The 92nd Academy Awards will be passed out Sunday night and in all the years I have been predicting who will win, this year is one of the easiest I have ever faced.
By far the easiest is the Best Supporting Actress category. The honor will go to Laura Dern for her work in “Marriage Story.” She is both terrifying and funny as a divorce lawyer. Dern definitely deserves the Oscar but if there was to be an upset I would love to see Scarlett Johansson win for “Jo Jo Rabbit.” That is a beautiful piece of work deserving of high praise.
In the Best Supporting Actor category, Brad Pitt will pick up his second Oscar for his work in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” This would be his first Academy Award for acting as his other Oscar was as one of the producers on the 2014 winner for Best Picture with “12 Years a Slave.”
If I was voting with my heart, the Oscar would go to Tom Hanks for his portrayal of Mr. Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Hanks has always been one of my favorite interviews and he is so good in this movie.
There is also no real battle for Best Actress as Renee Zellweger channeled Judy Garland to play her in the biopic “Judy.” The film has a few problems especially in the writing but Garland’s performance is flawless. It is so good it will keep Scarlett Johansson from winning a much deserves Oscar for “Marriage Story.”
It is almost criminal that an actor can turn in sterling performances in two films and end the year without an Oscar.
If you are going to bet money, one of the safest best is in the Best Actor category. Joaquin Phoenix will add to all of the honors he has already picked up for his portrayal of the Joker in “The Joker.”
It isn’t that he lost more than 50 pounds to play the Batman villain but the criminal insanity he portrays. This is the kind of performances that will be used to teaching acting for decades.
That brings us to the Best Picture.
Many believe it is really a two-film race but for me there is only one clear contender and that is “1917.” The World War I film not only features superb acting work and smart writing but it is visually stunning the way director Sam Mendes has constructed the movie to look like it was shot with no breaks between scenes.
Quentin Tarantino has two Oscars but both are for writing. His “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” will come close to getting him a Best Picture award but not close enough.
If there is an upset in the top categories, it will be with Best Director. Mendes deserves the Oscar for his work with “1917” but this could be a place where Tarantino gets the Best Director award as a way of honoring both films.
I have long been a believer that the Best Director Oscar should automatically go to the person behind the Best Picture. I have never seen a Best Picture direct itself.
It will all become clear Sunday.