Oscars 2020: If I Picked The Winners…

Siskel & Ebert used to do a show called “If We Picked The Winners” – who they felt SHOULD win the Oscar, rather than who they think will win.

So this is the first of two entries, on the weekend I will post my prediction.

Today I will only talk about the categories where I can make an informed decision (meaning I have seen at least 4 or the 5 nominated movies).

The following are my choices for who I believe SHOULD to win. My picks for who I think WILL win comes later.


Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Seen it three times now, love it. Exceedingly well acted, entertaining fun film. 2019 gave us four serious Best Pic contenders, this one, The Irishman, 1917 and Parasite, but OUATIH is the best in class. Not Tarantino’s best movie but worthy of this Oscar.


Sam Mendes – 1917

A exceptional war film, singular story telling and technically just brilliant. Strong category this year with the exception of Todd Phillips.


Like most people I have not seen “Judy” so I can’t make a call here. I also did not see “Harriet” yet. And my vote for Best Actress, Lupita Nyong’o in “Us” was not nominated.


Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Narrowly getting my vote over Jaoquim Phoenix in “Joker“. Leo creates a character, 3 dimensional, both sympathetic and dislikeable. A great role. He doesn’t stand a chance.


Laura Dern – Marriage Story

I go with the concencus here, narrowly over ScarJo in “Jojo Rabbit” – a movie I didn’t really like but she made a lot better. Laura Dern is excellent in “Marriage Story“., easily the best thing about an otherwise overrated picture.


Al Pacino – The Irishman

Who chews scenery better than Pacino and he does some career best work here as Jimmy Hoffa. Again, like Leo, has zero chance but he is the standout in this year’s strongest category (5 nominess have 30 Oscar nominations between them).


Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

QT may write dialogue better than anyone else in the movies right now and this year’s script is no exception. If he pulls off the win, he will be one of only four screen writers with three screenplay Oscars. This is a super tough category. Any nominee could win and I wouldn’t be upset. The story line of “Parasite” is Oscar worthy as well.


Steve Zallian – The Irishman

This movie is getting criticized for its 3.5 hour running time but the writing is some of the best of the year. Its best moments are its quietest ones, with veteran actors chatting over wine or Corn Flakes.


Roger Deakins – 1917

If I did have a ballot, this would be the category I ponder over the most. Robert Richardson is a 3-time winner, genius and does amazing work for Tarantino. Lawrence Sher paints “The Joker” in a bleak, nihilistic way that is still stunning. But Deakin’s leading edge work to make “1917” appear to be a single unbroken shot deserves to win, and probably will.



Full stop, hands down, this film is an immersive visceral experience.


Jinmo Yang- Parasite

Interesting category. The odds-on fave for Best Picture (1917) is not nominated, which is really unusual. “Parasite” is brilliantly assembled. A movie like “Ford v. Ferrari” tends to win. The great Thelma Schoonmaker just turned 80, she has 3 wins and 8 nominations, all for Scorcese. (She has been around long enough that she was not eligible to be nominated for her first movie because women were not allowed in the Editor’s Guild!).


I’m Gonna Love Me Again – Rocketman

I mean, how can I not vote for Elton and Bernie.


John Williams – The Rise of Skywalker

I will admit, on my make-believe ballot, I would conciously vote for this lifetime achievement award for this living legend.


The Lion King

Narrowly over Endgame. Lion King is nothing but visual effects and the attention to detail is jaw-dropping.




Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Jojo Rabbit

NEXT UP – Who I think will win!

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