2019 Oscar Predictions: November 25th Edition

Two key screenings took place over the week with significant Oscar implications and there’s some movement in major categories to discuss:

  • 1917, the World War I epic from Sam Mendes, finally availed itself to critics and the feedback is extremely positive. While I’d had it projected for Picture and Director for some time, its numbers (3 and 2 respectively) are the highest yet.
  • Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell screened at AFI Fest. Some reviews indicate it’s a contender in Picture, but I’m not quite there. It does vault back in the 15 possibilities at 13 and both Paul Walter Hauser in Actor and Kathy Bates in Supporting Actress are now in the mix, but not projected in the top five.
  • Bombshell is back in my ten projected Picture nominees over Ford v Ferrari. 
  • Zhao Shuzhen finally makes the cut in Supporting Actress, displacing Scarlett Johansson in Jojo Rabbit.
  • Tom Hanks slides to fifth in Supporting Actor after the so-so box office performance of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. I suspect he could fall out with Joe Pesci (The Irishman) and Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy) hot on his heels.
  • While my five Best Actor contenders remain the same, this is the most packed field in ages. I could legitimately see any of my ten listed thespians getting in, as well as Christian Bale (who falls to 11th).

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. 1917 (PR: 6)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

5. Parasite (PR: 3)

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 5)

7. Little Women (PR: 7)

8. Joker (PR: 8)

9. The Two Popes (PR: 9)

10. Bombshell (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

11. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 10)

12. The Farewell (PR: 12)

13. Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

14. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 13)

15. Rocketman (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Waves

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 5)

3. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 3)

4. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

5. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Greta Gerwig, Little Women (PR: 6)

7. Todd Phillips, Joker (PR: 9)

8. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

9. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

10. Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes (PR: 10)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Adam Driver, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 3)

4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 5)

5. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (PR: 6)

7. Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 8)

8. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 7)

9. Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

2. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (PR: 2)

3. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 3)

4. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women (PR: 4)

5. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 6)

7. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 8)

8. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 7)

9. Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell (PR: 9)

10. Mary Kay Place, Diane (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen and Slim 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 3)

3. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 2)

4. Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell (PR: 6)

5. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 5)

7. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 7)

8. Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PR: 8)

10. Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 5)

4. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 3)

5. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 7)

7. Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy (PR: 6)

8. Sterling K. Brown, Waves (PR: 9)

9. Song Kang-Ho, Parasite (PR: 8)

10. John Lithgow, Bombshell (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

2. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Pain and Glory (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bombshell (PR: 6)

7. 1917 (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Knives Out (PR: 7)

9. Honey Boy (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Booksmart

Waves

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. The Two Popes (PR: 4)

4. Little Women (PR: 3)

5. Joker (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 6)

7. Hustlers (PR: 9)

8. Richard Jewell (PR: 8)

9. Just Mercy (PR: 7)

10. Dark Waters (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Downton Abbey 

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Parasite (PR: 1)

2. Pain and Glory (PR: 2)

3. Les Miserables (PR: 3)

4. Monos (PR: 8)

5. And Then We Danced (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Invisible Life (PR: 6)

7. Atlantics (PR: 7)

8. Beanpole (PR: 5)

9. Those Who Remained (PR: 9)

10. A White, White Day (PR: 10)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Toy Story 4 (PR: 1)

2. Frozen II (PR: 2)

3. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PR: 3)

4. I Lost My Body (PR: 4)

5. Weathering with You (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Klaus (PR: 8)

7. Abominable (PR: 6)

8. Missing Link (PR: 7)

9. Bunuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (PR: 9)

10. Funan (PR: 10)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. American Factory (PR: 1)

2. One Child Nation (PR: 2)

3. Maiden (PR: 6)

4. Apollo 11 (PR: 5)

5. For Sama (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Cave (PR: 3)

7. The Biggest Little Farm (PR: 7)

8. Honeyland (PR: 4)

9. Sea of Shadows (PR: 8)

10. The Kingmaker (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Edge of Democracy

Knock Down the House 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. The Irishman (PR: 3)

