• Casey Seline

Final Oscar 2020 Predictions

It's happening. The Oscars are here. Voters have been wooed. Opinions have been formed. Ernst & Young has had a talk with their backstage crew. Check out my final predictions for Oscar winners below.

 

Best Picture

Columbia Pictures

Nominees:

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

1917

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite


Will Win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Possible Surprise Winner: 1917

How Surprised Would I Be? After the past two years, not at all surprised.


If I Could Vote: This category uses a preferential voting system, which means voters rank the nominees, and points are distributed accordingly.

1) Parasite

2) 1917

3) Marriage Story

4) Jojo Rabbit

5) Ford v Ferrari

6) Little Women

7) Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

8) Joker

9) The Irishman


Commentary: Up until The Shape of Water ruined everything, I was always right when I went with the subversive choice for Best Picture winner. All experts are pointing to 1917 as the winner and Parasite as the potential upset, but I believe preferential voting will give us a surprise win for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Here's the breakdown, picture by picture:


Ford v Ferrari - The most adequate (read: crowd-pleasing, uncomplicated, light, fun) film in this roundup, Ford v Ferrari will likely end up on the middle of every voters' list. It would have fared better in last year's Best Picture race.


The Irishman - I can't stand this movie, and according to my research, nor can most voters. The only reason it's up in so many categories (Visual Effects?? Editing????) is out of loyalty to Marty. This story would have been so much more impactful as a short. I predict a full shut out. The one possible exception is Costume Design.


Jojo Rabbit - I felt this lacked Taika Waititi's signature humor, but that certainly made it more palatable to general audiences than his previous works. Still, a lot of viewers and voters don't get Taika's portrayal of Hitler, dividing the vote enough to push the movie out of this race.


Joker - As predicted, it's an inevitable entry in this category, but it won't win. There are too many movies voters can agree on; this one, which no one can full demonize or evangelize, will get lost to the preferential vote.


Little Women - I've told people I liked this movie, but I lied because I don't want to get into it with anyone and/or come off as a bad feminist. It's a nice adaptation of a book I could never get through. Greta Gerwig's approach to the script and Florence Pugh's performance are the only redeemable qualities here. I love Saoirse, I love Greta, I love Emma Watson, I love Meryl, and I didn't like this movie at all. I'M SORRY. [Fun fact: When I was still working as a book scouting assistant, I was the low rung on the ladder who had to look up where the film adaptation rights were]


Marriage Story - Noah Baumbach's deeply personal Marriage Story is the kind of thing I love, but gets lost in the maze of bigger names, bigger spectacles, and bigger stories this year.


1917 - The real issue I need to address here is how 1917 could lose. It won top prizes at the Golden Globes, Producers Guild, Directors Guild, and BAFTAs. The Producers Guild is statistically the clearest predictor of the Best Picture winner, and the other awards just amplify that. The Shape of Water was on a similar award-grabbing warpath when it took top prize in 2018. 1917 is in English with a majority white cast, it's a technical feat, it's a story that's personal to Sam Mendes, the emotional pull is there (even if the physical action is greater)... It's an admirable movie, but is it Hollywood's favorite movie of the year? I think it's missing something. It's a colder movie than either of the below two. The biggest branch of the Academy, the actors, didn't nominate anyone from this movie for the SAG Awards. Don't get me wrong - George MacKay played the disconnect between character and screen perfectly, but that means the viewer isn't invited into his head. Audiences experience the story near him but not with him.


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - To me, it was long, overly indulgent, and nostalgic for a time I don't care about. It wasn't my cup of tea. I think it is the majority of voters' cups of tea. When people don't make it their #1, they do make it their #2 or #3, which is crucial in this kind of vote.


Parasite - The more I sit with this movie, the more I love it. It's the most inventive thing I've seen in ages. Every aspect of the film - the direction, writing, acting, editing, production design - all of it is top notch. I think this is the film we'll all remember from this season, it's the one that'll be taught, and after a little time, it'll be the one that's referenced as the inspiration for a new generation of filmmakers. If the voting body were younger, I think it would win. Alas, this is the same group that voted for Green Book over Roma.


Best Director

Universal Pictures and Dreamworks Pictures

Nominees:

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 (1917)


Possible Surprise Winner: Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

How Surprised Would I Be? Pretty surprised, but not shocked.


If I Could Vote: Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)


Commentary: Like 1917's Best Picture run, Sam Mendes has been locking down this award left and right. Tarantino doesn't benefit from the preferential system here, so though I think he has the necessary support to pull off a surprise win, it would have to come as a major surprise.


Best Actor

Warner Bros.

Nominees:

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 (Joker)


Possible Surprise Winner: Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)

How Surprised Would I Be? Super surprised.


