Predicting the 92nd Academy Awards: The Nominations

Best Picture

Choi Woo-shik, Song Kang-ho, Chang Hyae-jin & Park So-dam in PARASITE — courtesy of Neon

LOCKS: 1917; The Irishman; Joker; Marriage Story; Once upon a Time in Hollywood; Parasite.

LIKELY: Ford v Ferrari; Jojo Rabbit; Little Women.

COIN-TOSS: Bombshell; The Farewell; Knives Out; The Two Popes; Uncut Gems.

DOUBT IT: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood; Dolemite is My Name; Downton Abbey; Harriet; A Hidden Life; Hustlers; Judy; The Lighthouse; Pain and Glory; Portrait of a Lady on Fire; The Report; Richard Jewell; Rocketman; Us; Waves.

SHOULD BE NOMINATED (BUT LIKELY WON’T BE): A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Marielle Heller’s third feature already shows her to be one of the most lyrical and empathetic voices in American film today. By eschewing tired biopic tropes that could have made this Fred Rogers-focused story a snooze, she instead layers the myth with his method to create a disarming portrait of cynicism that’s gradually broken down by the pursuit of a more compassionate worldview.

COULD BE NOMINATED (BUT REALLY SHOULDN’T BE): Joker. Todd Phillips’s origin story holds a few notes of style here and there, but is largely undone by its unwillingness to closely interrogate either its unraveling antihero or the societal forces that bring him to the brink of self-destruction. It says just about what you expect it to say; a better film would have made more an effort to wrestle with those expectations.

FINAL PREDICTIONS: 1917 Ford v Ferrari The Irishman Jojo Rabbit JokerLittle WomenMarriage Story • Once upon a Time in Hollywood Parasite.

Best Director

George MacKay in 1917 — courtesy of Universal Pictures

LOCKS: Bong Joon-ho (Parasite); Sam Mendes (1917); Martin Scorsese (The Irishman); Quentin Tarantino (Once upon a Time in Hollywood).

LIKELY: Greta Gerwig (Little Women); Todd Phillips (Joker); Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit).

COIN-TOSS: Pedro Almodóvar (Pain and Glory); Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story); James Mangold (Ford v Ferrari); Josh & Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems).

DOUBT IT: Clint Eastwood (Richard Jewell); Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood); Rian Johnson (Knives Out); Terrence Malick (A Hidden Life); Fernando Meirelles (The Two Popes); Jordan Peele (Us); Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire); Lulu Wang (The Farewell).

SHOULD BE NOMINATED (BUT LIKELY WON’T BE): Céline Sciamma. It’ll always remain a shame that Portrait of a Lady on Fire did not get the campaign it ought to have received, as the quality of its craft is undeniable. This category could rightfully be filled with five women, but the one who would give me the biggest smile would be Sciamma for the compositional synergy that Portrait exudes from all corners of the frame.

COULD BE NOMINATED (BUT REALLY SHOULDN’T BE): Todd Phillips. Again, Joker is not terribly directed. It is, however, derivative of the pulpy crime thrillers of the ’70s and ’80s (like, for instance, those of shoo-in nominee Martin Scorsese) and thus hard to call a distinct work in its own right. If Phillips gets in, there’ll be no trouble picking the odd one out of the lineup.

FINAL PREDICTIONS: Bong Joon-ho • Greta Gerwig • Sam Mendes • Martin Scorsese • Quentin Tarantino.

N.B. While I expect Joker to overperform in terms of nominations, Todd Phillips’s miss with the DGA diminishes his chances at getting a nomination here considerably. I’d be more confident in Taika Waititi (the director who replaced him there) if I felt Jojo Rabbit’s momentum were stronger. Despite performing admirably with guilds, it still feels like a film more people admire than outright love. This gives us the perfect opportunity for a surprise nominee, and I’ll bank on Greta Gerwig, since Little Women’s stock surged after its release, in spite of a poor guilds showing. Sometimes a late-breaking film (like 2017’s Phantom Thread) gains enough traction to overperform; Little Women could be this year’s equivalent.

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas in PAIN AND GLORY — courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

LOCKS: Adam Driver (Marriage Story); Joaquin Phoenix (Joker).

LIKELY: Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari); Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory); Leonardo DiCaprio (Once upon a Time in Hollywood); Taron Egerton (Rocketman); Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes).

COIN-TOSS: Robert De Niro (The Irishman); Eddie Murphy (Dolemite is My Name); Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems).

