As 2019 has drawn to a close, the film world is humming with talk about which films, performers and creators will be honoured in the upcoming Oscars ceremony. The 92nd edition of the Awards event will take place on February 9 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
The early frontrunner in the Best Picture category was Parasite, a comedy thriller from South Korean director Bong Joon-ho. If it wins, it will become the first foreign film in history to win the category. The film is also set to be shortlisted for the Best International Feature Film Oscar, raising the prospect that it could break further ground by winning both categories.
Nonetheless, Parasite faces stiff competition in the Best Picture category from The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s latest epic charting the life of a mafia hitman. The film has now overtaken Parasite as the favourite to win the title, with the betting and casino website Betfair listing it with odds of 8/5. At the same time, Parasite is ascribed odds 9/5 and is, therefore, the second most likely to become the Best Picture 2020. The film is followed by Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s tale of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and Joker, which features a tour-de-force performance from Joaquin Phoenix. Other possible nominations include Marriage Story and 1917.
Scorsese, Tarantino, and Bong Joon-ho are all expected to be in the running for the Best Director – along with Sam Mendes, director of World War I drama, 1917, and Noah Baumbach, the man behind Marriage Story. One of Baumbach’s regular collaborators, Greta Gerwig, could also get a nod for her skills behind the camera on Little Women, the seventh film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel of the same name.
Adam Driver received many plaudits for his performance in Marriage Story but is up against odds-on favourite, Joaquin Phoenix. The American has been tipped to land the big prize for his portrayal of the Joker just 12 years after Heath Ledger won a Best Supporting Actor award for playing the same character. Ledger’s co-star in The Dark Knight, Christian Bale, could also be in the running thanks to his performance in Ford v Ferrari, in which he played English race car engineer and driver, Ken Miles.
Renée Zellweger’s stunning performance as Judy Garland in the biopic Judy means she will enter the Oscar season as the favourite in the Best Actress category. Her biggest challenge is likely to come from Scarlett Johansson, who excelled alongside Adam Driver in Marriage Story. Cynthia Erivo has attracted plenty of praise for her role in Harriet, and her price has shortened dramatically in recent weeks. In a very open category, Charlize Theron, Lupita Nyong’o, Saoirse Ronan and Awkwafina could all be nominated.
With no single film expected to sweep up at this year’s awards, the gongs will be harder to predict, and there could be a few surprises. We could also see Netflix land its first-ever Best Picture award for The Irishman. That is if the academy members are ready to fully accept the TV streaming giant as a legitimate film studio in its own right.