Saturday, February 08, 2020

Oscar Forecast: “1917” with a Good Chance of “Parasite” or “Hollywood”


I’d just like to set the record straight right now and say that if “Jojo Rabbit” wins Best Picture in a complete shock, I actually called it back in November. It has steadily been nominated or won all the right awards to swoop in for a surprise win. People’s Choice Award at Toronto International Film Festival? Check. Golden Globe nominations? Check. SAG ensemble nomination? Check. Best Film Editing nomination, technical nominations, acting, and writing nominations? Check. Heart warming story that makes white people feel better about themselves? Check. Sure it doesn’t have a Directing nod for Taika Waititi but neither did last year’s Green Book and look what happened. Having said that, is it likely to win? Probably not. It hasn't actually won any of the major precursors (ie, DGA, PGA, SAG, BAFTA, Critics Choice, Globes, etc) I’m just saying if it does, don’t pretend like you’re shocked, because I just laid out its path to victory right here. It can easily win Adapted Screenplay and something else (and even if it didn't win anything else “Spotlight” won BP and only for its Screenplay, so there). I’d argue it has a bigger shot than Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at this point. Ok I’m glad I got that off my chest. Let’s get to it...


BEST PICTURE

Who Will Win: 1917.
At this point I’d be pretty surprised if it didn’t win. It makes the most sense to me on paper. This is one of those weird years where every movie nominated has some kind of thing working against it. 1917 has no acting nominations which doesn’t really hurt it but certainly doesn’t help. Slumdog did it way back in 2008. It also didn’t have a SAG Best Cast nomination (but neither did Green Book or The Shape of Water and they turned out ok). It also doesn’t haven an Editing nod (but I guess editing doesn't matter when your film is shot as if it one continuous take right Birdman?). The thing really helping it is the fact that Sam Mendes is practically a lock for Best Director. But Picture and Director have split a lot in the past decade so odds are that a split could happen yet again. But to be safe I’m going with my gut and 1917. Parasite could win but I’d be really shocked if a film also nominated for Best International Film (previously Best Foreign Language Film) would win Best Picture. Unfortunately, a lot of Academy members see a win there as an appropriate consolation prize. (Isn’t that right, Roma?). The only other real possibility is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood whose lack of an editing nomination is more egregious. Hence why I believe Jojo is actually in “third place.” What it really come down to, like I've said in the past, is cracking the code of that damn preferntial ballot. The movie that wins BP will be ranked either first, second, or third on the most ballots. So divisive films don't really have a shot. I think 1917, Once, Parasite, and Jojo all have a decent shot of appearing high on lots of ballots. Truth be told I have no freaking idea what’s going to win, I’ve been wrong the last four years in the row, so you should probably stop reading this now.

Who Should Win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
“Marriage Story” is technically my favorite of the nominees, but I think it’d be nice for a Quentin Tarantino movie to take the top prize, so that’s probably how I’d vote. I pretty much love all the BP movies this year except for The Irishman, a film I admire more than I actually like. And I still haven’t seen Little Women. My preferential ballot would probably look like this: 1) Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 2) Marriage Story 3) Jojo Rabbit 4) Parasite 5) Joker

Should of Been Nominated: Us.
Jordan Peele’s impeccable craft was even more honed in his sophomore effort but I suspect an early release date—and the sheer divisiveness of the film—did it no favors.


BEST DIRECTOR
Will Win: Sam Mendes, 1917.
He won the DGA, so it’s practically guaranteed. Unless a surge for Parasite sends Bong Joon Ho to the podium, which could happen. But I suspect he’s more likely to win in Screenplay.

Should Win: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite.
The direction in 1917 is fantastic of course, but Mendes has an Oscar and there’s nothing quite like Parasite, so Bong Joon Ho deserves it.

Should of Been Nominated: Greta Gerwig, Little Woman or Lulu Wang, The Farewell. What does a lady have to do to get a second (or even a first) Best Director nomination, geez?


BEST ACTRESS
Will Win: Rene Zellweger, Judy.
You’ve probably heard this already, but these four acting categories are locked up tighter than Fort Knox. If Zellweger doesn’t win I’d be shocked.

Should Win: Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story.
I’ve always liked Scarlett Johansson, but I never really started appreciating her until her various turns in the Marvel films. And especially this year in a one, two, three punch of Avengers Engame, Jojo Rabbit, and Marriage Story. This was the year of ScarJo. She deserves to win against Rene’s over-the-top borderline SNL sketch work in “Judy.”

