Our Oscar Picks! Bring On The Controversial 92nd Academy Awards!

It is that time of the year again everyone! The Academy Awards for 2019! Amid all of the white-washing controversies and other chaos that the Academy has dealt with this year, I would not be surprised if turnout is much lower than expected. However, despite this, I still love picking my choices for Oscar wins. Most of the time I’m wrong, but it still is fun to play!

*Editor’s note: “(B)” next to the nominee denotes a vote by “Brandon,” and “(D)” next to nominee denotes a vote by “David,” the two authors of this article.


Best Picture

  • FORD V FERRARI

Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold, Producers

  • THE IRISHMAN

Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers

  • JOJO RABBIT

Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi and Chelsea Winstanley, Producers

  • JOKER

Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers

  • LITTLE WOMEN

Amy Pascal, Producer

  • MARRIAGE STORY

Noah Baumbach and David Heyman, Producers

  • 1917 (D)

Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall, Producers

  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, and Quentin Tarantino, Producers

  • PARASITE (B)

Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho, Producers

Brandon: This one is an arguable toss-up. While I would desperately want Parasite to finally snag a best foreign-language film and the best picture win, The odds are incredibly slim. To date, this has never happened in Oscars history.

David: I agree with Brandon to an extent. It may be a toss-up between a few of these titles, but I also disagree with some. While the Irishman is good, it almost feels like it’s on the list only out of respect for the incredible Scorsese. Does not seem based on its merit alone. My vote is for 1917 for many reasons, but namely due to viewers finally getting a quality WWI movie for the first time in a long time.

Snubs: Us, Uncut Gems


Performance By An Actor in a Leading Role

  • Antonio Banderas in PAIN AND GLORY
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
  • Adam Driver in MARRIAGE STORY
  • Joaquin Phoenix in JOKER (B) (D)
  • Jonathan Pryce in THE TWO POPES

Brandon: This was a surprisingly difficult category to pick from. While I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was supreme among the rest of Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood‘s ensemble cast, you can’t ignore the impact that Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Philips’s Joker.

David: I have to agree with Brandon here. Leo is inimitable, but Phoenix’s complete engulfment into the Joker is the stuff of legend. He’s an incredible actor, and if you need more proof, watch Spike Jonze’s “Her.”

Snubs: Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems, Taron Egerton – Rocketman


Performance By An Actress in a Leading Role

  • Cynthia Erivo in HARRIET
  • Scarlett Johansson in MARRIAGE STORY (B)
  • Saoirse Ronan in LITTLE WOMEN
  • Charlize Theron in BOMBSHELL
  • Renée Zellweger in JUDY

Brandon: For those of you who haven’t seen Marriage Story, you need to seriously change that right now. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are at the top of their game, each giving the best performances of their careers.

David: Scarlett Johansson has continued to impress me as her catalog continues to grow. I will be unable to vote on this having not seen 2 of the 5 nominated movies. But based on my experience with the movie “Us,” Lupita Nyong would have my support.

Snubs: Lupita Nyong – Us, Awkwafina – The Farewell


Performance By An Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Kathy Bates in RICHARD JEWELL
  • Laura Dern in MARRIAGE STORY
  • Scarlett Johansson in JOJO RABBIT (B)
  • Florence Pugh in LITTLE WOMEN
  • Margot Robbie in BOMBSHELL

Brandon: While the film that Scar Jo is nominated for is quite the unusual one, she definitely is the shining light within the absurd political satire. Drawing from her own experiences of being a mother, this is one of her most authentic performances to date. But remember, Hitler isn’t real and is just an imaginary friend.

Snubs: Jennifer Lopex –  Hustlers


Performance By An Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Tom Hanks in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (D)
  • Anthony Hopkins in THE TWO POPES
  • Al Pacino in THE IRISHMAN (B)
  • Joe Pesci in THE IRISHMAN
  • Brad Pitt in ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Brandon: While I definitely believe that The Irishman takes forever, even to the point that I had to watch it in three different segments, Al Pacino has a fresh new life in his acting. Through the use of “de-aging” special effects, Pacino acts and creates the illusion that makes us 100% in his performance.

David: Pesci has always been underappreciated throughout his career, even as he enjoyed tremendous success in the 90s. He has a flawless flow that I think goes unnoticed even by his fans. But Pacino delivers yet another brilliant performance, and it’s not as if he necessarily outperformed Pesci. Pesci’s role just doesn’t require as much as Pacino’s. Despite all of what I just mentioned, my vote goes to Tom Hanks as Mr. Fred Rogers. Hanks delivers an iconic biographical performance worthy of so much acclaim.


Best Documentary

  • AMERICAN FACTORY

Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and Jeff Reichert

  • THE CAVE

Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær

  • THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY

Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan

  • FOR SAMA (B)

Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts

  • HONEYLAND

Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska and Atanas Georgiev

Brandon: I personally don’t have a pick for this category. I have not seen any of these documentaries at the time of this writing. If I had to pick one, it would be my major snub, Apollo 11. However, for continuities sake, I’ll go with For Sama.

