The 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday will honor a remarkable year for motion pictures. Before the ceremony begins, let’s break down who will most likely win and also mention who was snubbed from each category.
Best Picture nominations:
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
Who Will Win: Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
Who Should Win: Joker
In a category of extraordinary films, it’s tough to pick which one will take home the most coveted Best Picture award yet “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” is a strong bet given how the Academy adores films about the entertainment industry. “1917” is also a highly likely option considering it won at the Golden Globes for Best Drama and won at the Producers’ Guild Award and appeals to a large audience, yet “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” will very likely turn out to be the first film from Quentin Tarantino to win Best Picture. While Tarantino’s film is nothing short of a masterpiece, Todd Phillips’ “Joker” deserves to take home the main prize due to its nuanced and artful look at mental illness.
“Uncut Gems” deserves to be nominated for keeping us at the edge of our seats from start to finish, as does “Midsommar” for how it shakes you to your core while elegantly examining the need for connection and belonging.
Best Director nominations:
Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”)
Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”)
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time In Hollywood”)
Sam Mendes (“1917”)
Todd Phillips (“Joker”)
Who Will Win: Sam Mendes
Who Should Win: Todd Phillips
Sam Mendes crafted a superb war film that challenged how films are made with its stunning visuals yet Todd Phillips created a film that not only looked amazing but injected an unsettling pit in our stomachs due to how he masterfully tackled the issues of mental illness and social isolation, making the year’s best and most concrete film. That said, the award is between Mendes and Tarantino. Mendes will most likely be taking home the gold after consistent wins at previous awards.
Why the Academy only nominates five in each category is baffling. Taika Waititi should be added to the Best Director for how he brings a creative, witty, heartwarming, and brilliant work of art like “JoJo Rabbit” to life.
Best Actor nominations:
Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”)
Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”)
Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”)
Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time In Hollywood”)
Who Will and Should Win: Joaquin Phoenix
Winning every award up to this point including the Screen Actors’ Guild Award, Joaquin Phoenix is a lock for Best Actor due to his astonishing portrayal of a loner turned killer. The way Phoenix carries himself throughout the film weighs down on us due to not only his isolated lifestyle but his bizarre behavior that’s more disturbing than any of the violence in “Joker.” Phoenix doesn’t just deliver the best performance by any actor in 2019, he gives one of the best performances of all time that will never be forgotten.
While Jonathan Pryce and Antonio Banderas gave terrific performances, Adam Sandler’s electric work in “Uncut Gems” is too sensational to forget, as is Robert de Niro’s performance in “The Irishman,” the legendary actor’s best work in years. And how no one considered Roman Griffin Davis’s heartfelt and hilarious work in “JoJo Rabbit” at such a young age is a sin.
Best Actress nominations:
Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)
Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)
Renée Zellweger (“Judy”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”)
Who Will Win: Renée Zellweger
Who Should Win: Florence Pugh (“Midsommar”)
Renée Zellweger’s win is a sure thing due to winning every single award prior to the Academy and for how the Academy honors those who play their beloved favorites such as Judy Garland, but how Florence Pugh was snubbed for her earth-shattering rollercoaster of a performance in “Midsommar” is a ridiculous decision. Pugh (who is nominated for Supporting Actress for “Little Women”) shows more emotion in this role than seemingly possible, taking us on a dark path that leaves you speechless, making her work hands down the best out of all leading female performances from 2019.
Awkwafina deserves a spot for her work in “The Farewell” as does Lupita Nyong'o for her chilling work in “Us.” Charlize Theron and Renée Zellweger may deliver good work, but neither performance is Oscar-worthy considering some of the other work that was given in 2019 by leading women.
Dominic LeRose is a writer for The Daily Cardinal. To read more of his work, click here.