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Grammy 2005 Winner Predictions

Another year, another award for multimedia synchronicity over artistic merit.



Ray Charles

We felt pretty good about our Grammy Award winner predictions last year. After the televised ceremony, however, we started to ask ourselves, “Where did we go wrong?” If memory serves, only about half of our predictions were correct, but that wasn’t the problem—50% ain’t too shabby. More perturbing was the fact that only a handful of the categories we chose to predict (specifically, the Big Four) were actually presented live on the show. For those of us who are still interested in the craft of song and the art of the album, Best Song and Best Album for each respective genre are the most important categories. To producers of the Grammy telecast, it’s those pesky, ambiguous “Performance” categories, which are invariably bestowed upon the artist who just performed 30 seconds before. Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s). Why not Best Performance by a Drummer In a Country Song by a Duo or Group with Vocal? It’s nice to recognize individual performances, but the main performance categories are consistently stuffed with repeats. In the age of iPod, these categories seem to represent the ongoing distillation of what was once considered art. The death of the tangible single has led to the end of the distinction between “the song” and “the album.” After all, what is Confessions if not a collection of individual songs, written and produced by 21 different producers, shuffled together like the “urban” playlist on your little brother’s iPod? As a result, albums like Green Day’s American Idiot, Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose, and Brian Wilson’s Smile have truly earned their spots (and, hopefully, their victories) in the little categories you probably won’t see on TV on February 13th.


“Let’s Get It Started,” The Black Eyed Peas

“Here We Go Again,” Ray Charles & Norah Jones (Will Win)

“American Idiot,” Green Day

“Heaven,” Los Lonely Boys

“Yeah!,” Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris

Eric Henderson: I think the title of the Ray Charles/Norah Jones collaboration is appropriate here. Another year, another award for multimedia synchronicity over artistic merit.

Sal Cinquemani: As overplayed as the song was, and as much as I can’t stand Usher, it’s going to be hard not to give this one to “Yeah!” It was the most played song of 2004.

EH: Yeah, but I’m having visions of Norah Jones winning some 70 odd trophies two years back, and Santana doing the same a few years prior to that. Grammy voters can’t resist a sweep, and if the Black Eyed Peas cut into the Usher votes, I can’t imagine why the single with by far the least radio spins might not end up with an inexplicable, Steely Dan-style win here.

SC: I don’t see the, ahem, White Eyed Peas cutting into Usher’s votes. Green Day is definitely more worthy in the album category, but this could be the academy’s opportunity to award the band.

EH: Provided they want to. The Grammys have always been a little red state, musically speaking. Who’s to say they might not have crossed over politically?

SC: I’d venture to say that a good chunk of the 48.5% of the country who voted for John Kerry work in the music biz.

EH: Vote or Die.


Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles & Various Artists (Will Win)

American Idiot, Green Day

The Diary of Alicia Keys, Alicia Keys

Confessions, Usher

The College Dropout, Kanye West

SC: This is Ray Charles and Company’s to lose. Not only will it fulfill the sentimental vote, but it will pack the stage with Grammy faves like Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt. The academy won’t be able to resist.

EH: If every producer credited with working on Confessions actually voted for it, it would win in a landslide. But if last year’s 1-for-4 hip-hop showing in the top categories taught us anything, it’s that the average Grammy voter still takes his coffee with cream, thanks.

SC: Hmmm, well Usher isn’t hip-hop and Ray Charles is black, so…

EH: If you can name me five urban radio stations playing Charles’s duet with Norah Jones, or give me the racial demographic of Genius Loves Company’s target (i.e. Starbucks) audience, I’ll gladly stand corrected.

SC: Well, by now Green Day is being perceived as a “veteran” act and their American Idiot is one of the most acclaimed albums of the year and it’s currently got the most momentum of all the nominees. I would be pleasantly surprised to see them upset. My gut is telling me they’re gonna snag it from the dead blind guy but we’ll have to wait and see. They are, after all, the minority in this category.

EH: And in the nation…


“Daughters,” John Mayer

“If I Ain’t Got You,” Alicia Keys

“Jesus Walks,” Kanye West

“Live Like You Were Dying,” Tim McGraw (Will Win)

“The Reason,” Hoobastank

SC: John Mayer’s “Daughters” came out of nowhere this year.

EH: Which is where it shall return. This category probably boils down to a two-way contest between Alicia attempting to have sex with her 88 keys and Tim McGraw hurting so good over the death of his father. Guess which image Grammy voters probably feel safer envisioning?

SC: I prefer the image of Kanye West going home empty-handed so he can go cry about it publicly.

EH: I hate to say it, since I used to call her Alicia “Please,” but I’d give her the trophy in this sorry lot.

SC: Agreed. I really liked “Jesus Walks” but then I realized it was about Christ and not a miraculously cured Puerto Rican paraplegic.


Los Lonely Boys

Maroon 5

Joss Stone

Kanye West

Gretchen Wilson (Will Win)

SC: Grammy history would have us believe that a lady will take Best New Artist home this year (it was telling that Amy Lee of Evanescence accepted the award by herself in 2004). Country bad girl Gretchen Wilson’s got it in the bag…unless Kanye West bucks the trend, that is.

