If moviegoers want a twist ending, it will be up to the Oscars to provide it. Nearly every award ceremony, from the Golden Globes to the SAG Awards to the BAFTAs, has largely gone according to script, with the same winners repeatedly taking home the top honors.
It’s been all about “1917,” Joaquin Phoenix and Renée Zellweger this season, with the World War I epic shooting down the competition, and the performances as a comic-book villain and a real-life, tormented movie star earning raves — and statues.
Sunday is the night of all nights in Hollywood with the 92nd Academy Awards kicking off at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. If you still haven’t filled out your Oscar pool, here’s who will win and who should win in the top categories.
What will win: “1917”
Sam Mendes’ epic World War I drama has been a major hit among awards voters thus far and, in addition to a captivating story with strong performances, features mesmerizing special effects and editing. The end result of which, looks like the film was made in two continuous shots. It checks all the boxes of a well-balanced, award-worthy movie.
What should win: “Parasite”
The masterfully clever dark comedy by Bong Joon-ho defied even the most optimistic of expectations, rising from an under-the-radar South Korean flick to one of the buzziest and most critically acclaimed releases of the year. The fact that it managed to do just that speaks volumes about how good “Parasite” is. It’s equal parts funny and dark — and is thoroughly entertaining.
Who will win: Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
His gritty portrayal of The Joker before the iconic villain became Batman’s greatest adversary added a completely different perspective — and new level of understanding — for a DC Comics character whom fans have known (or thought they knew) for decades. He was the centerpiece of every scene in “Joker” and managed to remain interesting, heartbreaking and downright creepy throughout.
Who should win: Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Phoenix’s performance is so good it sparked debate over whose Joker was better — his or Heath Ledger’s version in “The Dark Knight.” Ledger won an Oscar for his role, Phoenix certainly deserves to do the same.
Who will win: Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
It would take more than Russian election interference to stop Zellweger from taking home one last trophy for her portrayal of Judy Garland, 16 years after her only Oscar win (Best Supporting Actress for “Cold Mountain”). The award has been Zellweger’s to lose since the day the nominations were announced, and there’s no reason to think that’s changed.
Who should win: Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
Zellweger’s winning streak aside, she really does deserve to win. Her version of Garland was a haunting, rich, beautiful glimpse at one of Hollywood’s icons.
Best Supporting Actor
Who will win: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
In a star-studded cast that also included Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie, Pitt stole scenes throughout Quentin Tarantino’s quirky love letter to old Hollywood. Pitt’s performance as the easygoing down-on-his-luck stuntman Cliff Booth offered the perfect balance to DiCaprio’s insecure, aging movie star Rick Dalton. Pitt’s scenes were funny and captivating, and he played the character with an effortless cool that few can match.
What should win: Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Despite entering awards season with lofty expectations, “The Irishman” has largely been a dud. That’s a shame for Pacino, who was the highlight of the lengthy mob drama by providing an explosive, and sometimes tender performance as union leader Jimmy Hoffa.
Best Supporting Actress
Who will win: Laura Dern,“Marriage Story”
Dern’s performance as an intense and scheming divorce lawyer wowed critics and viewers alike. Awards-show voters have certainly agreed, as Dern has cleaned up this season, winning supporting actress trophies at the Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and British Academy Film Awards. The smart money says she’ll continue that streak at the Oscars.
Who should win: Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
Johansson was a standout in the satirical “Jojo Rabbit,” playing a resolute German mother hiding a Jewish girl from the Nazis. Her performance was filled with sweet and funny moments, but the actress also brought a gravitas to scenes when needed. This is one of two nominations for Johansson this year — she’s also up for Best Actress in “Marriage Story.”
Who will win: Sam Mendes, “1917”
Mendes took the Golden Globes by storm by winning Best Director and best Best Motion Picture — Drama with the stunning war flick. With the film’s solid acting and heart-stopping visuals, Mendes looks like an easy winner.
Who should win: Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
Joon-ho’s attention to detail raised the bar with “Parasite” putting it on another level. But could the Best Director go to a foreign language film two years in a row? Mexican Alfonso Cuarón won last year for “Roma.”