92nd Academy Award Nomination Predictions

Well folks, it’s finally time. After a grueling season of surprises, snubs, and a massive box office haul for contenders, we are one day away from the Oscar nominations. Tomorrow morning, the Academy will announce its nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards, and we will finally kick off the actual competition. It’s been a while since my last round of predictions, so I thought we could take one last massive look at this year’s predictions and see who may be in the running, who’s dropped off the map, and who will win in a series of close contests.

When it comes to predicting Best Picture, at this point in the race, things are pretty much set in stone. The big grossers and critical darlings float to the top of the pack while the flops and artsy things start to get pushed down. Before last week’s Super Tuesday, I would have said there were about 13 films competing for the sliding scale of 5-10 slots. Now, it’s just ten films battling to see if they can hang on until the end. Sure, Bombshell has support from the actors, and Rocketman has been making a serious push. But make no mistake: this race is pretty much over. Not only were Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, Parasite, and 1917 box office smashes, they were also huge hits with the Academy. Meanwhile, Joker is emerging as this year’s Bohemian Rhapsody: a critically mixed film with a tremendous leading performance that Film Twitter hates, but audiences (Academy members included) loved – and loved to the tune of $1 billion. It’s going to have a huge day tomorrow, which we’ll talk about more going forward. Look for these films to be your Oscar frontrunners. As for Netflix contenders, the metrics are a little bit different. Since they don’t reveal box office numbers, you have to find other ways to measure their support. The two best indicators are other awards shows and, strangely enough, memes on Twitter. Both The Irishman and Marriage Story have performed remarkably well in this department, and will join the upper echelons in terms of nominations.

That’s six nominees right there, and we’re looking for 8 or 9. So we look at previous awards shows and box office receipts, and look to see which films keep popping up for both audiences and Academy voters. Jojo Rabbit is a modest box office success and has pleasantly surprised almost everyone – you can bank on a nomination for the little film that could. And while it struggled out of the gate thanks to a terrible screener snafu, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is picking up steam each and every day. I’d be shocked if it didn’t earn a Best Picture nomination. So that leaves us with one slot left – it’s statistically improbable for ten nominees. And unfortunately, the math and statistics for the two are almost the same: Rian Johnson’s whodunit Knives Out, and James Mangold’s classic blockbuster Ford v Ferrari. Both films are critical and commercial hits, both have massive support within the industry, and both have appeared on numerous lists – including the prestigious Producers Guild of America nominations. So who’s going to get that coveted slot? I could just cut it out and say eight nominees, but personally, I think the slot’s going to Ford v Ferrari. While Knives Out is certainly loved by critics and actors, Ford v Ferrari has love from the sound designers, the editors, the actors, the producers, the directors, and the cinematographers. Each of these groups were dazzled by what Mangold accomplished with this good old fashioned blockbuster, and it isn’t that hard to imagine enough members from each of these groups calling it the Best of 2019. Look for Ferrari to round out the Best Picture nominations tomorrow.

Moving into the acting categories, we have three categories that are pretty much sewn up and one that’s a massive nightmare. You see, Best Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress have three or four frontrunners that are destined locks with two or three surprises waiting in the wings. For example, Laura Dern, Jennifer Lopez, and Margot Robbie are locks in the Supporting category. You could also assume that Scarlett Johansson is a likely nominee as well, representing Jojo Rabbit and heading towards a historic double nomination (she’s one of the locks in Best Actress). That final slot will be tricky – while it should be Zhao Shuzhen, and the stats indicate Kathy Bates, let’s not kid ourselves – thanks to her incredible year, the late surge at the box office, and Richard Jewell’s box office failure, Florence Pugh will be the fifth nominee for Best Supporting Actress. Meanwhile, Supporting Actor is in a similar boat, as Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, and The Irishman duo of Pacino and Pesci are all but certain to receive nominations tomorrow. The only question is who gets that final slot. Both Anthony Hopkins and Jamie Foxx have received impressive amounts of love at previous shows, and each could respectfully make the case for their nomination. But I’ve got a gut feeling that it won’t be either of them. You see, the actors loved Parasite enough to nominate it for Best Ensemble. And the cast of Parasite has rallied behind South Korean legend Song Kang Ho as their best bet for an acting bid. So if Parasite’s going to go the distance and win Best Picture (which it very well can), then look for Song to earn a nomination here, just to shake things up.