EH: Well, Kanye does have the most nominations.

SC: Yes, but…vagina!

EH: In that case, maybe Maroon 5 is the frontrunner here.


Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles & Various Artists (Will Win)

Feels Like Home, Norah Jones

Afterglow, Sarah McLachlan

Mind, Body & Soul, Joss Stone

Brian Wilson Presents Smile, Brian Wilson

SC: I was surprised Brian Wilson didn’t get an Album of the Year nod, which makes a win here less likely. Ditto for Norah Jones. Perhaps voters are finally realizing how overrated the girl is. Another one for the late Ray.

EH: Wow, am I out of the loop. I had no idea that Sarah McLachlan had released another album.

SC: Yes, and most of us fell asleep while listening to it. I do dig that “Stupid” song and the accompanying through-the-ages “Walking On Broken Glass”-style video though.

EH: I fell asleep one song in on Norah Jones’s first album and haven’t managed to wake up to her since. It makes me nervous driving around knowing that her aural Valium is being transmitted on Lite-FM stations nationwide.


“Good Luck,” Basement Jaxx featuring Lisa Kekaula (Will Win)

“Get Yourself High,” The Chemical Brothers

“Slow,” Kylie Minogue

“Comfortably Numb,” Scissor Sisters

“Toxic,” Britney Spears

EH: Why is the Franz Ferdinand single (easily more danceable than rockable) not in this category? Oh, that’s right. Because the Grammys hold dance music at arm’s length, awarding it while holding their collective nose.

SC: Ditto for the Killers’s “Somebody Told Me.” And the Scissor Sisters were nominated for the wrong song.

EH: Considering I prefer their trashy downtempo faux-schmaltz (“Mary”), I’d say they were nominated in the wrong category. And it took the Grammy dance branch long enough to get wise to Basement Jaxx and the Chemical Brothers. Unfortunately, the latter act seems to be well past their shelf date. “Good Luck,” on the other hand, is a fantastic, chugging single that shoves Britney’s sex-pixie ditty and the Scissor Sisters’s queer-as-milquetoast shtick face down in the dirt.

SC: The only thing more popular than hating on Britney is hating on Britney while dancing shirtless to “Toxic.” Will that be enough to score her a Grammy? I’m not sure the world is ready for that.

EH: I guess the big sea change in this category is that “Toxic” is probably the first Britney single that was, if anything, as big a hit critically as it was commercially. I’m not saying that the Grammy voters give two shits about critical acclaim (which is even harder to summarize in the world of music than it is in movies), except that I think they do more so in categories they don’t care about.

SC: Well, it should be noted that Kylie Minogue beat both Cher and Madonna last year, so kicking Britney butt shouldn’t be too difficult. I mean, the girl hasn’t even won a VMA.


Kish Kash, Basement Jaxx (Will Win)

Legion of Boom, The Crystal Method

Creamfields, Paul Oakenfold

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, The Prodigy

Reflections, Paul Van Dyk

EH: Look, I appreciate the effort to tart up the dance category with a new award, but if this truly represents the best for the genre in LP format, then please spare us the favor, Grammy.

SC: Granny? Oh, I didn’t realize you were here, Grandma Henderson.

Grandma Henderson: Any category that makes room for both Paul Oakenfold and Paul Van Dyk is to be held in contempt. The best we can all hope for is that the two far-too-tasteful DJs cancel each other out and make way for a Kish Kash win.

SC: Do they really need to make room for Kish Kash? I would have thought it was a lock. Too bad Björk stopped making electronic music. This should have been hers.

EH: I’d dance to “Triumph of a Heart” before the other four nominees in this category, and you know you would too. Otherwise, it is pretty telling that the Jaxx are the only act in this category also nominated in the other dance category. The Brixton duo should take this in a cakewalk, unless we’re underestimating the appeal of Oakenfold.

SC: Or cake. The Jaxx also have a nomination in the remix field. Oakey doesn’t.


“American Idiot,” Green Day

“Fall to Pieces,” Velvet Revolver

“Float On,” Modest Mouse (Will Win)

“Somebody Told Me,” The Killers

“Vertigo,” U2

SC: I will puke if U2 wins for “Vertigo,” the weakest song on yet another overrated album.

EH: I’m probably the least qualified person to comment on the relative worth of U2’s latest single, since I can’t stand one thing the band has ever done.

SC: Not even “Discotheque”? Come on!

EH: Nope. I merely tolerated that one.

SC: My pick is the Killers’s trashy, gender-bending “Somebody Told Me,” but Modest Mouse is the likely champ here.

EH: I’m right behind you regarding the Killers. It’s rock that doesn’t think it’s saving the goddamned world, which sets it apart from most of its competition here.


The Delivery Man, Elvis Costello & the Imposters

American Idiot, Green Day (Will Win)

The Reason, Hoobastank

Hot Fuss, The Killers

Contraband, Velvet Revolver

SC: If Green Day doesn’t snag Album of the Year, you can rest assured they will win this one. [Sigh].

EH: The Killers album wins my award for best album title of the year. Otherwise, Green Day probably deserve this one.

SC: Nicole Kidman is afraid of butterflies. [Sigh].


