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I kind of hope Al gets it.

Prediction 
2020 Oscars

So many of this year’s Oscar winners seem a sure thing – certainly in the major categories – that I was in two minds whether to offer any predictions. But there’s always chance of a wild card with the Best Picture these days, given the preferential voting system, even if it does seem that 1917 has that one sewn up; it’s far from my favourite, but it does represent a nice, safe “what-do-you-expect-from-the-Oscars-anyway?” pick. I wasn’t blown away by any of the year’s nominees, with the caveat that I haven’t had a chance to see Parasite yet (and sacrilegious as it may be, I’m not totally sold on Bong Joon-ho’s oeuvre, so while it seems to be most “discerning” viewers’ choice, it will still have to convince me it’s worthy of the hype).

I doubt the ceremony itself will be anything other than a miserable bore, with any chance of an MC in the future seemingly having been permanently nixed by the Academy’s fear of a Twitter-fuelled exposé of things potentials may have said or done in the past. Some say they prefer the show without, but any chance for even a few barbs hurled at the attendees have got to be worth the effort involved in prising someone out of the woodwork, even if they bomb. I don’t especially warm to Ricky Gervais, but there’s no doubt got some zingers in at the Golden Globes. Ah, well…

(The post quote comes from Joe Pesci regarding the 1990 Best Supporting Actor nominees (rather than having someone whacked). He probably feels the same this year.)

Best Picture
Winner: 1917
I’d like to win: Ford v Ferrari
The Interesting Choice: Joker

In some ways, Parasite would be the interesting choice (the first non-English-language winner), but Joker would ruffle feathers, and that would at least be interesting. I might have said Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but Quentin would be insufferable if he won. Yes, I picked Ford v Ferrari, probably the safest movie on the list (well, Little Women), but rather than suggesting its greatness, I’d stress that all the others were simply more uneven (with the above Parasite caveat).

Best Director
Winner: Sam Mendes (1917)
I’d like to win: Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
The Interesting Choice: Todd Phillips (Joker)

Again, a Joker win here would be an upset, so that would be a bonus. Mendes is such a yawn choice, it would be tantamount to giving it to Scorsese. Bong Joon-ho wouldn’t be such a surprise – if Mendes doesn’t get it, he surely will – particularly as it’s hardly setting a precedent after Cuarón’s win last year. Tarantino would be my pick, just because Hollywood’s flaws are not in this category.

Best Actor
Winner: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
I’d like to win: Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
The Interesting Choice: Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)

Even Phoenix has started behaving himself with an Oscar in his sights, and his is just the kind of showy performance the Academy laps up. DiCaprio was more fun to watch, though, Driver ever dependable and Pryce very good, but better than the movie he was in. Banderas would be the interesting choice, but no chance.

Best Actress
Winner: Renee Zellweger (Judy)
I’d like to win: Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)
The Interesting Choice: Charlize Theron (Bombshell)

Zellweger’s had this sewn up forever. Ronan was the best thing by far about Little Women, but Theron winning for Bombshell would be interesting, just from the perspective of who she’s playing.

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
I’d like to win: Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
The Interesting Choice: Joe Pesci (The Irishman)

This is done and dusted, and deserved (as far as the nominees are concerned). Still, it would be interesting to give it to Pesci for the tonal inversion of his previous gangster Oscar winner.

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
I’d like to win: Florence Pugh (Little Women)
The Interesting Choice: Florence Pugh (Little Women)

Dern’s got this and… yeah, she was good in Marriage Story. But Pugh was the second best thing by far about Little Women, and it’s a category that often rewards up and comers. Johansson was simply not very good in Jojo Rabbit, while Robbie’s character in Bombshell was a bit undercooked.

Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Parasite
I’d like to win: Marriage Story 
Interesting Choice: 1917

Parasite is no foregone conclusion in this category – Quentin might well snag it – but it has to be vying for the win. My pick of Marriage Story is really by default, as I had issues with it, but bigger ones with the screenplays for both Knives Out and Hollywood. 1917 would be interesting only because it didn’t deserve to be within a sniff of a nomination.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Little Women
I’d like to win: Little Women
Interesting Choice: Jojo Rabbit

If Little Women doesn’t win, it’ll surely be Jojo Rabbit, for some – ahem – hare-brained reason best known only to Academy members. Like Original Screenplay, I’d pick Little Women by default; all the nominees have their issues, but Gerwig’s screenplay, even if the shuffled chronology isn’t wholly successful, probably has less of them. Still, Jojo Rabbit would probably be the most interesting win because it would surely provoke a few discussions of how Waititi threw the book away.

