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Final Oscar Predictions 2020: Who Will Win/Should Win The Academy Award?

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On Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 5:00 pm, the final voting period for this year’s Academy Awards was closed. In just three short days, the Dolby Theatre will hand out the most coveted and honored award in Hollywood, solidifying a film, performer, and craftsperson’s place in film history.

As we can expect, surprises will be revealed in several places, or this could be just a “status quo” type of year where you just read the tea leaves on where the season has said it was going.

Without further ado, you can see AwardsCircuit’s final predictions for this year’s Oscars. Narrative of the evening is predicted to have “1917” walking away with six statues, the most since Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” in 2009, the same year the Academy expanded their Best Picture nominations from five to ten and will tie for the most won by a film since that time.

The final analysis of all 24 categories is down below. The Academy Awards will air this Sunday, Feb. 9, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time on ABC.


This is a close-knit race between PGA, DGA, and BAFTA winner “1917” and SAG Ensemble and critical darling “Parasite.” The Golden Globes chose “1917” in their drama category but “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” also has the benefit of the award for Best Picture (Comedy or Musical), along with the Critics Choice’s top prize. With a preferential balloting system, the war epic and foreign film both have broad support. Still, it will largely depend on the actor’s preferences, which is the largest branch of the Academy. The BAFTA prize seems pretty hard to ignore, and my hunch is that it just squeaks by “Parasite” as they count the ballots. Note here is that “1917” will be the first film to win Best Picture without an acting or editing nomination (since the editing nomination has been in existence). Big stats to jump over.

WILL WIN: “1917”
COULD WIN: “Parasite”
SHOULD WIN: “1917”


The Directors Guild of America award has a near-perfect record this past decade except for Ben Affleck, who was famously not nominated in 2012 for helming “Argo.” Before that, you have to venture back to the year 2000 when Ang Lee took home the DGA prize for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” but ended up losing the Oscar to double nominee Steven Soderbergh for “Traffic.” While the idea of a split with Picture and Director are very real with Bong Joon-ho, and the fact that this has happened five out of the last nine years, DGA is more likely to be correct than PGA. The smart pick is for Sam Mendes to win his second Academy Award for directing after his debut “American Beauty” in 1999.

WILL WIN: Sam Mendes, “1917”
COULD WIN: Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
SHOULD WIN: Sam Mendes, “1917”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Fernando Meirelles for “The Two Popes” and Trey Edward Schultz for “Waves”


For 12 out of 17 years, Best Actor has seen a winner in the form of someone playing a real-life figure (i.e., Eddie Redmayne, Matthew McConaughey, and most recently Rami Malek). That number seems to be locked into place as Joaquin Phoenix has swept all the television prizes for his dark turn in “Joker.” While misstepping early on with a very awkward Golden Globe speech, he bounced back big with SAG and especially BAFTA, just in the thick of voting. While holding firm to the notion that this is a runaway for him, it remains unclear who would be the possible spoiler, although all logic points to Adam Driver’s remarkable turn in “Marriage Story” to be the one (if there was).

WILL WIN: Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
COULD WIN: Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
SHOULD WIN: Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Kelvin Harrison Jr. for “Luce” and Matthew Rhys for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”


This has seemed locked up since “Judy” debuted at the Telluride Film Festival for Renée Zellweger. The comeback story has been deeply felt within the industry, as many big guns have come out not just to welcome her back but also revel in her work as the iconic Judy Garland. When she won her first Oscar in 2003 in Supporting Actress for “Cold Mountain,” many wrote her off as one of those actresses never to return. While Scarlett Johansson’s double nomination for “Marriage Story” and “Jojo Rabbit” may give her an edge in one of her two categories, there may be too much of a distance between her and the feisty Texan native to make up enough ground.

WILL WIN: Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
COULD WIN: Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
SHOULD WIN: Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Awkwafina for “The Farewell” and Lupita Nyong’o for “Us.”


