It's hard to believe that movie award season is already coming to a close with the Oscars on Sunday, but here we are, several weeks earlier than usual. The accelerated pace of the season overall may have resulted in more groupthink, but it also is a bit of a reprieve, as this year's awards seem to be fairly straightforward and predictable. (Of course, me saying that means that there will be a ridiculous upset....) On with the final predictions!
Best Picture: When the nominations were announced, this seemed like a competition between 1917 and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Then as the guild awards were announced, 1917 took a clear lead with wins at the Golden Globes, Producers Guild, and Directors Guild before, inexplicably, Parasite - the first film from South Korea to compete for any Oscars - emerged as a challenger thanks to wins with the Screen Actors' Guild and the Writers Guild.
It's wild to me that a number of pundits are picking Parasite to win, even though the most consistent predictors - the PGA and DGA - both went to 1917, which is my pick to win. And yes, there is somewhat of a precedent for a film winning the SAG and WGA and going on to win Best Picture when Spotlight won in an upset; in that case, however, the PGA and DGA had been split between two films, The Big Short and favourite (and my reluctant pick) The Revenant, so it seemed as though Spotlight split the difference to win.
Even though, as Riley McAtee of The Ringer wrote earlier this week, the betting favourite has not won Best Picture in the past four years, I think that streak will end this year, and that 1917 will prove out to be the winner over Parasite, in part due to the general bias against foreign-language films. (Now watch Parasite actually win and keep my losing streak going.)
Best Director: The predictions for this category have bounced around from Tarantino to Bong Joon-Ho, but I think it will end up going to Sam Mendes for 1917 because of the level of his achievement; this award has tended to go to the "most obviously directed" movie for years, and 1917 fits that bill perfectly.
Best Actor: The acting categories have been swept so far by four actors, so there is no reason to think that there will be any upsets in any of these four categories. If there are, it won't be here, and Joaquin Phoenix will win for Joker.
Best Actress: Renee Zellweger for Judy, which will continue a long tradition of awarding underwhelming and unmemorable imitations of real people in middling biopics with Oscars.
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt will finally get his much overdue Oscar for his role in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. (For what it's worth, he should have won for Moneyball in 2012 over Jean Dujardin for The Artist, the latter of which still remains one of the more mystifying calcifications of Oscar group-think in recent history.)
Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern will also get a long-overdue Oscar for Marriage Story.
Best Original Screenplay: I think this is where Bong Joon Ho will be awarded for Parasite.
Best Adapted Screenplay: I thought that this would go to Greta Gerwig for Little Women, but it seems like the momentum is with Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit, so that's who I'm picking - but I wouldn't be surprised to get this one wrong.
Best Animated Feature: Klaus won the Annie award, so this category could go weird, but I think that it will go to Toy Story 4 because the entire academy votes on this award.
Other Categories: Here are my picks for the rest of the awards:
Documentary - American Factory
International Feature - Parasite
Cinematography - 1917
Costume Design - Little Women
Film Editing - Ford vs. Ferrari
Makeup and Hairstyling - Bombshell
Production Design - 1917
Sound Editing - 1917
Sound Mixing - 1917 (although one of these might go to Ford vs. Ferrari)
Visual Effects - The Lion King
Original Score - Joker
Original Song - Rocketman
Animated Short - Hair Love
Documentary Short - Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)
Live-Action Short - Brotherhood
For the record: of the Best Picture nominees, I'm picking 1917 to win 6 awards, Joker and Parasite each to win 2, and Ford vs. Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Marriage Story, and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood each to win 1, leaving The Irishman without an award. Now watch it win Best Picture.