Should of Been Nominated: Lupita Nyong’o, Us.
I’m still not over it, Academy. Scarlett gave two great performances in two movies and you nominated her twice; Lupita gave two great performances in one movie and got zip.


BEST ACTOR
Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker.
Geez, it’s getting to the point where playing the Joker is an automatic Oscar. If Phoenix doesn’t win I’d be shocked.

Should Win: Adam Driver, Marriage Story.
This is a tough call. I’m not a Joker hater like 98% of Film Twitter, but Driver is so freaking good in Marriage Story that it makes me sad that he hardly has a chance. His quivering chin deserves an Oscar all its own in that scene at the end of the film when he read’s his ex-wife’s open letter to him. AND HE SINGS.

Should Have Been Nominated: Taron Egerton, Rocketman.
Sure, the Academy should of nominated more people of color, but the one white person who really, really should have been here was Taron.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Will Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story.
Marriage Story’s only likely win will occur here, especially without Jennifer Lopez here to give her any competition. If Dern doesn’t win I’d be shocked.

Should Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story.
No one is gonna say this is the best Laura Dern has ever been, but she’s certainly a scene stealer and the film offers her plenty to do what she does best.

Should of Been Nominated: Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers.
I’m still in mourning.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Will Win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Hollywood legend/heartthrob Brad Pitt is finally going to win an acting Oscar (he has one for producing 12 Years a Slave, fun fact). One of the last really great true movie stars, Pitt is actually much more successful as a quirky character actor and he’s finally getting his due. If Pitt doesn’t win I’d be shocked.

Should Win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
If Pitt wins the Academy would have gotten it right for sure.

Should of Been Nominated: Song Kang Ho, Parasite.
The cynic in me thinks Parasite had no acting nominations because they didn’t know who was who in the film. But that’s what iMDB is for, people.


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Will Win: Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit.
Initially I thought Greta would win this in a cakewalk, but I think there’s more love for Jojo than most people think. He won the WGA award which is telling, but this race is far from over. If Jojo even wants a chance in hell of winning Best Picture it should probably win here first. Look for Little Women to take it if Jojo isn’t as beloved as we thought.

Should Win: Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit.
Another divisive film according to all the cool people on social media, I think it’s a brilliant satire. Does it go as “dark” or take as many “risks” as it could have? Perhaps no, but it certainly doesn’t play it safe. Besides, rewarding the umpteenth adaptation of Little Women just feels like the boring, stuffy Academy of yesteryear.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Will Win: Bong Joon Ho & Jin Won Han, Parasite.
Deep down, I feel like Quentin is probably going to take this, but I feel like the Academy will want to reward the film outside the International Film category. It’s certainly the most original script of the bunch. Foreign films don’t traditionally prevail in the Screenplay categories, but it isn’t unheard of. It certainly doesn’t help its case.

Should Win: Bong Joon Ho & Jin Won Han, Parasite.
Certainly one of the most original films of the year. I wouldn’t cry if Quentin won, but he’s won twice.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Will Win: Klaus.
Okay, hear me out. Toy Story 4 is probably going to win, but it’s not quite the lock you think it would be. Not having Frozen II as competition helps, but besides Toy Story 3, the Academy rarely rewards sequels in this category, and that third film had a Best Picture nomination. Klaus was on Netflix and was widely available to everyone AND it just won a slew of Annie Awards (and the BAFTA) which are also very predictive of where the industry is leaning. Having said all that, I won’t be surprised if Toy Story 4 wins, but sometimes you just have a feeling and the need to take a risk.

Should Win: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
Ok, full disclosure here. This is the first year where I haven’t seen ANY of the nominated animated films. I started watching Toy Story 4 but never finished it. This feels like such a “meh” year for animation. I probably wouldn’t even vote here if I had the privilege but the Dragon films have never won so I’m willing to throw it a bone.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Will Win: 1917.
Did you SEE what Roger Deakins was able to accomplish? Now that Deakins has finally won an Oscar, I’m betting on him winning a half dozen more times over the next decade.

Should Win: 1917.
No contest this year.


BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Will Win: Little Women.
Conventional wisdom says Little Women wins this in a cakewalk, but even royal period piece The Favorite couldn't win against the more colorful Black Panther last year. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything particularly flashy this year (especially since Dolemite is My Name and Rocketman got snubbed). So unless the Academy wants to reward the nostalgic Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or even Jojo Rabbit, I don’t see how Little Women doesn’t win this, considering it’s the only category here with dresses.

