Olivia and Emme’s Oscar Predictions 2020

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Olivia Janicek and Emme Barnes

Let us start off by saying one thing: we love movies. Stories heighten our awareness of reality while also inviting us into alternative worlds. Effective writing and cinematography can immerse us in the lives of both fictional and nonfictional characters. We connect through the medium of language and imagery, as filmmakers transcribe our emotions for the screen.

The 2020 Oscars will take place on February 9th. The variety of films honored at this year’s ceremony endures as impressive, with stories ranging from psychotic thrillers to historical adaptations of books. Each film exhibits artistry and each one deserves an award, however, only a few movies can exit the ceremony with the coveted Hollywood award.

So what are our predictions? Please note,we haven’t seen all of the movies yet. We are relying off current perceptions and the opinions of our peers as we construct the list. As much as we’d like to write without bias, our bias will likely still sway our predictions. These are our opinions, subject to disagreement. We love hearing others thoughts upon the subject as well. With our predictions, we try to consider societal factors, filmmaking styles, previous ceremonies, and further. While the reason some films prevail over others will never likely be known, we believe its a coalition of factors, some unnamed. In the end, we’re just fellow movie fans predicting Oscar winners from a pool of Oscar-worthy movies.

Best Supporting Actor

Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

In Tarantino’s new film, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) serves as the driver for slightly washed up Hollywood star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio). Brad Pitt brings a certain complexity to the role; he’s a coldhearted individual with a history of violence, yet still maintains a dedication to Dalton as both a driver and a friend. Even with his flaws, there’s something endearing about Pitt’s character, and oddly enough, the audience roots for him. Having a flawed, generally dislikable character like Booth serves as both a testament to the writers and Brad Pitt. – Olivia Janicek

Best Supporting Actress

Scarlett Johansson for Jojo Rabbit

Much like Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Johansson’s character prevails as highly complex. That said, the entire film of Jojo Rabbit insinuates a highly complex understanding of morality only some films can pull off. In the irreverent film, Rose Betzler (Scarlett Johannson) raises her son in the face of WWII in Germany. Johannson perfectly portrays a concerned, loving mother attempting to shift her son’s misunderstanding of the society that surrounds him. Her character serves as a moment of kindness amidst a sea of struggle and fascism, and represents (perhaps) the perseverance of humanity. The film deals with an extremely difficult subject, yet still, Johannson adds heart that the audience doesn’t fail to notice. (Sidenote: her character had me sobbing by the end of the film). On top of her skill and addition to the film, Johansson was also nominated for her leading role in Marriage Story. The nominations for two films serve as evidence of her talent, however, the odds of the Oscars awarding a Netflix film (Marriage Story) are very slim. Netflix represents the next frontier of film, and perhaps poses a threat to The Academy and its steadfast, traditional foundation. I can’t say Netflix is the enemy of The Academy, yet I wouldn’t note the two groups as good pals either.- Olivia Janicek

Best Original Screenplay

Parasite. Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won.

I may be a little biased here, but I loved every second of Parasite. A film entirely in Korean, its complex approach to societal structure needs no translation. The film arrives as a chilling thriller, exciting the horror fan within. Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won weave characters from meticulously crafted dialogue and story, then sew icy twists throughout the scenes. Though the well-developed characters and impeccably designed story prevail as Oscar-worthy within themselves, I believe the film’s confrontation of societal standards will earn it the Oscar. The screenplay artistically approaches the concept of societal classes without sacrificing any suspense or story. With no explanation needed, the film utilizes its story to confront the idea of unbreakable classism and how individuals tend to never elude the classes they’re born into. This idea is meticulously woven through the lives of the characters and the thrill of the story. The social confrontation is indirect. It plagues the characters we connect with, and eventually, it plagues us. The subtle social commentaries reserve a power unlike any other. They force the audience to question ideals through the mere imposition of dialogue, plot, and character development. Words become both meticulously crafted worlds and sharp calls to action. – Olivia Janicek

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. 

Joaquin Phoenix plays the highly disturbing character of “Joker” in Joker. His performance – akin to all of the other nominees – prevails a notably incredible. However, Phoenix’s dedication to the craft, likely more than the performance, will likely earn him the Oscar. Phoenix represents the steadfast ideals of The Academy. He’s an actor, insanely devoted, to his craft willing to lose weight and sacrifice normality for a movie character. Film serves as the lifeline for The Academy. Phoenix gave himself to the film; he prevails as perhaps the idolized manifestation of dedication to the film industry and Hollywood. To deny Phoenix the Oscar, may undermine the values of The Academy. Thus, I believe Phoenix’s commitment to his craft will earn him the coveted award.- Olivia Janicek

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Renée Zellweger in Judy– Although all women are phenomenal in their roles, Zellweger provides an excellent portrayal of the late Judy Garland. Now I personally haven’t seen the movie, but the stellar reviews about Zellweger and the film itself makes me believe she will take home the Oscar. Also with previous wins from the Golden Globes and SAGs from this year, odds are she’ll score the next big award. The Academy loves actors portraying other actors. So with Zellweger’s excellent performance and dedication to the role, she is sure to win. – Emme Barnes

Best Director

Sam Mendes for 1917- There were many great directors nominated, but Mendes will most likely win. With a single long shot and gruesome closeups of a tragic war, Mendes will take home the Oscar. He also hasn’t won best director since 2000 for American Beauty. The Academy appears to love and admire war movies, especially those with stunning shots, and great directorial production. – Emme Barnes

Best Picture

Joker– I will be totally biased because this was one of my favorite films of 2019. Joker is not like any movie I’ve seen, and strays away from the typical super villain story. Although filled with violence and mentions of mental illness, Joker gives a new lens to the DC Universe. I personally am not a big fan of the world of DC, but the one movie I love from that franchise is The Dark Knight. But only because of the villainous  “Joker” portrayed by the late Heath Ledger. His sick, twisted, and maniacal ways made the movie more interesting to me as a viewer. So when I sat down to watch the newest Joker, I was expecting dark and violent depictions of the beloved villain. But what I got instead was a cinematic masterpiece, worthy of Oscar material. Now it still has the violence and the gore, but focuses more on the struggle of mental illness. Joaquin Phoenix’s phenomenal acting captivated the audience into believing he is the twisted Arthur Fleck. A film like this has never won best picture. But with Joker racking up 11 nominations and being different from the rest, I would be surprised if it didn’t win. – Emme Barnes

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – I usually agree with Emme, yet in this case, I’m going to offer up a differing opinion. I believe that Hollywood adores Hollywood. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is director Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to Hollywood’s iconic past. It honors the nostalgic films of the industry, by cherishing the glory of western classics, the greatness of film premieres and visiting movie theaters, as well as far more. Why not reward something that honors yourself? It’s not just Hollywood agenda that (I think) will earn Tarantino and his team the Oscar. The film itself is a whirlwind of clever characters, cinematic shots, matchless acting, and class writing. Well not entirely loved by the public audience, I do believe it will take home the Oscar for best picture this year. – Olivia Janicek