2020 Oscars Predictions


Peyton Cottrell, Staff Writer


Lights, Camera, Action! Awards season is upon us, and Hollywood has made predictions tougher than ever, thanks to an outstanding field of quality cinema. With the Academy Awards just around the corner, I thought I’d give my two cents on who will take home the gold trophies. All the nominations for each category are listed below, and my predicted winner for each category will be in bold. All categories will have additional commentary.

Makeup and Hairstyling:

Bombshell (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker)

Joker (Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou)

Judy (Jeremy Woodhead)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten and David White)

1917 (Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole)

A key aspect of this category is being able to transform the actor into their character, and I think Bombshell does this the best, transforming Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, and Nicole Kidman into three distinct Fox News anchors.

Sound Mixing:

Ad Astra (Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano)

Ford v Ferrari (Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow)

Joker (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland)

1917 (Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson)

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler and Mark Ulano)

Sound mixing is usually awarded to the loudest nominee, especially if it’s an action flick; Dunkirk won in 2018, Hacksaw Ridge in 2017, and The Bourne Ultimatum in 2008, just to name a few.

Sound Editing:

Ford v Ferrari (Donald Sylvester)

Joker (Alan Robert Murray)

1917 (Oliver Tarney and Rachel Tate)

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Wylie Stateman)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Matthew Wood and David Acord)

There’s not much to say in the way of this category that can’t also apply to Sound Mixing, especially considering the same film usually wins both Sound awards, especially in the 2010s, with films like Inception, Gravity, Mad Max: Fury Road, and, most recently, Bohemian Rhapsody, among others.

Costume Design:

The Irishman (Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson)

Jojo Rabbit (Mayes C. Rubeo)

Joker (Mark Bridges)

Little Women (Jacqueline Durran)

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Arianne Phillips)

Period pieces absolutely dominate this category. Seven of the last 10 winners were all set in a period with distinct fashion, like the 1920s (The Great Gatsby) or the 1840s (The Young Victoria).

Production Design:

The Irishman (Production Design: Bob Shaw; Set Decoration: Regina Graves)

Jojo Rabbit (Production Design: Ra Vincent; Set Decoration: Nora Sopková)

1917 (Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales)

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Production Design: Barbara Ling; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh)

Parasite (Production Design: Lee Ha Jun; Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo)

The work done by Haigh and Ling for this film is simply amazing; transporting the audience to a beautiful 1960s Los Angeles world.

Visual Effects:

Avengers: Endgame (Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken and Dan Sudick)

The Irishman (Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser and Stephane Grabli)

The Lion King (Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newman)

1917 (Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy)

This seems like an easier choice to make. 1917 has spectacular visuals, depicting war in a very raw and real way.

Film Editing:

Ford v Ferrari (Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland)

The Irishman (Thelma Schoonmaker)

Jojo Rabbit (Tom Eagles)

Joker (Jeff Groth)

Parasite (Yang Jinmo)

I say Ford v Ferrari walks away with the award. McCusker and Buckland edited the film in a way that makes the movie zoom by (pun intended) despite the film having a somewhat cumbersome two-and-a-half-hour runtime. The pacing is simply exhillerating.

Documentary (Short Subject):

In the Absence (Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam)

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) (Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva)

Life Overtakes Me (John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson)

St. Louis Superman (Smitri Mundhra and Sami Khan)

Walk Run Cha-Cha (Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt)

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) is the best for this category because it is a great documentary, an excellent drama, and an amazing story about Afghan girls learning to skateboard and read and write whilst living in a war-torn area.

Documentary (Feature):

American Factory (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and Jeff Reichert)

The Cave (Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær)

The Edge of Democracy (Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan)

For Sama (Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts)

Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov and Atanas Georgiev)

Honeyland was also nominated for Best International Film, and I feel it is the most deserving of the Documentary (Feature) award because it is a superb drama with great cinematography.


The Irishman (Rodrigo Prieto)

Joker (Lawrence Sher)

The Lighthouse (Jarin Blaschke)

1917 (Roger Deakins)

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Robert Richardson)

I say 1917 wins this award, largely because it was filmed in one continuous shot (though not actually; cuts were very cleverly hidden throughout). Large, sweeping shots allow the viewer to feel the suspense of the moment.

Music (Original Score):

Joker (Hildur Guðnadóttir)

Little Women (Alexandre Desplat)

Marriage Story (Randy Newman)

1917 (Thomas Newman)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Williams)

I absolutely adore the soundtrack for Joker. Its hauntingly melancholic tone allows for Joaquin Phoenix’s chilling performance to shine.

