Welcome back to my ever-extensive Oscar coverage. In the days leading up to the Oscars, I’ll be predicting every award, but focusing in-depth on what I call the “Big 8”. In my first two installments, I predicting the winners of the screenplay categories and the supporting actor categories. Also, if you want to hear the Fancy Boy Film Society’s top ten films of 2019, you can check it out on the Fancy Boys Club podcast.
I feel like the acting categories are slam dunks this year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t snubs to discuss. Also, I’m crazy terrible at predicting winners, so it’s quite possible that this is going to be a horrible quagmire.
That being said, let’s get to some leading predictions!
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
Who Will Win? This is another easy one; it’s all Joaquin Phoenix. This is the kind of performance that the Oscars loves, a wildly showy performance from a gifted actor who went through hell to prepare himself for the role (Phoenix lost 52 pounds, and it’s not like he was a big dude before this). Phoenix is just throwing himself into this part, and it’s impressive to watch the force he has to put out just to pull this role off. In a role the Oscars have recognized before, Phoenix put a much different spin than Heath Ledger did. Give the Joker a second trophy.
Who Should Win? Where Phoenix gives a showy, big performance, the nominee who should be winning gave a much more impressive performance. In Marriage Story, Adam Driver had to throw every emotion he could find at the screen as he tells the story of Charlie, a man who is going through a divorce and fighting to keep his son in New York.
In writing about my top ten movies of 2019, I have talked in length about the best scene in all of film last year, which is the epic fight scene that Driver and Johannson have in his apartment. But there’s another scene I want you to focus on, and it comes at the end of the film.
There comes a point at the minute mark where Driver takes a pause. The score of the film actually belittles what a strong and powerful moment this is, and I wish they would have held this in silence. But Driver gives you everything you need to know in this 30-second pause. He’s a man being torn down and built back up only to be torn down again, and it’s all in his eyes and the quiver of his chin.
Driver is one of the best actors working today, and this film allows him to showcase everything. He’s gonna get screwed on Oscar night.
(Side-note: Here’s how good Driver is in Marriage Story: Leonardo DiCaprio is giving maybe the best performance he’s ever given in his career in Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, and this race isn’t even close.)
Upset Special? Ok, here me out, because I’m going to bring up a film I haven’t ever gotten to this year. There is a chance that the Oscars will choose to recognize someone who has been acting a long time but has never won, or even been nominated, for an Oscar? With Pain And Glory, Antonio Banderas gives a subtle and nuanced performance that ranks up there with anything he’s ever done in his career. He’s made the transition from sexy leading man to doing some important and interesting character work. And the Academy could choose this moment to give him the award. Not so much for this film, but for a career well done.
Who Got Snubbed? I mean, the obvious one here is Adam Sandler, who gives us some of the best acting he’s ever done in Uncut Gems, a film where he is basically playing a traditional Sandler character, but one who has to suffer real-life consequences. In a perfect world, Pryce is switched out with Sandler.
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johannson, Marriage Story
Saorise Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renee Zellweger, Judy
Who Will Win? Hollywood loves Hollywood. And the Oscars love when an actor plays an iconic Hollywood figure. Add to that the fact that Renee Zellweger is doing an amazing performance as Judy Garland, and there is a clear and easy winner here. This is another lock. Give her the Oscar. It’s done.
Who Should Win? For me, this is a two horse race, and I could flip a coin and be happy if either Scarlett Johannson or Saorise Ronan won this year. For as much as I gushed over Driver earlier, Johannson has to give as good as she gets in order for Marriage Story to work, and she is more than up to the task. Meanwhile, Ronan has shown that she is Greta Gerwig’s muse as she breathes life into a bold, brave character and helps her sparkle and shine on the screen. This could honestly end in a tie and I would be ok with it. But, I’m a man of principle, and if I’m going to give it to Driver, I’m also going to go and give it to his screen partner: Scarlett Johannson should win Best Actress this year.
Upset Special? While I don’t think Johannson has any chance of winning, I do see the possibility of Ronan sneaking away with the Oscar, and I’d be ecstatic if that happened. This is her fourth nomination of a young career which has already given us so much amazing work and I’m always excited to see what she’s going to do next.
Who Got Snubbed? I’m sorry, but the fact that Lupita Nyong’o isn’t on this list is one of the biggest fuck-ups the Academy has made in the history of these awards. This is a performance that would make my “Best Of Decade” list (if I ever stopped being so lazy and made one) and the fact that the votes didn’t see the brilliance in this perfect double role is absolutely mind-boggling.
Want to not sleep for the rest of the day? Watch this. Want to be impressed with what an actor on the top of their game can give us? Watch this. I adore Charlize Theron, but she has no place on this list. Nyong’o shouldn’t have just been nominated. She should have won.
Who do you think should be taking home the Oscars this year? Leave your comments below and stay tuned for the next installment!