If I Could Vote: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)


Commentary: I didn't like Joker, and I never want to watch it again, but I do have to give credit where it's due. This was an undeniably stellar performance. Joaquin's liberal and seemingly unrehearsed acceptance speeches throughout the season will have helped voters who hated the movie's messaging to separate him from the film enough to give him the vote, as well.


Best Actress

Roadside Attractions

Nominees:

Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)

Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)

Charlize Theron (Bombshell)

Renée Zellweger (Judy)


Will Win: Renée Zellweger (Judy)


Possible Surprise Winner: Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

How Surprised Would I Be? Absolutely dumbfounded.


If I Could Vote: Renée Zellweger (Judy)


Commentary: Reneé Zellweger went above and beyond with this performance. Scarlett Johansson's work in Marriage Story is the only other act in this group that comes close, but she was playing a fictional woman, which gives her more breathing room than embodying a legend.


Best Supporting Actor

Columbia Pictures

Nominees:

Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Al Pacino (The Irishman)

Joe Pesci (The Irishman)

Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)


Will Win: Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)


Possible Surprise Winner: Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)

How Surprised Would I Be? Floored.


If I Could Vote: Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)


Commentary: Over the course of this season, no one has fallen for the Pesci come back story, absolutely clearing the way for Brad Pitt to clean up. Aside from Mahershala's two recent wins in this category, it seems to be skewing towards character actor performances... something to keep an eye on.


Best Supporting Actress

Netflix

Nominees:

Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell)

Laura Dern (Marriage Story)

Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)

Florence Pugh (Little Women)

Margot Robbie (Bombshell)


Will Win: Laura Dern (Marriage Story)


Possible Surprise Winner: Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)

How Surprised Would I Be? Confused, but kind of happy.


If I Could Vote: Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)


Commentary: I prefer Scarlett's performance in this category, but Laura Dern has been the consistent winner all season. I can imagine a world in which Margot Robbie wins (though her Bombshell character rang empty from start to finish for me) because voters really seem to love her.


Best Original Screenplay

Neon

Nominees:

Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917)

Rian Johnson (Knives Out)

Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)

Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won (Parasite)


Will Win: Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won (Parasite)


Possible Surprise Winner: Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

How Surprised Would I Be? Not surprised, though it's statistically unlikely.


If I Could Vote: Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won (Parasite)


Commentary: Our two writing categories have fluctuated more than normal this year, but Parasite won at the WGA and BAFTAs, so it's the expected winner. Tarantino could pull through for the same reasons Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will beat out Parasite for Best Picture.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Nominees:

Steven Zaillian (The Irishman)

Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit)

Todd Phillips and Scott Silver (Joker)

Greta Gerwig (Little Women)

Anthony McCarten (The Two Popes)


Will Win: Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit)


Possible Surprise Winner: Todd Phillips and Scott Silver (Joker)

How Surprised Would I Be? Pretty surprised. Much more surprised than if Once Upon a Time in Hollywood beat Parasite in Original Screenplay.


If I Could Vote: Anthony McCarten (The Two Popes)


Commentary: Jojo Rabbit is the script to beat for the same reason as Paraiste; it won the WGA and BAFTA in this category. Most people have Little Women as the potential upset, but if you follow THR's brutally honest ballots, you know that voters really didn't enjoy Greta Gerwig's adaptation. Even with the new, more diverse additions to the Academy, it's still a pretty homogenous crowd. That's why if anyone wins out over Taika Waititi, it'll be the team behind Joker.


Best Animated Feature

Pixar and Walt Disney Studios

Nominees:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Klaus

Missing Link

Toy Story 4


Will Win: Toy Story 4


Possible Surprise Winner: Klaus

How Surprised Would I Be? Not as surprised as I'd like to be.


If I Could Vote: Toy Story 4


Commentary: Toy Story is the familiar, Pixar-branded, nostalgic pick of the bunch, which makes it the obvious choice for most people, but it's lost a considerable amount this season. I think a lot of voters, like me, wanted Pixar to leave this series with Toy Story 3's bittersweet ending. That would explain why Klaus cleaned up at the Annie Awards, the clear predictor of the Animated Feature Oscar win. I'm still giving Toy Story 4 the edge for its brand and classic theatrical release, but Netflix has a real shot at taking this statuette.


Best Documentary

Netflix

Nominees:

American Factory

The Cave

The Edge of Democracy

For Sama

Honeyland


Will Win: American Factory


Possible Surprise Winner: The Cave

How Surprised Would I Be? Decently surprised.


If I Could Vote: Honeyland


Commentary: American Factory, produced by the Obamas, is the doc to beat. I think there's some room for a surprise, but not a lot. Of the other contenders, I give The Cave an edge because it's the lightest option in the group.