Best Actress is where things start to get tricky. There are three locks so far, thanks to Johansson in Marriage Story, Renée Zellweger in Judy (your frontrunner), and Saoirse Ronan in Little Women. After that, here’s where things get tricky. Technically speaking, Charlize Theron and Lupita Nyong’o should be your fourth and fifth nominees. They have the critics behind them, and have been hitting award precursors all season. However, Best Actress has historically been the category of massive snubs, where mortal locks shockingly miss out for fresher blood. I think Theron and Nyong’o are going to be on the outside looking in tomorrow morning. So who gets in instead? Well, Cynthia Erivo is looking solid, despite most prognosticators’ erasure – she’s hit every major nomination except the BAFTAs so far, and her film has the benefit of an A+ Cinemascore. And in the fifth slot, I’m thinking Awkwafina’s going to pull off a shocking upset – not only is she great in the film, but her speech at the Globes came just in time for voting. She’s fun to watch, and I think that’ll continue tomorrow.

And then there’s Best Actor. Unlike the other categories, which have four locks and a handful of contenders, there are ten equally likely Best Actor contenders, and only two locks in the bunch. After you name Joaquin Phoenix and Adam Driver, where do you go from there? Well, let’s look at it scientifically. Leonardo DiCaprio and Taron Egerton have hit every show so far, and are relentlessly charming – I’d be shocked if either of them missed out. On the other end of the spectrum, Adam Sandler and Robert De Niro have missed almost every show so far – despite their strong performances, look for them to miss out tomorrow morning. Which leaves four actors and one slot: Jonathan Pryce, Christian Bale, Antonio Banderas, and Eddie Murphy. Pryce has the Globes and the BAFTA in his pocket, but The Two Popes has been struggling to make up lost ground all season. Banderas won at Cannes, most critical groups, and received a Globe nomination, but he’s missed almost every industry group so far. And Bale has the benefit of a Best Picture contender combined with industry love and a SAG/Globe nomination, but that’s it. However, while he may be the least likely of the bunch, I’m putting all my chips down on Eddie Murphy rounding out the category. Murphy has been putting on a charm offensive all season – the three performers most voters want to meet and shake hands with have been Murphy, Lopez, and Egerton. Between his charming persona, his great performance, and a much-talked about stint on Saturday Night Live (yes, that matters), I have to believe that Murphy will round out a hotly contested category for Best Actor.

As we move into directing and writing, things start to get a little easier with four locks and one wild card. In Direction, you’d be stupid to predict any group that doesn’t include Sam Mendes, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Bong Joon Ho. They are all Oscar frontrunners, and despite the Globes rewarding Mendes last week, it is still an open race between the four of them. However, it’s that final slot that gets tricky. There’s no clear consensus on who’s getting that slot. It could be Todd Phillips, who made a superhero movie artsy and brought in $1 billion. It could be Taika Waititi, who made a well-acted comedy about World War II and the Holocaust. Or it could be Noah Baumbach, whose Marriage Story slowly but surely became an Oscar frontrunner before slowly losing steam in the final weeks. Phillips and Waititi are your best bet, but honestly? I’m going with Greta Gerwig. Not only was Little Women a knockout across the board, it will serve two political purposes for the Academy. You see, after the backlash against the Globes for failing to nominate any women for Best Director, it will allow the Academy to get Film Twitter off their back for a few days. But more importantly, it will make Greta Gerwig the first woman to ever receive two nominations for Best Director (a tragic statistic, I must say). Look for Gerwig to round out the boys’ club as a worthy fifth selection.

