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Oscars Predictions: With 'Cats' Out Of The Way, It’s Anyone’s Ballgame

The 92nd Academy Awards are just hours away and I’m so, so excited.

I can’t sleep. My hands are jittery. I’ve got a weird twitch in my knee that makes a kind of growling sound. 

That’s how eagerly I am anticipating this awards show. (Now that I’ve gotten over the fact that Cats was brutally snubbed in virtually every category. Shame! Shame! Meow. Shame!)

Part of the excitement, of course, is predicting who will win on Monday morning (Sunday night in the US). 

A lot of people are afraid to make the kind of bold predictions only a cinema wizard would make. Not me. I’m going to predict the stuffing out of these awards and you will not see me coming.

Then, completely unsolicited and without warning, I’m going to say who should win. Boom! People can win all they want. But should they? That’s the real question.

Nick Bhasin

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My methods are extremely scientific.

When deciding if a movie will win, I carefully calibrate everything I know about the movie, about Hollywood, astrology, obscure Seinfeld trivia, cancel culture and Brexit.

It’s a finely-tuned formula and I can’t go into too much more detail than that. 

When deciding if a movie should win, I ask myself the following questions:

  • Did I like this movie?
  • How much do I stand to gain personally and/or financially if this movie wins?

And that’s it. That’s how I do it.

On to the categories...

(Not all of them, of course. Just the ones I care about. If there’s a category I skip, you can just assume that I think Cats will and should win it.)

Who will win? Who won't win? With 'Cats' shamefully kicked aside, the field is wide open. (Image: Universal, Lionsgate, Sony, Netflix, Warner Bros, Getty)

Performance by an actor in a leading role nominees:

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.

He won the BAFTA and apologised for being white. If that doesn’t butter up the Academy nothing will.

Who SHOULD win:

Leonardo DiCaprio.

Every one of these people was great in their respective movies. As far as I know. I haven’t seen Pain and Glory. Also Marriage Story feels like an intimate portrait of two people you’re glad you don’t know. I’ve got nothing against Phoenix, but Leo is great in OUAT... IH and he gave an interview on a podcast the other day that I really liked, so I want him to win and so he should win.

Joaquin Phoenix most certainly will win for his portrayal of the Joker. But should he? That, friends, is another matter. (Image: Warner Bros)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role nominees:

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.

There’s speculation that he’s back together with Jen and they’re already married and they’re expecting a baby and they’re broken up again I’m sorry.

Who SHOULD win:

Brad Pitt.

Robert Pattinson better get out of my face. Brad Pitt is the handsomest man in the world. He’s been written off as a pretty boy all his life but he’s actually great in lots of movies. I know it. The Academy knows it. And now you know it.

Performance by an actress in a leading role nominees:

Cynthia Erivo: HARRIET, Scarlett Johansson: MARRIAGE STORY, Saoirse Ronan: LITTLE WOMEN, Charlize Theron: BOMBSHELL, Renée Zellweger: JUDY

Who will win:

Charlize Theron.

Did you see her makeup? She is terrifying as Fox anchor Megyn Kelly. And the Academy loves physical transformations.

Who SHOULD win:

Saoirse Ronan.

I haven't seen Little Women yet. I’m going with my lady friend next week. But I loved Ronan in Lady Bird and I finally figured out how to pronounce her name. 

I’m sure Renee Zellweger is very nice but I’m getting really tired of these music biopics. They are NEVER good. They’re always just okay. So no more biopics please. Rocketman, the Queen one, Frozen 2… enough is enough.

As for Scarlett Johansson, I did not care for her character’s dancing.

I was tempted to say Cynthia Erivo should win. She’s the only non-white actor nominated this year. But I think it’s better for the Academy to stare their diversity problem (and their black-women-can-only-get-nominated-if-they-play-certain-types problem) right in the face when only white people win.

In 'Harriet', Cynthia Erivo (left) plays Harriet Tubman, the former slave who helped other slaves escape via the Underground Railroad. (Image: Focus Features)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role nominees:

Kathy Bates: RICHARD JEWELL, Laura Dern: MARRIAGE STORY, Scarlett Johansson: JOJO RABBIT, Florence Pugh: LITTLE WOMEN, Margot Robbie: BOMBSHELL

Who will win:

Laura Dern.

The divorce lawyers are the best thing about Marriage Story and Dern stands out. She’s fierce and uncompromising and brutally honest.