Medúlla, Björk

Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand (Will Win)

Uh Huh Her, PJ Harvey

Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Modest Mouse

A Ghost Is Born, Wilco

SC: Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse were the little bands that could in 2004. I’ll give the edge to the Austro-Hungarian Archduke. Oh, wait, you mean that’s a band? Sadly, Björk and PJ Harvey’s chances for a Grammy are packed up in your parents’ basement with your old glow sticks and club pants.

EH: Way to fucking bring this whole depressing year into perspective, Sal! Anyway, given that they’re halfway between the rock divas of the ‘90s and the trash-rock faux-pixies of the aughts, I could see this one going Wilco’s way, personally. Björk and PJ Harvey will have to record a duet with Little Richard on his deathbed before they ever have a serious shot at Grammy gold. (And oh my God, how fucking awesome would that trio be?!)

SC: Ummmm…are you high?

EH: You’re the one who thinks the assassinated impetus for WWI was nominated in this category. The Grammys aren’t that out of date. Anyway, I am giving my vote here to Björk. A friend of mine succinctly described Medúlla as an album about fucking that never reaches an orgasm. He was panning it, of course, but I must be masochistic enough to really dig that.


“Burn,” Usher

“Call My Name,” Prince

“My Boo,” Usher & Alicia Keys

“Yeah!,” Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris (Will Win)

“You Don’t Know My Name,” Alicia Keys

EH: There’s a nice conversation between the titles that show up in this category. “Call My Name.” “You Don’t Know My Name.” “Say My Name.” R&B singers are awfully fond of nomenclature.

SC: Welcome to the Usher & Alicia Show! If votes get split (or shredded, or whatever word embodies a 4-way split), Prince could win his first Grammy in 18 years.

EH: “My Boo.” Just rolls of the tongue. I just like saying it. “My Boo.”

SC: And what a clever way of awarding two superstars at once! God, I hate the Grammys.

EH: I’d be remiss in my duties as a Prince fanatic if I didn’t mention that they made the right decision snubbing the rote “Musicology” in favor of what is probably his best heavy-petter since the Jehovah’s Witnesses told him that he shouldn’t be writing songs about heavy-petting.

SC: Are you really suggesting that Prince should win a Grammy this year? I do love that Alicia Keys song…

EH: Given the choice between Alicia and Prince, I will always go for Prince. Never mind that this makes me the R&B equivalent of a U2 fan. Anyway, Prince is far more likely to get his obligatory token trophy in the Male Pop Vocal category, where the competition is far thinner.


My Everything, Anita Baker

I Can’t Stop, Al Green

The Diary of Alicia Keys, Alicia Keys (Will Win)

Musicology, Prince

Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds Vol. 2, Jill Scott

SC: Will Prince’s fake album sales (talk about “staging” your own comeback!) translate into fake Grammy votes?

EH: The album sales might’ve been fake, but the concert receipts were the real deal…and at less than half the cost of Madonna’s tickets. Still, and I hate to say this, Musicology has not held up well to repeated listens.

SC: Really? I never got past the first listen, so I wouldn’t know.

EH: At best, the album provided Prince’s band with a few segues to splice between his hit songs on their summer tour.

SC: We should never underestimate the Grammys’ ability to be predictable, so Alicia Keys—who’s got an Album of the Year nomination—should have no problem winning this contest. Then again, with these two nonsensical R&B Album categories, it’s really anyone’s game. I’d say Jill Scott deserves it, but the new album is a disappointment.

EH: Words & Sounds? Does she have an inferiority complex about her own musicality?

SC: Don’t you mean musicology?

EH: I mean humanities. Jill’s just so real.


Afrodisiac, Brandy

Damita Jo, Janet Jackson

It’s About Time, Christina Milian

Confessions, Usher (Will Win)

Hurt No More, Mario Winans

SC: This is Brandy’s trophy damn it!

EH: She can have it. Damita Jo is damn irritating.

SC: Awww, was Janet actually a contender? I hadn’t realized. That’s cute. I do like her album though. Gotta love the fallen diva underdogs.

EH: If Janet hadn’t dozed off on the islands for four songs or so, I’d probably like it a lot more too.


“Why,” Jadakiss Featuring Anthony Hamilton

“Dip It Low,” Christina Milian featuring Fabolous

“Slow Jamz,” Twista featuring Kanye West & Jamie Foxx

“Yeah!,” Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris (Will Win)

“All Falls Down,” Kanye West & Syleena Johnson

EH: Sal will probably crucify me for this, but Christina Milian was behind two of my favorite singles this year. Though I prefer the very “Vibeology” bass-heaviness of Milian’s “Whatever U Want,” “Dip It Low” was a fantastic, percolating throwback to “Aqua Boogie.”

SC: [Looks for rusty nails and a crown of thorns…oh wait, Bono has them.]

EH: Will “renaissance man” Jaime Foxx’s success extend to the Grammys? Probably not. Twista’s “Slow Jamz” seemed too much like “Instant Celebrity” played straight-faced. The only thing “Celebrity” had going for it was its ridiculous, hysterical chipmunk vocal loops.


