26 January 2020

92nd Annual Oscar Predictions - the BEST AROUND

Welcome, folks to our rundown for the 92nd Annual Academy Awards predictions, and that's AAA for a reason! Three A's for three assholes, that's what this site does.

We are two weeks out from Hollywood's big night, and as you know, Norwegian Morning Wood rarely fails at predicting categories correctly. After literally a whole afternoon of looking up what Parasite was about, we're ready to make some bold predictions. As usual, here is how we have performed since this site's inception:

2010: 12/24
2011: 14/24
2012: 16/24
2013: 14/24
2014: 20/24
2015: 13/24
2016: 14/24
2017: 13/24
2018: 16/24
2019: 13/24

Long-term Average: 14.5.

That's right. Shoot for that 14 mark! Can we do it this year?! That answer is obviously yes. We are going for 25/24 this year. What the hell are these "short" categories?

Best Picture:

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Parasite

Okay, starting right off the bat. I actually haven't gotten this category right since 2014 (thank you, 12 Years a Slave [2013]). To be fair, I did predict La La Land (2016)... So, whatever I predict here you should probably go somewhere else. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, Parasite, 1917, and Joker all seem to be frontrunners. Joker really only because it's somehow the highest grosser this year and has the most nominations. Parasite could become the first non-English-language film to win, which would be an incredible feat, but I don't necessarily think it will pull that off. It's fantastic but still not really widely seen enough. It does feel like this is a good opportunity to finally give the award to Tarantino, and Hollywood does like movies about Hollywood. Of course...La La Land.

There isn't a film right now that feels like the timing is breaking better than 1917, though. It just got into wide release, is dominating a lot of conversation, and more importantly, a lot of precursor awards (DGA, PGA, Globes). It doesn't seem to be convincing the powerful acting branch, but the SAG went to Parasite, so who knows now? But that also feels like a slight against OUATIH, so maybe 1917 will pick up the pieces? It does seem like the least divisive film in a year and era otherwise full of them. Maybe it's the bland compromise we need? But it's also still pretty good. I'm going to go with it, but in doing so, strongly think this suddenly becomes Tarantino's year.

Official Prediction: 1917

Lead 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

It seems like this is between Joaquin and Adam, and I'd prefer the latter, even though the former is one of my favourite actors of all time. This would be the second time an actor won an Oscar for playing the same character (see Brando - de Niro for time-traveling Godfather characters), but is this the same as Heath Ledger's Joker? What is it about this joker who attracts such compelling performances and interest? White male rage? That's probably right. We've had locks like this go awry before, but Joaquin is the safe bet. Jared Leo was robbed, not a single nomination for Suicide Squad (2016).

Official Prediction: Joaquin Phoenix

Lead Actress:

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

I remember seeing previews for Judy and thinking, "Why isn't this movie more of a bigger deal?" It's as if no one cared about what should have been a big biopic, right? But the tide just seems to be swimming in that direction. Bombshell wasn't quite the bombshell it wanted to be, and Little Women was lauded, but Saoirse isn't the breakout star or anything. Julia Roberts got robbed for not being in Harriet, and Scarlett Johansson doesn't seem to have the momentum from Marriage Story, although she probably deserves it. There's actually a chance she could upset here. Her dual nominations are a good sign and she's the current most popular actress from this list. I'm working myself up. The safe bet is Zellweger for some reason. Doesn't that feel off?! Should I take the hit here? We should probably go with the Academy's strong desire to award biopics and traditional stars. Fine.

Official Prediction: Renee Zellweger

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

This is finally Brad Pitt's time to shine! Even though he has Oscars for producing. Who cares, this is it! This category everyone can get behind. Gotta give it to the youngest nominee here (at age 55), and the best part of a film that I otherwise didn't actually like. He's also the only one who doesn't already have a statue for acting. No objections here.

Official Prediction: Brad Pitt

Supporting Actress:

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

This is also a well-deserved pretty much guaranteed win for Laura Dern, who most people remember for Jurassic Park, but has also been in every movie ever made since then. No one has a bad word for Laura Dern and it's the best that Marriage Story is going to get, which is a very 70s movie that came out and people need a way to care about.

Official Prediction: Laura Dern

Director:

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Phillips, Joker
Sam Mendes, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Lately this category has moved away from being synonymous with Best Picture and instead served as a way to split up the wealth, especially as these ceremonies have been pretty close calls. This year is no different, so I might think that this goes to whoever is not winning Best Picture. I thought that might be 1917, so this ought to go to Joon Ho or Tarantino. People seem to want Joon Ho, and he has a career that deserves to be anointed, but are Americans really paying attention to it? Tarantino has somehow only ever won awards for writing. Do we go with trends or what's deserved? I think he breaks the mold here.