Best Animated Feature
Winner: Klaus
I’d like to win: Klaus
Interesting Choice: I Lost My Body

Klaus is a future Christmas classic (or even an instant one), and a beautiful revisit to the all-but lost realm of hand-drawn Hollywood animation; it fully deserves to win. But J’ai perdu mon corps (which had some hand-drawn) would be a distinctive, if more unlikely a choice. Neither of the sequels on the list deserve to be there.

Best International Feature
Winner: Parasite
Interesting Choice: Honeyland

Parasite is obviously going to win this. But as a doc, Honeyland would be interesting (and as a doc, like Parasite, it’s dual-nominated as a best picture).

Best Cinematography
Winner: 1917
I’d like to win: The Lighthouse
Interesting Choice: The Lighthouse

I can’t argue that Roger Deakins’ 1917 cinematography isn’t superlative, but it does rather add to the feeling that this is a too stylised, punches-pulled depiction of WWI. Jarin Blaschke’s work on The Lighthouse makes him the outsider, but the laudable achievement is just getting noticed.

Best Production Design
Winner: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
I’d like to win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Interesting Choice: Parasite

Parasite might win this one (it shouldn’t be counted out for anything, really), and 1917 might well get a look (it took the BAFTA) but Hollywood will surely go home with a couple. Won’t it?

Best Costume Design
Winner: Little Women
I’d like to win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Interesting Choice: Joker

Costume Design loves its period piece, and the more period the better. I suspect this is Little Women’s to lose.

Best Make Up and Hairstyling
Winner: Bombshell
I’d like to win: Joker
Interesting Choice: Joker

Bombshell really can’t win for making Kidman look like that, surely? On the other hand, there’s Lithgow’s fat suit. Joker would be interesting, for judiciously sloppily applied clown face.

Best Film Editing
Winner: Parasite
I’d like to win: Ford v Ferrari
Interesting Choice: The Irishman

Ford v Ferrari probably deserves this, but I can see Parasite taking it. The Irishman would be interesting, just for “It was edited?” responses.

Best Sound Editing
Winner: Ford v Ferrari
I’d like to win: Ford v Ferrari
Interesting Choice: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

No way does Rise of the Skywalker win an Oscar, but it would be interesting (kind of) if it did. Ford v Ferrari’s to lose, probably to 1917 if it does.

Best Sound Mixing
Winner: Ford v Ferrari
I’d like to win: Ford v Ferrari
Interesting Choice: Ad Astra

See Sound Editing above but substitute Star Wars for Ad Astra.

Best Visual Effects
Winner: 1917
I’d like to win: 1917
Interesting Choice: The Irishman

The Irishman would be an interesting win, an impertinent one even, because the de-aging is dreadful. The Lion King is technically probably the most proficient in the running, but as with Avengers: Endgame, there’s a feeling we’ve seen it all before.

Best Original Score
Winner: Joker
I’d like to win: Joker
Interesting Choice: Joker

Everything else in the running is working for maximum emotive response, aside from John Williams, delivering perhaps the least memorable Star Wars score ever (which is saying something with this recent trilogy).

Best Original Song
Winner: Rocketman
I’d like to win: Anything but Randy Newman
The Interesting Choice: I’m not sure there is one

Elton’s (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again will surely take this.

Best Documentary Feature
Winner: Honeyland

It looks as if American Factory and Honeyland are vying for this award, followed by Petra Costa’s personal look at the recent political history of Brazil. The inevitable Syria docs take up the remaining spots.

Best Documentary Short
Winner: St Louis Superman

Learning to Skate in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) is the kind of title you give to a short if you don’t expect Academy members to actually watch it before voting (so it will likely win).

Best Animated Short
Winner: Kitbull
I’d like to win: Kitbull

Hair Love seems to be a favourite for this, which I could see, I guess, but Pixar hasn’t won in a while, and theirs is a cute little tale. Dcera has won lots of awards but is probably a little too aesthetically alienating.

Best Live Action Short
Winner: Nefta Football Club

Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

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