Oscar Winner Predictions 2019!

parasiteBP

You know how this goes…

Best Picture

  • 1917 
  • Ford v. Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  • Parasite

Smart money is on World War I epic 1917 taking home the big prize, as it has won the Golden Globe, Producers Guild Award, and BAFTA. However, there is a major grounswell of support for Parasite – the first South Korean movie to be nominated for any Oscars, and an unlikely crowd-pleasing hit – to become the first foreign language film to win Best Picture. Statistically, it’s not the most likely scenario, but are voters really going to deny us the most historical and exciting Best Picture win since Moonlight?
Will Win: Parasite
Should Win: Parasite 

Director

  • Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)
  • Sam Mendes (1917)
  • Todd Phillips (Joker)
  • Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood)

In the last decade, the Best Director category has become a sort of technical achievement prize, usually going to the director whose movie seems the most difficult to shoot. Impressive long takes and pyrotechnics explain recent wins for Alfonso Cuarón, Ang Lee, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu. This year’s equivalent is Sam Mendes, for the “all in one take” showiness of 1917. That Mendes will win a second Oscar when nominated against Scorsese and Tarantino seems surreal, but that’s the Oscars for you.
Will Win: Sam Mendes
Should Win: Bong Joon-ho

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)
  • Charlize Theron (Bombshell)
  • Renée Zellweger (Judy)

Renée Zellweger’s impending comeback win for Judy feels a lot like Glenn Close’s impending win for The Wife last year: it looks like the obvious choice until it is taken away at the last minute. But there are two important differences: 1. unlike last year’s Olivia Colman, there is no clear challenger to Renée’s win, and 2. people seem to have actually watched Judy. 
Will Win: Renée Zellweger
Should Win: Saoirse Ronan

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Antonio Banderas (Pain & Glory)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood)
  • Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
  • Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
  • Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

It would be an understatement to say I’m not the biggest fan of Joker, but I do love Joaquin Phoenix as an actor. There are about a million performances he’s given I’d rather have seen him win the Oscar for, but I’m willing to look at this as a career achievement prize. I’ll just pretend he’s winning for Two Lovers, or The Master, or We Own the Night, or Inherent Vice, or The Immigrant, or… You get the picture.
Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix
Should Win: Antonio Banderas

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell)
  • Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
  • Florence Pugh (Little Women)
  • Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

I love Laura Dern as much as the next guy, but I can’t really spend too much thinking of this category without becoming absolutely furious at the fact that Jennifer Lopez wasn’t nominated for her career-best work in Hustlers. 
Will Win:
Laura Dern
Should Win: Florence Pugh

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
  • Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)
  • Al Pacino (The Irishman)
  • Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
  • Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood)

Brad Pitt is a sure thing for the win at this point, but let’s take a moment to be grateful for the fact that he’s winning for a performance that embraces his impossible good looks, movie star charisma, and comedic chops rather than a weepy Oscarbaity movie in which he plays Thomas Jefferson or some such bullshit.
Will Win: Brad Pitt
Should Win: Brad Pitt

Original Screenplay

  • 1917 (Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns)
  • Knives Out (Rian Johnson)
  • Marriage Story (Noach Baumbach)
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
  • Parasite (Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won-han)

Much to Quentin Tarantino’s chagrin, this very much feels like the most likely place to give Parasite an award other than the International Film Oscar it is practically assured to win. You won’t see me complaining, it’s an incredible screenplay.
Will Win: Parasite
Should Win: Parasite 

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Irishman (Steven Zaillian)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi)
  • Joker (Todd Phillips, Scott Silver)
  • Little Women (Greta Gerwig)
  • The Two Popes (Anthony McCarten)

This one’s a bit of a toss-up. Taika Waititi has won both the WGA and BAFTA for his Jojo Rabbit, which would make him an automatic win… except that there’s been a lot said about female directors being underrepresented in this Oscar race, and some people might still regret not having given Greta Gerwig any Oscars for Lady Bird. At the end of the day, it’s worthwhile remembering that some things never change, that Green Book won Best Picture last year, and that Jojo fits right in with the kind of insufferable bullshit the Academy loves to reward. 
Will Win:
Jojo Rabbit
Should Win: Little Women 

Animated Feature

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  • I Lost My Body
  • Klaus 
  • Missing Link
  • Toy Story 4

In a really weak year for this category, it seemed like Toy Story 4 would sail to a default win, but Netflix’s Klaus has surprised by winning the Annie Award and the BAFTA. It is, in my opinion, easily the best movie in this lot, and the animation branch is not particularly fond of rewarding sequels, which makes me think it has a chance.
Will Win: Klaus
Should Win: Klaus 

International Film

  • Corpus Christi (Poland)
  • Honeyland (North Macedonia)
  • Les Misérables (France)
  • Pain and Glory (Spain)
  • Parasite (South Korea)

A win for Parasite is almost a given, which seems surreal considering no South Korean movie had ever been nominated before despite the wealth of amazing movies that came out of that country in the past two decades: Oldboy, Burning, Memories of Murder, The Host, Mother, Secret Sunshine, The Handmaiden, Poetry, the list goes on and on…
Will Win: Parasite
Should Win: Parasite 

