A Lubbock tradition … Bill’s annual Oscar predictions … accompanied by grandson Gage and some other guy

Oscar predictions in 21 out of the 24 total categories are made below by critics Bill Kerns and Gage Gregory and, in some categories, Terry Greenberg, Lubbock Lights editor, Hollywood native and film fan.

Predicting the 2020 Academy Award winners – being announced at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC to honor films released in the 2019 calendar year – is somewhat of a nutty proposition.

Few expect all members of the Motion Picture Academy to have had time to watch each nominated film before voting.

The major reason: This year’s rush. Normally, there is a five-week gap between the morning when Oscar nominations are announced and the final voting deadline. This year, voters had only two weeks to catch up on screenings. I saw all the Best Picture nominees except “Jojo Rabbit.”

(Traditional timing and a later Oscars ceremony return in 2021.)

The increased emphasis on diversity within the academy’s voting membership was hardly noticeable – with nominations given to one black actor (Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”) and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas for international film “Pain and Glory.” Women were shut out of the director’s race.

Several complained about academy favorite Greta Gerwig’s snub for her direction of “Little Women.” This did not bother me; good luck following the film’s altered timeline.

That said, Lulu Wang was ignored for her terrific direction of “The Farewell.”

Also unfortunately ignored were female actors Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”), Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen (“The Farewell”), Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”) and Yeo-jeong Jo (“Parasite”), and familiar male lead Kang-Ho Song (“Parasite”).

The emphasis below is on our attempts to predict Oscar winners.

BEST PICTURE

Nominees: “1917,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “The Irishman,’ “Jojo Rabbit,” “Joker,” “Little Women,” “Marriage Story,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and “Parasite.”

With nine films nominated … and four with 10 or more nominations … this may be a two or three-film race. Favorites are shaping up to be the last nominee released in 2019, Sam Mendes war film “1917,” Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” and Quentin Tarantino’s Hollywood valentine, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

That said, likely every other nominee except “Ford vs. Ferrari,” “Joker” and “Little Women” could enjoy an upset.

Consider:

  • Neither “1917” or “Parasite” have even one acting nomination. Approximately eight centuries have passed since a Best Picture winner had no actors nominated.
  • Best Picture winners traditionally are nominated for cinematography or editing. Mendes’ “1917” tries to pass for a continual one-shot gimmick and has no editing nomination. “Parasite” was overlooked for cinematography.
  • In 2018, the name of the Best Foreign Film category was changed to a more politically correct Best International Film. Regardless, many have concluded that foreign films have their own category, just like animated films. It is an unwritten rule. More to the point, 12 prior films from other countries have earned Best Picture nominations, but not one has ever won Best Picture. Of course, “Parasite,” deservedly very well liked in Hollywood, could be the first.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win,“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” Should win: “The Irishman,” but I’d cheer if “Parasite” broke the (unwritten) rules and won.

Gage: Will win, “1917.” Should win: “Parasite.”

Terry: Will win, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Should win, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

BEST DIRECTOR

Nominees: Sam Mendes (“1917”), Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Todd Phillips (“Joker”), Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”) and Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite).

Tarantino has won writing awards twice and he hungers for a Best Director Oscar. I just don’t see it. But I do foresee another split between Best Director and Best Picture.

The safest pick is Mendes, who won the Directors Guild Award.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, Sam Mendes, “1917.” Should win: Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman.”

Gage: Will win, Sam Mendes, “1917.” Should win: Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite.”

Terry: Will win, Sam Mendes, “1917.” Should win, Todd Phillips, “Joker.” (But I think Taika Waititi should have been nominated for “Jojo Rabbit.”)

BEST LEADING ACTRESS

Nominees: Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”), Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”), Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”) and Renee Zellweger (“Judy”).

Erivo does not have a shot in this category; however, note that she is closing in on the rare EGOT status enjoyed by those who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.

Erivo needs only an Oscar. Remember when her name is mentioned later as a nominee for Best Original Song, although she is not a favorite in that category either.

This category finds Johansson and Zellweger dominating. Only one thing was at all memorable about “Judy.” But that one thing was Zellweger. She nailed it and Hollywood loves portrayals of one of their own.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, Renee Zellweger, “Judy.” Should win: Lupita Nyong’o, “Us” (not nominated). OK, so Zellweger.

Gage: Will win, Renee Zellweger, “Judy.” Should win: Renee Zellweger, “Judy.”

Terry: Will win, Renee Zellweger “Judy.” Should win,Renee Zellweger, “Judy.”

BEST LEADING ACTOR

Nominees: Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”), Leonardo Di Caprio (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood), Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”), Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) and Jonathan Pryce, (“The Two Popes”).

If there is a surprise winner, it will be Driver.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, Joaquin Phoenix,” “Joker.” Should win: Joaquin Phoenix,” “Joker.”

Gage: Will win, Joaquin Phoenix,” “Joker.” Should win: Joaquin Phoenix,” “Joker.”

Terry: Will win, Joaquin Phoenix,” “Joker.” Should win, Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes.”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominations:  Kathy Bates (“Richard Jewell”), Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”), Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”), Florence Pugh (“Little Women”) and Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”).

