With all the big names at the front of the 2020 Oscar race, it’s hard to say for sure who’ll come out on top. This is one of the closest Best Picture races we’ve seen in a while now and I wouldn’t place any bets on it too soon. Tarantino and Scorcese already looked like they’d be head-to-head, but upon the nomination announcement, even those two have some stiff competition coming for both of their necks. Here’s a look at a few of the films you may end up complaining about scoring a win until next February:
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Tarantino’s latest disappointed some diehard fans on account of not being “Tarantino” enough for them, but don’t get them wrong: it’s still Tarantino. In conjunction with all the other big names in it, we all knew one of the biggest names to put out a film this year would secure a spot in the Best Picture race. Not only that, but those who think it’s about time Tarantino wins Best Picture need to realize that not being full Tarantino makes Once Upon A Time in Hollywood his most Best Picture-friendly movie yet. The star-studded cast and ode to Hollywood say as much, as well as the severe lack of Nazis.
One of the only pitfalls of the otherwise critically-lauded film was that that the editing was a miss and, thankfully, no one had to be upset over it unfairly landing a nomination for Best Editing. But, being such a big piece of the final product, is poor editing something that could cost it a win entirely? Most would say no — once again, it’s Tarantino — but this remains to be seen.
Everyone’s already aware that the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film was made for Korea’s entry, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, mere seconds after it was released. Based on the amount of big names this year as well as the consistent lack of Best Picture nominations for international films (Bong himself considers the Oscars to be very “local”), it may have come as a surprise, though, that Parasite would be nominated for Best Picture. This has many wondering if it even has a shot at what would be a history-making win.
Parasite was one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year — possibly even the entire decade. Truly, mainstream audiences haven’t created such a buzz over a foreign-language, international film for as long as I can recall. Parasite’s a standout for many reasons, as it follows a modern class struggle that feels rather timely in a year of many period pieces. The runaway hit beloved by critics and audiences alike may very well have charmed its way to a Best Picture win with its murderous peaches and the now global Jessica Jingle.
Joker is a strange one. While Joaquin Phoenix may very well have a shot at picking up a Best Actor trophy, the film itself stands out against the rest of the group. Not only is this a film that was embroiled in extremely exaggerated controversy that may serve as a turn-off to Academy voters, it also received the most negative reviews of this year’s Best Picture nominees.
So, does Joker actually stand a chance at winning Best Picture? Maybe in a year next to fewer heavy-hitters — the screenplay and direction, though compelling, weren’t that tight in comparison to other nominees and critics often complained that it was laden with cliches, confusion and director Todd Phillips’ own self-importance.
But, one thing we all learned from Joker is that we shouldn’t underestimate the abilities of the underdog (both in Fleck turning into a murderous clown and the fact that the man who directed The Hangover has a Best Picture nomination). The fact that it was nominated shows it’s favourable enough amongst Academy voters, especially those who may want to be part of history by allowing a film shaped by comic books to win Best Picture.
Listen, I know you’ve been avoiding watching The Irishman since it popped up on your Netflix recommended due to the nearly four-hour runtime, but multiple critics have stated it has earned this runtime. Now that it has a Best Picture nomination, you should also probably be informed on the decent chance that The Irishman may win.
As a gangster film helmed by Martin Scorcese with De Niro and Pacino (the latter of which also nabbed a Best Supporting Actor nomination along with co-star Joe Pesci) at his side, The Irishman looks like it’s just about earned the Best Picture title, but it’s hard to tell. The overall critical reception makes it look like everyone is sold on it, but there are really no locks for The Irishman like there are with other films at the front of the race. For instance, we know Parasite will get Best International Foreign Film and Phoenix and Pitt both have a good shot at awards for their highly-regarded roles. Yet, all categories its nominated for are unclear for The Irishman, so why would Best Picture be the guarantee?
While it would take too long to cover them all in depth, others nominated include 1917 (a big contender), Marriage Story, Little Women (which will no doubt pull out some wins – maybe Best Picture will end up being one), Ford v Ferrari and Jojo Rabbit (easily the weakest; many are wondering how this landed a nomination after not living up to the hype). This is the first year in a while that there are no unanimous guesses; regardless of who wins, it’ll most definitely be a hot topic.