney vs. Pixar showdown, with Toy Story 4 likely emerging victorious over Frozen II. But then something strange happened. Missing Link won the Golden Globe. Frozen II was snubbed by the Academy. And Klaus swept the Annie Awards, taking home seven categories including Best Animated Feature, and won Best Animated Film at BAFTA. In all honesty, this could mean nothing and Toy Story 4 still snatches the victory, as I’m predicting. It’s got the name recognition and the might of Pixar behind it, so it likely will still win. But don’t be surprised to see Klaus or Missing Link take this one.

I’m not going to bother going into great detail with the other awards, so I’ll just run through the rest of my predictions without notes. I will preface I have little faith in many of these, so don’t judge me too harshly for getting more than a few dead wrong.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Hair Love
Alternate: Kitbull

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
1917
Alternate: The Lighthouse

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Little Women
Alternate: Jojo Rabbit

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
American Factory
Alternate: For Sama

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl)
Alternate: St. Louis Superman

BEST FILM EDITING
Parasite
Alternate: The Irishman

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Parasite
Alternate: Pain and Glory

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
The Neighbor’s Window
Alternate: Brotherhood

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Bombshell
Alternate: Joker

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Joker
Alternate: 1917

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” – Rocketman
Alternate: “Stand Up” – Harriet

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Alternate: Parasite

BEST SOUND EDITING
1917
Alternate: Ford v. Ferrari

BEST SOUND MIXING
1917
Alternate: Ford v. Ferrari

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
1917
Alternate: Avengers: Endgame

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