“Drop It Like It’s Hot,” Snoop Dogg & Pharrell

“Hey Mama,” The Black Eyed Peas

“Jesus Walks,” Kanye West (Will Win)

“Let’s Get It Started,” The Black Eyed Peas

“99 Problems,” Jay-Z

EH: Listening to “Drop It Like It’s Hot” is like watching Marlon Wayans in Scary Movie trying to suck in the chronic smoke leaking out of the bullet hole in his chest. I might be in the minority, but I never really started loving the Neptunes until they stopped trying to actually write songs.

SC: When did they ever actually try to write songs? “Drop It” is soooo the kind of the song (a la “Milkshake”) that gets real old real fast. “99 Problems” is more durable. I still like it.

EH: You might be right. The same people who used to sing “Milkshake” months after it was over are the same ones now singing “Drop It.…”

SC: Wow. I never realized how much I hate the Neptunes (or is it their influence?) until right now.


To the 5 Boroughs, Beastie Boys

The Black Album, Jay-Z

The Definition, LL Cool J

Suit, Nelly

The College Dropout, Kanye West (Will Win)

EH: Four months back, I’d have easily put money on the Beastie Boys winning here, especially since there will probably be some major vote splitting between Jay-Z’s swan song and Kanye West’s debutante cotillion. On the other hand, To the 5 Boroughs might be about as of-the-moment as Fahrenheit 9/11, so it could just as easily come up empty.

SC: Yeah, Green Day’s got the liberal vote. It’s all about Kanye here.


“It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long,” The Notorious Cherry Bombs

“Live Like You Were Dying,” Tim McGraw (Will Win)

“Miss Being Mrs.,” Loretta Lynn

“Portland Oregon,” Loretta Lynn

“Redneck Woman,” Gretchen Wilson

EH: Once again, McGraw’s tear in his daddy’s beer will probably be unstoppable. The only possible alternative is Gretchen Wilson’s runaway hit ode to personifying the glossy exterior of Ugly American self-righteousness.

SC: Now, there’s a part of me that hopes “It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long” will win just so I can hear the voiceover guy say “It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long” live on CBS.

EH: I thought that the only acceptable form of the word “ass” on television hinges on it being preceded by “We’ll stick a boot in your,” and followed by “’cause it’s the American way”?

SC: No, that’s only during elaborate wartime Presidential inaugurations.


Van Lear Rose, Loretta Lynn

Live Like You Were Dying, Tim McGraw

Tambourine, Tift Merritt

Be Here, Keith Urban

Here for the Party, Gretchen Wilson (Will Win)

SC: This should really be Loretta Lynn’s award, but seeing as how she was snubbed in all the main categories, it’s a toss up between Tim McGraw and Gretchen Wilson. I’d go with Wilson just because it’ll make the red state voters think they’re being edgy.

EH: Agreed. This shouldn’t even be a contest.


T Bone Burnett

Rob Cavallo (Will Win)

Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis

Tommy LiPuma

John Shanks

SC: John Shanks should be exiled from the music business for contributing to three of 2004’s worst albums: Hilary Duff, Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography, and Lindsay Lohan’s Speak.

EH: I’m actually speechless. This is the least inspiring, most autopilot set of nominations in recent memory.

SC: And why do I feel like Green Day themselves deserve the nod over Rob Cavallo?

EH: Because you’re more impressed with the anti-Bush rhetoric than the stuck-in-1994 sound?

SC: Okay, Eric, you’re forbidden to discuss rock on this website ever again.

EH: Is that a threat or a promise?

SC: Seeing as how their “stuck-in-1994 sound” has influenced nearly every emo-pop/punk band around today, I’d hardly say it’s outdated.

EH: Point taken. I didn’t consider the emo-slash-Fisher Price My First Punk Band angle on the whole thing, since I listen to Yellowcard and Good Charlotte even less often than I listen to U2.

SC: Ditto. Anyway, what I meant was that Green Day are obviously the architects of their sound and this album in particular, so I find it funny that Cavallo got a nomination but they didn’t. It’s not like he produced anything else notable this year.


“Take Me Out,” Franz Ferdinand (Director: Jonas Odell)

“American Idiot,” Green Day (Director: Samuel Bayer)

“Flawless,” George Michael (Director: Jake Scott)

“Walkie Talkie Man,” Steriogram (Director: Michel Gondry)

“Vertigo,” U2 (Director: Alex & Martin) (Will Win)

EH: “Walkie Talkie Man.” We all pretty much agreed four months ago with the VMAs, and I can’t imagine anyone here’s switching their vote to the likes of U2 or George Michael now.

SC: Yeah, I guess the Steriogram clip is the best of this bunch…but what a crappy bunch. At least Michel Gondry has a shot at winning something this year (because you know he ain’t gettin’ an Oscar), but this one’s probably going to iPod, I mean U2.

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Oscar 2020: Complete Winners List

Parasite earned four awards, edging out 1917 for best picture.



Photo: Neon

Across the last month, we contemplated various pendulum swings, drew links between the Oscar voting process and the Iowa caucuses, and generally mulled over the academy’s ongoing existential crisis, only to come the conclusion that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or that’s what we thought prior to the Academy Awards ceremony. In a welcome surprise, Parasite took the top prize, becoming the first international title to do so in the history of the awards show, while Bong Joon-ho became the first director since Roman Polanski to win the directing Oscar after failing to win the DGA prize. (Parasite is also the first Palme d’Or winner since Marty way back in 1955 to claim best picture.)