Like all of the frontrunners in the acting categories, Brad Pitt has won every televised award show prize for “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood,” becoming the “Prom King” of awards season. With no fumbles along the way, the Oscar-winning producer of “12 Years a Slave” is finally going to get his due in an acting race, following nominations for “Twelve Monkeys,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and “Moneyball.” This is also the second time in the Oscar history that all nominees are previous winners. Why not give it to the one who has yet to pick up an acting trophy?

WILL WIN: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood”
COULD WIN: Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
SHOULD WIN: Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Sterling K. Brown for “Waves” and Dean-Charles Chapman for “1917”


We were on record at the Telluride Film Festival that Laura Dern’s road to an Academy Award looked all but assured given the nature of her role in “Marriage Story,” in addition to industry respect, having nearly becoming Academy president recently. Steamrolling with many critical wins, and every televised award show including a clutch BAFTA win on her first nomination, it looks unlikely that Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, or Margot Robbie have the power to unseat her. If the snub of Jennifer Lopez for “Hustlers” hadn’t occurred, people would be more open to a spoiler, but it wasn’t meant to be.

WILL WIN: Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
COULD WIN: Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
SHOULD WIN: Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Taylor Russell for “Waves” and Zhao Shuzhen for “The Farewell”


This is difficult to predict although the BAFTA win for “Parasite” has tilted much of the prognosticators towards the notion that since the film is in the thick of it for Best Picture, a screenplay prize is an additional opportunity to reward it, and its director Bong Joon-ho who co-writes. The Golden Globe screenplay category went to Quentin Tarantino, and there’s strong history to follow that to the Dolby. Besides the times that the G.G. screenplay winner lost to a film that wasn’t nominated by the HFPA (i.e., “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” won the Globe but Oscar-winner “Get Out” wasn’t nominated) or they chose a film that went on to be miss a nomination (i.e. “Steve Jobs” won Globe and didn’t get cited in Adapted Screenplay), the last time they were wrong in choosing a winner over another nominee in the same category was 1992 when “Scent of a Woman” won over eventual Oscar winner for Adapted Screenplay “Howard’s End.” If you’re looking for an incorrect pick when it deals with an Original Screenplay winner, then look no further than 1988 when “Running on Empty” won Globe over Oscar winner “Rain Man.” With all that said, “Parasite” was nominated for the Globe, and Quentin won. However, like many of my colleagues and pundits, BAFTA showed the tilt, and I’m leaning in that direction.

WILL WIN: “Parasite” (Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won Han)
COULD WIN: “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” (Quentin Tarantino)
SHOULD WIN: “Parasite” (Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won Han)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “The Farewell” (Lulu Wang) and “Us” (Jordan Peele)


Another category where many seemed convinced that Greta Gerwig would be walking away with a screenplay prize but the British Academy and Writers Guild has made others look to “Jojo Rabbit” for the upset. Taika Waititi was nominated for DGA earlier this year, which makes us think that he was a very close inclusion in the directing category. Since that failed to happen, this becomes a consolation prize for the New Zealand native who will become the first indigenous person to win a writing award, after becoming the first to be nominated in adapted, along with Best Picture. The exciting bit, BAFTA, is much more wrong in this race than it is right over the last decade. The group has only matched up with Oscar for last year’s winner “BlackKklansman,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “The Big Short,” and “The Social Network.” In fairness, “Moonlight” was nominated in Original in 2016, but chances are, it wouldn’t have scooped that up anyway given their track record. We’re down with giving “Korg” a statue.

WILL WIN: “Jojo Rabbit” (Taika Waititi)
COULD WIN: “Little Women” (Greta Gerwig)
SHOULD WIN: “The Two Popes” (Anthony McCarten)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster) and “Luce” (J.C. Lee, Julius Onah)


In an exciting turn of events, this category became a race between Pixar and Netflix, with a very palpable Laika lurking in the background. “Toy Story 4” has Critics Choice, ACE Eddies, and Art Directors Guild while “Klaus” has Annies and BAFTA, with much more crossover in Oscar voters. “Missing Link” has the surprise Golden Globe win, but we’re unsure if it was a fluke, considering it missed BAFTA, and no film has won an Academy Award without at least a nomination from the brits. With this award being voted on by the masses, we think the moneymaking “Toy Story 4” has the edge in the race.

