This year’s Academy Awards or otherwise known as the Oscars will debut in just under three weeks to celebrate one of the best years of film in recent memory. Perhaps one of the most used clichés in entertainment journalism today, but there was truly something for everyone in 2019. From the World War II Nazi satire, Jojo Rabbit, to the sprawling mobster epic from director Martin Scorsese, The Irishman, both fan favorites and critical darlings made it into the top categories this year with special props going to Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite (I say this to cushion any scathing thoughts about my opinions on the film later on). Incidentally, nearly all of the best picture Oscar nominees made it into my top ten list with only two films just not making the list, and I dislike none of the best picture nominees. However, this is a list to predict what I think will win at the Academy Awards 2020 in most of the categories utilizing each film’s wins at previous awards ceremonies including this past Saturday’s and Sunday’s Producer’s Guild Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards respectively as well as my personal opinions, excluding the documentary and short categories since I haven’t seen many of the nominated entries. As an authorial note, this is part one of my predictions, covering the Best International Film, Best Animated Feature, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Song, Best Score, and Best Production Design. Each part of my predictions will be released weekly until the awards ceremony on February 9th.
Best International Film:
There are five nominees in this category, and with sincere respect to all of them for actually being nominated, only one actually has a shot of taking home the golden statue. Yes, there seems to be very little chance of Korea’s entry Parasite being snubbed this year unless the Academy disliked the film to an absurdly incessant degree. While I believe this may be one of the few awards the darkly humorous thriller takes home, Parasite has already made history and will likely do it again with some Oscar wins.
Best Animated Feature:
This category has been something of a wild card with two frontrunners established thus far: Missing Link and Toy Story 4. While I will side with the majority’s opinion that Pixar’s excellent sequel to the best picture-nominated Toy Story 3 will win the award in the end, don’t be surprised if Missing Link or I Lost My Body slips into the envelope.
Best Visual Effects:
There hasn’t been a set narrative for this category as the VFX Society Awards is still a few weeks away, set to air on January 29th, 2020, and this is one of the few categories where nearly every nominee has a solid chance. Pundits seem to universally agree that Avengers: Endgame will win the award, but Marvel Studios has had a running trend to lose this category despite having CGI-heavy juggernauts with last year clearly adding to the pattern where Avengers: Infinity War lost to First Man. When using this ideology, I see 1917 or The Lion King taking the award especially since the CGI is so expertly framed as real life, especially The Lion King, my final prediction for the winner of this category.
Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing:
To make things easier, I am combining these two categories together, primarily because that is what the Academy usually does, ensuring that the winner of one category ends up taking the other. And to predict that one winner for this year’s ceremony, we have to look at recent years. Dunkirk took home both awards in 2018, and the obvious comparison would be to 1917, a film that is every bit as competent craft-wise as Christopher Nolan’s masterful war epic. Thus, it only makes sense to assume that Sam Mendes’ 1917 will take two awards in its sound alone.
The Elton John biopic Rocketman was only nominated for one award, even after taking home the Best Actor award at the Golden Globes and being nominated for a SAG for Taron Egerton’s roaring (quite literally) performance. However, it’s all the more befitting then that the one award the film was nominated for is the award that they have nearly one hundred percent in the bag. Expect to see both Elton John and his frequent collaborator Bernie Taupin to earn Oscar gold.
Early on in the awards season, it seemed as if 1917 was due for yet another technical win, but Joker has done mighty impressive rallying in recent weeks, earning Todd Phillips and company a resounding eleven Oscar nominations, more than any other film this year. Thus, it can only be assumed that Joker (Hildur Guðnadóttir) will take its much deserved (and possibly one of many) award of the night.
Best Production Design:
This category marks yet another category that hinges on whether the Academy becomes absolutely enamored with Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. While technical favorites Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and 1917 are probably more likely candidates, I can’t deny the raving reception that Parasite has had around the industry for its visual storytelling.
This marks the end of the first part of my predictions for the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony, but please do look forward to the rest of the parts in the coming weeks. Once again, 2019 has been an incredible year, and regardless if our personal favorites do or don’t take home the big awards, the Oscars are a fantastic way to celebrate that. It represents everything that can be great about the industry, warts and all.