What the Oscars will get right and wrong

Jocelyn Sandusky, Features Editor

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Who will win: 1917

The Oscars has a long history of recognizing boring movies that the public hasn’t seen. This year won’t stray from tradition, and “1917” will take home the top prize. The movie was beautifully shot and it was powerful and thrilling, but once you’ve seen one war movie, you’ve seen and experienced them all.

Who should win: Parasite

“Parasite” is perhaps the most original and entertaining movie I have ever seen. It’s hilarious, thrilling and transcends language barriers. It will win best international film, but I don’t think voters are ready to fully embrace such a fun and twisted film, especially when the entire ensemble is comprised of an ethnic minority.

 

Actor

Who will win: Joaquin Phoenix

No one will be able to keep Phoenix from winning his first Oscar after he swept all major awards this season. I didn’t dislike his portrayal of the Joker, but it was much less haunting and disturbing than Heath Ledger’s iconic performance. Phoenix has given much better performances in films like “Walk the Line,” and I wish he wasn’t being recognized for such a cookie-cutter performance of someone who is mentally ill.

Who should win: Leonardo DiCaprio

I almost wish DiCaprio hadn’t won an Oscar for his performance in the awfully boring “The Revenant” so that he would get a pity vote this year. I know the academy doesn’t award comedic performances, but DiCaprio gave his best and most committed performance to date in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” He carried the film on his shoulders and kept me from sleeping through another Tarantino film.

 

Actress

Who will win: Renee Zellweger

She’s won everything else so why not the Oscar? I have to admit I didn’t see two of the five performances, so I can’t tell you with confidence who I think should win. You couldn’t pay me enough money to watch Zellweger cry and whine on the big screen for two hours in “Judy.” “Bombshell” didn’t play in theaters near me, so I can’t tell you if Charlize Theron was really as annoying as the real Megyn Kelly. Regardless, the category is filled with immensely talented women, so no one would be a bad choice.

 

Supporting Actor

Who will win: Brad Pitt

Pitt is in a league of his own in this category. His charisma and charm in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” made me invest in the story and characters of the movie. Once he hooked me, I was locked in and needed to know how his story ended, and I can’t say the same about the other nominees. It wasn’t the most impressive performance in the history of film but he took a low-key supporting character and made him the focal point of the movie. Not an easy feat, especially when acting opposite DiCaprio, but he did it, and he did it incredibly well.

Who will win: Brad Pitt

 

Supporting Actress

Who will win: Laura Dern

For some reason Dern’s performance in “Marriage Story” has been described as scene-stealing, but I wouldn’t have nominated her at all. She was in the film for a small period of time, and her performance had no impact on me or the film. I think Dern is a fantastic actress, but her performance wasn’t memorable in the slightest. They could have swapped her out with any other actress and the movie would have been the same.

Who should win: Florence Pugh

Like the rest of the world, I am obsessed with Hollywood’s new it-girl. Pugh took one of the most hated characters in the history of literature and made her a relatable and rounded character. I actually sympathized with a terrible and annoying human being, and I think it was thanks to Pugh’s performance.

 

Cinematography

Who will win: 1917

The film looks like it was shot in a single and up-close continuous motion. It created a sense of urgency and partnership between the audience and characters that I have experienced before. The way it was shot made me feel like I was beside them the entire time.

Who should win: 1917

 

Director

Who will win: Sam Mendes

His use of the seemingly single and continuous shot will get him the win.

Who should win: Bong Joon-Ho

Bong’s direction was intentional and impactful. He heightened every emotion with a surprising amount of subtlety. He perfectly crafts the film to be exhilarating and gets the most out of his audience.

 

International Film

Who should win: Parasite

It’s where all good films that swap the white people for subtitles go to die. This will be the  consolation prize for “Parasite.”

Who will win: Parasite

 

Score

Who should win: 1917

War films always have exquisite scores. I usually don’t notice the music in film unless it heightens my anxiety when something very dramatic is happening. The score in “1917” forced me to hold my breath until there was a moment of relief or break in the music.

Who will win: 1917

 

Original Screenplay

Who will win: Parasite

Though “Once Upon in Time in Hollywood” was entertaining, so was “Parasite,” but with even more bite, pizzazz and originality. It’s probably the first film that has ever gone in a completely and shockingly different direction from what I was originally picturing and anticipating. Parasite is the definition of original, and that’s hard to do when everything seems to have already been done.

Who should win: Parasite

 

Adapted Screenplay

Who will win: Little Women

After snubbing Greta Gerwig in the directing category, the Academy owes her an Oscar for writing. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the film going into the theater because I prefer more modern stories, but I connected to the story and characters more than any other film this year. She wrote the classic tale in a way that was more relatable than I could ever think possible for such ancient source material.

Who should win: Little Women