Fri, Feb 07, 2020 - Page 14 News List

And the winner is ...

Film writer Jake Coyle predicts who will win, who should win and those who should have been contenders in this year’s Academy Awwards

By Jake Coyle  /  AP, NEW YORK

This combination of photos shows lead actress Oscar nominees, from left, Charlize Theron in Bombshell, Saoirse Ronan in Little Women, Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story, Renee Zellweger in Judy and Cynthia Erivo in Harriet.

Photo: AP

Ahead of Sunday’s 92nd Academy Awards, Associated Press Film Writer Jake Coyle shares his predictions for a ceremony with a lot of locks but the potential for a few surprises.

BEST PICTURE

The Nominees: Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman,

Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, Parasite

Will Win: Parasite

Should Win: Parasite

Should Have Been a Contender: The Last Black Man in San Francisco

The last-arriving contender, Sam Mendes’ World War I film1917, has seemingly, fittingly run away with it. The top-prize winner of the Producers Guild, the Directors Guild and the BAFTAs, 1917 is the clear favorite. But I think Bong Joon-ho’s universally beloved Parasite could pull off an upset that would rank alongside the underdog win of Moonlight three years ago. Taking best ensemble from the Screen Actors Guild showed that Parasite has perhaps the most important vote in the actors (they make up the largest percentage of the film academy), and academy membership has also grown more international in recent years. The time may be right for the first foreign-language film to win best picture, and Parasite deserves it.

BEST ACTRESS

The Nominees: Cynthia Erivo, Harriet; Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story; Saoirse Ronan, Little Women; Charlize Theron, Bombshell; Renee Zellweger, Judy

Will Win: Renee Zellweger

Should Win: Saoirse Ronan

Should Have Been a Contender: Alfre Woodard, Clemency

Zellweger is already a winner for Cold Mountain in 2004. But her fragile yet powerhouse performance as Judy Garland in Judy is that irresistible thing: a comeback story. The part reverberates with Zellweger’s own history; she and Garland are both former American sweethearts. She’s a fine choice, but the verve and velocity of Ronan’s great performance in Little Women shouldn’t be overlooked. Formidable as this category is, it would have been better with Woodard’s fully inhabited, devastatingly still performance as a prison warden in the spare Clemency — not to mention Lupita Nyong’o’s ferocious double act in Us.

BEST ACTOR

The Nominees: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory; Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood; Adam Driver, Marriage Story; Joaquin Phoenix, Joker; Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix

Should Win: Adam Driver

Should Have Been a Contender: Andre Holland, High Flying Bird

After several years of lethargy, best actor is the year’s most competitive category. The next five options — including Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems) and Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name) — are equally good. Phoenix, like all of this year’s acting favorites, has been the clear front-runner for some time, for his morose yet limber Joker. But Driver’s performance in Marriage Story is the real show-stopper here; a more nuanced and rewarding performance that culminates beautifully in song and tears. A shout-out also to the exceptional Holland, whose guileful, fast-talking NBA agent in High Flying Bird felt like a thrilling fast break.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The Nominees: Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell; Laura Dern, Marriage Story; Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit; Florence Pugh, Little Women; Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Will Win: Laura Dern

Should Win: Laura Dern

Should Have Been a Contender: Zhao Shuzhen (趙淑珍), The Farewell

Dern has won every precursor award ahead of the Oscars, and is poised to win her first Academy Award. That’s cause for celebration. Dern has been one of the finest actresses in Hollywood for decades, and her fearsome divorce attorney in Marriage Story is indelible, particularly her fabulous monologue on the double-standards of modern marriage. But this category is also missing some worthy actresses, including Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) and Zhao, who played the grandmother unaware of her own cancer diagnosis in Lulu Wang’s tender family drama The Farewell.

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