1917 and Parasite are approaching a photo finish this awards season.
From the moment the show ended and Green Book had been named the Best Picture at the 91st Academy Awards, I'd already switched gears towards 2019's film offerings and how they could shape the 92nd Oscars. Well, the time has come to see how fruitful my predictions were while also cementing my finalized guesses for the 92nd Academy Awards.
Parasite wasn't on anyone's radar a year ago. It took Bong Joon-ho's win at Cannes to open the door for its possibilities. Since then, it has raced up the American box office while building buzz that other international features could only dream of receiving. Its nominations marked the first-ever for a Korean film. If it wins Best Picture, which it easily could do, it'd be the first time an International Feature picked up that prize.
It's toughest competition? 1917. The WWI war drama features some of the flashiest filmmaking in recent years, it's directed by a well-liked and well-awarded director, and it's appealing to almost every kind of moviegoer.
No matter how the 92nd Oscars shape up, there's no denying 2019 was a great year for cinema. Cheers to Tarantino's best film in almost a decade. Cheers to Laura Dern finally winning an Oscar (a first for her family). Cheers to Brad Pitt for proving 'movie star is still a viable title. And, cheers to Hollywood for another year of incredible storytelling.
To see March 2019's predictions, click here.
To see April 2019's predictions, click here.
To see May 2019's predictions, click here.
To see June 2019's predictions, click here.
To see July 2019's predictions, click here.
To see August 2019's predictions, click here.
To see September 2019's predictions, click here.
To see October 2019's predictions, click here.
To see November 2019's predictions, click here.
To see December 2019's predictions, click here.
To see January 2020's predictions, click here.
Dir. Joon Ho Bong
Prods. Young-Hwan Jang, Kwak Sin-ae
In March 2019, Parasite wasn't on anyone's radar. Much of that was due to the fact that international films rarely make the cut in terms of the major Oscars. Bong Joon-ho's thriller masterpiece entered the conversation in May after winning the Palme d'Or in Cannes, though even that prize didn't guarantee it a spot on many predictors' lists. It wasn't until July that it first showed up on my predictions list (a list that still included Cats as a potential Oscar nominee).
Sam Mendes' 1917 is the only other option here and would be the easiest choice to make. It's epic, well-made, and Mendes has a great history with the Academy. But, Parasite's win would make history, Bong is well-loved worldwide, and the film continues to be part of everyone's conversation.
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood and 1917 were mainstays on the prediction list from the beginning, as well as The Irishman and Little Women. When I first made predictions, Marriage Story didn't have an official name and was being called Untitled Noah Baumbach Film. Films that showed up throughout the season, but didn't earn a Best Picture nomination include A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Cats, The Goldfinch, The Laundromat, and The Report.
I really went out on a limb when first predicting by thinking that, not only would Greta Gerwig make the cut for Little Women, but that we'd get two female directors nominated for the first time with a nod for Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood). I also thought Tom Hooper would sneak in for Cats. Fortunately, the latter didn't happen, and unfortunately, the two formers didn't make the cut.
Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino have been on the list since last March, but its Sam Mendes and Bong Joon-ho who have the award at their fingertips. Mendes first popped up on my predictions list in June. Bong was added to the list in August.
If all goes like previous years, Bong and Mendes will split the Picture/Director awards. My prediction is Mendes in Directing and Parasite for Best Picture. I'd be shocked if either film won both awards.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
This is another category where multiple eventual nominees had made the list from the beginning: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), and Renée Zellweger (Judy). I also thought Alfre Woodard would have made it for her Sundance success in Clemency and I was way too positive about Lucy in the Sky. Not only did that film come and go quickly, but Natalie Portman has also barely been in any awards conversation.
Zellweger has powered through the awards season as the likely winner. Once she began actually winning awards, the rest was history. She will win the Oscar. No questions asked.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
The only original prediction to make the final list was Leonardo DiCaprio's performance in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood. I'm still surprised Robert De Niro didn't edge his way in for The Irishman. And, Taron Edgerton should have been a solid choice, but he had to settle for just the Golden Globe.
