Reel Talk: 2020 Oscar Predictions


Nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards are set to be announced early tomorrow morning. 2019 was a great year for films, but it was an especially strong year for the creatives in front of and behind the camera, making it a fun challenge to home in on which films and individuals will earn the nomination. Below are my predictions for this year’s Oscars (each in alphabetical order):

Best Picture

Courtesy of Vox

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit


Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood



Potential Spoilers: Knives Out, The Farewell

Hundreds of films come out every year, but this category might actually be the easiest to predict this year. Films like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Irishman have been leading the pack across various voting bodies, while late releases like Little Women and 1917 have been picking up steam. Nine feels like the right number of nominations this year, but if there is a tenth spot, Knives Out or The Farewell have the critical acclaim and awards backing them to earn a potential nomination.

Best Director

Courtesy of The New York Times

Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)

Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)

Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)

Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Sam Mendes (1917)

Potential Spoilers: Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit), Greta Gerwig (Little Women)

Like Best Picture, Best Director feels pretty clear cut for the most part. Film auteurs Scorsese and Tarantino will compete in this category, and Mendes, fresh off a Golden Globe win for Best Director and Best Drama, looks to challenge them. Parasite is likely to take home the statue for Best Foreign Language Film, and a nomination for Bong would reflect that momentum. Although Waititi earned a Directors Guild nomination, Baumbach and Marriage Story have been in contention for nominations since the film began showing in the festival circuit, so I’m giving the edge to him. I suspect Best Director may shake out to be an all-male club (again), but Gerwig still has a chance to break in.

Best Actress

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

Awkwafina (The Farewell)

Charlize Theron (Bombshell)

Renée Zellweger (Judy)

Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)

Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

Potential Spoilers: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Lupita Nyong’o (Us)

With an unusually strong field of performers across categories this year, it was difficult to pick just five women for the Best Actress category. It appears to be a two-way race for the trophy between Zellweger and Johansson, with Theron behind them. In all honesty, I could see any combination of Awkwafina, Ronan, Erivo, and Nyong’o for the remaining two slots, especially given the fact that Erivo and Nyong’o both have SAG nominations under their belts. I suspect that The Farewell will underperform in other major categories, so a nomination for Awkwafina might be a way for the Academy to balance this out. Ronan has been nominated three times for an Oscar previously, so her starpower may be enough to earn a nomination this year, as well.

Best Actor

Courtesy of

Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari)

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Robert De Niro (The Irishman)

Potential Spoiler: Taron Edgerton (Rocketman)

As with Best Actress, Best Actor is likely a two-way competition between Phoenix and Driver. DiCaprio is a safe bet as well. Due to his recent Golden Globe win and SAG nomination, Edgerton is a major threat to knock off either Bale or De Niro. However, given the critical acclaim and other nominations for The Irishman, I can’t imagine the Academy would ignore a veteran actor like De Niro. Bale is perhaps less safe, but like Ronan, he has the acclaim for his performance as well as his previous Oscar nominations going for him.

Best Supporting Actress

Courtesy of Product Placement Blog

Florence Pugh (Little Women)

Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)

Laura Dern (Marriage Story)

Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

Nicole Kidman (Bombshell)

Potential Spoiler: Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell)

This was the toughest category to suss out, because it’s not entirely clear who will round out the fifth spot in these nominations. Pugh, Lopez, Dern, and Robbie all feel like strong bets to be announced tomorrow — with Dern leading the pack. The final nomination is somewhat of a wild card; I’m giving the edge to Kidman due to her SAG nomination and the fact that her costars in Bombshell (Theron and Robbie) are likely contenders in their respective categories. However, Johansson also earned a Supporting Actress SAG nomination in addition to her Lead Actress nomination for Marriage Story, which could signal a rare (but possible) double-nomination. Though she lacks some of the pre-indicators for a nomination (like the SAGs and Golden Globes), Zhao Shuzhen could sneak in for The Farewell, as well.

Best Supporting Actor

Courtesy of USA Today

Al Pacino (The Irishman)

Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Joe Pesci (The Irishman)

Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy)

Potential Spoiler: Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)

The Best Supporting Actor trophy is Pitt’s to lose right now, so he’s a shoo-in. Pacino and Pesci — the latter of whom came out of retirement for his role in The Irishman — will join Pitt, and although Hanks hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar since 2001 (for Castaway), he will look to break that streak for his performance as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood). As with Best Supporting Actress, the final spot is not as apparent, but due to his SAG nomination and previous Academy Award nominations, Foxx feels like the right pick over Hopkins.

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