Final 92nd Academy Awards Predictions: Winners – Special Features #61

It’s time. This awards season has been rather short. This has been both been a good and a bad thing, though Film Twitter seems convinced that it’s only been a bad thing. Sure, AMPAS’ predictions were somewhat disappointing, and, frustratingly, many of the upcoming winners seem obvious at this point. It almost feels like only a little bit more than a handful of categories are competitive going into the big night. Today, I’m giving my final predictions for the big Oscar night — the Super Bowl for the film community.


Best Visual Effects

  • Will Win: 1917.
  • Could Win: Avengers: Endgame; The Irishman.

We start off with an award that is a little bit difficult to predict. The Critics’ Choice Awards gave its award to Avengers: Endgame, the Visual Effects Society went with The Lion King, but the BAFTAs gave the award to 1917. This is one of the more difficult categories to predict. I even think The Irishman could appeal to older voters who just want to honor Scorsese’s film in some way, shape, or form. Well, I think one of the obvious Oscar prediction tips this year is ‘when in doubt, go with 1917.


Best Film Editing

  • Will Win: Parasite.
  • Could Win: Ford v Ferrari.

Best Film Editing is a category that sometimes predicts the Best Picture winner. Therefore this is not an easy award to predict. The Critics’ Choice Awards went with 1917, but it was not celebrated by the BAFTAs, which went with Ford v Ferrari, or the American Cinema Editors who went with Parasite and Jojo Rabbit. In fact, 1917 wasn’t even nominated for the Oscar. Therefore we are left with three films that are all also nominated for Best Picture. Of those films, Parasite has the best chance to win, so I’m going with Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece here. However, I do think it would be nice to see The Irishman win this award, if Parasite doesn’t win. Call me a Schoonmaker-fanboy if you must, but I’d just love for her to win again.


Best Costume Design

  • Will Win: Little Women.
  • Could Win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Somehow Dolemite Is My Name wasn’t nominated here. I’m still upset about that snub. I don’t think AMPAS will award the film that recreated Nazi-uniforms (Jojo Rabbit), and I don’t think Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has enough precursor support to win here. I’m sticking with the BAFTAs’ selection, which was Little Women. As a final side-note, I want to add that I think it is absurd that Joker was nominated here. If it wins, I will be stunned.


Best Make-Up and Hairstyling

  • Will Win: Bombshell.
  • Could Win: Joker / 1917.

Critics’ Choice Awards and the BAFTAs went with Bombshell in their make-up category, so it is obviously the frontrunner here. I think that 1917‘s use of make-up is very underrated, and Joker has the main character covered in make-up so those films are probably next in line.


Best Cinematography

  • Will Win/Should Win: 1917.
  • Could Win: The Lighthouse.

The Critics’ Choice Awards, BAFTAs, and American Society of Cinematographers all agree: Roger Deakins and 1917 is going to win here, and rightfully so. I’m not going to argue with that.


Best Production Design

  • Will Win: Parasite.
  • Could Win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; 1917.

This might be one of the most difficult categories to predict. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has support with the Critics’ Choice Awards and the Art Directors Guild, whereas 1917 has support with BAFTA. The Art Directors Guild also supports Parasite. So it will be one of those three films, and, frankly, I think all three films deserve to win here. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and 1917 made some breathtaking recreations, whereas Parasite‘s production creations are honestly shockingly good. I think I’m going to go with Parasite here, but the other two films make as much, if not more, sense as Parasite here.


Best Sound Mixing / Best Sound Editing

  • Will Win: 1917.
  • Could Win: Ford v Ferrari.

Although these awards celebrate two different things, the nominees and winners have a tendency to overlap. I think this is one of those years where we get the same winner in both categories. I just think that this year’s big Oscar-frontrunner makes a lot of sense here. 1917 is a war film and those films tend to do well in these categories.


Best Original Song

  • Will Win/Should Win: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman.
  • Could Win: “Stand Up,” Harriet.

This is the Academy’s opportunity to give a golden statuette to Elton John and Bernie Taupin, like the Critics’ Choice Awards and Golden Globes did, and I don’t think they’ll want to miss that chance.


Best Original Score

  • Will Win: Joker.
  • Could Win: 1917.

Joker is the frontrunner to win, and I will be surprised if it does not manage to win. It has already received awards from the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, and the Critics’ Choice Awards, so it is the easy frontrunner for the award. I still think 1917, the big Best Picture-frontrunner, could snap up the award, but it will be difficult if the stats are to be believed.


Best Animated Feature

  • Will Win: Klaus.
  • Could Win/Should Win: Toy Story 4.

Somehow, with wins at the Annie Awards and the BAFTAs, Klaus has become the frontrunner for this award. So the Academy has a legitimate frontrunner to select if they don’t want to give the award to a sequel. I like the film a lot (so I won’t be heartbroken if it wins). But I loved Toy Story 4, so I am hoping that it gets the coveted golden statuette.


Best Live-Action Short / Documentary Short / Animated Short

  • Best Live-Action Short: The Neighbors’ Window.
  • Best Documentary Short: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl).
  • Best Animated Short: Hair Love.

I don’t usually get a chance to watch these short films. So these categories are usually shots in the dark. Sometimes I make an attempt to watch all of the animated films. But I have only seen Hair Love this year (and I did love that short).