The safest bet would be Dern as a divorce lawyer out for blood in “Marriage Story.” But this category is ripe for an upset. Pugh, after all, was a delight in “Little Women” – and Johansson earned nominations in both the leading and supporting categories this year. If she wins anything, it will be here.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, Laura Dern, “Marriage Story.” Should win: Florence Pugh, “Little Women.”

Gage: Will win, Laura Dern, “Marriage Story.” Should win: Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell.”

Terry: Will win, Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit.” Should win, Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit.”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Nominees: Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”), Al Pacino (“The Irishman”), Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”) and Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”).

If there is a sure thing Sunday night, it is an Oscar for Brad Pitt, the actor. All five nominees are prior Oscar winners, but Pitt has never won for a performance. He has an Oscar for co-producing Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave.”

Pitt is well liked, he delivered a natural performance and he just might be carrying the banner for Tarantino.

Pesci came out of retirement at Scorsese’s request and gave a bravura performance, saying more with a glance and soft words, leaving loud histrionics to Pacino.

But this is Pitt’s film and Pitt’s year.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Should win: Joe Pesci, “The Irishman.”

Gage: Will win, Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Should win: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

Terry: Will win, Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Should win: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

BEST SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL

Nominees: Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson Cairns (“1917”), Rian Johnson (“Knives Out”), Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”), Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”) and Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won (“Parasite”).

An interesting selection of nominees, with the winner perhaps taking a baby step toward Best Picture.

This was the category everyone assumed was owned by Tarantino, at least until Ho and Won accepted a Writers Guild award for co-writing “Parasite.”

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Should win: “Parasite.”

Gage: Will win, “Parasite.” Should win, “Parasite.”

Terry: Will win, “Parasite,” which is the only Best Picture nominee I did not see. Should win, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

BEST SCREENPLAY, ADAPTED

Nominees: Steve Zaillian (“The Irishman”), Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”), Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, (“Joker”), Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”) and Anthony McCarten (“The Two Popes”).

Greta Gerwig’s supporters, mourning her lack of a nomination for directing, could still lure her to the stage to collect an Oscar for her “Little Women” screenplay. Don’t count her out, although the Writers Guild honored “Jojo Rabbit.”

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Little Women.” Should win: “The Irishman.”

Gage: Will win, “Jojo Rabbit.” Should win, “The Irishman.”

Terry: Will win, “Little Women.” Should win, “Jojo Rabbit.”

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Nominees: “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “I Lost My Body,” “Klaus,” “Missing Link” and “Toy Story 4.”

I did not think that “Frozen 2” could be pushed aside by Netflix-produced “I Lost My Body” and “Klaus.” And while I am a big fan of stop motion animation, the Golden Globe-winning “Missing Link” is not the best example.

Meanwhile, the “…Train Your Dragon” trilogy is as underrated as it is entertaining.

“I Lost My Body” is an interesting concept, but I lost interest at the conclusion. I had fun watching the Santa Claus origin tale, “Klaus.”

It may just come down to whether the voting academy has grown weary of Woody and his Pixar friends …

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Klaus.” Should win: “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”

Gage: Will win, “Toy Story 4.” Should win: “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”

Terry: Didn’t see any of these, have no picks.

BEST MUSIC SCORE

Nominees: Thomas Newman (“1917”), Hildur Guonadottir (“Joker”), Alexandre Desplat (“Little Women”), Randy Newman (“Marriage Story”) and John Williams (“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”).

I developed an affection for, and began collecting, film scores during my teen years. Certainly, deserving scores are nominated this year.

Williams does not have a chance of winning. Still fascinating is he surpassed his own record for most nominations by a living person. This is his 52nd Academy Award nomination. The record for most total nominations is 59 by the late Walt Disney.

Desplat has won the Oscar in two of the past four years. Sentiment, however, should favor Thomas Newman. Indeed, since his first for “Shawshank Redemption,” movie scores by Thomas Newman have received 13 Academy Award nominations – but he has no victories to his credit. That draws additional attention to his fine score composed for “1917.”

Even so, from the first frames of “Joker,” newcomer Hildur Guonadottir’s original music created a framing atmosphere and set the tone for the story to follow.

Newman will have to wait another year.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Joker.” Should win: “Joker.”

Gage: Will win, “1917.” Should win: “1917.”

Terry: Will win, “Joker,” Guonadottir is Hollywood’s new darling, but I highly admire Desplat and Thomas Newman. Should win, “Marriage Story,” because I want to see Randy Newman win an Oscar.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Nominees: “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” (“Toy Story 4”), “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” (“Rocketman”), “I’m Standing with You” (“Breakthrough”), “Into the Unknown” (“Frozen 2); and “Stand Up” (“Harriet”).

Much as I would love seeing Cynthia Erivo earn EGOT status with a win for her song for “Harriet,” I just do not foresee voters snubbing Elton John.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Rocketman.” Should win: “Rocketman.”

Gage: Will win, “Rocketman.” Should win: “Rocketman.”

