A Few Oscar Predictions for 2020

Oscars season is finally upon us once again! After a long year of cinematic breakthroughs, technical marvels, and overall excellent cinematic achievement, it’s once again time to roll out the red carpet and recognize the films who made the biggest splash in the film industry in 2019. It’s been quite the year for movies, plenty of records were broken, and plenty of less than stellar outings were also released. However, we’re not here for that, we’re here to discuss the possible outcomes of the 92nd annual Academy Awards.

I won’t be going over every category because there’s a lot of them and honestly, probably only a few that most of us actually care about, (for example, Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress in a Leading Role, Film Editing, Cinematography, Direction etc.) I’ll go ahead and put on record that these predictions are my opinion so you don’t necessarily have to agree with them, but hear me out!

Admittedly, I haven’t seen every movie that’s been nominated. I feel like it’s reasonable that I admit that now, but rest assured, I’ve done my fair share of research to make sure that my have-watched bias doesn’t get in the way of my predictions too much.

Without further adieu, let’s begin with the award for Best Director. The director is debatably the most important role when it comes to filmmaking. It’s the directors job to tie the artistic, cinematic, and dramatic aspects together. Movies can’t exist without actors, and they typically act as the “face” of any movie, but in many cases the director is actually the face of a movie, like with a lot of Stephen Spielberg and M. Knight Shyamalan’s work. With that said, I think wholeheartedly that Quentin Tarantino will win the Oscar for his directorial role in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Even given Tarantino’s track record and legendary status as director of classics like “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs,” he once again knocks it out of the park with his polarizing approach to film making. The way Tarantino drops these characters into his world and lets the story weave around them is truly kind of breathtaking.

Next, the award for Best Actor/Actress in a Leading Role. Actors are the meat and potatoes of a film. They’re the icons that portray the characters and narratives in the marvelous works of fiction we call movies. For Best Actor, it’s hard to ignore Joaquin Phoenix’s phenomenal performance in “Joker.” Admittedly, I can see this one coming from a mile away. Not only was Phoenix’s performance in this film a career-defining one, but it was also aided by the fact that “Joker” is a character study first and foremost. Phoenix carries the weight of the narrative on his shoulders because he is the narrative. He doesn’t need a stellar supporting cast to make the story tolerable, and that’s not even to say that the supporting cast was bad because it wasn’t. As far as Best Actress is concerned, I think Scarlett Johanson is the obvious pick for her jaw dropping performance in “Marriage Story.” The scene that most people think of when they hear about Marriage Story went viral on Twitter for weeks at one point; it is that excellent. Her chemistry with Adam Driver for this 2 hour and 17 minute divorce drama is absolutely unparalleled and she deserves any award coming her way for this role.

The award for Film Editing was a little trickier to pick out. Editing is something casual moviegoers never actually think about and it’s a craft that goes largely unappreciated by everybody outside of the film community itself. Despite this, it’s the one thing that really brings the entire finished product together, both figuratively and literally speaking. I think Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” should take the spot for this one. Editor Jinmo Yang does a brilliant job of illustrating this films steady ascension into madness and absolutely kills the art of creating tension. 

Cinematography is probably my personal favorite aspect of film making. To me, an elegant and pretty movie is more appealing than a meticulously gritty one. Film heads and hardcore critics alike would probably eat me alive for that take. Regardless, “Joker” is the obvious choice for me. To be honest, I’m a little biased because I’ve already talked about this film at length, but cinematographer Lawrence Sher does a brilliant job at making a battered and decaying city like Gotham appealing to look at. Not only this, but the fact that given how limited their options were in terms of where and how to shoot some scenes in this movie, they did an excellent job using what was given to them and making everything look and feel cohesive in the process.

Of course, we can’t forget the most important award of all. The Best Picture nomination alone is a testament to any films cinematic strengths. I can’t even beat around the bush for this award. I think Taika Watiti’s “Jojo Rabbit” will likely take this award. This comedy-drama about a young German boy during World War II having to confront the nationalism engraved into his mind subverts expectations and rubs dirt in the face of “political correctness” and the culture surrounding it. Jojo Rabbit is a bold interpretation of World War II satire. The comedy is on point and never really comes off as distasteful. It’s just a delightful watch overall.

That’s where I’ll stop for now. Generally speaking, the Oscars this year are pretty stacked. There are lots of awesome candidates in every category, although a few like Best Animated Feature could have had some stronger contenders this year. Either way, I’m really psyched to see each contender be pitted up against each other and to see who will come out on top this year.