Ah, it’s that time of year again. When we celebrate and bicker about the best that movies have had to offer in the last twelve months, and then get angry when all the right choices have been snubbed.
In all honesty, though, we’ve had a good year in film, so the upcoming Oscar nominations should be just as good. So, here are my 2020 Oscar nominations predictions.
The weirdest thing about predicting Best Picture nominations is that you never know how many they’re going to pick. I’ve gone with just eight out of the maximum of ten this year, but that’s not because of a lack of quality in the field.
There’s an enormous four/five-way battle for the win between 1917, The Irishman, Parasite, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and perhaps Marriage Story, all of which have picked up a Best Picture win somewhere this season. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women has won huge plaudits from both critics and general audiences, and Taika Watiti’s Jojo Rabbit is likely to play well with Academy members, albeit not everyone.
And for a nice surprise, I’ve gone for Lulu Wang’s heartfelt comedy-drama The Farewell as the dark horse of the pack. It’s a long shot, but the film has more passionate backers than any, and it won’t take missing out on the season’s biggest award lightly.
Predictions: Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood), Sam Mendes (1917), Greta Gerwig (Little Women)
A category jam-packed with talent and great choices has also stirred up the most controversy, as awards bodies up and down the land have generally nominated an all-male fivesome.
Bong Joon-ho, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Sam Mendes are all well-deserved shoo-ins for a nomination, but the final space in the five is hotly contested. Noah Baumbach, Taika Watiti, Todd Phillips and Lulu Wang could all easily take the nomination, but I’ve gone for Greta Gerwig.
Gerwig earned a Best Director nod a couple of years ago for Lady Bird, and the popularity of her adaptation of Little Women is certain to drive her to another nomination. It’s a difficult call, but given the passion behind calls that she’s been snubbed in other ceremonies, surely there’s enough backing to get her a nomination.
Joaquin Phoenix has dominated this category so far for his performance in Joker, and is an easy lock for a nomination along with closest challenger Adam Driver for Marriage Story.
The rest of the race for a Best Actor nod is wide open, but it’s most likely that the biggest names will take two of the remaining nomination slots, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro my picks in that bracket.
And for the fifth nomination, there’s a whole host of surprises, with Eddie Murphy in the running for Dolemite Is My Name, and even Adam Sandler for Uncut Gems. But in the end, I think rising star Taron Egerton’s spectacular turn as Elton John in Rocketman is the one to catch the Academy’s eye.
For the first time in a long time, the Best Actress field is comparatively weaker than Best Actor, with only two real frontrunners in the form of Renée Zellweger’s excellent turn in Judy and Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story.
The rest of the category is anyone’s guess, with few of awards season’s biggest films offering the best in female performances in 2019, leaving the slots open to some of the smaller movies in play, with Awkwafina a firm favourite to pick up a nomination for her performance in The Farewell, particularly after her win at the Golden Globes.
Lupita Nyong’o is a risky prediction, because while she has previous form at the Academy Awards, reception to Jordan Peele’s Us wasn’t stellar, and horror films are often overlooked in awards season. And finally, Charlize Theron should receive a nod for her turn in the flawed but underrated drama Bombshell.
Best Supporting Actor
Predictions: Brad Pitt (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Song Kang-ho (Parasite), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood), Al Pacino (The Irishman)
An impressively strong field for Best Supporting Actor this year is led by Brad Pitt for his performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, followed by firm favourites Joe Pesci and Al Pacino for their performances in The Irishman.
There’s a healthy group of performances to choose from here, but Song Kang-ho has to be in the conversation for his incredible turn in Parasite, and his international notoriety prior to this year will surely be of help to bag him his first Oscar nomination.
Tom Hanks’ star continues to rise further than anyone ever thought possible, and as America’s favourite movie star playing America’s favourite TV show host, Mr. Rogers, in A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood, that performance is likely to be irresistible to voters all across the US.
Best Supporting Actress
Predictions: Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Margot Robbie (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood), Florence Pugh (Little Women), Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
Laura Dern leads the charge for what could be an underperformance at the Oscars for Marriage Story, and looks set to take her first Academy Award home after a strong showing through all of awards season.
The following pack features Jennifer Lopez’s excellent turn in the imperfect Hustlers, the bright spark of Little Women in Florence Pugh, and Scarlett Johansson, who could pick up another nomination alongside Best Actress for Jojo Rabbit.