Official Prediction: Tarantino

Animated Feature:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois
I Lost My Body, Jeremy Clapin
Klaus, Sergio Pablos
Missing Link, Chris Butler
Toy Story 4,  Josh Cooley

Folks seem to think Toy Story 4, but it didn't do great at either the globes nor the Annies, and just seems like a Pixar default. They seem to stumble with this, especially after Toy Story 3 (2010) was such a natural end point. I'm just bitter. I Lost My Body actually sounds awesome, but I'm going with the Globes Winner, Missing Link. Klaus is just too-holiday specific.

Official Prediction: Missing Link

Animated Short:

“Dcera”, Daria Kashcheeva
“Hair Love”, Matthew A. Cherry
“Kitbull”, Rosana Sullivan
“Memorable”, Bruno Collet
“Sister”, Siqi Song

Ugh, who the hell knows. After reading some synopses it seems like "Hair Love" or "Sister" by what I keep reading as Sisqo Song are in the running. Let's go with "Hair Love" because it seems a little cuter, more accessible, and more American. Good enough. I think this is the first time I've ever tried doing five minutes of research instead of just picking the funniest title.

Official Prediction: "Hair Love"

Adapted Screenplay:

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

This could go many ways. Little Women seems like it has some momentum, but is it weird to say that I literally don't trust the Academy to give this to a woman? It would be nice to honor Greta Gerwig after snubbing her from Best Director. Zaillian would be my first choice with his Oscar history and because otherwise a pretty widely liked film goes home empty handed. It's easy to rationalize anything here. I'm leaning towards the Irish.

Official Prediction: The Irishman

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, Jin Won Han

This should probably go to Rian Johnson, but it seems like it's Tarantino's third screenplay Oscar to lose. The Academy is so weird with him. They keep throwing him writing awards and tons of Supporting Actor awards, they must like him, but tend not to give him the big Best Picture nod. I might be convincing myself that he's going to win it all. Maybe he wins BP and this goes to Parasite. Using our best logic, though, QT wins here on his way to a pretty good night.

Official Prediction: OUATIH

Cinematography:

The Irishman, Rodrigo Prieto
Joker, Lawrence Sher
The Lighthouse, Jarin Blaschke
1917, Roger Deakins
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, Robert Richardson

If there were justice at all, this would go to The Lighthouse, which is the most beautiful, horrific, simple, and natural of any film this year. I keep forgetting that Roger Deakins doesn't have like 15 Oscars because he keeps being nominated and never wins. UNTIL Blade Runner 2049 (2017) in 2018. That makes him 1/14. And I thought my Oscar Predictions were bad! He's for sure the biggest name here, and without cushy acting nods, if 1917 is going to do it all, it seems like it'll do it in the technical categories. That starts here.

Official Prediction: 1917

Best Documentary Feature:

American Factory, Julia Rieichert, Steven Bognar
The Cave, Feras Fayyad
The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa
For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov

Each of these definitely have an appeal. American Factory looked like the most interesting synopsis to me, and it seems like that's where other folks are landing in their predictions as well. You know that's good enough. It's on Netflix. It might be one that I actually watch, it legit sounded fascinating and timely and political. That's how these wins happen.

Official Prediction: American Factory

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“In the Absence,” Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone,” Carol Dysinger
“Life Overtakes Me,” Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas
“St. Louis Superman,” Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
“Walk Run Cha-Cha,” Laura Nix

Haha, oh, whatever. “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone" is about Afghani skateboard girls, which is all kinds of awesome. "St. Louis Superman" is about a Black State Representative from St. Louis standing up for his community. Those two stand out to me, the former a little more for its novelty and intriguing perspective.

Official Prediction: “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone"

Best Live Action Short Film:

“Brotherhood,” Meryam Joobeur
“Nefta Football Club,” Yves Piat
“The Neighbors’ Window,” Marshall Curry
“Saria,” Bryan Buckley
“A Sister,” Delphine Girard

Damn you, shorts. I actually just spent some time watching these because they're relatively accessible. "Brotherhood" seems to be leading? But it's totally boring. Same with "A Sister." Brothers, sisters, they are not it. "The Neighbors' Window" is definitely trying the hardest and has a nice little message, but feels cliche. "Saria" probably looks the best, but lost me pretty soon after the initial tracking shot. I really dug "Nefta Football Club," which is funny, clever, and ironic without ever being really deep. Let's do it.