Best Foreign Language Film

Neon

Nominees:

Corpus Christi (Poland)

Honeyland (North Macedonia)

Les Misérables (France)

Pain and Glory (Spain)

Parasite (South Korea)


Will Win: Parasite (South Korea)


Possible Surprise Winner: Les Misérables (France)

How Surprised Would I Be? Confounded.


If I Could Vote: Parasite (South Korea)


Commentary: Duh.


Best Cinematography

Universal Pictures and Dreamworks Pictures

Nominees:

Roger Deakins (1917)

Rodrigo Prieto (The Irishman)

Lawrence Sher (Joker)

Jarin Blaschke (The Lighthouse)

Robert Richardson (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)


Will Win: Roger Deakins (1917)


Possible Surprise Winner: Jarin Blaschke (The Lighthouse)

How Surprised Would I Be? Absolutely, unequivocally flabbergasted.


If I Could Vote: Roger Deakins (1917)


Commentary: Deakins' single shot-styled cinematography is the most technically impressive and gorgeously done. Nothing else comes close this year.


Best Production Design

Columbia Pictures

Nominees:

Bob Shaw and Regina Graves (The Irishman)

Ra Vincent and Nora Sopková (Jojo Rabbit)

Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales (1917)

Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Lee Ha Jun and Cho Won Woo (Parasite)


Will Win: Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)


Possible Surprise Winner: Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales (1917)

How Surprised Would I Be? Not surprised.


If I Could Vote: Lee Ha Jun and Cho Won Woo (Parasite)


Commentary: This is a close one between Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and 1917. 1917 has won this category more often, but I think the Academy voters respond more to the sets in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.


Best Film Editing

Twentieth Century Fox

Nominees:

Andrew Buckland & Michael McCusker (Ford v Ferrari)

Thelma Schoonmaker (The Irishman)

Tom Eagles (Jojo Rabbit)

Jeff Groth (Joker)

Jinmo Yang (Parasite)


Will Win: Andrew Buckland & Michael McCusker (Ford v Ferrari)


Possible Surprise Winner: Tom Eagles (Jojo Rabbit)

How Surprised Would I Be? Just a little surprised.


If I Could Vote: Andrew Buckland & Michael McCusker (Ford v Ferrari)


Commentary: Ford v Ferrari's editing makes the movie. It's well paced and invigorating, not to mention easy to follow. Jojo Rabbit's editing isn't quite to the same level, but it has the added challenge of editing for comedic timing, which it does well.


Best Costume Design

Columbia Pictures

Nominees:

Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson (The Irishman)

Mayes C. Rubeo (Jojo Rabbit)

Mark Bridges (Joker)

Jacqueline Durran (Little Women)

Arianne Phillips (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)


Will Win: Jacqueline Durran (Little Women)


Possible Surprise Winner: Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson (The Irishman)

How Surprised Would I Be? Surprisingly unsurprised.


If I Could Vote: Mark Bridges (Joker)


Commentary: I think this category is the best shot at an upset tonight. Everyone has Little Women taking the win, but The Irishman's wardrobe is more recognizable among the voting body. The fact that it's gone unsung could counterintuitively give it a boost. This is the only category The Irishman has a chance in.


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Lionsgate

Nominees:

Kaku Hiro, Anne Morgan, Vivian Baker (Bombshell)

Nicki Ledermann, Kay Georgiou (Joker)

Jeremy Woodhead (Judy)

Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten, David White (Maleficient: Mistress of Evil)

Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis, Rebecca Cole (1917)


Will Win: Kaku Hiro, Anne Morgan Vivian Baker (Bombshell)


Possible Surprise Winner: Jeremy Woodhead (Judy)

How Surprised Would I Be? Pretty surprised but not astounded.


If I Could Vote: Jeremy Woodhead (Judy)


Commentary: Bombshell has been the MUAHS team to beat this year, although I don't think they did any more or less transformative work than Judy's team of one, Jeremy Woodhead.


Best Visual Effects

Universal Pictures and Dreamworks Pictures

Nominees:

Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, Dan Sudick (Avengers: Endgame)

Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser, Stephane Grabli (The Irishman)

Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Elliot Newman (The Lion King)

Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, Dominic Tuohy (1917)

Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, Dominic Tuohy (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)


Will Win: Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, Dominic Tuohy (1917)


Possible Surprise Winner: Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Elliot Newman (The Lion King)

How Surprised Would I Be? Notably surprised.


If I Could Vote: Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Elliot Newman (The Lion King)


Commentary: 1917 has been winning, but this was The Jungle Book's category just a few years ago. I think The Lion King had more to do in terms of visual effects, but 1917 is well done and the expected win.