In the era of the preferential ballot, one stat or another has been thrown out the window each year, but after last night, it feels like every last one was shattered to bits, and that the triumph of Bong film’s could signal a shift in the industry when it comes to not just what sorts of stories can be told. Indeed, Parasite’s victory is redolent of Moonlight’s no less historic one a few years ago, giving us hope that the very definition of an “Oscar movie” has been forever rewritten. Predicting the Oscars has become a little bit harder now.

Here’s the full list of winners.

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Parasite (WINNER)

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Phillips, Joker
Sam Mendes, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite (WINNER)

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (WINNER)
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy (WINNER)

Actor in a Supporting Role
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 (WINNER)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story (WINNER)
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Adapted Screenplay
The Irishman, Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi (WINNER)
Joker, Todd Phillips and Scott Silver
Little Women, Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

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 (WINNER)

International Feature Film
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Les Misérables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea) (WINNER)

Documentary Feature
American Factory, Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, and Jeff Reichert
The Cave, Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod, and Sigrid Dyekjær
The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris, and Tiago Pavan
For Sama, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts
Honeyland, Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska, and Atanas Georgiev

Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, and Bonnie Arnold
I Lost My Body, Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice
Klaus, Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh, and Marisa Román
Missing Link, Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner, and Travis Knight
Toy Story 4, Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, and Jonas Rivera (WINNER)

Film Editing
Ford v Ferrari, Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland (WINNER)
The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker
Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles
Joker, Jeff Groth
Parasite, Yang Jinmo

The Irishman, Rodrigo Prieto
Joker, Lawrence Sher
The Lighthouse, Jarin Blaschke
1917, Roger Deakins (WINNER)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Robert Richardson

Production Design
The Irishman, Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
Jojo Rabbit, Ra Vincent and Nora Sopková
1917, Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh (WINNER)
Parasite, Lee Ha-jun and Cho Won-woo

Costume Design
The Irishman, Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson
Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
Joker, Mark Bridges
Little Women, Jacqueline Durran (WINNER)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Arianne Phillip

Visual Effects
Avengers: Endgame, Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, and Dan Sudick
The Irishman, Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser, and Stephane Grabli
The Lion King, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Elliot Newman
1917, Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy (WINNER)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, and Dominic Tuohy

Original Score
Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir (WINNER)
Little Women, Alexandre Desplat
Marriage Story, Randy Newman
1917, Thomas Newman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

Sound Mixing
Ad Astra, Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, and Mark Ulano
Ford v Ferrari, Paul Massey, David Giammarco, and Steven A. Morrow
Joker, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, and Tod Maitland
1917, Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson (WINNER)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler, and Mark Ulano

Sound Editing
Ford v Ferrari, Donald Sylvester (WINNER)
Joker, Alan Robert Murray
1917, Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Wylie Stateman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Matthew Wood and David Acord

Makeup and Hairstyling
Bombshell, Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, and Vivian Baker (WINNER)
Joker, Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou
Judy, Jeremy Woodhead
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten, and David White
1917, Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis, and Rebecca Cole

Original Song
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4, Randy Newman
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman, Elton John and Bernie Taupin
“I’m Standing with You,” Breakthrough, Diane Warren
“Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“Stand Up,” Harriet, Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo

Live-Action Short
Brotherhood, Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon
Nefta Footfall Club, Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi
The Neighbor’s Window, Marshall Curry (WINNER)
Saria, Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre
A Sister, Delphine Girard

Documentary Short Subject
In the Absence, Yi Seung-jun and Gary Byung-seok Kam
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva
Life Overtakes Me, John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
St. Louis Superman, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
Walk, Run, Chacha, Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt

Animated Short
Daughter, Daria Kashcheeva
Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver (WINNER)
Kitbull, Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson
Memorable, Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre
Sister, Siqi Song

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Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Picture

How could the essentially non-political 1917 not arrive as sweet solace in our cultural moment?



Photo: Universal Pictures

We now have roughly a decade’s worth of data to postulate how ranked-choice ballots have altered the outcome of the top Oscar prize, and we’ve come to understand what the notion of a “most broadly liked” contender actually entails. And in the wake of wins for The Artist, Argo, 12 Years a Slave, Spotlight, The Shape of Water, and most especially Green Book last year, we’re left with the impression that the biggest change in what defines a best picture is no change whatsoever. In fact, what appears to have happened is that it’s acted as a bulwark, preserving the AMPAS’s “tradition of quality” in the top prize during a decade in which the concept of a run-the-table Oscar juggernaut has shifted from the postcard pictorials of Out of Africa to immersive epics like Gravity and Mad Max: Fury Road, both of which won two to three times as many awards as the films they lost out to for the top prize.

We’re far from the only ones who’ve noticed that—Moonlight eternally excepted—the contours of best picture winners seem to be drifting in the opposite direction of where Academy representatives have indicated they want to go. Wesley Morris recently concluded that, despite his fondness, if not downright love, for the majority of this year’s top contenders, the slate still just doesn’t jibe with a purportedly forward-thinking, brand-spanking-new academy: “Couldn’t these nine movies just be evidence of taste? Good taste? They certainly could. They are. And yet … the assembly of these movies feels like a body’s allergic reaction to its own efforts at rehabilitation.” Melissa Villaseñor’s jovial refrain of “white male rage” two weeks ago knowingly reduced this awards cycle down to absurdly black-or-white terms, but if the YouTube comments on that SNL bit are any indication, raging white males aren’t in the mood to have a sense of humor about themselves, much less welcome serious introspection.