WILL WIN: “Toy Story 4”
COULD WIN: “Klaus”
SHOULD WIN: “Toy Story 4”
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Frozen II” and “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part”


Ladies and gentlemen, we present the second toughest race to call in this year’s ceremony. The Art Directors Guild rewarded “Parasite” (in Contemporary), “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” (in Period), and the not nominated “Avengers: Endgame” (in Fantasy). Tarantino’s film took home Critics Choice before BAFTA showed all the love for “1917,” giving it this prize, along with six other awards. A contemporary pick in this category is VERY risky as “La La Land” seems to be the closest thing to a winner set in modern-day that wasn’t science fiction in some way. That puts “Parasite” slightly on the outside, but a win here earlier in the evening would pave a road that this could be a sweeper. Looking at the war movie versus the old Hollywood picture, it’s hard to believe that the older Academy won’t want to reward a recreation of their favorite places in California. It’s close, but Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh seem to have the edge.

WILL WIN: “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” (Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh)
COULD WIN: “1917” (Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales)
SHOULD WIN: “1917” (Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Knives Out” (David Crank, David Schlesinger) and “The Two Popes” (Mark Tildesley, Veronique Melery)


This is one of the easiest to call on the night, and it is truly magnificent to see a legend such as Roger Deakins becoming a multiple Oscar-winner, just two years after his first for “Blade Runner 2049.” And for what may be the most exceptional achievement of his already impressive career, following masterpieces like “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “Fargo,” this is just happy times.

WILL WIN: “1917” (Roger Deakins)
COULD WIN: “The Irishman” (Rodrigo Prieto)
SHOULD WIN: “1917” (Roger Deakins)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Ad Astra” (Hoyte van Hoytema) and “Us” (Mike Gioulakis)


Another toss-up as “Little Women” snatched this one from BAFTA. Still, again, old Hollywood is going to be a favorite with the older voters, and the British award went here instead of what many expected to be another one for “Jojo Rabbit.” Especially after Mayes C. Rubeo beat Arianne Phillips at the Costume Designers Guild. We also don’t expect the male-dominated cloths to dominate a category that loves dresses, so with that, we’ll stick with Margot Robbie’s fun yellows, western sitcom recreations, and just general outstanding designs from Arianne Phillips, who has two previous nominations for “Walk the Line” and “W.E.”

WILL WIN: “Once  Upon a Time in…Hollywood” (Arianne Phillips)
COULD WIN: “Little Women” (Jacqueline Durran)
SHOULD WIN: “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” (Arianne Phillips)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Aladdin” (Michael Wilkinson) and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Dorothee Guiraud)


And here is the actual hardest category to predict on Oscar night. American Cinema Editors chose “Jojo Rabbit” in Comedy and “Parasite” in Drama. “1917” or “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” do not have nominations here, which hurts the Best Picture win probability. Thelma Schoonmaker is a legend in her own right, winning three times for “Raging Bull,” “The Aviator,” and “The Departed,” all alongside “The Irishman” director Martin Scorsese. BAFTA handed this one to “Ford v Ferrari,” which, if you have the film only winning this category in your predictions, would become the second film in 50 years to win Editing and nothing else (credit to one of our esteemed readers “MacAVIty” on Twitter). The other film to win editing only was “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” in 2011, which shockingly also beat four other Best Picture nominees. And then there’s “Joker,” who with 11 nominations in total, seems strange to not choose for a few other “pickups” along the way. Editing could be a surprise spot. When in doubt, go with cars and Brits.

