Tue. Sep 22nd, 2020

Frontrunner Friday Oscar Predictions: First critics groups put 'The Irishman' in an early lead

It’s the first week of December so you know what that means: the National Board of Review (NBR) and the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) have had their say on the best in film and they both chose Martin Scorsese’s mob epic The Irishman as Best Picture of 2019. In a season that was lacking a much of frontrunner, it looks like we have one. For now.

Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood also fared well with both groups, with the former winning Supporting Actress for Kathy Bates and Breakthrough for its lead Paul Walter Hauser at NBR and the latter grabbing Best Screenplay from NYFCC. Both films landed on NBR’s Top 10 Films list.

Inspired acting wins from NYFCC came in the form of Antonio Banderas in Best Actor for Pain and Glory and Lupita Nyong’o in Best Actress for Us. Banderas became the first lead actor ever to win for a non-English language performance from the group and Nyong’o’s win was their first for a lead actress in a horror/thriller since Jodie Foster in 1991’s Silence of the Lambs.

The National Board of Review’s Top 10 Films were: 1917, Dolemite Is My Name, Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Richard Jewell, Uncut Gems and Waves.

AFI also released its Top 10 Films of the Year: 1917, The Farewell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Knives Out, Little Women, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Richard Jewell.

There is a lot of crucial crossover between these two lists, most notably Richard Jewell, which has quickly become a real contender (or it will fall just like Eastwood’s efforts Sully and J. Edgar did), but even more interesting is Knives Out. A critical and box office smash, the whodunnit could find itself at PGA and nudging out major competition for a place in Best Picture and/or Original Screenplay. I’m not going in on it yet, but it’s right there.

The Gotham Awards also happened in between predictions lists and Marriage Story was the big winner there, grabbing Best Feature, Best Actor for Adam Driver and Best Screenplay. The film also won the Gotham Audience Award, voted on by the public. Awkwafina was named Best Actress for The Farewell.

The Academy announced the 20 finalists eligible for the Visual Effects Oscar, with some pretty shocking snubs. Pokemon: The Great Detective (which had just earned a precursor Annie nomination) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The bake-off list will be announced on December 16.

As awards season has begun, so has the 2019-2020 Awards Tracker and Leaderboard for critics. The guild and industry tracker will be coming soon.

Here are my Frontrunner Friday Oscar predictions for December 6, 2019.


1. Marriage Story (Netflix)
2. Parasite (Neon)
3. The Irishman (Netflix) – NBR, NYFCC
4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
5. 1917 (Universal)
6. Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
7. The Farewell (A24)
8. The Two Popes (Netflix)
9. Joker (Warner Bros)
10. Ford v. Ferrari (20th Century Fox)


1. Bong Joon-ho – Parasite (Neon)
2. Sam Mendes – 1917 (Universal)
3. Martin Scorsese – The Irishman (Netflix)
4. Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
5. Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story (Netflix)


1. Adam Driver – Marriage Story (Netflix)
2. Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (Warner Bros)
3. Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes (Netflix)
4. Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
5. Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory (Sony Classics)


1. Renée Zellweger – Judy (Roadside Attractions)
2. Awkwafina – The Farewell (A24)
3. Charlize Theron – Bombshell (Lionsgate)
4. Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story (Netflix)
5. Cynthia Erivo – Harriet (Focus Features)


1. Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
2. Joe Pesci – The Irishman (Netflix)
3. Al Pacino – The Irishman (Netflix)
4. Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes (Netflix)
5. Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse (A24)


1. Laura Dern – Marriage Story (Netflix)
2. Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers (STX Entertainment)
3. Zhao Shuzhen – The Farewell (A24)
4. Margot Robbie – Bombshell (Lionsgate)
5. Florence Pugh – Little Women (Sony/Columbia)


1. The Two Popes (Netflix)
2. Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
3. The Irishman (Netflix)
4. Little Women (Sony/Columbia)
5. Joker (Warner Bros)


1. Marriage Story (Netflix)
2. Parasite (Neon)
3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)
4. The Farewell (A24)
5. Knives Out (Lionsgate)


1. Ford v. Ferrari (Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker, Dirk Westervelt) – 20th Century Fox
2. The Irishman (Thelma Schoonmaker) – Netflix
3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Fred Raskin) – Sony/Columbia
4. Marriage Story (Jennifer Lame) – Netflix
5. Parasite (Jinmo Yang) – Neon


1. 1917 (Roger Deakins) – Universal
2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Robert Richardson) – Sony/Columbia
3. The Irishman (Rodrigo Prieto) – Netflix
4. A Hidden Life (Jörg Widmer) – Fox Searchlight
5. The Lighthouse (Jarin Blaschke) – A24


1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Barbara Ling) – Sony/Columbia
2. 1917 (Dennis Gassner) – Universal
3. The Two Popes (Mark Tildesley) – Netflix
4. Cats (Eve Stewart) – Universal
5. Ad Astra (Kevin Thompson) – 20th Century Fox


1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Arianne Phillips) – Sony/Columbia
2. Little Women (Jacqueline Durran) – Sony/Columbia
3. Downton Abbey (Anna Robbins) – Focus Features
4. Dolemite Is My Name (Ruth E. Carter) – Netflix
5. Rocketman (Julian Day) – Paramount


1. 1917 (Thomas Newman) – Universal
2. Joker (Hildur Guðnadóttir) – Warner Bros
3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Williams) – Disney
4. Little Women (Alexandre Desplat) – Sony/Columbia
5. Marriage Story (Randy Newman) – Netflix


1. Frozen II – “Into the Unknown” (Disney)
2. Toy Story 4 – “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” (Disney/Pixar)
3. Rocketman – “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Paramount)
4. Harriet, “Stand Up” (Focus Features)
5. Cats – “Beautiful Ghosts” (Universal)


1. 1917 (Universal)
2. Ad Astra (20th Century Fox)
3. Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox
4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
5. Joker (Warner Bros)


1. 1917 (Universal)
2. Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
3. Joker (Warner Bros)
4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
5. Rocketman (Paramount)


1. Bombshell (Lionsgate)
2. Judy (Roadside Attractions)
3. Joker (Warner Bros)
4. Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix)
5. Downton Abbey (Focus Features)


1. The Lion King (Disney)
2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
3. Avengers: Endgame (Disney)
4. Ad Astra (20th Century Fox)
5. The Irishman (Netflix)


1. I Lost My Body (Netflix)
2. Frozen II (Disney)
3. Toy Story 4 (Disney/Pixar)
4. Missing Link (LAIKA/Annapurna/UAR)
5. Klaus (Netflix)


1. For Sama (Waad Al-Khateab and Edward Watts)
2. American Factory (Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar) – Netflix
3. Apollo 11 (Todd Douglas Miller) – Neon
4. One Child Nation (Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang) – Amazon
5. Honeyland (Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov)


1. South Korea – Parasite (Neon) – NBR, NYFCC
2. Spain – Pain and Glory (Sony Classics)
3. France – Les Misérables (Amazon)
4. Sweden – And Then We Danced (Music Box)
5. Senegal – Atlantics (Netflix)

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