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2014 Emmy Winner Predictions

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Orange Is the New Black

Glancing over this year’s Emmy nominations is to marvel again at just how much the television landscape has changed in 20 years. Back in 1993, The Larry Sanders Show became the first cable TV program to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. Only one non-network sitcom has ever claimed that award (Sex and the City in 2001), but the sheer number of nominations and wins that cable programs garner each year continues to signal the future of television programming. And one of the more pressing questions that will be answered this year is whether the Emmys are ready to embrace online TV creators such as Netflix with prizes in its top two categories for either House of Cards, nominated for 13 awards, or Orange Is the New Black, nominated for 12, more than any other comedy. Elsewhere, the sense of “importance” with which Ryan Murphy’s The Normal Heart has been greeted by critics and audiences has made nearly ever miniseries or movie category a no-brainer to predict. And while the Emmys, unlike the Oscars, have never been known to drive pundits and viewers alike to fits of nail-biting anxiety, at least a few of this year’s drama races have been turned upside down by the recent plagiarism claims that have plagued Nic Pizzolatto, possibly exposing True Detective as the emperor who’ll arrive at the Nokia Theatre on August 25 with the least amount of clothes.

Below are Slant Magazine’s official Emmy predictions.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective

Will Win: With Mad Men having aged into a vintage far worthier of a Peabody, Game of Thrones adored, if not exactly venerated, for its delectable pulp, and Downton Abbey appearing flushed over having knocked The Americans and Hannibal out of the way in order to gain entrance into the party, this becomes a spectacular tussle between the three remaining nominees. Naysayers be damned, the second season of House of Cards felt like a corrective to the first season’s pat satire, as the series began to complement its relentlessly poison-tipped jabs at D.C. politicos with a metaphoric frisson that was often haunting. Three months ago, when few had come to understand that Breaking Bad didn’t actually win last year for its final season, and the much-heralded True Detective felt to some like the second coming of Twin Peaks, if more self-serious and possibly more incomprehensible, I might have considered giving the edge to HBO’s addictive crime drama. But two months later, with True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto dogged by hardly specious accusations of plagiarism, the question becomes not whether the series can win over Breaking Bad’s incredible swan song, but whether it will even return for a second season.

Could Win: House of Cards or True Detective.

Should Win: Breaking Bad.

Should Have Been Here: Hannibal and The Americans.

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Louie
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley
Veep

Will Win: A five-peat for Modern Family would tie the ABC program with Frasier for the most wins in this category, but its competition this year is stiffer than ever. Only Silicon Valley and Louie, a series that’s seemingly written about more than it’s actually seen, can be safely discounted. More palatable to the masses, as Nielsen will attest, The Big Bang Theory also seems unlikely given that the Emmys have been ringing the death knell for comedies with laugh tracks ever since Everybody Loves Raymond went off the air. And while Emmy’s esteem for Veep continues to grow, it’s hard to shake the impression that the insanely popular Julia Louis Dreyfus’s coattails were largely responsible for its nine nominations this year. The most interesting narrative belongs, of course, to the refreshingly female-centric Orange Is the New Black, the little Netflix program that could and did this year with 12 nominations for its freshman season—this in spite of it being little more than a live-action cartoon whose lack of character consistency from scene to scene and risible trading in racial stereotypes immediately announces it as the work of Weeds creator Jenji Kohan. Given that its structural sophistication in its second season is so profound as to be, again, Peabody-worthy, this may be Orange Is the New Black’s only chance to ever cop this award, but when one considers that only one non-network show has ever won in this category (Sex in the City in 2001), Emmy seems likely to banally stick with what it knows best: Modern Family.

Could Win: Orange Is the New Black or Veep.

Should Win: Louie.

Should Have Been Here: Bob’s Burgers, Looking, Broad City, Girls.

Outstanding Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde
Fargo
Luther
Treme
The White Queen

Will Win: Maybe the true Supreme of American Horror Story: Coven is Ryan Murphy, for understanding very early on that Emmy’s grudging respect for genre fare would do him no favors in the Outstanding Drama Series category. Entering this year’s race with 17 nominations, Coven might have sealed the deal had it flourished like American Horror Story: Asylum did in its spectacular home stretch. But then it would have still had to contend with one of year’s great success stories, Fargo, a benchmark on how to adapt one of the most iconic and unique motion pictures in recent history for the small screen without seeming like a craven carbon copy.

Could Win: American Horror Story: Coven.

Should Win: Fargo.

Outstanding TV Movie
Killing Kennedy
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
The Normal Heart
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Trip to Bountiful

Will Win: American Horror Story: AIDS The Normal Heart.