As for Best Original Screenplay, expect this category to reward blockbusters that will likely miss out on Best Picture. Obviously Oscar frontrunners Hollywood, Marriage Story, and Parasite will be receiving nominations, but after that things get tricky. 1917’s a visual film, and will likely miss out on Best Screenplay because of it. Meanwhile, critical hits like Booksmart and commercial hits like Knives Out and The Farewell have all racked up a series of nominations, hoping to break through here as a means of honoring their films. I think Knives Out is in – this will be their way of honoring a film that missed out in Best Picture. And as for the final slot, despite the groundswells of support elsewhere, I think the Academy will do the right thing and nominate Lulu Wang’s incredible screenplay. Best Adapted is pretty much over with The Irishman, Little Women, Jojo Rabbit, The Two Popes and Joker all likely to receive nominations – the only likely twist here is if the Academy hated them Popes and chooses to nominate A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood instead.

And then there are the technical categories. Ironically, while these are mostly used as “bathroom break” categories during the show, they are surprisingly the easiest to predict. Basically, break down the biggest contenders of the night, and divide them up between the categories. Blockbuster contenders like The Irishman, Hollywood, Joker, 1917, and Ford v Ferrari will all make a major splash here, as will technical tour-du-forces like Parasite and Jojo Rabbit. Hell, you can put a bow on Best Cinematography just by naming 1917, Hollywood, Ferrari, Joker, and The Irishman, with The Lighthouse playing spoiler. And any time an Oscar contender doesn’t seem to fit the mold, just look at the highest grossing films – obviously Star Wars will get a Score nomination, and Avengers: Endgame will receive a nod in Best Visual Effects. However, while I could spend several paragraphs breaking down these categories individually, there are four I want to spend time on in specific detail – three because they’re fun and challenging, and one because it will help determine our Best Picture frontrunner.

When it comes to Best Original Song, there’s an interesting, fun fight going on underneath the surface. Obviously Rocketman and Frozen II are locks here, and Harriet’s powerful gospel song “Stand Up” will likely earn a nomination. But here’s where things get tricky. Disney has a lot of songs in contention, including Beyoncé’s disappointing song for The Lion King (I’M SORRY, YOU KNOW I LOVE HER), the outright awful song from Aladdin, and Randy Newman’s humorously dark ditty from Toy Story 4. Not all of these songs can get in – in fact, I’d wager that only one gets in. And while I can absolutely see the Oscars nominating Beyoncé just to say that they did, I think it’ll be Toy Story 4. Every Toy Story film has received a song nomination, and I don’t expect Newman’s streak to end tomorrow. So what gets that final slot? Well, I’ll give you two scenarios. Scenario 1: Parasite earns a nomination for its ending song, and it immediately becomes the frontrunner. Scenario 2: The power and story behind Wild Rose’s “Glasgow” puts it over the edge, it gets nominated, and either Jessie Buckley or Kacey Musgraves performs it at the Oscars. I think that second scenario is likeliest, but don’t be surprised with either result.

As for the Sound categories, things are a little bit tricky after Bohemian Rhapsody proved last year that no one knows what these categories actually are. It used to be that Sound Mixing was for the musicals and Sound Editing was for the action films. Now? Who knows? I suppose that because there’s usually an overlap here, we can go ahead and pick Best Picture contenders and Loud Blockbusters Joker, 1917, and Ford v Ferrari to receive nominations in both categories. After that, it’s a matter of picking which blockbuster gets into what category. Because musicals always fare well in Sound Mixing, it’s a safe bet that Rocketman will receive a nod there. I also think the gunshots and flame throwers of Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood will earn it a slot in Best Sound Editing. But while both Oscar contenders will be hoping for a dual nomination, I think the final slots will be split between big budget space operas. Star Wars rarely misses Sound Mixing nominations, and I think it will earn a nod there once again. Meanwhile, Sound Editing will provide the Academy a way of nominating the highest grossing film of all time, so look for Avengers: Endgame to make an appearance.