WILL WIN: “Ford v Ferrari” (Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker)
COULD WIN: “Parasite” (Yang Jinmo)
SHOULD WIN: “Ford v Ferrari” (Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Apollo 11” (Todd Douglas Miller) and “1917” (Lee Smith)


This all looks to be pointing towards the creation of Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and Roger Ailes in “Bombshell,” and there’s no rhyme or reason to think they won’t go that way. “Judy” seemed like a good bet given this category matches up with Best Actress often, but it hasn’t won anything of note to warrant it. “Joker” sounds like something that can get pulled in with Joaquin Phoenix or “1917” could prove to be a real modern-day sweeper. Staying safe, “Bombshell” it is, by the same team that won for “Darkest Hour.”

WILL WIN: “Bombshell” (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, Vivian Baker)
COULD WIN: “Joker” (Nicki Ledermann, Kay Georgiou)
SHOULD WIN: “Bombshell” (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, Vivian Baker)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “The Aeronauts” and “The Two Popes”


To split or not to split, that is the question, and that is in regards to the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing categories, very likely the last time that we will see them as two separate categories at the Oscars. For numbers purposes, you can split between the two frontrunners “1917” and “Ford v Ferrari” and guarantee yourself one right, or you go all-in on one of the two. “1917” won everything when it was up against “Ford v Ferrari.” FvF won Cinema Audio Society, but “1917” wasn’t nominated due to screeners not getting there in time. BAFTA chose “1917,” and they’re the same group that called “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Arrival” when no one was looking that way. I’m staying at BAFTA for both.

WILL WIN: “1917” (Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson)
COULD WIN: “Ford v Ferrari” (Paul Massey, David Giammarco, Steven Morrow)
SHOULD WIN: “1917” (Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson)


Ditto the sentiment in Sound Mixing.

WILL WIN: “1917” (Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate)
COULD WIN: “Ford v Ferrari” (Donald Sylvester)
SHOULD WIN: “1917” (Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “The Aeronauts” and “The Irishman”


Best Picture nominees frequently trump non-Best Picture nominees in Visual Effects. Even though the Visual Effects Society went with “The Lion King,” BAFTA’s choice of “1917” set in motion what many had thought would happen regardless.  Pair that up with two sound wins, which tends to happen more often than not (i.e., “King Kong” and “Hugo” swept the three), it’s smart for me to stay with “1917,” but you wouldn’t be crazy if you thought “Avengers: Endgame” would get a culmination/finale win from the group (they did from Critics Choice).

WILL WIN: “1917” (Guillaume RocheronGreg ButlerDominic Tuohy)
COULD WIN: “The Irishman” (Pablo HelmanLeandro EstebecorenaNelson SepulvedaStephane Grabli)
SHOULD WIN: “1917” (Guillaume RocheronGreg ButlerDominic Tuohy)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Ad Astra” and “The Aeronauts”


One of the saddest truths we’ve come to is that “1917” is likely to win a ton of Oscars, but the long-overdue composer Thomas Newman will not be among the fray, despite orchestrating the single best score of his illustrious career. Hildur Guðnadóttir has won everything down the line, and this is a category that is very kind to newcomers, and quite frankly, it’s well-deserved. Hate or love “Joker,” the technical merits are outstanding, and her score kills in every scene.

WILL WIN: “Joker” (Hildur Guðnadóttir)
COULD WIN: “1917” (Thomas Newman)
SHOULD WIN: “1917” (Thomas Newman)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Motherless Brooklyn” (Daniel Pemberton) and “Us” (Michael Abels)


Elton John sealed in his Golden Globe speech. It’s hard to think they would look elsewhere, but Randy Newman is double nominated and could upset for another wonderful “Toy Story” number.

WILL WIN: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman” – Elton John, Bernie Taupin
COULD WIN: “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4” – Randy Newman
SHOULD WIN: “Stand Up” from “Harriet” – Cynthia Erivo, Joshuah Brian Campbell
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Show Yourself” from “Frozen” and “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” from “Toy Story 4”


Is it Obama, or is it “For Sama?” Is it the double nominated “Honeyland” or is it Nat Geo’s compelling picture? Hard to give reasoning, but “For Sama” has felt like the winner for some time, and I’m sticking to it.

