Wed. Oct 28th, 2020

FINAL 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions – Part 1

The critics awards are in. So are guild nominations. The Golden Globes have spoken, the Critics’ Choice will the day before nominations are out. Every bit of guessing, hoping, predicting, hopedicting comes down to this. I’m breaking my final Oscar nomination predictions into two sections, 12 categories each. Part 2 will drop tomorrow. These categories today are crucial in my Build by Guild concept of if you have widespread support among multiple branches you help propel yourself to Best Picture.

Oscar nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards will be announced in two parts on Monday, January 13th.

Here are my final 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Original Score, Original Song, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Visual Effects, Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, International Feature Film, Animated Short, Live Action Short and Documentary Short Subject with one potential spoiler for each and includes the.

Heavy hitters and a major newcomer highlight Original Score this year. It’s often hard for a no-name to get in with this branch but this has been a breakthrough year for Joker’s Hildur Guðnadóttir. Winning awards left and right for Joker, as well as accolades for her score of HBO’s Chernobyl, Guðnadóttir might be the only threat to 14-time (soon to be 15-time) nominee Thomas Newman for 1917. Except regulars John Williams, Alexandre Desplat and Randy Newman to show up but there’s some wiggle room there at the end for Michael Giacchino’s Jojo Rabbit, Alan Silvestri’s Avengers: Endgame or Ford v Ferrari from Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders.


1. 1917 (Universal) – BAFTA, CCA, GG
2. Joker (Warner Bros) – BAFTA, CCA, GG
3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney) – BAFTA
4. Little Women (Sony/Columbia ) – BAFTA, CCA, GG
5. Marriage Story (Netflix) – CCA, GG

Spoiler: Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight) – BAFTA

Original Song is packed with superstar talent and songwriters with a long Oscar history and I think those two might collide in a potentially unexpected way. Diane Warren has been nominated for 10 Oscars in this category, half as the film’s sole nomination. Her “I’m Standing with You” from Breakthrough could bump Beyoncé’s “Spirit” from The Lion King out of the ring here, especially if voters also (re)embrace Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen for “Glasgow” from Wild Rose.


1. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman (Paramount) – CCA, GG
2. “Into the Unknown,” Frozen II (Disney) – CCA, GG
3. “Stand Up,” Harriet (Focus Features) – CA, GG
4. “I’m Standing with You,” Breakthrough (20th Century Fox) – CCA
5. “Glasgow,” Wild Rose (Neon) – CCA

Spoiler: “Spirit,” The Lion King (Disney) – CCA, GG

Sound Editing and Sound Mixing often go 4/5 and when you look at the Cinema Audio Society (Mixing) and Motion Picture Sound Editors guilds you can see why. 1917 was a late breaker and missed CAS but should be able to show up for Oscar. Ford v Ferrari is a lock for both; Joker is definitely a lock for Editing (Robert Alan Murray is a 9-time nominee and two-time winner and this branch loves its longtime nominees). Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is actually a bit of a mystery; Tarantino films don’t really do well in the sound categories but I have it on both as it’s just been a guild beast this season. Same goes for Scorsese films; not big past sound nominees but The Irishman could get in for Mixing.


1. 1917 (Universal) – MPSE (x2)
2. Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox) – MPSE (x2)
3. Joker (Warner Bros) – MPSE (x3)
4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney) – MPSE
5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia) – MPSE (x3)

Spoiler: Avengers: Endgame (Disney) – MPSE (x2)


1. 1917 (Universal) – BAFTA
2. Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox) – BAFTA, CAS
3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia) – CAS
4. Rocketman (Paramount) – BAFTA, CAS
5. Joker (Warner Bros) – BAFTA, CAS

Spoiler: The Irishman (Netflix) – CAS

With Makeup and Hairstyling moving to five nominees (finally!) it should really open the door to a wider range of types of makeup and hair here. Often when it was just three you’d see one period piece and one heavy prosthetic and one garish makeup design represented but those two extra slots should give us all of those and more. Downton Abbey and Little Women are the only contenders that give us the type of traditional hair nominees we see here (there are no King or Queen films this season) so one of them should get in. Downton Abbey has name recognition and a good track record for Focus Features but Little Women has made a name for itself at just the right time. Watch out for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil here.


