Who Won the Oscar?

Casey Crocker, Reporter

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The prestigious Academy Awards Ceremony is one night a year where the greatest in film from the previous year are honored. Nominees are selected about a month prior to the ceremony, and winners are announced on the night of the ceremony. An Oscar is one of the highest honors someone in the film industry can receive, and is coveted by many. The 2020 Oscars feature nominees from films that were released in 2019, such as Joker (11 nominations), 1917 (10 nominations), and The Irishman (10 nominations). Because the Oscars are always so highly anticipated, I’ve created a list of my own picks for the winners in some specific categories. These predictions factor in who I THINK will win, and who I WANT to win. Here are the predictions:

 

1.Leading Actor:

-Antonio Banderas in PAIN AND GLORY

-Leonardo DiCaprio in ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

-Adam Driver in MARRIAGE STORY

-Joaquin Phoenix in JOKER

-Jonathan Pryce in THE TWO POPES

 

This is Joaquin Phoenix’s fourth Oscar nomination, and I predict this will be his first ever win. He is nominated for his portrayal of the damaged and mentally unstable character Arthur Fleck in Joker. Phoenix already won a Golden Globe this year for this performance in the picture. His ability to create feelings of empathy and sadness for this unstable and violent character is quite impressive, and really showcases his range as an actor. Surely this masterful performance will award the deserving Phoenix of his first Oscar.

Put on a happy face: Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Joker

2.Leading Actress:

-Cynthia Erivo in HARRIET

-Scarlett Johansson in MARRIAGE STORY

-Saoirse Ronan in LITTLE WOMEN

-Charlize Theron in BOMBSHELL

-Renée Zellweger in JUDY

 

This nomination, as well as her nomination for Best Supporting Actress, are Scarlett Johansson’s first ever Academy Award nominations. I predict she will bring this award home, despite the other great performances in this category such as Saoirse Ronan in Little Women. Johansson’s performance in Marriage Story was quite powerful, as she plays the complicated character of Nicole. Nicole’s character is shown to have conflicting emotions and is sometimes unclear of her true desires. She badly wants a divorce, but at the same time it pains her deeply to hurt her ex-husband Charlie in this way.

 

 

3.Actor in a Supporting Role:

-Tom Hanks in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

-Anthony Hopkins in THE TWO POPES

-Al Pacino in THE IRISHMAN

-Joe Pesci in THE IRISHMAN

-Brad Pitt in ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

 

This is Brad Pitt’s seventh Academy Award nomination, and second in this category. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a movie that pays homage to the movie stars of the 1960s, Pitt’s stuntman character Cliff Booth is the cool calm counterpart to the angry and unprofessional star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio.) Though this cool calm demeanor may not be difficult for Pitt, the performance is so great because it harkens back to movie stars of old such as Steve McQueen and Burt Reynolds and their subtle confidence and coolness. A win for Pitt would cap a 30 year long career, and would recognize his efforts in this role.

 

 

4.Actress in a Supporting Role:

-Kathy Bates in RICHARD JEWELL

-Laura Dern in MARRIAGE STORY

-Scarlett Johansson in JOJO RABBIT

-Florence Pugh in LITTLE WOMEN

-Margot Robbie in BOMBSHELL

 

This is Laura Dern’s third Academy Award nomination, and second in this category. In Marriage Story, she portrays a fast talking, feminist lawyer who aims to gain as many assets as she can for her client in the divorce case. The character doesn’t have much empathy for her client’s ex husband, who is struggling to maneuver his way through all of the legal proceedings. On the surface she acts as though she cares for her client’s wishes, but in reality she will do whatever it takes and use her cunning abilities to secure a win for her firm. Dern’s performance was great, and she seems to be the clear frontrunner in this category.

Cunning Lawyer: Nora Fanshaw, played by Laura Dern, pictured as she’s speaking to her client in Marriage Story.

