It’s that time of year again. When I think I know what I’m talking about and make seemingly reasonable 2020 Oscar predictions.
Of course, the night always throws up crazy surprises, and I’m sure 2020 will be no exception. So, here are my FINAL 2020 Oscar predictions.
(Update: I got 15/20 right. Not too bad, but Best Picture wrong. AGAIN. Still, the win for Parasite has warmed my soul! See you all next year then!)
Could spoil the party: Parasite
From what was a wide-open, five-horse race about a month ago, Best Picture seems to have calmed down to a rather more predictable conclusion, with spectacular war epic 1917 looking the strong favourite.
Having won the top prize at countless preceding awards ceremonies, Sam Mendes’ battlefield thriller is likely to take Best Picture, helped by the Academy’s track record for rewarding war films (over 10 have won Best Picture), as well as its love for the long-take cinematgraphy (as evidenced by Birdman‘s big wins back in 2015).
If 1917 is to miss out, then it seems like the only possible underdog winner would be Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite. A deliriously entertaining thriller with complex themes under the surface, it’s a deserving winner and a favourite of film fans around the world.
However, 1917 has a winning track record through this awards season, as and Parasite will take some easy victories elsewhere. So, it might be too much for the Academy to give the South Korean thriller the biggest prize of all.
Prediction: Bong Joon-ho – Parasite
Could spoil the party: Sam Mendes – 1917, Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
This is a close one to call. All the previous award shows point towards an inaugural Best Director win for Sam Mendes (1917). However, I think there’s a good chance that Bong Joon-ho will take home the prize for Parasite.
While the Academy will definitely fawn over 1917‘s one-shot cinematography, Parasite‘s energy and spectacle is hugely deserving of a top award. Plus, the Oscars have in recent years shown a tendency to split the winners of Best Picture and Best Director. In that, this category almost counts as a secondary Best Picture win.
Bong Joon-ho has made waves with his appearances on the awards circuit – ruffling the feathers of some and winning supporters with others. The love out there for Parasite is palpable, and following Alfonso Cuarón’s win last year for Roma, there’s no reason a foreign-language film can’t take home the statuette.
And for an outside bet, legendary director Quentin Tarantino has never won this category. And with his movie-loving Once Upon A Time In Hollywood a favourite among industry voters, this could be his year.
Prediction: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Could spoil the party: Nobody
Joaquin Phoenix has been leading the Best Actor race since day one. It’s a really strong field this year, but Phoenix’s performance as the titular villain in Joker has been head and shoulders above the rest.
Despite the controversy the film stirred up upon release, the one consistent was the near-universal praise for Phoenix’s electrifying turn as a man descending into madness. Plus, his previous work has made him an Academy favourite, yet never a winner.
For Phoenix not to win this year would be the upset of all upsets, although there is certainly real quality among the chasing pack. Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Antonio Banderas (Pain & Glory), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes) are all deserving nomineees, but are unlikely to topple Phoenix’s march to the top prize.
Prediction: Renée Zellweger – Judy
Could spoil the party: Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
In what seems to be another category with a runaway winner, Renée Zellweger has been cleaning up through awards season for her role in Judy.
Starring as legendary entertainer Judy Garland, Zellweger’s performance is undeniably brilliant, although plaudits for the film as a whole have been less verbose. Still, recognition for Zellweger will give an enormously underrated film a deserved moment in the spotlight.
However, given that Judy has gained relatively less acclaim, Zellweger’s win won’t be as clear-cut as Phoenix for Best Actor. There’s Scarlett Johansson waiting in the wings with her fantastic performance in Marriage Story. Meanwhile, there’s a passionate fanbase behind four-time nominee Saoirse Ronan for Little Women.
Best Supporting Actor
Prediction: Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Could spoil the party: Nobody
A very clear-cut win lies ahead for Brad Pitt for his turn in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Having picked up the Supporting Actor award all through awards season, it would take a monumental effort to overturn him.
But it will be a thoroughly deserving first acting statuette for the legendary actor. Arguably the brightest spark of an often languishing film, Pitt’s blend of charisma, humour, physicality and depth made him simply brilliant in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
As far as the chasing pack goes, there’s not much chance for a surprise here. Filled with legends of the silver screen in Tom Hanks, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins, there’s no shortage of talent in this category. But if Song Kang-ho were nominated for Parasite, the race could have been far closer.