Official Prediction: "Nefta Football Club"

Best International Feature Film:

Corpus Christi, Jan Komasa
Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov
Les Miserables, Ladj Ly
Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodovar
Parasite, Bong Joon Ho

This is a no brainer, right? Although nice mix of other films up for Best Documentary (Honeyland), and a notable film that gave us a nomination for Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory).

Official Prediction: Parasite

Film Editing:

Ford v Ferrari, Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland
The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker
Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles
Joker, Jeff Groth
Parasite, Jinmo Yang

So, take out the first three, which don't really have momentum and we're left with Joker and Parasite, which the latter is a little buzzier and will probably lose out on some other juicy categories. Done.

Official PredictionParasite

Sound Editing:

Ford v Ferrari, Don Sylvester
Joker, Alan Robert Murray
1917, Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, Wylie Stateman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Matthew Wood, David Acord

It seems like we're leaning towards 1917 in this. It definitely fits into that American Sniper (2014), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Dunkirk (2017) mode of things.

Official Prediction: 1917

Sound Mixing:

Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari
Joker
1917
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

The only time in the past ten years when a movie didn't win both sound categories where a film was nominated for both categories was Hacksaw Ridge (2016). It seems like to have the same result here.

Official Prediction1917

Production Design:

The Irishman, Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
Jojo Rabbit, Ra Vincent and Nora Sopkova
1917, Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh
Parasite, Lee Ha-Jun and Cho Won Woo, Han Ga Ram, and Cho Hee

This just seems like it's OUATIH's to lose. The production design here was so subtle - a world meticulous crafted to not only look immaculately like the 1960s, but actually a version just so slightly different. There are so many backgrounds, posters, accentuated details, that it actually really earns this. We are going for a big night for Tarantino, so here's another.

Official Prediction: OUATIH

Original Score:

Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir
Little Women, Alexandre Desplat
Marriage Story, Randy Newman
1917, Thomas Newman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

There is some thought that John Williams could be honored again, after all, how many more chances might he have?! He does have five wins. Hildur may be the most buzzy, but there are some big names here that are more deserving with long careers and many nominations despite few wins, such as Tom Newman and Alex Desplat. Desplat just won for Shape of Water (2017) and Newman has been here four times in the past decade, always empty-handed. I'm putting a lot of eggs in the 1917 basket, but here we go. Everything will probably go to Joker.

Official Prediciton: 1917

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

None of these are crazy frontrunners (can you imagine that when "Let It Go" was out?!) but it seems like the song invented for Rocketman is going to do it. That was a relatively well-liked film that hasn't seen much here, and certainly the biggest stars behind it. If we count Elton John, that is.

Official Prediction: Rocketman

Makeup and Hair:

Bombshell
Joker
Judy
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
1917

Charlize Theron was uncannily Megyn Kelly. It also has the edge here. Maybe Joker for its distinctive, iconic look, but didn't we get that with The Dark Knight (2008)? NO! We actually got it with Suicide Squad! The last few years have gone towards recreating real-life people, and that makes sense here. More folks were attracted to Bombshell for its real person make-up achievements than Judy.

Official Prediction: Bombshell

Costume Design:

The Irishman, Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson
Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
Joker, Mark Bridges
Little Women, Jacqueline Durran
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, Arianne Phillips

At one point I might have thought this a lock for Little Women, but there have been some outlier wins like Black Panther (2018) and Mad Max: Fury Road lately. This seems to be between Little Women and OUATIH, and considering that the latter seems a lock for production design, maybe Little Women does win here? Seems to fit the bill of period costuming. But the looks of OUATIH were so distinctive and popped! I'm going with it, because like production design, that was actually something I really noted watching that film.

Official Prediction: OUATIH

Visual Effects:

Avengers Endgame
The Irishman
1917
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


Some consolation for the biggest movie of all time, right?

Official Prediction: Endgame.

I have a lot of 1917, OUATIH, and Parasite. These seem to be the big films right now that people are rallying behind. In an odd turn of events, Joker and Little Women might square off against each other, though! Could we get more polar opposites in production and fan base? I have a sneaking feeling that Mendes will get Best Director and Tarantino will get Best Picture. Probably.

You heard it here first, folks! This will all come true on Oscar night in a fortnight's time! Stay tuned, true believers!

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