5.Achievement in Cinematography

-THE IRISHMAN

Rodrigo Prieto

-JOKER

Lawrence Sher

-THE LIGHTHOUSE

Jarin Blaschke

-1917

Roger Deakins

-ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Robert Richardson

 

The Lighthouse was snubbed at this year’s Academy Awards in my opinion. The psychological horror film helmed by second time director Robert Eggers was one of my favorite films of the year, and featured performances from Robert Pattison and William Dafoe that are haunting and multi-layered. The film is set on an isolated island where two lighthouse keepers compete for dominance on the cramped rock. The cinematography in this movie is pivotal to the movie’s theme, as the whole thing is shot in black and white on an almost square 1.19:1 aspect ratio. These tools are used by the cinematographer Jarin Blaschke to simulate the cramped and claustrophobic environment that the two characters find themselves in. It creates a sense of dread in the audience, as the black and white paints a dark image in the audience’s mind. The cinematography in the movie 1917 may be a competitor to The Lighthouse, as the groundbreaking “one shot” technique immerses the viewer in the action. However the cinematography in The Lighthouse is more visually striking at times, and better conveys the themes and motifs of the movie.

 

 

6.Achievement in Directing:

-THE IRISHMAN

Martin Scorsese

-JOKER

Todd Phillips

-1917

Sam Mendes

-ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Quentin Tarantino

-PARASITE

Bong Joon Ho

 

Quentin Tarantino has been directing films for over 30 years. He has directed masterpieces such as Pulp Fiction (1994), and Inglorious Basterds (2009), but he has never won an Oscar for directing despite his nominations for these films. Tarantino certainly deserves the award at this point, as he’s made his mark on the industry as one of the most acclaimed directors of this generation. His direction in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was in the classic Tarantino style and aesthetic, and was one of the biggest productions he ha undertaken up to this point. Since the movie is set in 1969 Hollywood, Tarantino decided to physically recreate 1969 Hollywood Boulevard by blocking the street off for a total of three days. His painstaking attention to detail really paid off in the film, as it represents a very accurate portrayal of 1969 Los Angeles. The direction his story took was also deserving, as it portrayed an alternate version of the Sharon Tate murders. Those who view this movie may not just remember Sharon Tate for the grizzly murders, but for her longstanding impact that she had on Hollywood as an actress. This film could never have been directed by anyone but Tarantino, because he has such a memory and knowledge of old Hollywood, and such a unique way of storytelling.

Hollywood Lifestyle: Margot Robbie as the actress Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

7.Best Picture:

-FORD V FERRARI

Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold, Producers

-THE IRISHMAN

Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers

-JOJO RABBIT

Carthew Neal and Taika Waititi, Producers

-JOKER

Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers

-LITTLE WOMEN

Amy Pascal, Producer

-MARRIAGE STORY

Noah Baumbach and David Heyman, Producers

-1917

Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall, Producers

-ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh and Quentin Tarantino, Producers

-PARASITE

Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho, Producers

 

1917 was based on the story of director Sam Mendes’s grandfather who served in WWI. The main character of the film, Schofield, is based on Mendes’s grandfather. In the film two British soldiers are tasked with the very dangerous job of traveling behind enemy lines to deliver a message to the Second Battalion of the British Army. The Second Battalion believes that they’ve got the Germans on the run, as they’ve fallen back to the Hindenburg  Line. What they don’t know is that the Germans purposely fell back, as to trap the British and overwhelm them. The message the two soldiers are delivering is vital to the survival of the Second Battalion, as it informs them of this trap. The film is masterfully cut, using a technique referred to as the “one shot” style. The movie wasn’t really shot in one take, but it appears to be though, through the use of masterful editing and preparation. The one shot approach serves itself greatly to the story, as it makes the audience feel as though they are actually on this journey with the soldiers. The movie’s atmosphere stays highly tense for this reason, and never allows the audience to relax. The movie was a masterpiece, and I believe it was the best of 2019.

Incoming fire: British soldiers preparing to battle the German Army in 1917

8.Best Original Screenplay:

-KNIVES OUT

Written by Rian Johnson

-MARRIAGE STORY

Written by Noah Baumbach

-1917

Written by Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns

-ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Written by Quentin Tarantino

-PARASITE

Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won

Story by Bong Joon Ho

Though Parasite is one of the few movies I haven’t seen on this list, the reviews for this movie have been overwhelmingly positive so far. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and was immediately labeled by many as one of the best movies of the 2010’s. Though I don’t believe it will win for some of the other larger categories such as Best Director or Best Picture due to it being a foreign film, I do believe the Academy will honor the film with a win in Best Original Screenplay.