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My 2020 Oscar Predictions (Now Updated With Winners)

February 9, 2020

By John Corrado

There you have it folks, the 92nd Academy Awards have come to a close, with Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean film Parasite becoming the first international film in history to take home Best Picture. Yes, I predicted it would happen, as you can see below, but I don’t know if I really believed it would happen until, well, it happened. And I couldn’t be happier. The fact that it was the first Korean film to ever be nominated at the Oscars just makes this victory even sweeter.

Not only did Parasite win the top prize, it also swept the night, taking home trophies for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Film as well, winning four out of its six nominations. I was predicting that Sam Mendes would win Best Director for 1917, but Bong Joon-ho was the surprise winner instead, and I’ve rarely been this happy to be wrong. Bong Joon-ho and Parasite deserve all of the love they got tonight.

Overall, I have to say that I’m very happy with these winners. In the acting categories, Joaquin Phoenix and Renée Zellweger won Best Actor and Best Actress for their powerful, transformative roles in Joker and Judy, respectively, while Brad Pitt and Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress for their respective roles in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Marriage Story. They were all the expected winners of these awards, and they are all very deserving of their trophies.

Phoenix gave the best speech of the night, using his platform to call out injustices of all kinds, while also criticizing “cancel culture,” apologizing for being difficult to work with at times, and elevating the work of his fellow nominees. It was an incredible, moving, eloquently delivered speech that left me at a loss for words. Bong Joon-ho’s several speeches throughout the night, delivered with the help of his translator Sharon Choi, were also quite satisfying, using his Best Director speech to pay tribute to Martin Scorsese for inspiring his work in another one of the best moments of the night.

There were a few bumps along the way, but for the most part the show went off pretty smoothly without a host for the second year in a row. There were good performances of all five nominated songs, with one of the highlights being when Elton John took to the stage to perform his song “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman, which was the rightful winner of the Best Original Song award. Eminem also showed up partway through to deliver a surprise performance of his 2002 Oscar-winning song “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile, to the shock of everyone, and Billie Eilish delivered a haunting rendition of the Beatles song “Yesterday” over the in-memoriam segment.

But the thing that’s most worth celebrating is that tonight, for the first time in 92 years, a “foreign film” has won Best Picture. It feels like a longstanding barrier has finally been broken down. The world of cinema is international, and great films can come from anywhere. I’m thrilled that the Academy has finally recognized this with their highest honour, and Parasite is a very deserving winner, indeed.

All in all, I predicted 20 out of 24 categories correctly, which I’m pretty sure is a new record for me. One of the ones that I got wrong was Best Editing. I had a feeling that Ford v Ferrari might pull off a surprise win, even though I switched my prediction to Parasite at the last minute. Anyway, my predictions and some brief commentary remain below, now updated to include all of the winners.

Best Picture:

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

1917

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Prediction: Parasite. I have no idea which way this is actually going to go. In my heart, I think it’s time for the Academy to finally give the top prize to a non-English film after Roma missed out last year, and I *want* Bong Joon-ho’s social satire to win. But in my head, I’m aware of the very real possibility this prize could just as easily go to the single-take World War I drama 1917, which is also a good movie. I’m predicting Parasite will have the momentum to pull off a win, but this is partially wishful thinking.

Winner: Parasite.

Best Director:

Martin Scorsese – The Irishman

Todd Phillips – Joker

Sam Mendes – 1917

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Bong Joon Ho – Parasite

Prediction: Sam Mendes. Twenty years after winning Best Director (and Best Picture) for his first film American Beauty, I’m expecting that Mendes will win this award again for the incredible technical achievement that is 1917.

Winner: Bong Joon Ho – Parasite.

Best 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

Prediction: Joaquin Phoenix. This is one of the closest things we have to a lock tonight. Phoenix is all but guaranteed to win his first Oscar for playing the Clown Prince of Crime, and while it might have seemed like more of a race earlier in the season, the possibility of presumptive second place finisher Adam Driver coming from behind to take it seems extremely unlikely at this point.

Winner: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker.

Best Actress:

Cynthia Erivo – Harriet

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

Charlize Theron – Bombshell

Renée Zellweger – Judy

Prediction: Renée Zellweger. Again, this seems like another lock. Zellweger brilliantly portrays a beloved showbiz icon, in the type of role Oscar voters love. It’s pretty safe to assume that Scarlett Johansson, like Driver, will finish in second place.

Winner: Renée Zellweger – Judy.

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

Prediction: Brad Pitt. Another frontrunner who is seemingly unstoppable. Pitt somewhat surprisingly doesn’t have an acting Oscar, and I’m all but certain he will win his first for his wonderful supporting role in Quentin Tarantino’s film.

Winner: Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Best Supporting Actress:

Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell

Laura Dern – Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit

Florence Pugh – Little Women

Margot Robbie – Bombshell

Prediction: Laura Dern. Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story features amazing performances across the board, and while I’m expecting the film to lose in the main categories, I think Dern will win for her memorable role as a ruthless divorce lawyer.

Winner: Laura Dern – Marriage Story.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit

Steve Zaillian – The Irishman

Anthony McCarten – The Two Popes

Greta Gerwig – Little Women

Todd Phillips and Scott Silver – Joker

Prediction: Jojo Rabbit. My personal pick would be Little Women, and I think it would be great if Greta Gerwig were to be recognized here after being locked out of a Best Director nomination. But I’m guessing Taika Waititi will win for his wonky Nazi satire.