I was timid about Joaquin Phoenix and Joker much of the year. In fact, it wasn't until August that I first added Phoenix to my list. Like Zellweger, Phoenix has powered through awards season with multiple wins and multiple incredible acceptance speeches. Both of those are huge ingredients to winning the Oscar.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
The Academy loves delivering career Oscars to Hollywood legends. For Laura Dern, her Oscar story didn't kick in right away, but once it was there, it never let up. She first showed up on my predictions list in May when Marriage Story was only known as Untitled Noah Baumbach Film.
None of the actresses and performances I originally predicted ended up in this category. Margot Robbie, though, did make the list for Bombshell (I had her listed for Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood) and Charlize Theron was listed for Fair and Balanced, the original name for Bombshell. Theron ended up in the Leading Actress category, instead.
The one story everyone was watching, besides Dern's, was Jennifer Lopez. The triple threat was expected to earn her first-ever Oscar nomination for Hustlers. That, famously, didn't happen. Once she was left off the list, any chance of someone else beating Dern was lost. This is Dern's Oscar.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
I called Brad Pitt's nomination (and probable win) way back in March 2019. Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood was expected to be a huge critical and commercial hit (which it was) and DiCaprio and Pitt were expected to ride the awards season wave. Pitt has been the one to find the most success with that. After SAG and BAFTA win, Pitt is a lock.
Al Pacino was the only other prediction I got right from the beginning. I'd also thought Leslie Odom Jr. and Lucas Hedges would have been part of the conversation. Their respective films, Harriet and Honey Boy, barely made an impact (in fact, Harriet was the only one of the two to earn a mention).
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Joon-Ho Bong, Jin Won Han
Like other Parasite predictions, the film wasn't even on my radar in March 2019. At the time, I expected The Farewell and Late Night to be heavy screenplay possibilities after their success at Sundance. Neither made the cut. I also had Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood predicted to win, which could still happen.
Bong and Parasite first popped up on the predictions list in August, where it stayed much of the rest of the season. Though, my predicted winner fluctuated between Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood. At the end of the day, I think the Academy is going to go overboard for Parasite, even tossing the screenplay Oscar its way.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Like Parasite, Jojo Rabbit wasn't on my radar for the first few months of awards season. Little Women and The Irishman, however? They were listed from day one of predicting. Both made the final cut, too.
I almost picked Little Women as the winner, mostly because it would be a bad look for Gerwig's period hit to go home empty-handed (like Lady Bird). After industry awards, though, Taika Waititi seems like the frontrunner. Gerwig would be the bigger story. But, Waititi is the frontrunner. Gerwig missed out on the Director nomination, so this could work as a consolation prize. But, Waititi is the frontrunner.
Either way, we definitely know The Goldfinch and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? were not even close to making it (though, I thought they would).
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Not a single prediction I made in March ended up earning mentions here, except for Randy Newman, though I predicted him being nominated for Toy Story 4. Instead, he earned his nomination for Marriage Story.
At this point, though, I think the prize will go to his cousin, Thomas Newman. The famed composer has never won an Oscar after a number of nominations.
All eyes will be on Hildur Guonadottir, who won the Golden Globe for Joker. She is one of the few women ever nominated for the award. And, she would become one of the even fewer women to win the prize.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Joshuah Brian Campbell, Cynthia Erivo
As predicted since the beginning, Frozen II did earn a nomination (but for the wrong song). It won't win, but it will be great to see Idina Menzel get to perform on the Oscars stage again.
When Taylor Swift was announced as the songwriter of the new Cats song, many thought she'd sneak into her first Oscar nomination. That also did not happen.
The safe bet is on Elton John for his Rocketman song. I should probably predict that to win, but Cynthia Erivo earned an acting nomination along with this nomination, so it would make sense that there's some support there. And, if she wins here, she'll become the youngest EGOT ever. The Academy loves making history. Here's their chance.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Dir. Sergio Pablos, Carlos Martínez López
Netflix staked a lot of territory with nominations this year, including two animated feature nominations. With Disney's Frozen II not living up to the hype (despite becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time) and Toy Story 4 delivering but also feeling over-rewarded at this point, it's time for the smaller movies to step in place.
Missing Link won the Golden Globe, but Klaus won the Annie Award (the industry award for animation). Netflix is so accessible and Klaus is an easier watch than I Lost My Body.
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
I'm very upset Portrait of a Lady on Fire wasn't chosen as France's official entry. It's unbelievably gorgeous. Les Miserables is also a great choice, though. I was sure Pain and Glory would make the cut from day one. And, like earlier, had zero idea that Parasite would be in the conversation.
