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Fearless Oscar Picks

Hope Madden Hope Madden Fearless Oscar PicksPhoto via IMDb
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by Hope Madden and George Wolf

It fills us with glee to look back on a year brimming with so many great movies. Original movies, even! Jojo Rabbit—that was unique. The Farewell, Marriage Story, Knives Out, The Lighthouse, Parasite, The Souvenir, Uncut Gems, Us, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The Last Black Man in San Francisco—it’s a long list, and not all of the entries made it as far as an Oscar nomination. (Unfortunate!) But they did make for a fascinating year.

We have only a handful of complaints about this year’s batch of nominees, but we really want to point out how impressed we are with the animation nominees: two excellent blockbusters (Toy Story 4 and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World) plus three outstanding and entirely underseen animated gems (Missing Link, I Lost My Body, Klaus). Whenever the Academy leads people to find great films they might have missed, they’re doing their job.

On the whole, we expect the 2020 awards to be somewhat predictable. Luckily, on the whole, we also think the awards will go where they should.

Our picks for Oscar 2020:

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

We begin with the one category that feels undecided. While we are semi-confident in our picks, we also think Jojo Rabbit could hop away with gold.

Should Win: Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Will Win: Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Best Original Screenplay

  • Rian Johnson, Knives Out
  • Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
  • Sam Mendes, 1917
  • Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Should Win: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Will Win: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Best Supporting Actress

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

Although it would not break our hearts to see Scarlett Johansson win this one for her tender, lovely turn as mom to the cutest little Nazi ever…

Should Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Will Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

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

Should Win: Joe Pesci, playing against type and delivering a quietly powerful turn that’s the heartbeat of Scorsese’s film.

Will Win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. Good news – another top-notch acceptance speech!

Because we want to make you wait for it, and because you might need some help with other buckets in your poll…

Best Documentary

  • American Factory, Julia Riechert & Steve Bognar
  • The Cave, Feras Fayyad
  • The Edge of Democracy, Petra Casta
  • For Sama, Waad al-Kateab
  • Honeyland, Ljubo Stevanov

Here’s a fantastic category. Make it your mission to see each one of these films.

Should Win: Honeyland

Will Win: In a rare split decision, Hope predicts Honeyland; George predicts American Factory.

Best International Feature

  • Corpus Cristi (Poland)
  • Honeyland (North Macedonia)
  • Les Miserables (France)
  • Pain and Glory (Spain)
  • Parasite (South Korea)

Should Win: Parasite

Will Win: Parasite

Best Animated Feature

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

Should Win: Toy Story 4

Will Win: Toy Story 4, but really, we all win with this group of movies. But Toy Story 4 better win.

Best Cinematography

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

Should Win: Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse

Will Win: Roger Deakins, 1917

Best Original Song

  • “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” (Toy Story 4) — Randy Newman
  • “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Rocketman) — Elton John & Bernie Taupin
  • “I’m Standing With You” (Breakthrough) — Diane Warren
  • “Into the Unknown” (Frozen 2) — Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez
  • “Stand Up” (Harriet) — Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo

Should Win: Elton & Bernie

Will Win: John & Taupin

OK, on to what you’re here for.

Best Actress

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

Should Win: Renee Zellweger, Judy

Will Win: Renee Zellweger, Judy

 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

Should Win: We would not weep to see Adam Driver take this one home, but he won’t and we’re not that upset because Joaquin Phoenix was astonishing.

Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Best Director

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

Should Win: Bong Joon Ho makes a great case with his nearly perfect film.

Will Win: Sam Mendes, 1917

Best Picture

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

Should: Parasite

Will: 1917

The 92nd annual Academy Awards will be held this Sunday, February 9, and air live on ABC.

Read more from Hope and George at MADDWOLF and listen to their weekly movie review podcast, THE SCREENING ROOM.

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