Moonlight ruined everything. I know that seems like an odd thing to say about a heartbreaking gem of a film that bucked the odds to best frontrunner La La Land and win the Best Picture Oscar—but that’s the thing. It gave us hope. It made us believe that the Oscars had turned over a new leaf and were actually willing to vote for beautiful, challenging, original works of art that didn’t necessarily center straight white people.
But, in fact, since Moonlight won two years ago, the Academy has chosen two rather accessible, middlebrow films, both which celebrated diversity in a somewhat pat and paternalistic way.
Two years ago was The Shape of Water. I liked the film well enough—and lord knows Guillermo del Toro is an Oscar-caliber director—but found its odd mixture of whimsy and menace slightly off-putting. What’s more, its message of embracing the “other” was simplistic to say the least. Still, that was a masterpiece compared to last year’s Green Book, one of the most baffling Oscar wins in recent years.
The point is, neither of those films was the best of its year—or even the best film nominated (last year gave us Roma and A Star is Born; the year before gave us the embarrassment of riches that was Phantom Menace, Call Me By Your Name, and Dunkirk).
Which brings us to this year. As the Oscar race has come into focus, it seems like two films are duking it out for Best Picture: Parasite and 1917.
Let me make something clear: I917 is a good film. I gave it a good review. I recommend it to friends. I liked it! But it’s no Parasite, a singular masterpiece that is one of the most original, smart, and genre-smashing films I’ve ever seen.
In this scenario, 1917 is the La La Land—the good film that also seems like the safe and predictable choice. Parasite is Moonlight (obviously, an even better comparison would be Roma, another foreign language film that was nominated for Best Picture, but let’s stick with my analogy here).
Were this 2018, the year after Moonlight won, I would’ve confidently chosen Parasite. But the Shape of Water and Green Book have mucked up the works. My head is spinning. I don’t know who to believe!
Anyway, with that confidence-inspiring introduction under my belt, here are my best guesses for this year’s Oscars, including how secure I am with each pick.
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Who will win: 1917
Who should win: Parasite, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, or The Irishman
How confident am I in my prediction? I had to make prediction, and a prediction was made.
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Phillips, Joker
Sam Mendes, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Who will win: Sam Mendes
Who should win: Bong Joon-ho
How confident am I in my prediction? Moderately?
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Who will win: Joaquin Phoenix
Who should win: Leonardo DiCaprio
How confident am I in my prediction: Is there a word greater than “extremely”?
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy
Who will win: Renée Zellweger
Who should win: Saoirse Ronan
How confident am I in my prediction? Does a bear relieve itself in the woods?
Best Supporting Actor
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Who will win: Brad Pitt
Who should win: Joe Pesci
How confident am I in my prediction? Bet the house confident
Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Who will win: Laura Dern
Who should win: Scarlett Johannson
How confident am I in my prediction? Tattooing it on my arm confident
Best Adapted Screenplay
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, Joker
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Who will win: Jojo Rabbit
Who should win: The Irishman
How confident am I in my prediction? Not wildly
Best Original Screenplay
Rian Johnson, Knives Out
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won, Parasite
Who will win: Parasite
Who should win: Marriage Story
How confident am I in my prediction? My palms are sweaty.
Best Documentary Feature
The Edge of Democracy
Who will win: American Factory
Who should win: Honeyland
How confident am I in my prediction? I mean, the Obamas produced it.
Corpus Christi, Poland
Honeyland, North Macedonia
Les Miserables, France
Pain and Glory, Spain
Parasite, South Korea
Who will win: Parasite
Who should win: Parasite
How confident am I in my prediction? Brad Pitt confident
Rodrigo Prieto, The Irishman
Lawrence Sher, Joker
Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse
Roger Deakins, 1917
Robert Richardson, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Who will win: 1917
Who should win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
How confident am I in my prediction? Not Brad Pitt confident, but confident all the same.
Toy Story 4
I Lost My Body
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Who will win: Toy Story 4
Who should win: Toy Story 4
How confident am I in my prediction? I don’t really see—checks notes—Klaus pulling the upset here.
The Oscars air this Sunday, February 9 on ABC. Check back to see how I did