Which brings us to Best Editing. With the exception of Birdman, which found itself in a tricky boat, it is incredibly rare for a film to win Best Picture without being nominated for Best Editing. Now, because of its weird, tricky styling, I think it is safe to assume 1917 will miss out on Best Editing. I also think that, due to the tricky nature of cutting together coherent, impressive three hour dramas and comedies, Hollywood and The Irishman are entirely safe. I also think Ford v Ferrari is safe – it’s a sharply edited film blockbuster, and this category loves that. This leaves me with two slots and a whole slew of contenders, from Joker to Little Women to Rocketman. But I’m going to pick the two films both in the running for Best Picture, which ironically are both comedies (sort of): Parasite and Jojo Rabbit. There’s nothing the Academy loves more than a sharp, fast-moving comedy, and with Parasite’s incisive commentary and Jojo’s quick, whimsical charm, it’s hard to imagine either film missing.

And that’s where we’re at. We’ll see how these nominations pan out in tomorrow morning. You can see the full list of nominees below, as well broken down right here or by clicking on the categories below. The 92nd Academy Award nominations will be announced live tomorrow on ABC starting at 8:18 am, and you will be able to follow along right here on the Sacred Wall.

Best Picture

  • 1917
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
  • Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
  • Parasite

Best Actor

  • Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
  • Adam Driver – Marriage Story
  • Taron Egerton – Rocketman
  • Eddie Murphy – Dolemite Is My Name
  • Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Best Actress

  • Awkwafina – The Farewell
  • Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
  • Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
  • Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
  • Renée Zellweger – Judy

Best Supporting Actor

  • Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
  • Song Kang Ho – Parasite
  • Al Pacino – The Irishman
  • Joe Pesci – The Irishman
  • Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time In Hollywood 

Best Supporting Actress

  • Laura Dern – Marriage Story
  • Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
  • Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
  • Florence Pugh – Little Women
  • Margot Robbie – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Director

  • Greta Gerwig – Little Women
  • Bong Joon Ho – Parasite
  • Sam Mendes – 1917
  • Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
  • Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Farewell
  • Knives Out
  • Marriage Story
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Parasite 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • The Two Popes

Best Animated Feature

  • Frozen 2
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  • I Lost My Body
  • Missing Link
  • Toy Story 4

Best International Feature

  • Atlantique
  • Beanpole
  • Les Misérables
  • Pain and Glory
  • Parasite

Best Documentary Feature

  • Apollo 11
  • American Factory
  • The Cave
  • One Child Nation
  • Maiden 

Best Documentary Short

  • After Maria
  • Fire In Paradise
  • Ghosts of Sugar Land
  • Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl)
  • Louis Superman

Best Live Action Short

  • Brotherhood
  • The Christmas Gift
  • Little Hands
  • Refugee
  • Saria

Best Animated Short

  • Hair Love
  • He Can’t Live Without Cosmos
  • Memorable
  • The Physics of Sorrow
  • Sister 

Best Original Score

  • 1917
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
  • Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker 

Best Original Song

  • Glasgow – Wild Rose
  • I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away – Toy Story 4
  • (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again – Rocketman
  • Into The Unknown – Frozen II
  • Stand Up – Harriet

Best Sound Editing

  • 1917
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  • Joker

Best Sound Mixing

  • 1917
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • Joker
  • Rocketman
  • Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Best Production Design

  • 1917
  • The Irishman
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood

Best Cinematography

  • 1917
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Joker
  • Once Upon a Time In Hollywood 

Best Costume Design

  • Dolemite Is My Name
  • The Irishman
  • Little Women
  • Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  • Rocketman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Bombshell
  • Joker
  • Judy
  • Little Women
  • Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood 

Best Film Editing

  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood
  • Parasite 

Best Visual Effects

  • 1917
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • The Irishman
  • The Lion King
  • Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

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