Northampton Press

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

2020 the year for ‘1917’

Thursday, February 6, 2020 by PAUL WILLISTEIN pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

“1917” is the late-breaking lead contender in the 2020 Oscars race.

Here are my 2020 Oscar predictions in the seven categories in the annual Lehigh Valley Press Focus section “Readers Pick the Oscar Winners” contest:

Lead Actor

Joaquin Phoenix is the favorite for “Joker” as anguished standup comedian Arthur Fleck, who becomes Joker. Phoenix received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Male Actor in a Leading Role. Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”; Antonio Banderas, “Pain And Glory”; Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon A Time In ... Hollywood,” and Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes,” as good as they were, are also-rans. In his fourth Oscar actor nomination (Phoenix was nominated for Actor in a Leading Role, “The Master,” 2012; “Walk The Line,” 2005, and Actor in a Supporting Role, “Gladiator,” 2000), Phoenix rises in 2020. The Oscar goes to Joaquin Phoenix.

Lead Actress

Renée Zellweger is the favorite for “Judy” as she transformed herself to play and sing as Judy Garland in her tragic last days on stage. Zellweger received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Female Actor in a Leading Role for “Judy.” Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”; Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”; Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet,” and Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women,” as good as they were, are also-rans. In her fourth Oscar nomination (Zellweger received an Oscar for Actress in a Supporting Role, “Cold Mountain,” 2003, and was nominated for Actress in a Leading Role, “Chicago,” 2002, and “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” 2001), Oscar will sing Zellweger. The Oscar goes to Renée Zellweger.

Supporting Actor

Brad Pitt is the favorite for “Once Upon A Time In ... Hollywood” as Cliff Booth, a stunt double for Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio). Pitt received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Male Actor in a Supporting Role for “Once Upon A Time In ... Hollywood.” Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood”; Joe Pesci, “The Irishman,” Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes,” and Al Pacino, “The Irishman,” as good as they were, are also-rans. In his eighth nomination (Pitt was nominated for Actor in a Leading Role, “Moneyball,” 2011, and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” 2008, and Actor in a Supporting Role, “Twelve Monkeys,” 1995, and Motion Picture, “The Big Short,” 2015; “12 Years a Slave,” 2013, and “Moneyball”). Oscar will stunt for Pitt. The Oscar goes to Brad Pitt.

Supporting Actress

Laura Dern is the favorite for “Marriage Story” as Nora Fanshaw, the attorney for Nicole Barber (Scarlett Johansson). Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”; Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”; Florence Pugh, “Little Women,” and Margo Robbie, “Bombshell,” as good as they were, are also-rans. In her third Oscar nomination (Dern was nominated for Actress in a Supporting Role, “Wild,” 2014; “Rambling Rose,” 1991), Oscar will rule in Dern’s favor. The Oscar goes to Laura Dern.

Director

Sam Mendes is the favorite for “1917,” Mendes received the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Best Feature Film Director Award Jan. 25 for “1917.” Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”; Todd Phillips, “Joker”; Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon A Time In ... Hollywood,” and Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite,” are worthy, but they are also-rans. In his four Oscar nomination (Mendes received a Best Director Oscar, “American Beauty,” 1999, and nominations; Original Screenplay, “1917,” and Motion Picture, “1917”), the Oscar victor will be Mendes. The Oscar goes to Sam Mendes.

Motion Picture

“1917” is the favorite. It received the Producers Guild of America Producer Feature Film Award Jan. 18. “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Joker,” “Little Women,” “Marriage Story,” “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” “Parasite” and “Ford v Ferrari” are worthy, but are also-rans. Oscar will get into the trenches for “1917.” The Oscar goes to “1917.”

Animated Feature

There’s no clear favorite. “Toy Story 4” is my favorite. “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”; “Missing Link,” “I Lost My Body” and “Klaus” are worthy, but are also-rans. Oscar will put the toys back in the toy chest. The Oscar goes to “Toy Story 4.”