Oscars 2020 predictions: 1917, Parasite, Joker, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The race is well and truly on between 1917 and Parasite at this year's golden statue awards.

Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
4 min read

Parasite recently won best film not in the English language at Oscars precursor the BAFTAs.

Warner Bros.

Today's the day we cap off awards season with the Oscars, which kick off at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. At this stage, one question surrounds the best picture category: Will it be Parasite or 1917? With all the other major awards ceremonies behind us, our best picture predictions are educated and totally 100% accurate.

Well, at least we can be certain of one thing: Joaquin Phoenix will win best actor for his blistering performance as Arthur Fleck in Joker. Phoenix has swept the best lead actor categories across awards season, from the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards to the BAFTAs.

1917 may have sealed the best picture win, having taken that award at the Producers Guild of America Awards. The PGAs have had the same top prize winner as the Oscars for the past decade, bar two exceptions. But don't worry, Parasite is still in the race, having taken the SAGs' top prize: best ensemble. As for The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, they've pretty much left the chat.

Let's do a quick rundown of who we think will win, taking into account BAFTA, PGA, Golden Globe, Critics' Choice and SAG winners. We'll also consider nominations in crucial Oscars categories that normally signify a top prize winner: writing, directing, acting and editing.

The Oscars will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9 and will air on ABC.

Read moreHow to watch the Oscars 2020 and red carpet online | List of Oscars 2020 nominations


Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Andrew Cooper


Best picture

1917 -- will win
The Irishman
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite -- want to win
v Ferrari

Despite lacking an editing nod (that didn't hurt Birdman), 1917 has its nose in front, especially with the PGA win. Ultimately, The Irishman and Once Upon a Time have failed to pick up the top award in any of the preceding awards shows, and Joker, despite leading with 11 nominations, is a comic book movie. Comic book movies don't win. In any case, we all know the tour de force that is Parasite deserves to win. Could its surprise SAG win offer hope this could actually come true? Given no one has a bad word to say about Parasite, the Oscars' "preferential ballot" may work in the movie's favor.

Best director

Bong Joon-ho, Parasite -- want to win
Sam Mendes, 1917 -- will win
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Mendes has a swathe of wins under his belt, most recently the BAFTA. Tarantino has never won, and it would be a disaster if he never did. But that being said, let Bong Joon-ho win.

Best actor

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker -- will win
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story -- want to win
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Joaquin Phoenix will win, but make him sing a rendition of Being Alive (Adam Driver did it in Marriage Story) before he receives the award.

Best actress

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Renée Zellweger, Judy -- will win
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story -- want to win
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Zellweger is swimming in best actress awards (her latest is the BAFTA), so it wouldn't be surprising to see her transformative performance garner her first best actress Oscar. Scarlett Johansson deserves a mention for her impressive year, with standout performances in Marriage Story as well as Jojo Rabbit. Sadly, Awkwafina and The Farewell aren't in the Oscars conversation, not even for best foreign-language film.

Little Women

Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women.

Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures

Best supporting actress

Laura Dern, Marriage Story -- will win
Florence Pugh, Little Women -- want to win
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Midsommar, Little Women, the upcoming Black Widow -- even though Florence Pugh won't win, she's paved a huge career ahead of her. Dern is a shoe-in after taking the BAFTA on top of her SAG. Where's Jennifer Lopez? If Hustlers had been directed by Martin Scorsese, this category may have upped its diversity.

Best supporting actor

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood -- will win, want to win
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Brad Pitt proved he's still got A-list star power (and abs) in Once Upon a Time, having already taken the Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA. Pacino and Pesci will split the vote for The Irishman, and Hopkins and Hanks haven't really been in the conversation.

Best film editing

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Ford v Ferrari -- will win
Parasite -- want to win

Ford v Ferrari (which goes by Le Mans '66 in the UK) is a sports movie with lots of fast cuts. Given it took the BAFTA and has no competition from 1917 (not nominated in the category), let's go with that one.

Best original screenplay

Rian Johnson, Knives Out -- want to win (tie)
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood -- will win
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite -- want to win (tie)

While Joon-ho recently won the BAFTA, Tarantino has the edge after Globes and Critics' Choice wins.

Best adapted screenplay

Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Greta Gerwig, Little Women -- will win, want to win
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, Joker

The Oscars are still mulling around in the dark ages (with the BAFTAs) by failing to nominate a woman for best director. Instead, Greta Gerwig has a good chance of taking a conciliatory writing win, although The Irishman may be very close on her tail if it fails to score wins in the other categories.

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