I think I was tired of this year’s Oscar season back in November. It felt like a constant barrage of anger. “Green Book‘s the worst!” “Green Book‘s the BEST!” “Netflix doesn’t deserve Oscars!” “Roma is boring!” “Bohemian Rhapsody is the worst thing ever!” “Did anyone see The Wife?”
As someone who covers the industry and hears all the banter at all times, I’m actually impressed that my brain didn’t explode in a fiery cloud of smoke, full of angry thoughts of Nick Vallelonga and cranky Oscar voters. But now it’s finally over, and we can turn to the next stage of my life that will likely cause an aneurysm: the 2020 Oscars!
This next year feels like an oddly murky year in many facets. Is Netflix going to double down and take all the Oscars for itself? Will Quentin Tarantino still able to wow us? Will the Oscars even have a host?
The dust hasn’t even began to settle, so a lot of the guesses as to what people and films will take home trophies next year is one step from pure conjecture. I can assure you that I will be wrong in some of my choices in these 2020 Oscar nomination predictions. But hey, there’s a lot of fun in making predictions!
Below are my guesses for the nominations and winners in each of the Big Five Oscar categories:
Best Adapted Screenplay
So you’re telling me that Greta Gerwig is directing a classic novel? Give her the Oscar now! There’s a strong sentiment that the Academy missed giving her an Oscar last time around for Lady Bird, and many have called Lady Bird one of the best written movies of the last few years. It would only make sense that Gerwig would return for more in this category.
Other than Gerwig, be on the look out for Peter Straughan in The Goldfinch and Dee Rees and Marco Villalobos with The Last Thing He Wanted. Both Straughan and Rees have been nominated in the past for their work, and there’s already a lot of buzz around these two projects as future Academy favorites.
Scott Z. Burns and Jake Bernstein, The Laundromat
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Peter Straughan, The Goldfinch
Dee Rees and Marco Villalobos, The Last Thing He Wanted
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Projected Winner: Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Best Original Screenplay
One of the titans of cinema is returning in 2019, so it’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll compete for and win another screenwriting Oscar in 2020 (even if it’s a pretty bland pick.) The Academy LOVES Tarantino, as do many cinephiles out there. But they’ll be quick to reward him…and Sony is going to mount a massive campaign for Tarantino after procuring the rights to the movie in the middle of serious battle with warring studios.
But my heart hopes for the Safdie Brothers, who return after the 2017 indie hit Good Time for another rough crime movie with a cast that includes Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Pom Klementieff, Judd Hirsch, Idina Menzel, and The Weeknd with an Oscar friendly release date later in the year. My guess is that this movie will be too cool and subversive for the Academy, which means it’ll get shut out of the Oscars and only earn a Screenplay nom as most other interesting projects do.
Brian C. Brown, John-Henry Butterworth, Elliott DiGuiseppi, and Noah Hawley, Lucy in the Sky
Sebastián Lelio, Gloria Bell
Josh and Ben Safdie, Uncut Gems
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Lena Waithe, Queen & Slim
Projected Winner: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Cynthia Erivo feels like a lock on paper to win for playing Harriet Tubman. The Academy loves rewarding actors for playing famous historical figures, after all. But with that in mind, be extra wary of Renée Zellweger here, who will be portraying Judy Garland in a film that sounds similar to 2018’s Stan & Ollie. It’ll be a crowd pleaser, and we all know about the Academy’s love for movies about Hollywood.
However, with three nominations already in her young career, Saoirse Ronan is getting to the point where the Academy might finally crown her as the next big thing with a Best Actress Oscar. How many times have we seen the Academy reward someone for past work? They’re almost always late to the party and their may be a serious push for Ronan as a result with three previous Oscar nominations, regardless or whether to not her not-yet-seen work in Little Women is among her best yet.
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Anne Hathaway, The Last Thing He Wanted
Natalie Portman, Lucy in the Sky
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Renée Zellweger, Judy
Projected Winner: Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
To repeat, the Academy LOVES when actors playing historical figures. In fact, 11 of the last 15 Best Actor winners played notable figures from history, which sets a precedent for Tom Hanks to walk away with the trophy this coming year for his portrayal as Fred Rogers. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? made it clear that love for Mr. Rogers is still alive and well, and the Academy might overcompensate for their snubbing of the documentary this year by over-rewarding A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. If this year tells us anything, the Academy loves being safe, and there’s no safer play than rewarding an actor for portraying one of the kindest souls in television history.
Otherwise, look out for Tom Hardy who will be transforming to play Al Capone in Josh Trank’s return to Hollywood after the debacle that was Fant4stic. But Sandler is my dark horse in this category. Voting bodies appreciate it when comedy stars go dramatic, and I trust the Safdies to pull a great performance out of Sandler like we’ve seen sporadically throughout his career when he’s worked with other great directors.
Ansel Elgort, The Goldfinch
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Tom Hardy, Fonzo
Robert De Niro, The Irishman
Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
Projected Winner: Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
There’s a lot that can go wrong with The Irishman. The entire movie can stumble and trip down the uncanny valley with so many prominent actors playing younger versions of themselves. It’ll take a legend to pull it off in an unprecedented directing performance. So who better than Scorsese to do it? I see this as a high risk, high reward play, which will garner plenty of rewards if done correctly. At this point, could you feel good about yourself when betting against Scorsese?
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Dee Rees, The Last Thing He Wanted
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Steven Soderbergh, The Laundromat
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Projected Winner: Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
The unsung part of this article thus far has been Netflix’s possible overwhelming presence at the 2020 Oscars. With The Irishman, The Last Thing He Wanted, The Laundromat, and The King coming later this year, it looks like Netflix is coming back from their Roma loss in full force. Here’s the list of stars that will be in one of these four movies: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, and Robert Pattinson. And that list doesn’t even tell the whole picture! Netflix will spend and spend like their viability as a film studio depends on it to get a Best Picture win. I can see a scenario where all four of these films gets a nomination.
But also watch for a possible nom for Avengers: Endgame, which could receive a Return of the King-style pat on the back for years of impressive work in the MCU. We’ve seen this year how Disney and ABC loom large over the Academy as their television partner, and Black Panther broke into the Oscars this year with multiple wins and a Best Picture nomination.
Projected Nominations (based on the assumption that the Academy grants the maximum of 10 nominations):
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
The Last Thing He Wanted
Lucy in the Sky
Projected Winner: The Irishman
Watch out for: Star Wars: Episode XI, Queen & Slim, The King, The Woman in the Window, Gloria Bell, Us, Fair and Balanced, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Ad Astra, Ford v. Ferrari, Fonzo, Cats, and Tolkien
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions? Comment down below!
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