DOUBT IT: Daniel Craig (Knives Out); Adam Driver (The Report); Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit); Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Luce or Waves); Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell); Daniel Kaluuya (Queen & Slim); George MacKay (1917); Robert Pattinson (High Life or The Lighthouse); Brad Pitt (Ad Astra); Matthew Rhys (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood).

SHOULD BE NOMINATED (BUT LIKELY WON’T BE): Robert De Niro. Murphy and Sandler would make inspired picks to be sure, but every time I think about Frank Sheeran telephoning Jimmy Hoffa’s widow, I can’t believe De Niro wasn’t a bigger factor this awards season, for it’s one of the best moments in his career. His work in The Irishman may not be an explosive showcase otherwise, but it’s still going to sting if and when he misses. In a weaker year, he would have surely pulled through.

COULD BE NOMINATED (BUT REALLY SHOULDN’T BE): Joaquin Phoenix. I never understood what the fuss was about Phoenix’s performance. This is not a career high by any means, nor is it worthy of an Oscar. It’s mannered, manic, and rather gratingly inauthentic, even if he did lose a lot of weight for the role. He’s a fantastic actor as a rule. This showing is not indicative of his strengths.

FINAL PREDICTIONS: Antonio Banderas • Leonardo DiCaprio • Adam Driver • Taron Egerton • Joaquin Phoenix.

Best Actress

Renée Zellweger in JUDY — courtesy of LD Entertainment

LOCKS: Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story); Renée Zellweger (Judy).

LIKELY: Awkwafina (The Farewell); Lupita Nyong’o (Us); Saoirse Ronan (Little Women); Charlize Theron (Bombshell).

COIN-TOSS: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet); Alfre Woodard (Clemency).

DOUBT IT: Ana de Armas (Knives Out); Adèle Haenel (Portrait of a Lady on Fire); Felicity Jones (The Aeronauts); Helen Mirren (The Good Liar); Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell); Mary Kay Place (Diane); Florence Pugh (Midsommar); Emma Thompson (Late Night); Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen & Slim); Constance Wu (Hustlers).

SHOULD BE NOMINATED (BUT LIKELY WON’T BE): Mary Kay Place. Diane is a tiny film, but Place’s world-weary and elegant performance carried her to two major critics awards, and in a just world, those wins would be enough to secure a nomination. It won’t happen because small films from small distributors never get a fighting chance among the moneyed heavyweights, and that’s wrong and we should all be mad about it. Especially considering how sparse the field is this year.

COULD BE NOMINATED (BUT REALLY SHOULDN’T BE): Charlize Theron. I’ve been waiting for Theron to get another nomination for years. The fact that it’s going to be for an unexciting impersonation of Megyn Kelly is dispiriting, since nothing about the role is worth Theron’s commitment. Nor does it help matters that Bombshell is a stinker of a film in its own right. Where were voters when she starred in Young Adult or Mad Max: Fury Road, which are both infinitely better performances?

FINAL PREDICTIONS: Scarlett Johansson • Lupita Nyong’o • Saoirse Ronan • Charlize Theron • Renée Zellweger.

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD — courtesy of Sony Pictures

LOCKS: Al Pacino (The Irishman); Joe Pesci (The Irishman); Brad Pitt (Once upon a Time in Hollywood).

LIKELY: Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood); Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes); Song Kang-ho (Parasite).

COIN-TOSS: Alan Alda (Marriage Story); Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse); Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy).

DOUBT IT: Jamie Bell (Rocketman); Sterling K. Brown (Waves); Timothée Chalamet (Little Women); Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Endgame); Chris Evans (Knives Out); Kevin Garnett (Uncut Gems); Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy); Tracy Letts (Ford v Ferrari); Ray Liotta (Marriage Story); John Lithgow (Bombshell); Sam Rockwell (Jojo Rabbit or Richard Jewell); Wesley Snipes (Dolemite is My Name); Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit).

SHOULD BE NOMINATED (BUT LIKELY WON’T BE): Willem Dafoe. The beloved character actor has received nominations in the past two years for The Florida Project and At Eternity’s Gate, and I’d love nothing more to see him nominated again for his delightfully full-throttle showing as a crusty seaman in The Lighthouse— the best thing he’s done, might I add, in a while. Unfortunately, his film will be too abrasive for voters to give him a chance, leaving him adrift and out of reach of his first Oscar once more.