Could Win: The Trip to Bountiful.

Should Win: Sherlock: His Last Vow.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Will Win: The near-inexplicable critical acclaim for True Detective this year has in no small part been informed by Matthew McConaughey’s fierce, alternately self-aware and self-serious, commitment to Rust Cohle’s philosophical ramblings. Regardless of who actually wrote the character’s sophomoric diatribes, the actor, who enters this race on the heels of having won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, has and will escape the show’s plagiarism-gate completely unscathed.

Could Win: Bryan Cranston or Kevin Spacey.

Should Win: Jon Hamm.

Should Have Been Here: Matthew Rhys.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lazzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Will Win: Robin Wright, who won a Golden Globe in January for the first season of House of Cards, has momentum on her side, but is it the right kind of momentum? This category has rewarded its fair share of monsters in the past, prime among them Glenn Close’s Patty Hewes, but Wright’s Claire Underwood, even on a series as unsubtle as House of Cards, is both a study in restraint by comparison and a pale imitation of Edie Falco’s ever-conflicted Carmela Soprano. Claire Danes, for the far more complex and infinite shades of gray that she continues to bring to her Carrie Mathison on Homeland, is a stronger contender, but if she’s at all been dented by her show’s near-hysteric plunge in popularity, that leaves the door open for Julianna Margulies, after shockingly failing to be nominated last year, to win her second Emmy for her performance as Alicia Florrick on what is said to be The Good Wife’s strongest season to date.

Could Win: Claire Danes or Robin Wright

Should Win: Claire Danes.

Should Have Been Here: Tatiana Maslany and Keri Russell.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luther
Martin Freeman, Fargo
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

Will Win: Mark Ruffalo, for his rich—and by typical award-show standards, “important”—performance in the egregiously, almost offensively over-stylized The Normal Heart, just barely perseveres over Billy Bob Thornton’s more intriguing articulation of the dark and seductive evil coursing through Fargo’s ice-cold veins.

Could Win: Billy Bob Thornton.

Should Win: Billy Bob Thornton or Benedict Cumberbatch.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Minnie Driver, Return to Zero
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Coven
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon

Will Win: Cicely Tyson in a walk, for reprising the role that won her a Tony last year and, before her, won Geraldine Page an Oscar in 1985.

Could Win: Jessica Lange.

Should Win: Jessica Lange, with the caveat that Tyson’s performance is, sadly, a blind spot for me.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Louie C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shamless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Will Win: I didn’t call Jim Parsons’s third Emmy last year simply because I thought Emmy wouldn’t be able to resist handing Alec Baldwin a second on his way out of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. This year, voters may feel cautious about giving the The Big Bang Theory lead a fourth, especially if they’d rather reward him for The Normal Heart. Or they may feel that the beloved Ricky Gervais’s prickly humanism is a preferable and natural alternative to Parsons’s toothless amiability.

Could Win: Jim Parsons.

Should Win: Louie C.K..

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

Will Win: The unsinkable Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Could Win: Melissa McCarthy or Taylor Schilling.

Should Win: Lena Dunham.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Will Win: Josh Charles had an ostensibly great season on The Good Wife, and while Peter Dinklage’s performance in episode six of Game of Thrones’s fourth season is, by most accounts, one of the great highlights of the year in television, Aaron Paul is likely to win his third Emmy for exposing Jesse Pinkman’s tortured soul more fully and richly across the final batch of Breaking Bad episodes.

Could Win: Peter Dinklage or Josh Charles.

Should Win: Aaron Paul.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Will Win: Last year I said that Anna Gunn’s articulation of her character’s conflictions in the first half of Breaking Bad’s final season was possibly the show’s shining light. And that more strongly applies throughout the second half, wherein the actress’s Skyler White, at least in her submitted episode, “Ozymandias,” lays bare the full scope of her regrets like a supernova of discovery.

Could Win: Maggie Smith.

Should Win: Anna Gun.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Tony Hale, Veep

Will Win: Having lost four times before for his role on Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson may have sentiment on his side, but he still has to contend with last year’s winner, Tony Hale, and his own esteemed co-star, Ty Burrell. And with Fred Armisen and Adam Driver, the two most deserving nominees, as your two odd men out, that leaves Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andre Braugher, possibly the most acclaimed nominee, to squeak his way to what will be described on Tuesday morning by everyone who never saw Homicide and Thief as a surprise victory.

Could Win: Tony Hale or Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Should Win: Adam Driver.