Neither is that demographic alone in its disgruntlement. What was yesteryear’s “brutally honest Oscar voter” has become today’s “blithely, incuriously sexist, racist, and xenophobic Oscar voter.” As the saying goes, this is what democracy looks like, and given sentiments like “I don’t think foreign films should be nominated with the regular films” and “they should have gotten an American actress to play Harriet,” it looks a lot like the second coming of Hollywood’s Golden Age gorgons of gossip, Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons.

It might be a stretch but we can imagine that, to many voters, the presumptive frontrunner, Sam Mendes’s 1917, comes off a lot less like a first-person video game mission and a lot more representative of what it feels like to navigate our landmine-strewn cultural landscape as your average politically neoliberal, artistically reactionary academy member circa 2020. Especially one forced to make snap decisions in the midst of an accelerated Oscar calendar. And even if that is, rhetorically speaking, a bridge too far, there’s no denying the backdrop of representational fatigue and socio-political retreat liberal America is living through.

How could the stiff-lipped, single-minded, technically flawless, quietly heroic, and, most importantly, essentially non-political 1917 not arrive as sweet solace in this moment? It’s the same reason why we suspect, despite ranked-choice ballots pushing Bong Joon-ho’s insanely and broadly liked Parasite in major contention for the prize, it’s actually Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit we most strongly fear pulling off an upset. After all, how many Oscar voters are still more concerned about Nazis than they are global income inequality? Or, if you’d rather, how many of their homes look more like the Parks’ than like the Kims’?

Will Win: 1917

Could Win: Jojo Rabbit

Might Win: Parasite

Should Win: The Irishman, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, or Parasite

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Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Director

Given the academy’s long history and resurgent embrace of technical triumphs, we’re not holding our breath for an upset here.



Sam Mendes
Photo: Universal Pictures

Last week, when Eric brought to my attention the New York Times article that exposed the myth of Hollywood being in the tank for movies about the industry, I used the piece as a jumping-off point for why Quentin Tarantino was vulnerable in the original screenplay category. At the time, I thought I was stepping on Eric’s toes by referencing his intel, believing him to be charged with giving our readers the lowdown in this category. Turns out he was tasked with whipping up our take on the film editing contest, meaning that I had stepped on my own toes. Which is to say, almost everything I already said about why QT was likely to come up short in original screenplay applies here, and then some.

Indeed, just as math tells us that the academy’s adulation for navel-gazing portraitures of Hollywood has been exaggerated by the media, it also tells us that this award is Sam Mendes’s to lose after the 1917 director won the DGA award, the most accurate of all Oscar precursors, having predicted the winner here 64 times in 71 years. A win for the pin-prick precision of Bong Joon-ho’s direction of Parasite would be a welcome jaw-dropper, as it would throw several stats out the window and, in turn, get us a little more excited about predicting the Oscars next year. But given the academy’s long history and resurgent embrace of technical triumphs—trust us, the math checks out—we’re not holding our breath.

Will Win: Sam Mendes, 1917

Could Win: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Should Win: Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

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Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Film Editing

The only thing louder than the vroom-vroom of James Mangold’s dad epic is the deafening chorus of “Best. Movie. Ever.”



Photo: Neon

This past Monday, while the nation waited hour after embarrassing hour for the Iowa caucus results to start rolling in, Film Twitter puzzled over an AMPAS tweet that seemed to leak this year’s Oscar winners—before the voting window had even closed. It didn’t help matters that the slate of “predictions” tweeted by the academy seemed plausible enough to be real, right down to Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite for best picture.

As it turned out, the academy’s problems weren’t so unlike the DNC app gumming up the works in, as the New York Post shadily dubbed it, “Duh Moines.” And sure enough, AMPAS fessed up to a quality-control gremlin (sorry, “issue”) that resulted in someone’s personal predictions going out on the main account. As Iowa’s snafu reaffirmed that Occam’s razor isn’t just something you need to keep out of Arthur Fleck’s hands, we’re 100% certain that the intern who posted that ballot on the academy’s account meant to post it on their personal one.

Speaking of Joker, if you would’ve asked us even just a few days ago whether we thought Ford v Ferrari was any more likely than Todd Phillips’s dank meme to take the Oscar in the category that has frequently been characterized as the strongest bellwether for a film’s overall best picture chances, we’d have probably collapsed in a fit of incontrollable giggles. And yet, with a BAFTA film editing win in Ford v Ferrari’s favor, we’re not the only ones wondering if the least-nominated best picture nominee actually has more in its tank than meets the eye.

The only thing louder than the vroom-vroom of James Mangold’s dad epic, however, is the deafening chorus of “Best. Movie. Ever.” being sung on Parasite’s behalf, and indeed, it was selected as the academy’s unofficial, accidental prediction in this category. As Ed noted yesterday, momentum is in its favor like no other film this year. Well, maybe one other, and it was mere providence that the one-shot gestalt kept Sam Mendes’s 1917 off the ballot here, or else one of the tougher calls of the night could’ve been that much tougher.

