Predicting the 2020 Oscars

The Oscars are almost here! 2019 was the year I really started to pay attention to movies that weren’t just Marvel or Star Wars, and there have been some incredible movies released this year (and some not-so-great ones). This is also the first year where I’ve seen every movie nominated for Best Picture, so I can finally make a truly informed decision!

The nominees this year are generally good choices, but there are a few snubs that are just baffling. As excited as I am for Parasite, Knives Out, Florence Pugh and Greta Gerwig’s nominations, I am just as frustrated at the lack of nominations for The Farewell, Jennifer Lopez, Lupita Nyong’o or any female directors.

2019 seems like a year pulled in two directions – honoring the past and leaning into nostalgia or trying to look to the future and tell new kinds of stories. So here are the nominees for some of the biggest Oscar categories, along with who I’d like to win and who I think will end up taking a trophy home.

Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

What I want to win: Having seen all nine of these movies, there’s only one that I really did not at least partially enjoy. Seven of the nine take place in real or fictional historical eras, while the other two are modern stories. My top two that I would love to win are Parasite and Little Women.

What will win: 1917 seems to have the most momentum going into the awards.

Best Director

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

Who I want to win: Bong Joon-ho makes every second of Parasite as fascinating and engrossing as I’ve ever seen.

Who will win: Sam Mendes having the guts to make 1917 a “one-take” movie was a bold choice but it pays off so well.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman — Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit — Taika Waititi
Joker — Todd Phillips and Scott Silver
Little Women — Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes — Anthony McCarten

What I want to win: Greta Gerwig revitalized a 150-year-old novel and made it feel current for Little Women. Folding the timelines on top of each other highlighted the highs and the lows of the March sisters. Would also not be upset with a Taika Waititi win.

What will win: This one is really a toss-up. Gerwig has a good chance to win, and it would be nice for the Academy to recognize her here since they didn’t nominate her for Best Director. I think Jojo Rabbit will ride the surprise wins from the BAFTAs and the WGA awards and win.

Best Original Screenplay

Knives Out — Rian Johnson
Marriage Story — Noah Baumbach
1917 — Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino
Parasite — Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won

What I want to win: Knives Out!! But honestly this is a truly competitive category. All five of these movies had interesting and unique stories that were laid out well. I’d be happy with any of these winning.

What will win: I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Parasite will win (which it deserves).

Best Leading Actor

Antonio Banderas — Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver — Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix — Joker
Jonathan Pryce — The Two Popes

Who I want to win: Adam Driver ridiculously good in Marriage Story and I’d love for him to take home a trophy for his work here.

Who will win: It’s going to be Joaquin Phoenix. He’s won every acting award this season for Joker, and regardless of how I feel about the movie as a whole, his performance was next-level.

Best Leading Actress

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

Who I want to win: This is another very competitive category. Saoirse is electric in Little Women and Scar Jo commands the screen in Marriage Story. A Cynthia Erivo win would be incredible too.

Who will win: This is Renee Zellweger’s to lose. Judy is a fine movie but her transformation into Judy Garland was spectacular.

Best Supporting Actress

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

Who I want to win: Florence Pugh is delightful in Little Women and I love everything about her.  

Who will win: Laura Dern is a force to be reckoned with in Marriage Story and will add an Oscar to her growing collection for her work in this role.

Best Supporting Actor

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

Who I want to win: Buncha old white men. All are very talented actors, and have been for a long time. Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers is the only performance on this list that really drew me in.

Who will win: Brad Pitt is his charismatic Brad Pitt self in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and he’ll win his first(!?) Oscar this year.

Best International Feature Film

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

What I want to win: Parasite has this in the bag.

What will win: Parasite has this in the bag.

Best Animated Feature Film

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

What I want to win: The big shock here is Frozen II not getting nominated. I would love for How to Train Your Dragon to get some love here out of respect to the entire trilogy. Klaus was a surprise hit and Missing Link somehow won the Golden Globe, so this could be a toss-up.