WILL WIN: “For Sama” (Waad Al-Bateab, Edward Watts)
COULD WIN: “American Factory” (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert)
SHOULD WIN: “For Sama” (Waad Al-Bateab, Edward Watts)
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Apollo 11” and “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened”


Guarantee yourself one right in your Oscar pool. “Parasite” it is.

WILL WIN: “Parasite” from South Korea
COULD WIN: “Pain and Glory” from Spain
SHOULD WIN: “Parasite” from South Korea
SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Ash is Purest White” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”


WILL WIN: “Hair Love”
COULD WIN: “Dcera (Daughter)
SHOULD WIN: “Hair Love”


WILL WIN: “Learning to Skate in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl”) – Carol Dysinger, Elena Andreicheva
COULD WIN: “St Louis Superman” – Sami Khan, Smriti Mundhra
SHOULD WIN: “Life Overtakes Me” – Kristine Samuelson, John Haptas


WILL WIN: “Nefta Football Club” – Yves Plat, Damien Megherbi
COULD WIN: “The Neighbors’ Window” – Marshall Curry
SHOULD WIN: “A Sister” – Delphine Girard

posters special
Made by Nuno Sarnadas at Dark Design (@nunosarnadas)



BEST DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes, “1917”
BEST ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
BEST ACTRESS: Renee Zellweger, “Judy”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood”
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood”
BEST FILM EDITING: “Ford v Ferrari”
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman”
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: “Learning to Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: “Nefta Football Club”


“1917” – 6
“Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” – 3
“Joker” – 2
“Parasite” – 2
“Bombshell” – 1
“Ford v Ferrari” – 1
“Jojo Rabbit” – 1
“Judy” – 1
“Marriage Story” – 1
“Rocketman” – 1
“Toy Story 4” – 1

Share your final Oscar predictions in the comments below!




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Written by Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.


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If there is one thing we learned in the past years, than it’s that they don’t let movies “sweep”. Thus, I have this feeling that 1917 is not doing so well with the Academy. In one of the closest bets of a long time in a lot of categories, I would Stick with those: Picture: Parasite Direction: Sam Mendes – 1917 Lead Actor: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker Lead Actress: Renée Zellweger – Judy Supp. Actor: Brad Pitt – OUATIH Supp. Actress: Laura Dern – Marriage Story (closest acting race, though, watch out for Scarlett) Orig. Screenplay: Parasite Adap. Screenplay: Jojo… Read more »


As much as I would like to have the actors branch bail out Parasite, I can’t help but think that if they didn’t care enough to nominate any of the Parasite actors, then their support of Parasite can’t be THAT big. Even after winning at the Globes, PGA, DGA, and BAFTA, I think maybe one of the best signs that 1917 will do well at the Oscars specifically is its Original Screenplay nomination. It wasn’t even nominated in Screenplay at BAFTA and pretty much swept anyways. Picture: 1917 Director: Sam Mendes – 1917 Actor: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker Actress: Renee… Read more »


As much as I like Parasite, I’m sure it’s not gonna win anything especially after PGA, DGA and BAFTA travesty. Here are my predictions: BP: 1917 Director: Mendes Actor: Phoenix S. Actor: Pitt Actress: Zellweger S. Actress: Dern O. Screenplay: Parasite A. Screenplay: Jojo Rabbit Editing: Ford v Ferrari Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing: 1917 Art Direction: Once Upon a Time Costume: Once Upon a Time Make-up and Hairstyling: Bombshell Visual fx: 1917 Animated Feature: Klaus (hard to miss Annie) International film: Parasite Score: Joker Song: Rocketman Will be really sad if BP and Director predictions come true though. Parasite… Read more »


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