4. The Lighthouse (PR: 4)

5. Joker (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite (PR: 9)

7. A Hidden Life (PR: 7)

8. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

9. Little Women (PR: 10)

10. Ad Astra (PR: 6)

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Little Women (PR: 2)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

3. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 4)

4. Rocketman (PR: 5)

5. Downton Abbey (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Irishman (PR: 6)

7. Judy (PR: 10)

8. The Aeronauts (PR: 7)

9. Cats (PR: 9)

10. Aladdin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jojo Rabbit

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

3. 1917 (PR: 4)

4. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

5. Parasite (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Marriage Story (PR: 6)

7. Joker (PR: 9)

8. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 7)

9. Bombshell (PR: 8)

10. The Two Popes (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rocketman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bombshell (PR: 1)

2. The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Judy (PR: 3)

4. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 5)

5. Us (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

7. Joker (PR: 6)

8. Rocketman (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 9)

10. Cats (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

The Aeronauts

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Little Women (PR: 2)

3. 1917 (PR: 5)

4. The Irishman (PR: 3)

5. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite (PR: 6)

7. Joker (PR: 7)

8. The Two Popes (PR: 10)

9. Cats (PR: 8)

10. Downton Abbey (PR: 9)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Little Women (PR: 2)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 5)

5. Joker (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

7. A Hidden Life (PR: 7)

8. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

9. Waves (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Ad Astra (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

The Aeronauts

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II (PR: 1)

2. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman (PR: 2)

3. “Stand Up” from Harriet (PR: 4)

4. “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats (PR: 3)

5. “Speechless” from Aladdin (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Spirit” from The Lion King (PR: 5)

7. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4 (PR: 10)

8. “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn (PR: 6)

9. “Glasgow” from Wild Rose (PR: Not Ranked)

10. “Together From Afar” from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

“Show Yourself” from Frozen II

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 2)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 1)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 5)

5. Ad Astra (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rocketman (PR: 6)

7. The Irishman (PR: 7)

8. Joker (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 8)

10. Cats (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

The Aeronauts

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 6)

5. Rocketman (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra (PR: 5)

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 7)

8. Cats (PR: 8)

9. The Irishman (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Joker (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Judy

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 2)

3. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 3)

4. The Lion King (PR: 4)

5. The Aeronauts (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra (PR: 6)

7. 1917 (PR: 10)

8. Alita: Battle Angel (PR: 8)

9. Gemini Man (PR: 7)

10. Aladdin (PR: 9)

And this all equates to these pictures nabbing the following numbers of nods:

10 Nominations

The Irishman

9 Nominations

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

8 Nominations

1917

7 Nominations

Little Women, Marriage Story

5 Nominations

Joker, Parasite

4 Nominations

Bombshell, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Two Popes

3 Nominations

Avengers: Endgame, Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Rocketman

2 Nominations

Dolemite Is My Name, The Farewell, Frozen II, Harriet, Judy, The Lighthouse, Pain and Glory

1 Nomination

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Ad Astra, The Aeronauts, Aladdin, American Factory, And Then We Danced, Apollo 11, Cats, Downton Abbey, For Sama, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Hustlers, I Lost My Body, Les Miserables, The Lion King, Maiden, Monos, One Child Nation, Toy Story 4, Us, Weathering with You

Will The Indie Spirits Nominees Showcase Oscar Gems?

This afternoon, the nominations for the 35th Independent Spirit Awards were released as we prepare for the onslaught of Oscar precursors to follow. And make no mistake – the Indie Spirits are indeed a precursor. In this decade from 2010-2018, five of the nine Best Feature winners emerged victorious with the Academy for Best Picture: 2011’s The Artist, 2013’s 12 Years a Slave, 2014’s Birdman, 2015’s Spotlight, and 2016’s Moonlight. Some of these years have three or four of the five nominees get Oscar nods in the big race.