Margot Robbie will also certainly feature, but whether she’ll be nominated for her turn in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood or Bombshell remains to be seen. Both performances are strong, but given the fervour for Tarantino’s film through awards season, it’s likely that the Academy will give favour to that film and overlook Bombshell further.
Best Original Screenplay
A vital category at the Academy Awards, no film has won Best Picture without a screenplay nomination, so picking up a nod here is integral to Oscar success.
Bong Joon-ho’s electrifying thriller Parasite will certainly have a chance at glory in this category for its breathless screenplay, while Quentin Tarantino will pick up a third Original Screenplay nomination for the increasingly favoured Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
As for the rest, Rian Johnson’s deliriously intricate whodunnit Knives Out looks a likely contender, its only chance at awards success after being so unfairly overlooked everywhere else, and Noah Baumbach’s heartfelt and hilarious divorce drama has all the hallmarks of a classic movie screenplay that Academy voters adore.
The last slot is an interesting prospect, with Lulu Wang’s The Farewell a real possibility, Pedro Almodóvar’s intimate Pain And Glory a strong contender, while even the hilarious Dolemite Is My Name is in the running for a surprise nod.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Predictions: The Irishman, Little Women, Jojo Rabbit, A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood, Just Mercy
Fairly slim pickings in the Adapted Screenplay category this year sees only three shoo-ins for nominations in the form of The Irishman, Little Women and Jojo Rabbit, all of which will fight hard over the next month to take victory.
Those three films cover all the Academy’s favourite bases of legendary filmmakers, adaptations of classic stories and offbeat comedies, so there’s a lot of room for surprises when it comes to the final two slots.
And in those two slots, I’ve made a fairly safe pick in the form of A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood, and an ambitious prediction in the form of Just Mercy, whose director Destin Daniel Cretton has gained wide acclaim in recent years for his screenplays, particularly on the modern classic that is Short Term 12.
Best Animated Feature
Disney and Pixar continue their unbeatable form in this category with what looks set to be two nominations for Frozen II and Toy Story 4, with the latter a strong favourite to take the win when the ceremony rolls round.
Laika are looking at their first nod since 2016 for Missing Link, which took a surprise victory in this category at the Golden Globes, while Netflix have two contenders in the form of the transcendent French animation I Lost My Body and the delightfully inventive Klaus.
Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World could steal Klaus‘ spot, but the Academy are always good for giving independent animation a look-in when it comes to these nominations, so let’s hope that Klaus gets a chance on the big stage.
Best International Feature
Predictions: Parasite (South Korea), Pain And Glory (Spain), Les Misérables (France), Atlantics (Senegal), Those Who Remained (Hungary)
Newly renamed for 2020, Best International Feature sees South Korea’s Parasite pick up from where last year’s winner Roma left off, taking an easy win in this category and setting its sights on Best Picture.
It’s the most predictable category in terms of who’ll win in the end, and apart from Parasite’s trailing partner Pain And Glory, a beautiful drama from legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, there isn’t a whole load to write home about with Best International Feature.
French Social drama Les Misérables has made waves (although France not choosing Portrait Of A Lady On Fire as its submission is devastating), while Senegal’s Atlantics and Hungary’s Those Who Remained have both won plaudits around the world, closely followed by Russia’s Beanpole, which looks set just to miss out on an Oscar nomination.
The Rest Of The Feature Film Categories
Best Original Score: Marriage Story, 1917, Joker, The Farewell, Little Women
Best Cinematography: 1917, The Irishman, Joker, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, A Hidden Life
Best Visual Effects: The Irishman, Le Mans ’66, The Lion King, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, Avengers: Endgame
Best Sound Editing: 1917, Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, Le Mans ’66, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Best Sound Mixing: 1917, Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, Le Mans ’66, Rocketman
Best Production Design: Parasite, 1917, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, The Irishman, Little Women
Best Costume Design: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Little Women, Joker, Rocketman, Dolemite Is My Name
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Bombshell, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Rocketman
Best Film Editing: 1917, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Parasite, Le Mans ’66, Joker
PREDICTED NOMINATIONS TALLY (MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS)
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – 12
The Irishman – 9
1917 – 8
Parasite – 7
Little Women – 7
Marriage Story – 6
Joker – 5
Rocketman – 5
Le Mans ’66 – 4
Avengers: Endgame – 3
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker – 3
Jojo Rabbit – 3
The Farewell – 3
Bombshell – 2
Pain And Glory – 2
A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood – 2
Frozen II – 2
The Lion King – 2
The nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards will be announced Monday 13 January 2020 at 5:18am PST/8:18am ET/13:18pm GMT.