Winner: Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit.

Best Original Screenplay:

Rian Johnson – Knives Out

Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story

Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns – 1917

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won – Parasite

Prediction: Parasite. This could just as easily go to Tarantino, but I’m expecting Bong Joon-ho and his co-writer will win for their ingenious, airtight screenplay.

Winner: Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won – Parasite.

Best Animated Feature:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Klaus

Missing Link

Toy Story 4

Prediction: Toy Story 4. I really liked all of these films, and a case can be made for why each one could win. Missing Link was the surprise winner at the Golden Globes, and would give stop motion studio Laika their first Oscar. The Netflix film Klaus swept the Annie Awards and is a stylized and beautifully animated contender, surely gaining it the support of other animators. Ditto fellow Netflix contender I Lost My Body, also an incredibly unique 2D animated film. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is the last in a beloved series that has never won an Oscar. Then again, Pixar often prevails in this category and they won at the beginning of the decade for Toy Story 3, to which Toy Story 4 is a more than worthy follow up. Because Toy Story 4 is my personal favourite, I’m giving it a leg up here, but an upset win from Klaus or Missing Link wouldn’t shock me.

Winner: Toy Story 4.

Best International Feature Film:

Corpus Christi

Honeyland

Les Miserables

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Prediction: Parasite. Even if it doesn’t win Best Picture, the South Korean film will definitely win in this incredibly strong category, a major feat for the first film from Korea to ever be nominated at the Oscars in any category.

Winner: Parasite.

Best Documentary:

American Factory

The Cave

Edge of Democracy

For Sama

Honeyland

Prediction: American Factory. All of these films are good, and there is a chance that the Academy will reward either one of the two Syrian films (The Cave and For Sama), but I’m expecting this incredibly timely, Obama-produced film to win.

Winner: American Factory.

Best Cinematography:

Rodrigo Prieto – The Irishman

Lawrence Sher – Joker

Jarin Blaschke – The Lighthouse

Roger Deakins – 1917

Robert Richardson – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Prediction: Roger Deakins – 1917. Yes, Deakins just won his first Oscar after many nominations for Blade Runner 2049 a few years ago, but I’m fully expecting him to win again for this one-shot war movie, and he will deserve it. The cinematography is jaw-dropping and incredible.

Winner: Roger Deakins – 1917.

Best Costume Design:

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Prediction: Little Women.

Winner: Little Women.

Best Film Editing:

Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland – Ford v Ferrari

Thelma Schoonmaker – The Irishman

Tom Eagles – Jojo Rabbit

Jeff Groth – Joker

Yang Jinmo – Parasite

Prediction: Parasite. If I was going out on a limb, I would predict the racing drama Ford v Ferrari to be victorious here, but I’m guessing that Parasite will be rewarded for its precision assembly.

Winner: Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland – Ford v Ferrari.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Bombshell

Joker

Judy

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

1917

Prediction: Bombshell. They made Charlize Theron look *exactly* like Megyn Kelly, so I’m guessing Bombshell will win. But my personal pick would be Judy, so we’ll see what happens.

Winner: Bombshell.

Best Original Score:

Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker

Alexandre Desplat – Little Women

Randy Newman – Marriage Story

Thomas Newman – 1917

John Williams – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Prediction: Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker.

Winner: Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker.

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 2

“Stand Up” – Harriet

Prediction: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” – Rocketman.

Winner: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” – Rocketman.

Best Production Design:

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

1917

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Prediction: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Tarantino’s film would be a deserving winner here for its beautiful recreation of Los Angeles in 1969. But the Park house in Parasite was built from scratch on a sound stage, and is an incredible feat of design that would also be deserving of recognition. I’m going with the former, though.

Winner: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Best Sound Editing:

Ford v Ferrari

Joker

1917

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Prediction: 1917.

Winner: Ford v Ferrari.

Best Sound Mixing:

Ad Astra

Ford v Ferrari

Joker

1917

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Prediction: 1917.

Winner: 1917.

Best Visual Effects:

Avengers: Endgame

The Irishman

The Lion King

1917

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Prediction: 1917. This race is down to the digital de-aging of The Irishman and 1917. But I’m guessing 1917 will be victorious for its heavy use of practical effects, made all the more impressive by the single-take presentation.

Winner: 1917.

Best Documentary (Short Subject):

In the Absence

Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl)

Life Overtakes Me

St. Louis Superman

Walk Run Cha-Cha

Prediction: Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl).

Winner: Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl)..

Best Short Film (Animated):

Daughter

Hair Love

Kitbull

Memorable

Sister

Prediction: Kitbull. I’m giving this sweet and adorable Pixar short, made as part of their artistically experimental SparkShorts program and available on Disney+, the advantage here, but this is really a tight three-way race. It could just as easily go to the delightful and touching Hair Love, or the heartbreaking Memorable, which features incredibly unique stop motion animation to explore the experience of living with dementia. While Memorable is probably my personal favourite, any one of these three could take it, and Kitbull seems like a safe bet.

Winner: Hair Love.

Best Short Film (Live Action):

Brotherhood

Nefta Football Club

The Neighbors’ Window

Saria

A Sister

Prediction: Nefta Football Club.

Winner: The Neighbors’ Window.

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