What will win: Toy Story 4

Best Original Score

Little Women
Marriage Story
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

What I want to win: I truly love all these scores, but I have to vote for Star Wars. The poetry of John Williams winning for Rise of Skywalker when he hasn’t won for a Star Wars movie since 1977 would be incredible. Little Women’s soundtrack is beautiful and classic and 1917’s score does a great job of building the tension throughout the movie.

What will win: Joker’s score is one of the most enjoyable parts of the movie for me, so I won’t be upset when this wins.

Best Original Song

“I Can’t Let You 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 I want to win: Nothing in Frozen II was ever going to match the might of “Let It Go,” but “Into the Unknown” was a powerful display of Idina Menzel’s talent and has lodged itself in my head since the movie came out.  

What will win: I wish Rocketman had been nominated for more awards, but this song is great and catch and really connects with the theme of the movie, so I’ll be happy when Elton John wins with “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”

January Movie Preview

2020 opens with a slow month for movies. Awards season kicks into full gear, so most movies released in January don’t get a lot of hype. One strong Oscar contender gets a wide release at the beginning of the month, but most of the other offerings aren’t expected to break any records. Here’s some of the most interesting releases this month.

1917 (Jan. 10)

Rating: R
Starring: George McKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Richard Madden, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch

In the midst of World War I, two soldiers must cross into enemy territory to deliver a message that could save thousands of troops.  

Why I’m excited: While technically a 2019 movie, it only gets a wide release this month so everyone can finally see it. Press for this movie has focused on how it was filmed to look like one long continuous take, which sounds fascinating. It’s already getting Oscar buzz, been named as one of the best movies of 2019 and has been nominated for a handful of Golden Globes.

See this if you liked: Saving Private Ryan, Dunkirk, War Horse

Underwater (Jan. 10)

Rating: PG-13
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie

A team of researchers are trapped at the bottom of the ocean after an earthquake destroys their laboratory.  

Why I’m excited: This seems like a mildly interesting thriller/race-against-the-clock kind of movie. Setting the action at the bottom of the ocean is a fun choice – we still know so little of what’s actually down there. Kristen Stewart is riding a great wave right now, so we’ll see if people enjoy her in this as well.  

See this if you liked: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Abyss, Sphere

Like a Boss (Jan. 10)

Rating: R
Starring: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek

Two friends open a beauty company together, but their different business practices and their wealthy benefactor begin to complicate the relationship.  

Why I’m excited: Tiffany Haddish is one of the funniest actors working right now, and the trailers give her some great moments already. Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek are also incredibly talented, and I think the three of them will be fascinating to watch together.   

See this if you liked: Girls Trip, Bridesmaids, Neighbors

Dolittle (Jan. 17)

Rating: PG
Starring: Robert Downey Jr.

Dr. Dolittle, who has the ability to speak to animals, must set off on a quest for a cure to save the Queen of England.

Why I’m excited: What an interesting choice for RDJ to make following the biggest movie of all time (Avengers: Endgame). I remember the Eddie Murphy Dr. Dolittle movies from the 90s, but this seems much more fantastical than those. There’s an incredible cast lending their voices to Dolittle’s animals, from Tom Holland, Octavia Spencer, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek and more. The trailers look truly bizarre, but it should be a fun movie for younger audiences.  

See this if you liked: Dr. Dolittle

The Gentlemen (Jan. 24)

Rating: R
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant

An American drug lord faces plots, schemes, bribes and blackmail from forces out to steal his empire.

Why I’m excited: Kingsman, is that you? The look of this movie – especially the poster designs – screams Kingsman. The trailers definitely give off that vibe as well, but The Gentlemen looks like it will go a bit darker than the Kingsman series. Director Guy Ritchie is coming off the billion-dollar high of Aladdin, and this movie has an interesting cast, so it should be a good time.

See this if you liked: Kingsman, Pain & Gain, Gold