COULD BE NOMINATED (BUT REALLY SHOULDN’T BE): Anthony Hopkins. Sir Anthony is both a legend and a gentleman, and while he is enjoyable to watch in The Two Popes, his portrayal of Pope Benedict XVI never comes across as something that was much of a challenge for him. I can think of several other actors that are more deserving, but as we know, playing famous figures has its perks— and it could lead to his fifth career nomination (his first since 1998).

FINAL PREDICTIONS: Tom Hanks • Al Pacino • Joe Pesci • Brad Pitt • Song Kang-ho.

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lopez in HUSTLERS — courtesy of STXfilms

LOCKS: Laura Dern (Marriage Story).

LIKELY: Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit); Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers); Florence Pugh (Little Women); Margot Robbie (Bombshell).

COIN-TOSS: Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell); Annette Bening (The Report); Cho Yeo-jeong (Parasite); Nicole Kidman (Bombshell); Margot Robbie (Once upon a Time in Hollywood); Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell).

DOUBT IT: Julia Butters (Once upon a Time in Hollywood); Toni Collette (Knives Out); Laura Dern (Little Women); Julia Fox (Uncut Gems); Julie Hagerty (Marriage Story); Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit); Anna Paquin (The Irishman); Park So-dam (Parasite); Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Dolemite is My Name); Taylor Russell (Waves); Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey); Octavia Spencer (Luce); Meryl Streep (The Laundromat or Little Women).

SHOULD BE NOMINATED (BUT LIKELY WON’T BE): Cho Yeo-jeong and Park So-dam. Song Kang-ho is Parasite‘s best shot of an acting nomination, but the film wouldn’t be half of what it is without its women. The blithe naivety of Cho and the spunky determination of Park have led to some of the film’s most memorable moments, and so why not honor one or both for their work here? If voters have their priorities in order, they will.

COULD BE NOMINATED (BUT REALLY SHOULDN’T BE): Scarlett Johansson. It’s not that Johansson shouldn’t be here because she’s already a guarantee for Marriage Story. It’s that she’s just not that great in Jojo Rabbit to begin with. Her maternal character comes off as a cheap facsimile of a Wes Anderson performance, with a lot of shtick and tics, but it lacks enough authenticity to truly work. Glad she’s having a banner year. I’d opt for someone else.

FINAL PREDICTIONS: Laura Dern • Scarlett Johansson • Jennifer Lopez • Florence Pugh • Margot Robbie (Bombshell).

So, without further ado, here are my complete predictions for the major awards:


Joaquin Phoenix in JOKER — courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
  • 1917— Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Sam Mendes & Jayne-Ann Tenggren
  • Ford v Ferrari— Peter Chernin, Lucas Foster, Alex Young, Kevin Halloran & James Mangold
  • The Irishman — Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Jane Rosenthal, Gaston Pavlovich, Randall Emmett & Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • Jojo Rabbit— Taika Waititi, Carthew Neal & Chelsea Winstanley
  • Joker— Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper & Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • Little Women — Denise Di Novi, Amy Pascal, Robin Swicord & Arnon Milchan
  • Marriage Story— Noah Baumbach, David Heyman & Craig Shilowhich
  • Once upon a Time in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino, David Heyman & Shannon McIntosh
  • Parasite— Jang Young-hwan & Kwak Sin-ae

Potential Spoilers: Knives Out; The Two Popes.


Timothée Chalamet & Florence Pugh in LITTLE WOMEN — courtesy of Sony Pictures
  • Bong Joon-ho — Parasite
  • Greta Gerwig — Little Women
  • Sam Mendes — 1917
  • Martin Scorsese — The Irishman
  • Quentin Tarantino — Once upon a Time in Hollywood

Potential Spoilers: Noah Baumbach; Todd Phillips.


Taron Egerton in ROCKETMAN — courtesy of Paramount Pictures
  • Antonio Banderas — Pain and Glory
  • Leonardo DiCaprio — Once upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Adam Driver — Marriage Story
  • Taron Egerton — Rocketman
  • Joaquin Phoenix — Joker

Potential Spoilers: Christian Bale; Jonathan Pryce.


Lupita Nyong’o in US — courtesy of Universal Pictures
  • Scarlett Johansson — Marriage Story
  • Lupita Nyong’o — Us
  • Saoirse Ronan — Little Women
  • Charlize Theron — Bombshell
  • Renée Zellweger — Judy

Potential Spoilers: Awkwafina; Cynthia Erivo.


Brad Pitt in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD — courtesy of Sony Pictures
  • Tom Hanks — A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Al Pacino — The Irishman
  • Joe Pesci — The Irishman
  • Brad Pitt — Once upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Song Kang-ho — Parasite

Potential Spoilers: Willem Dafoe; Anthony Hopkins.