Will Win: Parasite

Could Win: Ford v Ferrari

Should Win: Parasite

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Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

One of the realities of the Oscar race is that you never want to peak too early.



Photo: Neon

So much has happened across the home stretch of this perversely shortened awards season that it’s almost difficult to process it all. Believe it or not, at the start of our rolling Oscar prediction coverage, just after the Golden Globes and a few days before the Producers Guild of America Awards announced its top prize, I was still confident in my belief that we were heading toward another picture/director split, with Jojo Rabbit taking the former and Quentin Tarantino the latter. But flash forward two weeks and we’re now looking at an Oscar ceremony that will be in lockstep with the final wave of guilds and awards groups, leaving frontrunners in various categories up to this point in the dust.

Case in point: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood in original screenplay. Even after a recent New York Times article used old-fashioned math to expose the myth being propagated by awards pundits—even us!—that Hollywood is in love with seeing its image reflected back at itself, we figured that the film, even if it isn’t our stealth best picture frontrunner, and even if it isn’t Tarantino’s swan song, couldn’t lose here. After all, the category is practically synonymous with QT, who only needs one more win to tie Woody Allen for most Oscars here.

And then—tell us if you’ve heard this one before—Parasite happened. Here’s a category in which Oscar voters aren’t reluctant to award genre fare, or re-imaginations of that fare. That’s Tarantino’s stock in trade…as well as Bong Joon-hoo’s. Parasite’s screenplay, co-written by Bong and Han Jin-won, found favor with the WGA last weekend, and while we weren’t ready to call this race for the film at that time—Tarantino isn’t a WGA member, and as such can’t be nominated for the guild’s awards—we’re doing so in the wake of the South Korean satire winning the BAFTA against Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. That victory proves, among other things, that one of the realities of the Oscar race is that you never want to peak too early.

Will Win: Parasite

Could Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Should Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

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Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

Oscar has a long-standing history of using the screenplay awards for token gestures, especially toward writer-directors.



Jojo Rabbit

As soon as the Oscar nominations were announced and the headlines were dominated by the academy’s cold shoulder toward female directors, it sure felt like the balance of this race was tipped in Greta Gerwig’s favor. After all, Oscar has a long-standing history of using the screenplay awards for token gestures, especially toward writer-directors; they’re where filmmakers like Spike Lee, Sofia Coppola, Pedro Almodóvar, Jordan Peele, Spike Jonze, and, to date, Quentin Tarantino have won their only Oscars.

Gerwig’s status as the most conspicuous best director castaway in this category might not in itself have been enough to push her through, but virtually all the press on her exceptionally good Little Women has focused specifically on how successfully she remixed the novel vis-a-vis jaunting back and forth between different periods in the chronology. Her framing device allows the novel and its modern fans to have their cake and eat it too, to be told a story overly familiar to them in a way that makes the emotional arcs feel fresh and new, to be enraptured by the period details that have always fascinated them but then also come away from it feeling fully reconciled with Jo’s “marriage” to Professor Bhaer. Within the world of pop filmmaking, if that doesn’t constitute excellence in screenwriting adaption, what indeed does?

Alas, as was confirmed at this weekend’s BAFTA and WGA awards, the token gesture this year looks to be spent not on Gerwig, but the category’s other writer-director who missed out in the latter category. We’re no fans of Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, and we aren’t alone, as it boasts the lowest score of any best picture nominee this year on Metacritic. Still, we admit that it must touch a nerve somewhere in the average academy voter who not only finds the Holocaust so irresistible a subject that they’re willing to back a film that this year’s crop of “honest Oscar posters” memorably dubbed Lolocaust, but who also, while continuing to feel increasingly persecuted about the online catcalls over their questionable taste, would right about now love to drop kick Film Twitter out a window like Jojo does Waititi’s positively puckish Hitler.

Will Win: Jojo Rabbit

Could Win: Little Women

Should Win: Little Women

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Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Production Design

Oscar voters are suckers for scale, throwbacks, ostentation, and, above all, a sense of prestige.



Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Oscar voters are suckers for scale, throwbacks, ostentation, and, above all, a sense of prestige. No film nominated in this category checks off all those boxes, but two come close: The Irishman and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. While the former never caught fire the way it needed to in order to vie for even the major prizes, the latter has been cruising toward more than just a win in this category from the second people laid eyes on it out of Cannes last year. Regardless of what you think of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, it’s difficult to imagine the scope of Quentin Tarantino’s sense of regard for a bygone Hollywood being possible without Barbara Ling’s production design and Nancy Haigh’s set decoration.

Still, this one is going to be a squeaker. First, there’s the matter of 1917’s late-in-the-game surge and whether or not the film can run the table in the technical categories, even in this particular one where war films almost never prevail. And then there’s Parasite. Near the start of our rolling Oscar coverage, I mentioned how almost every day is bringing us some article praising the perfectly lit and designed architectural purgatory that is that film’s main setting. Now there’s a black-and-white version of the film making the rounds that will certainly allow people to think anew on the dimensions of the film’s thematic and aesthetic surfaces. Because winning in most of Oscar’s tech categories isn’t about restraint, but “more is more,” Parasite’s concentrated sense of texture is more likely the spoiler to the vividly haunted past-ness that clings to every surface across Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’s plethora of settings.