Cinematography

  • 1917 (Roger Deakins)
  • The Irishman (Rodrigo Prieto)
  • Joker (Lawrence Sher)
  • The Lighthouse (Jaren Blachske)
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Robert Richardson)

Maybe the biggest lock of the night. This is a no-brainer for Roger Deakins and the one-take gimmickry of 1917. I don’t begrudge the man, he had to wait more than twenty years of nominations until he finally won, and I’ll gladly hand him a second win.
Will Win: 1917
Should Win: The Lighthouse 

Costume Design

  • The Irishman (Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Mayes C. Rubio)
  • Joker (Mark Bridges)
  • Little Women (Jacqueline Durran)
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Arianne Phillips)

The usual rule of thumb is that the movie with the most period gowns takes the win. This year, that would be Little Women. A second Oscar for the super talented Jacqueline Durran? I’d be down for that, even if I’d be equally excited for Arianne Phillips, who also seems like a possibility.
Will Win: Little Women
Should Win: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood 

Film Editing

  • Ford v. Ferrari (Michael McCusker)
  • The Irishman (Thelma Schoonmaker)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Tom Eagles)
  • Joker (Jeff Groth)
  • Parasite (Jinmo Yang)

This is a free-for-all, which makes me think Parasite, which has the most Best Picture buzz out of these nominees will be able to pull it off.
Will Win: Parasite
Should Win: Parasite 

Makeup and Hair

  • 1917 
  • Bombshell
  • Joker
  • Judy
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 

The obvious choice seems to be Charlize Theron’s transformation into Megyn Kelly in Bombshell, but the movie’s buzz has pretty much disappeared. It makes me think this might be another place where voters default to Joker, even if I don’t see much make-up achievement in that movie beyond face paint.
Will Win: Bombshell
Should Win: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 

Production Design

  • 1917 (Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales)
  • The Irishman (Bob Shaw, Regina Graves)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Ra Vincent, Nora Sopkova)
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh)
  • Parasite (Lee Ha-jun, Cho Won Woo)

1917 is a thread here, and I would love nothing more than to see the incredible upstairs-downstairs design of Parasite take the win, but something tells me Once Upon a Time‘s recreation of sixties Hollywood is going to be too nostalgic for the Academy to resist.
Will Win: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Should Win: Parasite 

Original Score

  • 1917 (Thomas Newman)
  • Joker (Hildur Gudnadottir)
  • Little Women (Alexandre Desplat)
  • Marriage Story (Randy Newman)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Williams)

Seeing 1917 do as well as it has, I was convinced this would be the year of Thomas Newman’s overdue win (he’s been nominated 15 times with no wins), but for reasons I don’t quite grasp, the consensus has built around Joker as the best score of the year. Composer Hildur Gudnadottir has won the Globe, the BAFTA, and even a Grammy. The latter one was for her work on HBO’s Chernobyl, but I don’t see how that would hurt.
Will Win: Joker
Should Win: Marriage Story 

Original Song

  • “I Can’t Let Your 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)

What an absolute dog of a category. In this company, Taylor Swift’s much maligned song from Cats looks like a masterpiece. I have no idea where this will go, my first thought it’s this is a way to reward Elton John, but Rocketman didn’t get any other nominations, signaling a lack of support in the Academy. I could easily see this going to Harriet, since nominated star Cynthia Erivo is one of the songwriters. Bottom line, this is anyone’s game.
Will Win: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” 
Should Win: I’ll abstain.

Sound Mixing

  • 1917 
  • Ad Astra 
  • Ford v. Ferrari
  • Joker
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

The sound categories seem like an obvious place for 1917 to rack up some more awards. The only other option, I think, is if the Academy decides they want to give something to Ford v. Ferrari, in which case one (or both) of the sounds would be the place to go.
Will Win: 1917
Should Win: Ad Astra

Sound Editing

  • 1917 
  • Ford v. Ferrari
  • Joker
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Same as Sound Mixing, pretty much…
Will Win: 1917
Should Win: 1917 

Visual Effects

  • 1917
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • The Irishman 
  • The Lion King
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

This is the toughest category of the year for me. I go back and forth between three winners. Usually, if a Best Picture nominee is represented here, they take the prize. But this year has two such movies, and the last time more than one Best Picture contender was nominated here it ended with a bizarre (but very much deserved) win for Ex Machina. My gut tells me 1917 does not have enough CGI to win here, and The Irishman feels like it’s lost all momentum, which leaves me with The Lion King. This category loves to reward CGI animals (Life of Pi, The Golden Compass, The Jungle Book), so that might give the “not animated” lions the edge.
Will Win: The Lion King
Should Win: Alita: Battle Angel… wait, what? 

Documentary (Feature)

  • American Factory
  • The Cave
  • The Edge of Democracy
  • For Sama
  • Honeyland

Will Win: American Factory   

Documentary (Short Subject)

  • In the Absence
  • Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl)
  • Life Overtakes Me
  • St. Louis Superman
  • Walk Run Cha-Cha 

Will Win: Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl)

Short Film (Animated)

  • Daughter
  • Hair Love
  • Kitbull
  • Memorable
  • Sister

Will Win: Hair Love

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Brotherhood
  • Nefta Football Club
  • The Neighbor’s Window
  • Saria
  • A Sister

Will Win: The Neighbor’s Window