Margot Robbie & Kate McKinnon in BOMBSHELL — courtesy of Lionsgate
  • Laura Dern — Marriage Story
  • Scarlett Johansson — Jojo Rabbit
  • Jennifer Lopez — Hustlers
  • Florence Pugh — Little Women
  • Margot Robbie — Bombshell

Potential Spoilers: Cho Yeo-jeong; Zhao Shuzhen.

With the major awards out of the way, I shall now attempt to predict the nominees of the other awards. Please note that nominees for the technical categories are listed unofficially and will be confirmed on the day of nominations:


Jonathan Pryce & Anthony Hopkins in THE TWO POPES — courtesy of Netflix
  • The Irishman — Steven Zaillian
  • Jojo Rabbit— Taika Waititi
  • Joker — Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
  • Little Women— Greta Gerwig
  • The Two Popes — Anthony McCarten

Potential Spoilers: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood; Dark Waters.


Lu Hong, Zhao Shuzhen & Awkwafina in THE FAREWELL — courtesy of A24
  • The Farewell— Lulu Wang
  • Knives Out— Rian Johnson
  • Marriage Story— Noah Baumbach
  • Once upon a Time in Hollywood — Quentin Tarantino
  • Parasite — Bong Joon-ho & Han Jin-won

Potential Spoilers: 1917; Booksmart.


I LOST MY BODY — courtesy of Netflix
  • Frozen II — Peter Del Vecho, Jennifer Lee & Chris Buck
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World — Dean DeBlois, Bonnie Arnold & Brad Lewis
  • I Lost My Body— Jérémy Clapin
  • Missing Link— Chris Butler, Travis Knight & Arianne Sutner
  • Toy Story 4 — Jonas Rivera

Potential Spoilers: Klaus; Weathering with You.


Ibrahima Traoré & Mame Bineta Sane in ATLANTICS — courtesy of Netflix
  • Atlantics (Senegal) — Mati Diop
  • Corpus Christi (Poland) — Jan Komasa
  • Les Misérables (France) — Ladj Ly
  • Pain and Glory (Spain) — Pedro Almodóvar
  • Parasite (South Korea) — Bong Joon-ho

Potential Spoilers: Honeyland (North Macedonia); Those Who Remained (Hungary).


Hatidze Muratova & Nazife Muratova in HONEYLAND — courtesy of Neon
  • American Factory— Jeff Reichert & Julie Parker Benello
  • The Cave— Tom Waller & Allen Liu
  • For Sama — Waad Al-Khateab
  • Honeyland— Atanas Georgiev
  • One Child Nation— Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Christoph Jorg, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements & Carolyn Hepburn

Potential Spoilers: Apollo 11; Maiden.


FIRE IN PARADISE — courtesy of Netflix
  • Fire in Paradise— Zackary Canepari & Drea Cooper
  • Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)— Carol Dysinger & Elena Andreicheva
  • Life Overtakes Me— Kristine Samuelson & John Haptas
  • The Nightcrawlers  Alexander A. Mora
  • St. Louis Superman— Sami Khan & Smriti Mundhra

Potential Spoilers: After Maria; Run, Walk, Cha-Cha.


Eltayef Dhaoui & Mohamed Ali Ayari in NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB — courtesy of Les Valseurs
  • Brotherhood — Meryam Joobeur & Habib Attia
  • Miller & Son — Asher Jelinsky & Kate Chamuris
  • Nefta Football Club — Yves Piat & Damien Megherbi
  • The Neighbors’ Window — Marshall Curry & Ben Goldberg
  • Refugee — Brandt Andersen & Moritz Borman

Potential Spoilers: The Christmas Gift; Sometimes, I Think about Dying.


  • Hair Love— Matthew A. Cherry, Everett Downing Jr. & Bruce W. Smith
  • Kitbull — Rosana Sullivan & Kathryn Hendrickson
  • Mémorable — Bruno Collet & Jean-François Le Corre
  • Mind My Mind — Floor Adams, Willem Thijssen & Tom van Gestel
  • The Physics of Sorrow— Theodore Ushev

Potential Spoilers: Dcera (Daughter); Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days.


Adam Driver, Azhy Robertson & Scarlett Johansson in MARRIAGE STORY — courtesy of Netflix
  • 1917 — Thomas Newman
  • Joker — Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • Little Women —Alexandre Desplat
  • Marriage Story— Randy Newman
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — John Williams

Potential Spoilers: Ford v Ferrari; Motherless Brooklyn.