Best Sound Editing

Universal Pictures and Dreamworks Pictures

Nominees:

Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, Mark Ulanobr (Ad Astra)

Paul Massey, David Giammarco, Steven A. Morrow (Ford v Ferrari)

Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Tod Maitland (Joker)

Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson (1917)

Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler, Mark Ulano (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)


Will Win: Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson (1917)


Possible Surprise Winner: Paul Massey, David Giammarco, Steven A. Morrow (Ford v Ferrari)

How Surprised Would I Be? Astounded.


If I Could Vote: Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson (1917)


Commentary: 1917 will own both sound categories, but especially editing. Lining up every explosion and gun shot with the long takes adds a huge degree of difficulty.


Best Sound Mixing

Universal Pictures and Dreamworks Pictures

Nominees:

Donald Sylvester (Ford v Ferrari)

Alan Robert Murray (Joker)

Oliver Tarney and Rachel Tate (1917)

Wylie Stateman (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Matthew Wood and David Acord (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)


Will Win: Oliver Tarney and Rachel Tate (1917)


Possible Surprise Winner: Donald Sylvester (Ford v Ferrari)

How Surprised Would I Be? As startled as I was by the jump scares in 1917 (very).


If I Could Vote: Donald Sylvester (Ford v Ferrari)


Commentary: 1917 will win, though I personally found Ford v Ferrari's sound balanced out better with the ADR.


Best Original Score

Warner Bros.

Nominees:

Hildur Gudnadóttir (Joker)

Alexandre Desplat (Little Women)

Randy Newman (Marriage Story)

Thomas Newman (1917)

John Williams (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)


Will Win: Hildur Gudnadóttir (Joker)


Possible Surprise Winner: Thomas Newman (1917)

How Surprised Would I Be? Shaken, but not shook.


If I Could Vote: Hildur Gudnadóttir (Joker)


Commentary: I'm not particularly drawn to any score this year. Joker's score was uncommonly influential in its production process, though, which has nabbed it enough attention for the win. It helps that Hildur Gudnadóttir will be the fourth ever woman to win for Original Score. 1917's scare has gotten a slew of praise, however, so I can't definitively rule it out.


Best Original Song

Paramount Pictures

Nominees:

"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" (Toy Story 4)

"(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" (Rocketman)

"I'm Standing With You" (Breakthrough)

"Into the Unknown" (Frozen II)

"Stand Up" (Harriet)


Will Win: "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" (Rocketman)


Possible Surprise Winner: "Stand Up" (Harriet)

How Surprised Would I Be? Not surprised at all.


If I Could Vote: "Stand Up" (Harriet)


Commentary: I've been rooting for "Stand Up" from the very beginning, and I think it does have a good shot at actually taking the statuette, which would give Cynthia Erivo her deserved EGOT. Elton John's star power and wide fanbase is substantial, and it has been thus far unbeatable.


Best Animated Short

Sony Pictures

Nominees:

Dcera (Daughter)

Hair Love

Kitbull

Memorable

Sister


Will Win: Hair Love


Possible Surprise Winner: Kitbull

How Surprised Would I Be? Fairly surprised.


If I Could Vote: Abstain


Commentary: I haven't seen any of the shorts, but from what I've read, Hair Love is the obvious choice. Kitbull is backed by Pixar, so it could swoop in, but Hair Love has the most important message for the Academy to prove it at least acknowledges.


Best Documentary Short

A&E Networks

Nominees:

In the Absence

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)

Life Overtakes Me

St. Louis Superman

Walk Run Cha-Cha


Will Win: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)


Possible Surprise Winner: Walk Run Cha-Cha

How Surprised Would I Be? Slightly shocked.


If I Could Vote: Abstain


Commentary: Again, I haven't seen any of the shorts; I've only read about them. Walk Run Cha-Cha is the lightest of the group, which is something voters always respond positively to in the doc categories. Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl), though, feels like the more empowering choice.


Best Live Action Short

Marshall Curry Productions

Nominees:

Brotherhood

Nefta Football Club

The Neighbors' Window

Siria

A Sister


Will Win: The Neighbors' Window


Possible Surprise Winner: Nefta Football Club/Brotherhood

How Surprised Would I Be? Eh. I don't know enough to be all that surprised.


If I Could Vote: Abstain


Commentary: Of the three short categories, this is the hardest to guess without having actually seen any of the contenders. The Neighbors' Window seems to have the most consensus among awards predictors, but Brotherhood isn't far behind. From what I've read, though, Nefta Football Club is the most inventive of the lot, which to me gives it a leg up. For that reason, I can't decide if Brotherhood or Nefta Football Club has the better shot at a surprise win.