Who SHOULD win:

Laura Dern.

Speaking of honesty, I’ve only seen Marriage Story and Bombshell so that doesn’t leave me with a lot of options. Margot Robbie is okay in Bombshell. I don’t know how to pronounce it (yet), but Florence Pugh has a great name.

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The nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards have been announced -- and there were more than a few surprises.

Best animated feature film of the year nominees:

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, I LOST MY BODY, KLAUS, MISSING LINK, TOY STORY 4

Who will win:

Toy Story 4.

I was appalled to discover that of all the Toy Story’s, only Toy Story 3 has won this award. But this is the end of the road for Woody and the gang, so I think it’ll be a sentimental favourite. Also the movie is really good. I’ve been quoting it with my kids nonstop. (Actually, we did stop just recently -- sorry Toy Story 4.)

Who SHOULD win:

Missing Link.

Hugh Jackman is a global treasure and he is delightful in this movie. As is Zach Galifianakis, one of the best comedians of all time. It’s weird and fun and I liked it a lot.

How to Train Your Dragon was only semi-fun to begin with and the franchise has gotten worse with time, I assume from the trailers. I’m not even sure how it got here -- or how it’s better than Frozen 2, which, as it happens, is also not good. Same for Klaus, which tries way too hard.

I haven’t seen I Lost My Body because it looks really sad. But I’ll get to it.

'Missing Link' has some very decent laughs in it. Don't snub it! (Image: United Artists)

Achievement in directing nominees:

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.

1917 is a British war movie and the Academy loves that kind of thing.

Who SHOULD win:

Martin Scorsese.

I’m tempted to say Bong Joon Ho, but I haven’t seen Parasite yet. I hear it’s great and I believe what I hear.

But Scorsese somehow made me love a 75-hour movie that re-explores themes he’s already gone over in other movies and forced me to look at those themes totally differently. That’s an achievement.

Best international feature film of the year nominees:

CORPUS CHRISTI, HONEYLAND, LES MISÉRABLES, PAIN AND GLORY, PARASITE

Who will win:

Parasite.

Who SHOULD win:

I haven’t seen any of these movies, so I’m going with the one I will eventually see and like the most. Could be any of them really. But probably Parasite.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song) nominees:

"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away": TOY STORY 4, "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again": ROCKETMAN, "I'm Standing With You": BREAKTHROUGH, "Into The Unknown": FROZEN II, "Stand Up": HARRIET

Who will win:

Toy Story 4.

Who SHOULD win:

No one.

I don’t know any of these songs but I’m sure they’re all terrible. I can’t remember the last time I liked an Oscar-winning song. I guess that “In the Shalalalalalalallows” one is okay.

But seriously what is this? The Grammys? Let’s move on.

Forgettable movie songs make Forky and Woody sad. (Image: Disney)

Best motion picture of the year nominees:

FORD V FERRARI, THE IRISHMAN, JOJO RABBIT, JOKER, LITTLE WOMEN, MARRIAGE STORY, 1917, ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD, PARASITE

Who will win:

1917.

It could be The Irishman or Parasite too. Maybe even Joker. But I’m betting on the Academy being very traditional with this one.

Who SHOULD win:

The Irishman.

I really liked Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood and Joker, but they didn’t stick with me as much as The Irishman.

Ford v Ferrari is okay. Marriage Story is actively irritating. Haven’t seen the other ones. So here we are.

Adapted screenplay nominees:

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:

Little Women.

The Academy will feel bad for shutting out women in the directing category and give it to Greta Gerwig. The underrepresented sometimes get thrown a bone in the writing categories.

Who SHOULD win:

Little Women.

The issue of who gets nominated for these prizes and who wins them can seem inconsequential but it matters in terms of what movies get made. And the more people of colour and women are shut out of them, the more they’ll stay on the sidelines. So even though I haven’t seen it yet, I’m playing the Representation Card on this one. I don’t care.

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Original screenplay nominees:

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:

Quentin Tarantino.

He’s already won a couple times and the Academy loves winners.

Who SHOULD win:

Quentin Tarantino.

He deserves it. Like all of his movies, this one is flawed and a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed Knives Out though.

***

So. How did you do? Did you win your office sweeps? If you did, do you think I should see a taste of that jackpot? What's fair? Thirty percent? Thirty-five?

Let's say 40.