Best Documentary Feature

  • Will Win/Should Win: American Factory.
  • Could Win: For Sama.

I’m still a little bit shocked that Apollo 11, my favorite documentary of 2019, wasn’t nominated for this category. But it appears that its use of archival footage and nothing else did not sit right with the documentary branch of the Academy. With it out of contention, I think the safe bet here is to go with American Factory, which the Obamas’ production company helped make, because a vote for that film is a vote for the Obamas. American Factory also won the DGA award, so it has some industry support. If it doesn’t win, then I think For Sama is the best bet, as it has won the BAFTA award for documentary.


Best International Feature Film

  • Will Win/Should Win: Parasite.
  • Could Win: Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria).

If the best film of 2019, Parasite, somehow loses this category I will be shocked and extremely frustrated. BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and the Golden Globes all agreed that it was the best foreign-language film, and it is the one foreign-language film that had enough passion behind it to earn a Best Picture-nomination. This should be the easiest category to predict.


Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Will Win: Jojo Rabbit.
  • Could Win: Little Women.

Though I don’t think either of these films has that big of a chance to win the night’s biggest award, the Best Adapted Screenplay award will likely go to either Jojo Rabbit, which is supported by the Writers Guild of America and the BAFTAs, or Little Women, which is supported by the Critics’ Choice Awards and the USC Scripter-award. As the industry seems to be behind Taika Waititi’s satire that is the film I’m predicting to win here.


Best Original Screenplay

  • Will Win: Parasite.
  • Could Win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

This is definitely a battle between Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is supported by the Critics’ Choice Awards and Golden Globes, and Parasite, which is supported by the Writers Guild of America and the BAFTAs. The industry support, based on these precursors, seems to be behind Parasite, so that is the film I’m predicting to win this coveted award.


Best Supporting Actress

  • Will Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story.
  • Could Win: Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit.

This year, the acting categories are not really up for grabs. They seem to have all been pretty much decided beforehand. Laura Dern has already won this award at the BAFTAs, the SAGs, and the Golden Globes. Dern is going to win the Oscar here.


Best Supporting Actor

  • Will Win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
  • Could Win: Joe Pesci / Al Pacino, The Irishman.

It is frustrating to me that The Irishman will probably go home empty-handed (hopefully some category will surprisingly go to Scorsese’s film), but it is tough to argue with Brad Pitt here. I simply loved his performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which, like Dern’s performance, has industry-wide support.


Best Actress

  • Will Win: Renee Zellweger, Judy.
  • Could Win: Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story.

I still think Renee Zellweger’s performance in Judy is a little bit overrated, but the Academy won’t care what I think. Scarlett Johansson could surprise everyone and win here, but don’t bet on it.


Best Actor

  • Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker.
  • Could Win: Adam Driver, Marriage Story.

I really wish Adam Driver had won one of the major awards for his outstanding performance in Marriage Story, but Joaquin Phoenix has swept the major awards this season. Phoenix will win here. It almost feels like he has already won the award, doesn’t it?


Best Director

  • Will Win: Sam Mendes, 1917.
  • Could Win: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite.

This is another award that almost feels like it has been handed out prior to the actual awards. The Golden Globes, DGAs, and BAFTAs all agreed. Sam Mendes is going to win here.


Best Picture

To figure out what to predict in the biggest category of the night — which is decided on the so-called preferential ballot — I did the thought experiment that I always enjoy reading about every year. Though I am sure other people do it just like him, I am taking inspiration from Daniel Joyaux, an industry journalist, who has done this for a couple of years now. Joyaux makes an educated guess about the support for each film, and then eliminates films, like AMPAS does, with the least amount of support (and reallocates these ballots) until he has found a winner with more than 50% support, which would make a film the winner of the Best Picture.

The preferential ballot forces Oscar voters to rank the Best Picture-nominees, so that if your favorite film has very little support, then your ballot isn’t worthless. Maybe your second or third-favorite film is one of the films ultimately competing for the most important golden statuette. In theory, your limited ‘support’ could move the needle just enough for it to win instead of a film you put last at #9.

First, we have to make an estimated guess as to how much support each film has. Make sure to remember that we have nine films nominated for Best Picture, that the support percentages must add up to 100% (obviously), and, since every one of these has been nominated, there must be some level of support behind each and every film.

My estimated guess as to the support percentages for each film after the initial round looks like this:

  1. 1917: 19%
  2. Parasite: 16%
  3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: 14%
  4. Joker: 12%
  5. Jojo Rabbit: 11%
  6. The Irishman: 10%
  7. Marriage Story: 8%
  8. Little Women: 5%
  9. Ford v Ferrari: 5%

So, in each round, I eliminated the film with the lowest percentage, and then I made educated guesses about what films fans of each film would prefer if their first placed film could not win. In the end, it came down to Parasite and 1917. The South Korean masterpiece would likely benefit the most from Little Women and Marriage Story being eliminated, whereas, I suspect, 1917 would find a lot of support in the groups that love Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Joker, Jojo Rabbit, and Ford v Ferrari. So even though my heart is telling me that Parasite can win, my head is telling me that 1917 will become your next Best Picture-winner.

  • Will Win: 1917.
  • Could Win/Should win: Parasite.

What films are you cheering for during the Oscars this year? Sound off in the comments.


– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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