Best Supporting Actress
Prediction: Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Could spoil the party: Florence Pugh – Little Women
Laura Dern has cleaned up this year for her excellent supporting turn in Marriage Story. Having previous nominations in this category, her dominant win should come as no surprise, and overdue recognition for one of Hollywood’s best actors.
Standing out in a smaller role alongside Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson’s stunning lead turns in the film, Dern’s charisma and presence is hugely memorable in Marriage Story, leaving her far ahead of the following pack in this category.
As for a potential upset, there’s a feverish band of supporters behind Florence Pugh (Little Women). The rest of the nominees are all excellent, but are unlikely to come anywhere near Dern, and even a win for Pugh would be a real shock.
Best Original Screenplay
Could spoil the party: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
In what could be a very close race, Parasite looks like it could just edge out some of the biggest names in Hollywood to take a thoroughly deserved Best Original Screenplay win.
The film’s psychotic twists and turns are more than enough to merit the award, not to mention its riveting assessment of wealth disparity in modern society. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s a dead cert here just yet.
Quentin Tarantino has won twice from three nominations in this category before, and given the industry love for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, he stands a good chance of the win. For a random upset, look to Rian Johnson’s ingenious Knives Out with its sole nomination, although a victory there would be miraculous.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Prediction: Jojo Rabbit
Could spoil the party: Little Women
Comedies always fare well in the screenplay categories, not to mention the quirkier comedies of the year. Just look at The Lobster‘s surprise nomination (Original Screenplay), as well as past wins for The Big Short and The Descendants.
So, Jojo Rabbit is surely the perfect fit for a screenplay win this year. It’s a quirky, offbeat comedy that blends big laughs with introspective drama and history. And that’s just what the Academy loves to see, particularly from the likes of acclaimed writer-director Taika Watiti.
However, there’s such passion behind the campaign for Little Women that it would be a surprise to see it go home without a major award. Criticism has been directed at its often muddled use of time jumps, but the film’s clever finale has also drawn praise. This’ll be a close one, but Jojo Rabbit should just edge it.
Best Animated Feature
Could spoil the party: Toy Story 4, Missing Link
This would be a delightful surprise. Netflix’s vibrant and imaginative Christmas comedy Klaus has been a real breath of fresh of air, and is exactly the sort of film that deserves the highest recognition.
With a clever take on the origins of Christmas, the film is a hilarious and heartwarming watch. Couple that with pleasant and vibrant 2D animation, and there’s a lot to love about it.
But Pixar are serial winners in this category (having won half of all the Best Animated Feature awards), so counting out Toy Story 4 would be an enormous mistake. Meanwhile, underdogs Laika have snuck a few surprise wins with Missing Link, although it seems to have lost awards momentum in recent weeks.
Best International Feature
Prediction: Parasite (South Korea)
Could spoil the party: Nobody
The easiest category to predict this year, Parasite‘s domination of Best International Feature has seen it put all its efforts into the Best Picture race.
This would be a deserving consolation for the South Korean thriller if it doesn’t win any top awards. But there’s absolutely no contest for Best International Feature this year.
The following pack is certainly filled with quality, from Spain’s Pain And Glory to France’s Les Misérables, and Poland’s Corpus Christi to North Macedonia’s Honeyland. But if you’re looking for a certain win, then Parasite has got this category all sewn up.
The Rest of the Feature Film Awards
Best Cinematography: 1917
Best Original Score: Joker
Best Original Song: (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again – Rocketman
Best Production Design: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Best Costume Design: Little Women
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Bombshell
Best Sound Mixing: 1917
Best Sound Editing: 1917
Best Editing: Parasite
Best Visual Effects: The Lion King
PREDICTED FINAL AWARDS TALLY
1917 – 4 awards
Parasite – 3 awards
Joker – 2 awards
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – 2 awards
Judy – 1 award
Marriage Story – 1 award
Jojo Rabbit – 1 award
Klaus – 1 award
Rocketman – 1 award
Little Women – 1 award
Bombshell – 1 award
The Lion King – 1 award
Thanks for reading my 2020 Oscar predictions, make sure you tune into the 92nd Academy Awards on 9th February from 5pm PST. (You can watch the ceremony in the UK from 1am GMT on Sky Cinema Oscars).