Chris Pix the Oscar Flix

The Academy Awards are TOMORROW night, so here are my choices for the Oscar race!

Best Picture:
This is a very tough category, since ALL these films are great in one way or another. So, let’s whittle it down, shall we? The least likely to have chance of winning Best Picture are Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, and Marriage Story. All excellent, yes, but the real contenders are 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Joker, and Parasite. Joker is too dismal, I think, Parasite too crazy, which leaves 1917 & Once/Hollywood, I think 1917 will take it, but it’s gonna be damn close, with Parasite and Once/Hollywood being a close second. Don’t discount Joker coming in as a dark horse to take the gold from everyone.

Lead Actor:
This should be a no-brainer. Forget Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and Adam Driver (Marriage Story). This is Joaquin Phoenix’s (Joker) year. I said it when I first reviewed the movie, this guy’s gonna get the Oscar.

Lead Actress:
Disappearing into a role seems to be the name of the game this year, and Renee Zellweger and her portrayal of the late Judy Garland in Judy will get her some gold this year. Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), and Charlize Theron (Bombshell) were all wonderful, but Rene has (I think) a lock on this. Look out for Cynthia Erivo to usurp the crown.

Supporting Actor:
This will be a close race between Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) and Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). The others, Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Al Pacino (The Irishman), and Joe Pesci (The Irishman) can take a seat at this time. Hanks is an industry favorite, but Pitt has paid his dues. I’m gonna go with Pitt this year, but Pacino just may pull a fast one and come out of left field to nab himself another Oscar.

Supporting Actress:
This SHOULD be another no-brainer with Margot Robbie (Bombshell), but Laura Dern from Marriage Story is looking awfully good here. Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell), and Florence Pugh (Little Women), can sit this one out. I’m thinkin’ Dern will go home with gold, but Robbie may pull an upset by taking the statue away.

Director:
Yes, I know… where the hell is Greta Gerwig in this category? Don’t get me started! Anyway, you have the grand ol’ master, Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), the hands-down favorite to win,Todd Phillips (Joker), the impeccable Sam Mendes and his technical achievement in film-making with 1917, and the eclectic Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and finally Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece, Parasite. Whew! What a choice! As much as I think Todd Phillips will win, I’m hoping that Sam Mendes will get it, simply for his balls-to-the-wall level of direction of 1917. Look for Bong Joon Ho as a dark horse!

Animated Feature:
The Disney machine has eaten the competition once again. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World by Dean DeBlois, I Lost My Body by Jeremy Clapin, and Klaus Sergio Pablos don’t stand a chance against the House of Mouse with their Toy Story 4 by Josh Cooley. That being said, the only one to rise up and challenge is Laika Studio’s Missing Link by Chris Butler. CGI animation vs traditional stop-motion animation? Hmmm. . .I’d LIKE to see Missing Link usurp the upstarts at Disney, but I fear that’s just wishful thinking.

Adapted Screenplay:
First, eliminate The Two Popes by Anthony McCarten. I’m none-too-keen on Joker by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, so now we have the real race over The Irishman by Steven Zaillian, Jojo Rabbit by Taika Waititi, and Little Women by Greta Gerwig. Toughie. These three are all excellent and since Little Women is the 11th incarnation of the novel to the screen, I’m gonna say that Steve Zaillian and his The Irishman will take the statue home.

Original Screenplay:
To make a movie, the words have to sing out like in a symphony. The one movie this year that made me cringe because of the well-written script was Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach, 1917 by Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns was more of a technical wonder, and rarely has a ‘who-done-it’ like Knives Out by Rian Johnson ever captured gold. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino was just okay and Parasite by Bong Joon-ho & Jin Won Han was creepy and the Academy doesn’t like creepy. Therefore, I like Marriage Story, but look for dark horse favorite Tarantino to steal it away.

Cinematography:
Again, another no-brainer. Forget The Irishman by Rodrigo Prieto, Joker by Lawrence Sher, The Lighthouse by Jarin Blaschke, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Robert Richardson. This is Roger Deakins year and his exquisite photography and masterful execution of the camera with 1917. Just watch the YouTube videos on how he designed the “one take” camera set-up and you’ll see why he deserves this Oscar.

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