Should Win: Little Women.
What a lame category this year, huh?

Should of Been Nominated: Rocketman.


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Will Win: American Factory.
Another year another round of shocking omissions. With no Apollo 11 in site, I guess the only English language film takes it. Plus its on Netflix and easily available to voters.


BEST FILM EDITING
Will Win: Ford v Ferrari.
When looking at the nominees in this category it makes the most sense. What doesn’t make sense is that this could be the only award Ford v Ferrari wins. It’s rare for a film to win Editing as it’s only win. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo pulled it off, but that was a surprise upset. Which makes me think that Ford v Ferrari could actually win one or both sound awards…

Should Win: Ford v Ferrari.
I still don’t know how anyone puts together a film like this and ends up as sane person.


BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
Will Win: Parasite.
One of the most sure things of the night besides the acting categories. If Parasite doesn’t win this it’d be the shock of the decade.

Should Win: Parasite.
Hands down. I don’t even need to see the other nominees to know that.


BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Will Win: Bombshell.
Like Vice last year, Bombshell is about actors being transformed into real life people. Everyone makes a big commotion about the makeup on Charlize Theron, but more impressive is the prosthetics on John Lithgow leaving him practically unrecognizable.

Should Win: Bombshell.


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Will Win: Joker.
I, like most Oscar-obsessed people, were prepared for composer Thomas Newman to finally win a freaking Oscar. And then the woman who wrote the haunting score for Joker started winning all the awards. And folks, it looks like Newman is gonna lose for yet another Best Picture frontrunner helmed by Sam Mendes. At least if Joker does win, it’ll be the first time a woman won an Oscar for Best Score since the 90s. Newman still has a shot, but don’t count on it.

Should Win: 1917.
Jesus what does Thomas Newman have to do to win a friggin’ Oscar?


BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Will Win: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman.
What somewhat dull year for original songs. Especually when the best song wasn’t even nominated (that would be ‘Catchy Song’ from “The LEGO Movie 2”). You’d think one of the songs from the animated films would prevail but that seems unlikely. Though watch out for a possible win from Best Actress nominee Cynthia Erivo and her team from “Harriet” who could pull a Lady Gaga here.

Should Win: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman.
I mean if I HAD to choose…


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Will Win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The set design of 1917 was so integral to how that film was actually made but I feel like films that are set predominately “outside” rarely win in this category. I think the transformation of 1969 Hollywood will be too flashy to ignore here. (If the modern-set La La Land could pull it off Once should have no problem). Besides, this category is notoriously tied to the Best Costume Design award, and the last film to win this award without also being nominated for Costumes was 2009’s Avatar. It really could go either way. Unless Parasite pulls an upset…

Should Win: 1917.
The film deserves to win for the burning church scene alone. Though the house in Parasite was practically its own character.


BEST SOUND EDITING
Will Win: 1917.
I was way off last year when I went with A Quiet Place here. Truth be told, Best Picture nominees really do well in these categories since the BP lineup expanded to up to ten nominees. That means it’s truly a race between 1917 and Ford v Ferrari. A part of me thinks Ford v Ferrari is gonna win this and Film Editing because it’s so rare for a film to only win Film Editing and nothing else. But I’m going with the war film for both…
Should Win: Ford v Ferrari.
Flip a coin really. Both films are aurally impressive.


BEST SOUND MIXING
Will Win: 1917.
I’m pretty sure I understand the difference between these sound categories more than your average Academy member. War films and music films and generally loud films tend to win here. Either 1917 or Ford v Ferrari could take this. I think general love for the war film that’s also the BP frontrunner will sweep these tech categories ala The Hurt Locker.

Should Win: 1917.


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Will Win: 1917.
My hunch has always been “The Lion King.” I mean look at that movie, it’s 100% visual effects. And The Jungle Book won just a few years ago. But no one seems to be going with it. It’s hard to win against a BP nominee in this category, but the little film Ex-Machina did it when it was up against THREE BP nominees. And that’s why. With only 2 BP nominees in the category this year, 1917’s subtle but effective effects work should prevail over the de-aging in The Irishman who no one really liked much anyways.

Should Win: The Lion King.
I hated this movie but good effects are good effects.


BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Will Win: “Hair Love”


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Will Win: “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl)”


BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Will Win: “The Neighbors’ Window”


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