Jessie Buckley in WILD ROSE — courtesy of Entertainment One
  • “Glasgow (No Place like Home)” — Wild Rose (Mary Steenburgen, Caitlin Smith & Kate York)
  • “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” — Toy Story 4 (Randy Newman)
  • “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” — Rocketman (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)
  • “Into the Unknown” — Frozen II (Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez)
  • “Stand Up” — Harriet (Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo)

Potential Spoilers: “A Glass of Soju” (Parasite); “I’m Standing with You” (Breakthrough); “Spirit” (The Lion King).


Daisy Ridley & Adam Driver in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER — courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • 1917 — Oliver Tarney
  • Ford v Ferrari — Donald Sylvester
  • Joker— Alan Robert Murray
  • Once upon a Time in Hollywood — Harry Cohen & Leo Marcil
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — David Acord & Matthew Wood

Potential Spoilers: Avengers: Endgame; The Irishman.


Christian Bale, Corrado Invernizzi & Remo Girone in FORD V FERRARI — courtesy of 20th Century Fox
  • 1917— Stuart Wilson, Scott Millan & Mark Taylor
  • Ford v Ferrari— Richard Bullock, Jr., Paul Massey & Steven Morrow
  • Joker— Tod A. Maitland, Tom Ozanich & Dean Zupancic
  • Once upon a Time in Hollywood — Mark Ulano, Michael Minkler & Christian P. Minkler
  • Rocketman — John Hayes, Mike Prestwood Smith & Matthew Collinge

Potential Spoilers: The Irishman; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.


Thomasin McKenzie, Roman Griffin Davis & Taika Waititi in JOJO RABBIT — courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • 1917 — Dennis Gassner & Lee Sandales
  • The Irishman — Bob Shaw & Regina Graves
  • Jojo Rabbit — Ra Vincent & Nora Sopková
  • Once upon a Time in Hollywood — Barbara Ling & Nancy Haigh
  • Parasite— Lee Ha-jun

Potential Spoilers: Joker; Little Women.


Willem Dafoe & Robert Pattinson in THE LIGHTHOUSE — courtesy of A24
  • 1917 — Roger Deakins
  • Ford v Ferrari — Phedon Papamichael
  • Joker— Lawrence Sher
  • The Lighthouse — Jarin Blaschke
  • Once upon a Time in Hollywood — Robert Richardson

Potential Spoilers: The Irishman; Portrait of a Lady on Fire.


Angelina Jolie in MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL — courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Bombshell — Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan & Vivian Baker
  • Joker — Nicki Ledermann & Kay Georgiou
  • Judy— Jeremy Woodhead
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil — Rick Baker, Toni G & Arjen Tuiten
  • Once upon a Time in Hollywood — Janine Rath & Heba Thorisdottir

Potential Spoilers: Downton Abbey; Rocketman.


Al Pacino & Robert De Niro in THE IRISHMAN — courtesy of Netflix
  • Ford v Ferrari — Michael McCusker
  • The Irishman — Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Joker — Jeff Groth
  • Once upon a Time in Hollywood — Fred Raskin
  • Parasite—Yang Jin-mo

Potential Spoilers: 1917; Jojo Rabbit.


The cast of DOLEMITE IS MY NAME — courtesy of Netflix
  • Dolemite is My Name — Ruth E. Carter
  • Jojo Rabbit — Mayes C. Rubeo
  • Little Women— Jacqueline Durran
  • Once upon a Time in Hollywood — Arianne Phillips
  • Rocketman — Julian Day

Potential Spoilers: Downton Abbey; The Irishman.


THE LION KING — courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Alita: Battle Angel— Nick Epstein, Joe Letteri & Eric Saindon
  • Avengers: Endgame— Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Kelly Port & Daniel Sudick
  • The Irishman — Pablo Helman & Jiwoong Kim
  • The Lion King— Robert Legato, Elliot Newman & Adam Valdez
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — Roger Guyett & Dominic Tuohy

Potential Spoilers: 1917; Terminator: Dark Fate.

Projected Nomination Count

12 nominations: Once upon a Time in Hollywood

9 nominations: Joker

8 nominations: The Irishman

7 nominations: 1917; Little Women; Parasite

6 nominations: Marriage Story

5 nominations: Ford v Ferrari; Jojo Rabbit

4 nominations: Rocketman

3 nominations: Bombshell; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

2 nominations: Frozen II; Judy; Pain and Glory; Toy Story 4