FEBRUARY 8 ― From what we've seen on the road to the Oscars this year, it really is looking like it's going to be quite an easy one to predict, as all the preceding awards, with the only big exception being the Screen Actors Guild awards, have more or less decided on the same choices.
This predictable boredom has filled me ever since the nominees were announced, with so many deserving names that could've provided much more colour and competition being snubbed, the biggest and most criminal snubs being the failure of the Academy to recognise what an achievement films like Uncut Gems and Ad Astra were.
But still it's fun to predict who will be walking home with the prize at the ceremony this coming Monday, February 10, so I've helpfully laid out some of my thoughts on the major categories; who I think should win (from the list of nominees) and who will actually win it, judging from the way this year's awards season have played out (because most of these preceding awards share the same members as the Academy).
Without wasting much time, let's get down to it!
As much as I loved Marriage Story, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and Little Women, the fact that they barely made any dent at the preceding awards means that the Best Picture nomination itself is their reward.
With wins at the BAFTAs and the PGAs (which has shared the same Best Picture winner with the Oscars in eight out of the last 10 years), it's pretty obvious that this category belongs to 1917, no matter how much critics and even audiences loved Parasite.
If even an Oscar veteran like Alfonso Cuaron couldn't bring home a Best Picture gong for a non-English language film like Roma last year when people were dead sure it would've won, what hope does a Korean film have against an Oscar bait film that's also a box office hit and a technical achievement?
Should win: Parasite
Will win: 1917
If I had my way, I would've nominated James Gray (Ad Astra), the Safdie Brothers (Uncut Gems), Greta Gerwig (Little Women) and Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story) in this category, giving the prize to James Gray for a job superbly done.
But since they were not even nominated, I'll have to pick between Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) as my personal picks, but this is the Oscars, and with Sam Mendes (1917) winning at the Directors Guild Awards, usually a very good indicator of the eventual Oscar winner, I wouldn't bet on Sam Mendes not winning this one, though I'd very much love to be proven wrong.
Should win: Bong Joon Ho
Will win: Sam Mendes
Nominations wise, I don't have much to complain about with this category, except maybe to replace Leonardo DiCaprio with Adam Sandler for his turn in Uncut Gems, and maybe also switching in Brad Pitt for his soulful performance in Ad Astra for Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes).
But with so many wins already at the preceding awards, especially that Best Actor win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, this one's Joaquin Phoenix's to lose.
Should win: Adam Driver
Will win: Joaquin Phoenix
I can't really say much about this category as I haven't managed to see Harriet and Judy yet, so that's two nominees already that I haven't got a chance to appreciate.
Of the ones I'd seen I'd definitely say that Scarlett Johansson's scorching performance in Marriage Story is pretty damn hard to top.
But Renee Zellweger has walked home with the Best Actress award at the Golden Globes and the very crucial Screen Actors Guild Awards, so it's a pretty safe bet that she'll take home the Oscar as well.
Should win: Scarlett Johansson
Will win: Renee Zellweger
Best Supporting Actor
This is probably the hardest category for me to choose, as I more or less loved all the performances here equally, and they'd all deserve the win on merit.
If I really had to choose, it'd have to be a toss up between Brad Pitt's highly charismatic turn in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and Joe Pesci's unforgettable performance in The Irishman, but Pitt will win this, having already won at the Golden Globes, SAG and BAFTAs, with votes for The Irishman more than likely to be split between Pesci and Al Pacino.
Should win: Brad Pitt
Will win: Brad Pitt
Best Supporting Actress
Having won at the BAFTAs and the SAG, Laura Dern is almost sure to take home the award, and deservedly so because despite the powerhouse performances by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story, Dern's character is still one you won't forget.
But spare a thought for Florence Pugh, who not only made everyone like and empathise with Amy March, a traditionally much maligned character in Little Women, but had a stellar 2019 with another great performance in Midsommar.
Should win: Laura Dern
Will win: Laura Dern
Best International Film
Nothing much to say here except that if Parasite doesn't win this, it'll be one of the biggest Oscar upsets ever, especially since it scored nominations in big categories like Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing, which shows how highly it's thought of by the members of the Academy.
Should win: Parasite
Will win: Parasite
Best Original Screenplay
This one's a little harder to predict because Golden Globe & Critics Choice Awards winner Once Upon A Time In Hollywood wasn't even nominated for the Writers Guild Awards (because Tarantino wasn't eligible as he's not a member), which was won by Parasite (which also won at the BAFTAs).
So it's a straight fight between the two, though personally I have a lot more fondness for Tarantino's writing in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which plays like a dream on screen in what's surely his sweetest movie to date.
Should win: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Will win: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Best Adapted Screenplay
My heart is definitely all set on Greta Gerwig's wonderful adaptation of Little Women, cleverly weaving in bits from the author Louisa May Alcott's life into the story to make the landing of the movie's ending much more satisfying than the book itself.
But having won at the BAFTAs and the Writers Guild Awards, Jojo Rabbit looks to have secured the support of the voters here.
Should win: Little Women
Will win: Jojo Rabbit
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.