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Home / Hollywood / Who’ll get to thank the Academy? Oscar predictions for 2020

Who’ll get to thank the Academy? Oscar predictions for 2020

Sam Mendes will likely win Best Director for 1917; Bong Joon-ho, Best International Film for Parasite; and Brad Pitt could finally win as an actor.

hollywood Updated: Jan 18, 2020 19:14 IST
Rohan Naahar
Rohan Naahar
Hindustan Times
Roger Deakins will likely win for cinematography. He and Mendes have collaborated to stunning effect, making it seem like all of 1917 was filmed in a single take.
Roger Deakins will likely win for cinematography. He and Mendes have collaborated to stunning effect, making it seem like all of 1917 was filmed in a single take.

A year after successfully testing the waters with Roma, Netflix leads a two-horse race at this year’s Oscars. The streamer will likely compete with itself at Hollywood’s biggest awards show, with Noah Baumbach’s relationship drama Marriage Story going head-to-head with Martin Scorsese’s crime epic, The Irishman.

A Best Picture win for either will cement Netflix’s position as one of Hollywood’s most formidable movie studios, at a time when traditional outfits such as Paramount and 20th Century Fox are struggling to keep pace with changing formats and distribution models.

The Oscars in recent years have, however, displayed a tendency to surprise cinephiles by crowning unexpected champions. At the 2011 ceremony, The King’s Speech defeated The Social Network, and last year, Green Book became the most shocking Best Picture winner since perhaps Crash in 2006. 

And who can forget La La Land’s three minutes of success at the 2017 Oscars, when it was mistakenly announced as the big winner instead of the far more low-key Moonlight.

In recent weeks, a dark horse has emerged in this year’s Oscars race. Sam Mendes’s war drama, 1917, will not only pose a stiff challenge to The Irishman and Marriage Story, but also to the fans’ favourite, Avengers: Endgame, in the technical categories such as editing, cinematography, and sound.

Don’t be surprised if Mendes repeats his Golden Globe victory and snatches the Best Director Oscar from under Scorsese or Parasite filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s nose. Director Bong, as he is affectionately known, will, most likely, win the inaugural Best International Film Oscar, for his biting South Korean satire. 

The great Roger Deakins, meanwhile, after waiting decades to win an Oscar — he finally won in 2018, for Blade Runner 2049, after being nominated and going home empty-handed a total of 14 times over 26 years — will likely win his second cinematography Academy Award this year. Much has been written about Deakins’s innovative techniques to achieve the single-shot effect for 1917. The film has been cleverly stitched together from dozens of elaborately designed shots, to give the impression of being filmed in a single, unbroken take.

But all is not lost for comic book movies this year. Representing populist filmmaking at the 2020 Oscars is Todd Phillips’s Joker. Which is ironic, because Phillips has often expressed his disdain for movies based on comic books.

Besides being a favourite to win for Best Original Score, Joker star Joaquin Phoenix is a frontrunner for Best Actor. Provided Phoenix toes the line in the coming weeks, while voting is underway, he will win, following in the late Heath Ledger’s footsteps and becoming the second actor to receive an Oscar for playing the iconic Batman villain. 

He will also have edged out the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Adam Driver (Marriage Story), in one of the hottest Best Actor races in recent memory.

The Best Supporting Actor race seems to have also settled on a favourite: Brad Pitt will likely win his second Oscar (but his first for acting), for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, edging out Joe Pesci (The Irishman). Pitt’s first Oscar, incidentally, was for producing 12 Years a Slave, in 2014. 

The Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories seem to be more open-ended than usual this year, with Renee Zellweger’s comeback performance in the Judy Garland biopic Judy making for an interesting narrative. Laura Dern, meanwhile, looks like a favourite in the supporting actress category, for her performance in Marriage Story.

And as likely as Tarantino is to pick up his third writing Oscar (the Best Director trophy still eludes him, much to his irritation), it would be wonderful, and well deserved, if Rian Johnson were to receive some love for Knives Out.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held on February 9 in the US, and telecast live on Star Movies and Hotstar, starting at 6.30 am IST on February 10.