From left: Leonardo DiCaprio in "Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood"; Antonio Banderas in "Pain and Glory"; Joaquin Phoenix in "Joker," and Taron Egerton in "Rocketman"
Culture Movies

Here are our predictions for this year’s Oscar nominees

Will it be Banderas or Pryce who will take the surprise 5th spot in the largely secure Best Actor list? Will the Academy let a woman (Greta Gerwig) into the nominated directors’ circle? We’ll know the answers tomorrow but today we make the forecast 
Andrew Paredes | Jan 12 2020

Once again, film lovers will be tuning in to cable news or the social media accounts of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday, January 13, to find out who will be in the running for an Oscar as a new decade dawns. Nominees will be announced in two installments: Presenters John Cho and Insecure’s Issa Rae (promoting her February romantic drama The Photograph) will be announcing the first batch at 5:18 a.m. in Los Angeles (8:18 a.m. in New York, 9:18 p.m. local time—these random minute times are getting bonkers), reading nominees for nine categories which include Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, and such craft categories as Film Editing and Original Score. The nominees for the remaining 15 categories (including big-ticket rosters for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, and Director) will be announced after a 10-minute break.

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This year’s awards season is abnormally abbreviated, with critics’ organizations and industry guilds announcing their victors and nominations at a furious clip, sometimes on the same day. The upside is that the nominations picture has clarified much faster this year, with such competitive categories as lead actor and supporting actor narrowing more rapidly for awards prognosticators. But as nominees like Roma’s Marina de Tavira and Cold War director Pawel Pawlikowski showed last year, it’s not mathematics that make Oscar nominations so surprising. Having said that, here are my predictions for who will get nominations come Monday evening, with two spoilers for each category just to hedge my idealistic bets:

 

PICTURE

The Irishman

1917

Parasite

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Marriage Story

Joker

Jojo Rabbit

Little Women

Potential spoilers: The Two Popes, The Farewell

Al Pacino (Jimmy Hoffa) and Robert de Niro (Frank Sheeran) in The Irishman

 

DIRECTOR

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story

Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Sam Mendes, 1917

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Potential spoilers: Greta Gerwig, Little Women; Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Of course Hollywood will need to have its arm twisted to the point of amputation to recognize that a woman can handle projects of ambitious scale, so Gerwig will remain just outside the magic circle. And with women still just comprising 32% of the Academy membership, that looks to be a dispiriting reality for some time to come.

 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Renee Zellweger, Judy

Potential spoilers: Awkwafina, The Farewell; Lupita Nyong’o, Us

This is a very interesting category if only for that first name in the list. The other four actresses are easy educated guesses. But Cynthia Erivo is one the dark horses running against the other two spoilers. Did Awkwafina’s Golden Globes win for best comedy actress two days before the deadline for nomination voting boost her chances? And despite her Screen Actors Guild nomination, did appearing in a horror movie—a genre never well-respected by Oscar—cripple Academy darling Lupita Nyong’o? In the end, I had to go for gravitas. We’ll know if I was off the mark from the very first name announced.

Marriage Story's lead stars—Adam Driver as New York theater director named Charlie, Scarlett Johansson as his actress-wife, and Azhy Robertson as their son, Henry

 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Taron Egerton, Rocketman

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Potential spoilers: Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes; Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

My heart bleeds for Antonio Banderas’ lived-in performance in Pain and Glory, but he’s duking it out with Jonathan Pryce for that fifth slot. And part of me is still thinking Taron Egerton’s dominance in all the bellwether acting nominations is just too good to be true. At any rate, this is another category whose first name announced will determine if I was off the mark.

 

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

Florence Pugh, Little Women

Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

Potential spoilers: Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit; Annette Bening, The Report

There has to be a reason why John Cho is announcing the nominees, right? Right?! To hell with the math: I am claiming an Asian wave at this year’s nominees roster. And that means Zhao Shuzhen’s ailing grandmother is in my top five for supporting actress.

Jennifer Lopez as club dancer Ramona Vega in Hustlers

 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Song Kang-ho, Parasite

Potential spoilers: Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes; Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy

The Asian wave continues, with Song Kang-ho’s acting nomination as the weaselly patriarch necessary to burnish Parasite’s status as a bonafide front runner.

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story

Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite

Rian Johnson, Knives Out

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Lulu Wang, The Farewell

Potential spoilers: Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917; Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel and Katie Silberman, Booksmart

Screenplay nominations have never lined up with best picture contenders, which is why I feel confident in including Rian Johnson’s delicious script for his whodunit caper. And, for good measure, the scribes of Booksmart’s uproarious—and yes, smart—comedy as a throughly worthy spoiler.

Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Parasite, is a surprisingly pleasurable take on class conflict. 

 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes

Todd Phillips and Scott Walker, Joker

Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

Potential spoilers: Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood; Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing two highly entertaining and impeccably crafted scripts by two women—Greta Gerwig and Lorene Scafaria—duking it out in the top five.

 

ANIMATED FEATURE

Frozen II

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Missing Link

Toy Story 4

No spoilers here: These are all the titles that have made a splash in the animated feature category this year. The question is, will the Academy reward whimsical storytelling over business-as-usual animation? (Take a bow, Missing Link!) Or finally recognize the elastic boundaries of animated storytelling and go full-on offbeat? (Yes, I Lost My Body!)

Scene from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

 

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

Atlantics (Senegal)

Les Misérables (France)

Pain and Glory (Spain)

Parasite (South Korea)

Those Who Remained (Hungary)

Potential spoilers: Beanpole (Russia); Honeyland (North Macedonia)

I will forever mourn France not selecting Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire as its official Oscar submission. The fact that Parasite will most likely trounce all its competition is cold consolation.