Music (Original Song):

I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away (from Toy Story 4; Music and Lyric by Randy Newman)

(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again (from Rocketman; Music by Elton John; Lyric by Bernie Taupin)

I’m Standing with You (from Breakthrough; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren)

Into the Unknown (from Frozen II; Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)

Stand Up (from Harriet; Music and Lyric by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo)

Rocketman was snubbed for quite a lot this Oscars season, so I’m glad that this song was acknowledged for its greatness.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay):

The Irishman (Screenplay by Steven Zaillian)

Jojo Rabbit (Screenplay by Taika Waititi)

Joker (Written by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver)

Little Women (Written for the screen by Greta Gerwig)

The Two Popes (Written by Anthony McCarten)

This may just be wishful thinking, but I think Taika Waititi will win this award. His script has the power to make the viewer laugh and cry within the same film, balancing the humor that comes with a child’s imagination, with the tragedy of the rampant anti-Semitism and hatred within Nazi Germany.

Writing (Original Screenplay):

Knives Out (Written by Rian Johnson)

Marriage Story (Written by Noah Baumbach)

1917 (Written by Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns)

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Written by Quentin Tarantino)

Parasite (Screenplay by Bong Joon-Ho, Han Jin Won; Story by Bong Joon-Ho)

Noah Baumbach did a flawless job with this script, elevating both Adam Driver’s and Laura Dern’s performances to perfection. Every ebb and flow of this depiction of a failing marriage is felt and is able to show that neither spouse is entirely in the wrong or the right.

Short Film (Live Action):

Brotherhood (Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon)

Nefta Football Club (Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi)

The Neighbor’s Window (Marshall Curry)

Saria (Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre)

A Sister (Delphine Girard)

This film packs a real punch in just 24 minutes. Joobeur portrays the intense conflict between a father and son that occurs when the son returns home from a long exodus.

Short Film (Animated):

Daughter (Daria Kashcheeva)

Hair Love (Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver)

Kitbull (Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson)

Memorable (Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre)

Sister (Siqi Song)

A beautiful story of love and loss taking place within the mind of a mourner, Kashcheeva creates an instant emotional experience.

Animated Feature Film:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold)

I Lost My Body (Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice)

Klaus (Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román)

Missing Link (Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight)

Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera)

I was surprised Frozen 2 didn’t get a nomination, but I am confident with my prediction nonetheless. Disney usually sweeps the Animated categories, and I think they will keep that tradition alive.

International Feature Film:

Corpus Christi (Poland)

Honeyland (North Macedonia)

Les Misérables (France)

Pain and Glory (Spain)

Parasite (South Korea)

This category is the easiest to predict. Only one of these films is also nominated for Best Picture, so the Academy has basically already made their choice.

Actor in a Leading Role:

Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)

Leonardo DiCaprio (Once upon a Time…in Hollywood)

Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

This category is also pretty easy to predict; Phoenix gave easily the best performance of the year. Phoenix put dedication and passion into this role.

Actor in a Supporting Role:

Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)

Al Pacino (The Irishman)

Joe Pesci (The Irishman)

Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood)

This one was extremely rough to predict. Tom Hanks was amazing in his portrayal of Mister Rogers, but I just don’t see the Academy giving him the award, so Brad Pitt is my lock to win.

Actress in a Leading Role:

Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)

Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)

Charlize Theron (Bombshell)

Renée Zellweger (Judy)

Zellweger was a perfect fit for her role as Judy Garland, nailing the former starlet’s mannerisms and attitude down to a tee.

Actress in a Supporting Role:

Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell)

Laura Dern (Marriage Story)

Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)

Florence Pugh (Little Women)

Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

Laura Dern put her heart and soul into this role, and she’s the clear winner to me.


The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)

Joker (Todd Phillips)

1917 (Sam Mendes)

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)

Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho)

This prediction was by far the toughest, because each director nominated each brought their own flair to these films, and I think they all produced their best work yet.

Best Picture:

Ford v Ferrari (Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold, Producers)

The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers)

Jojo Rabbit (Carthew Neal and Taika Waititi, Producers)

Joker (Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers)

Little Women (Amy Pascal, Producer)

Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach and David Heyman, Producers)

1917 (Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall, Producers)

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh and Quentin Tarantino, Producers)

Parasite (Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon-Ho, Producers)

This is the first year in a while that I think every Best Picture pick deserves the nomination. I think Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood will win because, aside from being nominated for 10 Oscars, it is a transformative period piece centered around the very people voting for these awards, which is what it all comes down to in the end.

And that’s it from me. The 92nd Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 9, and we’ll finally see which productions will take home those coveted statuettes.