However, 2018 marked the first year of this decade when none of the five nominated pictures at the Indies garnered any Academy love. I don’t expect that to occur for a second year in a row.

In this post, I’ll break down Feature, Director, and the four acting races and what it might mean for Oscar:

Best Feature

Nominees: A Hidden Life, Clemency, The Farewell, Marriage Story, Uncut Gems

First things first: Marriage Story is going to get a Best Picture nomination and probably wins here. And it might be the only one here that does. The Farewell has a decent shot and Uncut Gems is a potential sleeper (though I wouldn’t bet on it).

That said, Gems did tie The Lighthouse for most Indie mentions (5). And that brings us back to Marriage Story. The voters here chose to give it a special Robert Altman award honoring the team behind it. That includes cast members Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, and Alan Alda. They all probably would’ve heard their names here had that not occurred and same goes for director Noah Baumbach. If that seems like a bit of a cheat (taking out probable winners like Driver and Baumbach), I wouldn’t argue. The silver lining is that it does make some of these categories more interesting.

Best Director

Nominees: Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse), Alma Hor’el (Honey Boy), Julius Onah (Luce), Ben and Josh Safdie (Uncut Gems), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers)

Like Best Feature, 2018 saw no directors recognized get Academy attention. With Baumbach getting his Altman award and out of the running, that could certainly happen again as I don’t even have any of these directors in my top ten Oscar possibilities. Perhaps this could help spur chatter for the Safdies or Scafaria. Again… I wouldn’t bet on it.

Best Female Lead

Nominees: Karen Allen (Colewell), Hong Chau (Driveways), Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell), Mary Kay Place (Diane), Alfre Woodard (Clemency), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Six out of nine winners here from 2010-2018 went onto win the Best Actress statue: Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Brie Larson (Room), and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).

Even with Johansson not included, it could be 7/10 as Zellweger is my current Oscar front runner. Woodard and Moss stand shots at nods. The other three need not shop for red carpet dresses.

One noticeable omission is Awkwafina in The Farewell, who many are predicting for Oscar attention. I currently had her on the outside looking in at sixth. That could slide when I update my estimates on Monday.

Best Male Lead

Nominees: Chris Galust (Give Me Liberty), Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (Luce), Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems), Matthias Schoenarts (The Mustang)

Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), and Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) are the three Indie/Oscar recipients. Only in 2015 and (yes) 2018 did no nominees get Oscar nods…

I expect that to occur again. I believe only Sandler stands a chance, but it’s a reach based on severe competition.

Best Supporting Female

Nominees: Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Taylor Russell (Waves), Lauren Spencer (Give Me Liberty), Octavia Spencer (Luce), Shuzhen Zhou (The Farewell)

Four winners here have picked up Academy trophies – Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), and the past two winners Allison Janney (I, Tonya) and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk).

With soft front runner Laura Dern in the Marriage Story special category thing, we could still see a third year in a row match with Lopez. Zhou and Spencer (to a lesser degree) may also find themselves in the Oscar mix.

And with Taylor Russell’s nod here, it’s a good time to mention that Waves really came up short with the Indies today. That doesn’t help its Oscar viability.

Best Supporting Male

Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), Noah Jupe (Honey Boy), Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy), Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco), Wendell Pierce (Burning Cane)

This category is another ultra crowded one for Oscar attention, but Dafoe and LaBeouf are legit contenders for nods. Not so with the other three. The omission of Sterling K. Brown in Waves is a surprise.

There have been four Indie/Oscar victors this decade: Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), and Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). With Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Al Pacino (The Irishman) as likely favorites for the Academy, I wouldn’t expect a fifth match.

And there you have it, folks! My take on the Indies and which Oscar gems they could produce…