For the sake of posterity, here are my predictions and thoughts on tonight’s Academy Awards:

Best Picture:

Going to win – 1917, the runaway winner at BAFTA and odds on favorite tonight, the Academy will likely favor an old standard in Best Picture winners: the technically proficient, period war epic

Should win – Parasite, probably sitting in the runner-up chair, Bong Joon-Ho’s masterpiece has a strong chance to pull the upset thanks to the preferential balloting system and is the year’s best film by a significant margin

Dark horse – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, the Academy loves movies about Hollywood and this Quentin Tarantino period dramedy is probably the most accessible of his filmography to Oscar voters

Best Director:

Going to win – Sam Mendes for 1917, Mendes should get the BP boost along with the film’s overwhelmingly spectacular technical achievements to hand him an Oscar for putting all the right pieces around him

Should win – Bong Joon-Ho for Parasite, same story, different category, Bong creates a rich, deep world that constantly keeps audiences on the edge of their seat and masters nuance from start to finish

Dark horse – Realistically no one, although some voters will cast their ballots for Tarantino, one of Hollywood’s best auteurs never to win this award

Best Actor:

Going to win – Joaquin Phoenix for Joker, the darkest, most actor-y performance of the year is essentially a guaranteed first time win for Phoenix, who elevates an otherwise marginal comic book movie to Best Picture contender worthy status

Should win – Adam Driver for Marriage Story, a performance that is probably more nuanced than Phoenix but less showy, which doesn’t bode well given Phoenix has swept everywhere else

Dark horse – None.

Best Actress:

Going to win – Renée Zellweger for Judy, a tolerable performance in a vastly mediocre film that somehow got crowned as the best of the year back in September without any real discussion or debate

Should win – Saoirse Ronan for Little Women, a four-time Oscar nominee by the age of 25, Ronan puts together her most Oscar-y performance yet as Jo March, but with a depth of conviction and character that underlies her immense talent.

Dark horse – Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story, double nominated in both lead and supporting actress, Johansson is better in the first twenty minutes of Noah Baumbach’s film than Zellweger is at any moment of Judy

Best Supporting Actor:

Going to win – Brad Pitt for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, a much deserved accolade for one of cinema’s best character actors who just happens to be among its most attractive, which shields out sometimes how good of a performer he is and how effortless it is for Pitt to be charming.

Should win – Pitt

Dark horse – Joe Pesci for The Irishman or Tom Hanks for A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, 2019 was a terrific year for supporting actors and both of these men could easily have run away with the award in another year.

Best Supporting Actress:

Going to win – Laura Dern for Marriage Story, another example of a race that was over before it began, Dern is good as a no-prisoners-taken divorce attorney but there are other performances that are as good or better that deserve more attention as well.

Should win – Florence Pugh for Little Women, the breakout star of Midsommar takes a reviled literary character and turns the tables on audiences with a standout performance as Amy March. The most difficult performance to pull off of any of these nominees, Pugh knocks it out of the park.

Dark horse – None

Best Original Screenplay:

Going to win – Parasite

Should win – Parasite

Dark horse – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

 

Best Adapted Screenplay: 

Going to win – Jojo Rabbit

Should win – Little Women

Dark horse – The Irishman

Best Animated Feature:

Going to win – Klaus

Should win – Toy Story 4

Best International Feature:

Going to win – Parasite

Should win – Parasite

Best Documentary Feature:

Going to win – American Factory

Should win – American Factory

Best Original Score:

Going to win – Joker

Should win – 1917

Best Original Song:

Going to win – “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman

Should win – “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman

Best Sound Editing and Mixing:

Going to win – 1917

Should win – 1917 for editing, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood for mixing

Best Production Design:

Going to win – 1917

Should win – Parasite

Best Cinematography:

Going to win – 1917

Should win – 1917

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Going to win – Bombshell

Should win – Bombshell

Best Costume Design:

Going to win – Jojo Rabbit

Should win – Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Best Film Editing:

Going to win – Parasite

Should win – Parasite

Best Visual Effects:

Going to win – 1917

Should win – 1917

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