1. Bombshell (Lionsgate) – BAFTA, CCA, MUAH (x3)
2. Joker (Warner Bros) – BAFTA, CCA, MUAH (x2)
3. Rocketman (Paramount) – BAFTA, CCA, MUAH (x3)
4. Judy (Roadside Attractions) – BAFTA, CCA
5. Downton Abbey (Focus Features) – MUAH (x2)

Spoiler: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Disney) – MUAH

After the Visual Effects bake-off last weekend it seems safe to have The Lion King, Star Wars and Avengers: Endgame here. Alita‘s reel didn’t inspire a lot of response but I expect team Weta to get behind it. This category used to feature heavy hitter Best Picture contenders and the only ones that hit that mark from the shortlist are The Irishman and 1917. The Terminator: Dark Fate reel was a hit and this branch doesn’t care about reviews or box office so it could be a spoiler here.


1. The Lion King (Disney) – BAFTA, CCA, VES (x5)
2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney) – BAFTA, VES (x5)
3. Avengers: Endgame (Disney) – Annie, BAFTA, CCA, VES (x4)
4. Alita: Battle Angel (20th Century Fox) – Annie, VES (x5)
5. The Irishman (Netflix) – BAFTA, CCA, VES (x2)

Spoiler: Terminator: Dark Fate (Paramount/20th Century Fox) – VES

I’d be hard pressed to see much out of this top 5 lineup, which means no GKIDS movies this year as sequels have jammed up the list. Netflix has two real shots here, with I Lost My Body and Klaus. I expect the former to get in easily but the latter will have a tougher time. Still, Klaus comes with some good bonafides and could knock the third How to Train Your Dragon out.


1. Toy Story 4 (Disney/Pixar) – Annie, BAFTA, CCA, GG, VES (x5)
2. I Lost My Body (Netflix) – Annie (Indie), CCA
3. Frozen II (Disney) – Annie, BAFTA, CCA, GG, VES (x4)
4. Missing Link (LAIKA/Annapurna/UAR) – Annie, CCA, GG, VES (x4)
5. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dreamworks) – Annie, CCA, GG, VES (x2)

Spoiler: Klaus (Netflix) – Annie, BAFTA, VES (x2)

I’m taking a couple of risks here, namely predicting a snub for Apollo 11 in Documentary Feature. It’s something that’s always been looming since it’s far and away the frontrunner and the doc branch has consistently taken the top contender out of winner contention quite a few times recently. Also, as it’s entirely archive footage, it might be seen as more of a feat of editing and scoring than anything.


1. For Sama (PBS) – BAFTA
2. American Factory (Netflix) – BAFTA, CCA, DGA
3. Honeyland (Neon) – CCA, DGA
4. One Child Nation (Amazon) – CCA, DGA
5. Midnight Family (1901 Media)

Spoiler: Apollo 11 (Neon) – BAFTA, CCA

The top three here feel immovable but it’s not like this branch, with ever-changing rules and voting procedures doesn’t give us some strange nominees and left field choices. There’s been a lot of chatter for Poland’s Corpus Christi and Hungary’s Those Who Remained (the “lighter” eastern European Holocaust film) so I have them in. Watching out for Russia with Beanpole and Senegal with Atlantics.


1. South Korea – Parasite (Neon) – BAFTA, CCA, GG
2. Spain – Pain and Glory (Sony Classics) – BAFTA, CCA, GG
3. France – Les Misérables (Amazon) – CCA, GG
4. Poland – Corpus Christi (Film Movement)
5. Hungary – Those Who Remained (Menemsha Films)

Spoiler: Russia – Beanpole (Kino Lorber)


Hair Love
Mind My Mind
The Physics of Sorrow
Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days

Spoiler: He Can’t Live without Cosmos


Little Hands
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window
Sometimes, I Think about Dying

Spoiler: A Sister


Fire in Paradise
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
Life Overtakes Me
St. Louis Superman
Walk Run Cha-Cha

Spoiler: Ghosts of Sugar Land

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