It may be early February but – thanks to a compressed awards season – the 92nd Academy Awards are almost upon us. Once again, concerns over diversity and representation have dominated the discourse, with only one non-white nominee across the four acting categories in the form of British actress Cynthia Erivo.

However, there are still some eclectic choices to be found deeper in the Oscar nominations pile. Both Animated Feature and Documentary Feature races are extremely tight, and there’s still a chance than Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or-winning Parasite could break out from the International Feature category and take a scalp or two – including Best Picture. Here are our full predictions for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.

BEST PICTURE
1917
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Parasite

Will win: 1917
Should win: Parasite

Expect a close, La La Land versus Moonlight-style battle between Sam Mendes’ First World War behemoth 1917 and Bong Joon-ho’s class war underdog Parasite. An expected Film and Director double at the Baftas have just edged 1917 ahead of the chasing pack, but a Parasite win would be a true breakthrough moment for the Academy in what has been a contentious year.

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

Will win: Sam Mendes, 1917
Should win: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Unlike the Best Picture race, Sam Mendes feels like more of a lock for this year’s Best Director award. This would be his second Oscar win in this category following 2000’s American Beauty. If there is an upset, expect it to come from Parasite’s Director Bong – the clue’s in the name.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy

Will win: Renée Zellweger, Judy
Should win: Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Last year’s Best Actress race offered up one of the biggest upsets of awards season, with Olivia Colman pipping the overwhelming favourite Glenn Close to the post right at the death. Another upset can’t be discounted, but Renée Zellweger is expected to win for her turn as Judy Garland – in a film otherwise ignored by Academy Voters.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
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, Joker
Should win: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

As divisive as Joker has been with critics, the Academy have obviously found it hard to ignore a $1 billion-plus-grossing drama with shades of 1970s-era Scorsese. The Joker is a mythic character in American culture (Heath Ledger also won an Oscar – albeit posthumously – for his role in 2009’s The Dark Knight) and Phoenix’s awards campaign has been full of dignity, culminating in his rousing Bafta speech. It’s a decent field, but only one possible winner.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Will win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Should win: Florence Pugh, Little Women

Though it could be argued that Dern’s superior supporting actress performance came in Little Woman, it’s her more bombastic turn as Marriage Story divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw that will likely win the actress her first Oscar at the third attempt. Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh offer the only chance of a possible upset – however unlikely.

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

Will win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Should win: Al Pacino, The Irishman

Brad Pitt has been on the charm offensive, delivering pith awards speeches (courtesy of a comedy writing team, if rumours are to be believed) and even posing for well-timed embraces with his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston. The time is now for Pitt, the youngest (at 56) in a category dominated by journeyed pros. Though a complete shut-out now looks likely, Al Pacino could be The Irishman’s best chance of a surprise Oscar.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Rian Johnson, Knives Out
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite

Will win: Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite
Should win: Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite

Up until the WGAs, this looked very much like Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar to lose. However, the wind is now very much in Parasite’s sails. This would be quite the coup for Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, given that the script was written in its native Korean. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood should still make this a close one.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, Joker
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes

Will win: Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Should win: Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Another victor from the WGAs, Taika Waititi and Jojo Rabbit look to just have the edge on Greta Gerwig and Little Women here, despite falling away quickly in the Best Picture race. Gerwig would be the first female winner since Diablo Cody and Juno – which was all the way back twelve years ago in 2008.

ANIMATED FEATURE: Klaus

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: American Factory

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE: Parasite

ORIGINAL SCORE: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker

ORIGINAL SONG: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman

SOUND EDITING: 1917

SOUND MIXING: 1917

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Bombshell

COSTUME DESIGN: Little Women

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Roger Deakins, 1917

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

FILM EDITING: Ford v Ferrari

VISUAL EFFECTS: 1917

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re A Girl)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: Brotherhood

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: Hair Love

The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony take place on 9 February 2020 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Daniel Green