What should and what will win at the Oscars tonight 2 weeks ago

What should and what will win at the Oscars tonight

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Running down the major contenders at this year's Academy Awards bash...

Tonight's the night.

No, not the general election. The 92nd annual Academy Awards.

Taking place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles during the early hours of Monday morning Irish-time, the host-less ceremony will honour the best in film from 2019.

Well, that's the plan, at least. You're guaranteed an argument or three once all the winners are announced, not to mention the snubs that didn't make it to the dance.

Ostensibly a big industry night out, the extravaganza is nonetheless highly influential, making and breaking careers across a lengthy enough evening.

So, who's going to win, then?

On paper, it looks a fairly open-and-shut case for all of the major awards, based on the run-in so far with the likes of 1917, Joaquin Phoenix and Renée Zellweger all cleaning up among others.

We've mulled it over and here's who and what we think should and will win on Sunday night/Monday morning. Just the big ones, guys. There's loads of these things...

Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari / Le Mans '66

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

1917

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

Parasite

Nine films - check out our comprehensive ranking here - but only one winner.

For a time, we thought that Martin Scorsese's gangster epic The Irishman could sweep the board, largely due to it acting as a sobering farewell to a genre by maybe the greatest filmmaker to work within it. And yet, in recent months, everything went cold to the point that Robert De Niro didn't even wind up with a Best Actor nod.

Joker, meanwhile, is probably too divisive to unite the room but it did make a staggering amount of money and attracted a feverishly loyal following, so there's a cult sensation vibe in play.

Instead, everyone has decided long in advance that 1917 is winning.

The Academy loves a good war film but it adores innovation even more. While you might regard 1917's approach - everything looks like it's been shot in one take, despite that not strictly being the case - as a gimmick, it's almost guaranteed to put this one over the top.

Spare a thought for Parasite, though. Bong Joon-ho's brilliant film has captured the hearts and minds of the world and though it will likely settle for Best International Feature Film, an overall win would represent a major game-changing statement.

And if you fancy an outside bet; Quentin Tarantino's superb Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood might just have enough 'Ain't the power of the movies great, everyone?' sway with the more sentimental members of the voting body. That said, there's been a lot of chatter about Jojo Rabbit emerging as a shock victor.

Should win: Parasite

Will win: 1917

Best Director

Martin Scorsese - The Irishman

Todd Phillips - Joker

Sam Mendes - 1917

Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

Bong Joon-ho - Parasite

Quentin Tarantino, perhaps surprisingly, has never won an Oscar for Best Director. Hollywood marks his third nomination and it's easily his best, most complete, most passionate work since Jackie Brown. A win would be a good story, especially for a man who keeps saying he's going to retire after his next picture.

Bong Joon-ho, meanwhile, has elevated an already masterful career with Parasite and there's a lot of love for the guy, but that may not translate into gold. Again, it'd be a hell of a story, so here's hoping.

Martin Scorsese delivered strong work in The Irishman but the Academy have always been late to honour him - The Departed felt like a lifetime achievement bonus more than anything else - and while Todd Phillips showcased genuinely impressive skills in realising Joker, this is Sam Mendes' to lose, coming in hot after taking Director's Guild of America, Golden Globe and BAFTA gongs for 1917. Expect him to have a second Oscar after Sunday.

Should win: A coin flip between Quentin Tarantino and Bong Joon-ho

Will win: Sam Mendes

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas - Pain & Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio - Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

Adam Driver - Marriage Story

Joaquin Phoenix - Joker

Jonathan Pryce - The Two Popes

No contest here. Joaquin Phoenix is going to make another headline-grabbing speech.

Should win: Phoenix, but DiCaprio is equally outstanding in Hollywood.

Will win: Joaquin Phoenix

Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo - Harriet

Scarlett Johansson - Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan - Little Women

Charlize Theron - Bombshell

Renée Zellweger - Judy

Hollywood lives for a biopic and Renée Zellweger has been a shoe-in for her portrayal of Judy Garland for the entire awards campaign, despite nobody you know having actually seen the film. As with the male counterpart, this thing has been locked up for months.

Should win: Saoirse Ronan, probably, but she's the new Meryl Streep so that day will come.

Will win: Renée Zellweger

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks - A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Anthony Hopkins - The Two Popes

Al Pacino - The Irishman

Joe Pesci - The Irishman

Brad Pitt - Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

What a heavyweight category this is.

Tom Hanks has the Meryl Streep role of being Hollywood royalty. Anthony Hopkins is regarded by some as a living legend. Same goes for Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, with the latter coming out of retirement to shine in a different way then we're used to seeing in a violent Scorsese film.

If anything, Pesci's performance may not have been showy enough to land another statue. In any case, it doesn't matter because Brad Pitt is winning after everyone suddenly copped on and realised that one of the greatest actors of his generation has been hiding in plain sight forever.

One slight issue, though - his character of Cliff Booth is less a supporting part and more of a co-lead, but that's how Oscar politics work, folks. And hey, dude deserves it. Also, JOE called it the second we saw the film, so hopefully there's room in his acceptance speech for us, eh?

Should win: Brad Pitt

Will win: Brad Pitt

Best Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates - Richard Jewell

Laura Dern - Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson - Jojo Rabbit

Florence Pugh - Little Women

Margot Robbie - Bombshell

A proud day in the Scarlett Johansson household with the whole double nomination thing. She ain't winning, though. Nor are Kathy BatesMargot Robbie - who should have been up for Hollywood, really - or Florence Pugh, who is essentially cinema's new world star and thus the nomination is enough for now.

Instead, as with all of the acting categories, this is an open-and-shut case for Laura Dern and her tough-talking lawyer from Marriage Story. Considering that Dern is easily one of the most impressive and compelling actresses there has even been, this one feels long, long overdue.

Should win: Laura Dern

Will win: Laura Dern

Best Original Screenplay

Knives Out - Rian Johnson

Marriage Story - Noah Baumbach

1917 - Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood - Quentin Tarantino

Parasite - Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won

A tough one, this.

There's a lot of love for Knives Out, particularly from a storytelling point of view. 1917 feels a touch superfluous given how little dialogue there is. Marriage Story, meanwhile, is all about people talking to one another in rooms and how tense that can be. Hollywood is a hangout triumph from Tarantino but Parasite should hopefully be rewarded for a complex and clever maze of a script that works in comedy, drama, horror, social commentary and sharp twists at every turn.

Should win: Parasite

Will win: Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman - Steven Zaillian

Jojo Rabbit - Taika Waititi

Joker - Todd Phillips

Little Women - Greta Gerwig

The Two Popes - Anthony McCarten

Another tricky one. Greta Gerwig's exclusion from the Best Director group felt like an egregious snub for many, so a win here would go a long way to restoring some balance. Outside of that, Gerwig managed to take a classic story and put her own strong twist on it. No easy feat.

Elsewhere, Joker feels a stretch in terms of the basic parameters of this one and it really does feel like The Irishman has had its day in the sun. Plus, depending on who you believe, the book it's based on is a HOUSE OF LIES. Jojo Rabbit could once again be the surprise favourite.

Should win: Little Women

Will win: Jojo Rabbit

And that about does it for the top-line battles. Expect the great Roger Deakins to land his second Oscar in the space of three years for Best Cinematography for 1917, having finally won one for Blade Runner 2049. Fun fact: Deakins has now been nominated 15 times.

Aside from that, look for Joker to take Best Original Score for Hildur Guðnadóttir's brooding musical accompaniment and 1917 to clean up, generally.

A magical night, guaranteed.

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