Terry: Will win, “Rocketman.” Should win: “Rocketman,” (and I’m disappointed this movie wasn’t nominated for Best Picture and  Taron Egerton wasn’t nominated for Best Actor.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Nominees: Roger Deakins (“1917”), Rodrigo Prieto (“The Irishman”), Lawrence Sher, (“Joker”), Jarin Blaschke (“The Lighthouse”) and Robert Richardson (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”).

A tough call. I loved the imagery in both “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and “Joker.” I did not see “The Lighthouse,” but the black and white cinematography appeared to add to the film’s eeriness.

I was won over once again by the work of Deakins, this time helping Mendes maintain his imagined one-shot drama.

Predictions:

Bill — Will win, “1917.” Should win: “1917.”

Gage — Will win, “1917.” Should win: “1917.”

Terry – Will win, “1917.” Should win, “1917.”

BEST EDITING

Nominees: Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland (“Ford vs. Ferrari”), Thelma Schoonmaker, (“The Irishman”), Tom Eagle (“Jojo Rabbit”), Jeff Groth (“Joker”) and Yang Jinmo, “Parasite.”

The racetrack editing in “Ford vs. Ferrari” deserved a nomination, but I remain overwhelmed by Schoonmaker’s continued contributions to Scorsese films.

That said, when I think “Best Editing,” I envision the award going to a Best Picture candidate.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Parasite.” Should win: “The Irishman.”

Gage: Will win, “Ford vs. Ferrari.” Should win: “Ford vs. Ferrarri.”

Terry: Will win,“Ford vs. Ferrari.” Should win: “Ford vs. Ferrarri.”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Nominees: “1917,” “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and “Parasite.”

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”  Should win: “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

Gage: Will win, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”  Should win: “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

Terry: Will win, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”  Should win: “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Nominees: “1917,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Irishman,” “The Lion King” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

The de-aging effects in “The Irishman” were hardly worth the cost. I’m not sure Hollywood voters enjoy the effects in “Avengers: Endgame” and “The Rise of Skywalker” as much as I do. They may vote for more subtle accomplishments.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “The Lion King.” Should win: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

Gage: Will win, “1917.” Should win: “1917.”

Terry: Will win, “Avengers: Endgame.” Should win, “Avengers: Endgame.”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Nominees: Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson (“The Irishman”), Mayes C. Rubeo (“Jojo Rabbit”), Mark Bridges (“Joker”), Jacqueline Durran (“Little Women”) and Arianne Phillip, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”).

“Joker” was flashy and apparent, but keep in mind costumers had to capture decades of believable outfits for “The Irishman.” Nazi uniforms were worn by all ages in “Jojo Rabbit.” Costumes were both colorful and meticulous in “Little Women.”  And Tarantino’s picture cried out “’60s!”

I may just flip a coin.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Jojo Rabbit.” Should win: “Little Women.”

Gage: Will win, “Little Women.” Should win: “Joker.”

Terry: Will win,“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Should win, “Jojo Rabbit.”

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR STYLING

Nominees: “1917,” “Bombshell,” “Joker,” “Judy” and “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Judy.” Should win: “Bombshell.”

Gage: Will win, “Bombshell.” Should win: “Joker.”

Terry: Will win, “Judy.” Should win, “Judy.”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM

Nominees: “American Factory” “The Cave” “The Edge of Democracy” “For Sama” and “Honeyland.”

For those interested, nominated films are available on streaming channels, primarily Netflix. It is interesting to note that “American Factory,” which captures two cultures clashing while working together, is produced by President Barack and Michelle Obama’s new film company.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Honeyland.” Should win: “The Cave.”

Gage: Will win, “American Factory.” Should win, “American Factory.”

Terry: Didn’t see any of these, have no picks.

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

Nominees: “Corpus Christi,” Poland; “Honeyland,” North Macedonia; “Les Miserables, “France;” “Pain and Glory,” Spain; and “Parasite,” South Korea.

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Parasite.” Should win: “Parasite.”

Gage: Will win, “Parasite.” Should win: “Parasite.”

Terry: Will win, “Parasite.” Should win: “Parasite.”

BEST SOUND MIXING

Nominees: “1917” “Ad Astra,” “Ford vs. Ferrari,” “Joker” and “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”

As I recall “Heartbreak Ridge” surprised me once, at which point I realized war films perform well in sound categories. But how often are they pitted against the annual automobile race at Le Mans?

Predictions:,

Bill: Will win, “Ford vs. Ferrari.” Should win: “Ford vs. Ferrari.”

Gage: Will win, “1917.” Should win: “1917.”

Terry: Will win, “Ford vs. Ferrari.” Should win, “Ford vs. Ferrari.”

BEST SOUND EDITING

Nominees: “1917;” “Ford vs. Ferrari;” “Joker;” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood;” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

Predictions:

Bill: Will win, “Ford vs. Ferrari.” Should win: “Ford vs. Ferrari.”

Gage: Will win, “1917.” Should win: “1917.”

Terry: Will win, “Ford vs. Ferrari.” Should win: “Ford vs. Ferrari.”

NOT PREDICTING:

Animated short film, Live Action short film, and Documentary short film.