Will Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Could Win: Parasite

Should Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

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Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Visual Effects

The tea leaves are reading that it will be another win for middlebrow respectability.



Photo: Universal Pictures

Typically, it’s the short film categories that are most likely to trip up Oscar pool participants hoping to run the table, and not just among those who haven’t bothered to watch the nominees. A check on our own record reveals a number of years in which we failed to correctly guess at least one of them. It’s far more rare for the visual effects category to be one of any given year’s toughest calls. A quick glance at recent category history shows that Oscar voters clearly prefer what the industry refers to as “supporting” effects in a respectable movie for adults, like Life of Pi, Inception, and last year’s winner, First Man. Heck, voters are so counterintuitively serious-minded about this category that they eschewed the rollickingly impolite Mad Max: Fury Road—a juggernaut in the technical races back in 2015—instead opting for the not-just-comparatively minimalist Ex Machina.

Unfortunately, this year’s slate is almost ominously balanced between highbrow supporting effects, photorealistic animated animals in a kiddie epic, and template-oriented maximalism in support of action franchises. The result is the only slate where a bet on any given nominee would pay out more than double your investment, according to the latest Vegas oddsmakers. Still, the Visual Effects Society just handed the better chunk of their honors to The Lion King. It’s tempting to take stock of that, to consider The Jungle Book’s win three years ago, and to admit that the Disney remake is largely in a lane of its own here, and then take that as our cue to “hakuna matata” our way out of any further deliberation.

And yet, we’re not troubled by the VES awards’ preference for The Irishman over 1917 in their “serious movies” category. For one, the effects industry’s own affinity for character-oriented work is well-documented. Out in the wild, the uncanny valley of Scorsese’s age-reversing trickery has been as widely ridiculed as it has been embraced, especially that moment when Robert De Niro’s hitman roughs someone up in flashback, bearing a waxy youthful face but a very much seventysomething body. Given 1917’s 11th-hour surge, its Gravity-ish use of effects to blur cinematography, editing, and postproduction, and the fact that its grandest fabricated images never get in the way of the story, cue another win for middlebrow respectability.

Will Win: 1917

Could Win: The Lion King

Should Win: 1917

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Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress

One of the great mysteries of this year’s awards season is the ultimate fate of Jojo Rabbit.



Laura Dern
Photo: Netflix

One of the great mysteries of this year’s awards season that won’t be answered until the end of next week’s Oscar telecast is whether or not Jojo Rabbit will go home empty-handed. Taika Waititi’s film seemed destined for the top prize as soon as it won last year’s audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and then, well, lots of things happened since then, but nothing quite so damaging to the film’s awards ambitions than 1917, with which it likely shares more of a fan overlap than any other film in the best picture race. We don’t believe that there are enough academy members who cast votes with the intention of “spreading the wealth” to sway races in unexpected directions, but we do believe that Jojo Rabbit remains a major player in any category where it isn’t nominated against 1917.

That’s us saying that a win for Scarlett Johansson in the supporting actress race wouldn’t surprise us. And the only reason that we’re not going to call it for her is because there are other narratives that we believe in when it comes to securing an academy member’s vote, such as a nominee’s devotion to the campaign trail. The stars have lined up perfectly across the last few months for three-time Oscar nominee Laura Dern, a celebrated veteran of the industry who, for us, sealed the deal with her gracious SAG speech, which she prefaced with a touching pit stop at the Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood table in order to give her father, Bruce Dern, a hug. Also, given that Johansson is the likeliest spoiler in the best actress race, for a performance that would be difficult to imagine without her Marriage Story co-star’s collaboration, we’re also of the belief that if enough voters consider a vote for Johansson here an act of redundancy, if not betrayal, Dern’s victory is all but guaranteed.

Will Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Could Win: Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Should Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

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Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

The path of least resistance and most chronological distance almost always wins here.



Little Women
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When we shared Odie Henderson’s un-improvable joke, “Who wins the Costume Design Oscar for Joker? The Goodwill?,” we admit we hadn’t yet bothered to look up the person responsible for its downtrodden anti-chic shabbery. And seeing it was none other than Phantom Thread’s Oscar-winning Mark Bridges chastened us only long enough for us to remember that he was left off the ballot at the BAFTAs in favor of Jany Temime’s work on Judy, which, no matter what you think of the film itself, makes a lot more sense as a nominee in a category that, as Bridges well knows, often defaults to frock fervor. So while we could easily get more bent out of shape that the Costume Designers Guild this week gave its award for excellence in period film costuming to Mayes C. Rubeo for Jojo Rabbit, and while we could also ponder how this year’s slate skews not only surprisingly modern, but also far more male-centric than usual (from Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson’s baggy midcentury suits in The Irishman to Arianne Phillips’s groovy Cali duds in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood), the path of least resistance and most chronological distance almost always wins here. Jacqueline Durran’s win is both deserved and assured.

Will Win: Little Women

Could Win: Jojo Rabbit

Should Win: Little Women

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