Should Have Been Here: Raúl Castillo.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Will Win: Because rewarding Julie Bowen a third time for insisting on not playing against type seems positively unfathomable, this would appear to be an open field. Except a consensus has formed among awards gurus who’ve probably never even watched Mom that this is Allison Janney’s award to lose. The actress is the biggest name in the category and, with four Emmys for The West Wing under her belt, a win for a comic performance follows the precedent set by Edie Falco in 2010 when she followed her three Emmy wins for The Sopranos with a victory for her role on Nurse Jackie.

Could Win: Julie Bowen or Kate Mulgrew.

Should Win: Kate Mulgrew.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
“Ozymandias,” Breaking Bad
“Felina,” Breaking Bad
“The Children,” Game of Thrones
“Chapter 14,” House of Cards
“The Secret Fate of All Bad,” True Detective

Will Win: If Rian Johnson’s remarkable direction of “Ozymandias” hadn’t been inexplicably snubbed, I might be singing a different tune, but even the title of Breaking Bad’s last episode, “Felina,” would suggest that this is a done deal.

Could Win: “Ozymandias,” Breaking Bad.

Should Win: “Ozymandias,” Breaking Bad.

Should Have Been Here: “Waterloo,” Mad Men and “Echo,” The Americans.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
“Farewell Daddy Blues,” Boardwalk Empire
“Felina,” Breaking Bad
“Episode 1,” Downton Abbey
“The Watchers on the Wall,” Game of Thrones
“Chapter 14,” House of Cards
“Who Goes There,” True Detective

Will Win: It’s still unfathomable to me that Walter Hill won an Emmy for the premiere episode of Deadwood, but filmmakers, most recently David Fincher and Martin Scorsese, are often rewarded here for launching the most acclaimed new shows on the TV block. Cary Joji Fukunaga may not be in the league of any of those men as an artist, but you may be tempted to think otherwise given all the ink that was spilt this year over a certain long take from True Detective’s fourth episode.

Could Win: “Felina,” Breaking Bad.

Should Win: “Felina,” Breaking Bad.

Should Have Been Here: “Arpanet,” The Americans and “Sakizuki,” Hannibal.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
“Episode 305,” Episodes
“So Did the Fat Lady,” Louie
“I Wasn’t Ready (Pilot),” Orange Is the New Black
“Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency,” Silicon Valley
“Special Relationship,” Veep

Will Win: Louie’s “So Did the Fat Lady,” the one episode from a comedy series this year that launched more think pieces than any other.

Could Win: “I Wasn’t Ready (Pilot),” Orange Is the New Black.

Should Win: “So Did the Fat Lady,” Louie

Should Have Been Here: “Christmas in the Car,” Bob’s Burgers and “The Gang Broke Dee,” It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
“Episode 309,” Episodes
“100,” Glee
“Elevator, Part 6,” Louie
“Vegas,” Modern Family
“Lesbian Request Denied,” Orange Is the New Black
“Minimum Viable Product,” Silicon Valley

Will Win: “Lesbian Request Denied,” Orange Is the New Black.

Could Win: “Las Vegas,” Modern Family.

Should Win: “Elevator, Part 6,” Louie

Should Have Been Here: “Looking in the Mirror,” Looking.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: His Last Vow
Colin Hanks, Deputy Gus Grimly
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart

Will Win: Matt Bomer.

Could Win: Jim Parsons.

Should Win: Martin Freeman.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

Will Win: Julia Roberts, in spite of being done no favors by Ryan Murphy’s erratic direction and cutting of The Normal Heart, should be able to successfully ride the show’s bandwagon to her first Emmy win.

Could Win: Allison Tolman.

Should Win: Allison Tolman or Frances Conroy.

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
“Bitchcraft,” American Horror Story: Coven
“The Crocodile’s Dilemma,” Fargo
Luther
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Normal Heart
“…To Miss New Orleans,” Treme

Will Win: The Normal Heart.

Could Win: “The Crocodile’s Dilemma,” Fargo.

Should Win: Sherlock: His Last Vow

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
“Bitchcraft,” American Horror Story: Coven
“Buridan’s Ass,” Fargo
“The Crocodile’s Dilemma,” Fargo
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Normal Heart

Will Win: The Normal Heart.

Could Win: “The Crocodile’s Dilemma,” Fargo.

Should Win: Sherlock: His Last Vow.

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Awards

Oscar 2020: Complete Winners List

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

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Parasite
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.

Picture
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Parasite (WINNER)

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

Actor
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

Actress
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

Cinematography
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?

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1917
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.

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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.”

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Parasite
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.

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Parasite
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.

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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.

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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.

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1917
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.

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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.

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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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