It almost doesn't matter what's nominated here (though Honeyland deserves some credit for being the first film to ever be nominated for Best International Feature and Best Documentary Feature in the same year). Parasite is going to win.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Prods. Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
The best documentary of the year, Apollo 11, was my guess from day one. But, as these things go, it didn't even earn a nomination. Honeyland is gorgeous and could earn some love from the Academy's international membership. Though, American Factory is a solid film with a lot to say AND the Obamas are behind it. Who wouldn't want to give the Obamas some Oscar attention?
In the technical categories, few are as predictable as this one. 1917 relies on its cinematography to pull off its gimmick. Roger Deakins finally won an Oscar for the Blade Runner sequel a couple of years ago. That was somewhat of a career achievement win. A win for 1917 would mark a surefire necessary acknowledgment.
BEST FILM EDITING
FORD V FERRARI
Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker
When it comes to categories like Film Editing, it's hard to guess how the Academy will vote. Though you'd expect most to understand what the technical categories refer to, sometimes it's the popular film that earns the win (see Bohemian Rhapsody from last year that won this award for zero reason).
The wild racing scenes alone mean Ford v Ferrari deserves this win and it seems safe to say the Academy would like to see it win something. Maybe that's not a strong argument, but I can't muster picking anything else.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, Dominic Tuohy
Ad Astra deserved more attention than just its Visual Effects nomination (which it won't win). Many are thinking Marvel could finally triumph in this category after multiple nominations. Avengers: Endgame seems like an honorable end-of-the-franchise win, but 1917's success relies on its technical achievements. If the Academy loves the film as much as it looks like they do, expect it to pick up wins here as well.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD
Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh
Tarantino and his team actually turned Hollywood into its former self in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood. While the Academy loves honoring movies about its hometown, this one isn't even a pandering to that commonality and is, instead, a picturesque salute to the year that has lived in infamy.
If there was room for an upset, it could be Bong's Parasite. The entire house in which the action takes place was a set built specifically for the movie. Its floorplan is so intricate and important to the film, the house almost serves as an additional character.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Another solid opportunity for Little Women to be acknowledged is with its near-perfect period wardrobe. Jacqueline Durran is a master and her work in Little Women is one of the keys to setting this version apart from its predecessors.
There isn't much competition here as Jojo Rabbit isn't more than your typical WWII wardrobe. Though, Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood could win for Margot Robbie's costumes alone.
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, Vivian Baker
They extended this category to include five nominees this year, which opened the door for a couple of worthy entries that may have otherwise been left off the list.
Some are saying 1917 could sneak in here, but I think flashier makeup/hairstyling work will reign supreme. Judy's magic lies in Zellweger's indelible performance and the way she subtlely looks just like Judy. But, its Theron's transformation into Megyn Kelly that is the year's most shocking. The only way it isn't winning is if Hollywood steers away from acknowledging anything related to Kelly.
BEST SOUND EDITING
FORD V FERRARI
Sound Editing is finding the right sounds for each and every beat of the film. For Ford v Ferrari, this included finding the exact engine sounds for each car. The Academy does love war movies, though, which could give 1917 the edge. If it picks up both sound awards, it may be game over for Parasite.
BEST SOUND MIXING
Stuart Wilson, Scott Millan, Mark Taylor
Sound Mixing is how they mix all of the sounds together, including music, sound effects, and voices. This is where films like 1917 really shine. All of the battle sounds must mix perfectly to develop the right collection of elements for an effective motion picture.
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Bryan Buckley, Matt Lefebvre
The shorts categories are typically the hardest to predict. I'm going with Saria because it is the most Oscar-friendly of the bunch. It checks each of the melodramatic boxes.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Matthew A. Cherry, Karen Rupert Toliver
The Academy loves a great underdog story and Hair Love's ride to the conversation has been well noted on Twitter. If it doesn't win, expect Kitbull's name to be called. Pixar does very well in the shorts category.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU'RE A GIRL)
Carol Dysinger, Elena Andreicheva
Sometimes, the documentary shorts are very depressing. And, sometimes, we're given an inspiring story like Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl). Like last year's Period. End of a Sentence, I will be shocked if the Academy goes a different route here. (Nefta Football Club is waiting in the wings, just in case.)