Snubs: Apollo 11


Best Visual Effects

  • AVENGERS: ENDGAME (B)

Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken and Dan Sudick

  • THE IRISHMAN

Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser and Stephane Grabli

  • THE LION KING (D)

Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newman

  • 1917

Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy

  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy

Brandon: While I really do want to give it to The Irishman for the VFX artists’ pure genius, but the Russo Brothers were able to keep all the pieces of their Endgame madness afloat. Not only was the entire film satisfying to the eyes, but their blending of live-action and fully CGI characters is masterful.

David: Seriously impressive visual effects in The Lion King.

Snubs: Wonder Park – “This movie probably has the best animation and particle effects I have ever seen in a movie. Period.” (D)


Best Animated Feature

  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD

Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold

  • I LOST MY BODY (B) (D)

Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice

  • KLAUS

Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román

  • MISSING LINK

Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight

  • TOY STORY 4

Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera

Brandon: Just giving an initial look at this category, there are really only two contenders. Toy Story 4 was filled with plenty of nostalgia and solid voice acting all around but fails in comparison to the franchise’s previous entry. I Lost My Body has a completely unique premise in its corner, with plenty of gorgeous animation to back it up. I Lost My Body will easily be a must-see in 2020.

David: Toy Story 4 was good, but it really lacked something. Maybe it’s Toy Story fatigue? I don’t know. But as good as it was, it doesn’t quite hold a candle to some of the others on this list. I would vote for Frozen 2 if it were available, but I think “I Lost My Body” is wildly unique and beautiful.

Snubs: Frozen 2


Best Original Song

  • “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from TOY STORY 4

Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

  • “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from ROCKETMAN (B)

Music by Elton John

Lyric by Bernie Taupin

  • “I’m Standing With You” from BREAKTHROUGH

Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

  • “Into The Unknown” from FROZEN II (D)

Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

  • “Stand Up” from HARRIET

Music and Lyric by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo

Brandon: While I am disappointed to not see Lin Manuel Miranda among the nominees, many of these songs are major stand out moments within their films. However, while I may prefer many other artists over him, Elton John’s “(I’m Gonna_ Love Me Again” is still in my heavy rotation. Filled to the brim with emotion and optimism, it is indeed a song for the times.

David: “Into the Unknown.” Period. Catchy as hell. Well-writ. Well-sung. It’s a brilliant song and not an easy follow-up to “Let it Go” from the first Frozen movie. Bravo.

Snubs: Beyonce – “Spirit” – The Lion King


Best Director

  • THE IRISHMAN (B)

Martin Scorsese

  • JOKER

Todd Phillips

  • 1917 (D)

Sam Mendes

  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Quentin Tarantino

  • PARASITE

Bong Joon Ho

Brandon: Martin Scorsese is a master in the art of filmmaking, don’t get me wrong. I may have not been that thrilled of The Irishman’s length, but Scorsese’s drive for traditional filmmaking paid off. He earned Best Director in my eyes because he was able to craft this intriguing story and let technology help him take it even further than he could on his own.

David: As overblown as I think The Irishman is (it’s a fine movie, it’s just not a “great” movie – but it’s tough to outdo yourself when you’re the famous Scorsese), I have to give it to Sam Mendes. He has a knack for tackling new territory frequently, and I appreciate him for it. I could be biased as I’m a big fan, but there’s also no denying his fingerprints all over this film.

Snubs: Greta Gerwig – Little Women


Best Adapted Screenplay

  • THE IRISHMAN

Screenplay by Steven Zaillian

  • JOJO RABBIT (B)

Screenplay by Taika Waititi

  • JOKER

Written by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver

  • LITTLE WOMEN

Written for the screen by Greta Gerwig

  • THE TWO POPES

Written by Anthony McCarten

Brandon: While Jojo Rabbit isn’t the closest adaptation of its original work, based loosely on the novel of the same name by Christine Leunens, there is enough of the original story left for fans of the source material to be thrilled. One Taiki Waititi snagged his hands on the project, his almost complete transmutation of the project elevated it to the next level.


Best Original Screenplay

  • KNIVES OUT (B)

Written by Rian Johnson

  • MARRIAGE STORY

Written by Noah Baumbach

  • 1917

Written by Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns

  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Written by Quentin Tarantino

  • PARASITE

Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won, Story by Bong Joon Ho

Brandon: First off, Rian Johnson was absolutely fantastic behind the helm. Knives Out completely flips the “Who Dun It?” scenario on its head, completely showing its hand to the audience if they look hard enough. Not only is it a masterful story, but one of the most fun experiences in cinema I had all year.


Best Foreign Language Film

  • CORPUS CHRISTI

Poland, Directed by Jan Komasa

  • HONEYLAND

North Macedonia, Directed by Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska

  • LES MISÉRABLES

France, Directed by Ladj Ly

  • PAIN AND GLORY

Spain, Directed by Pedro Almodóvar

  • PARASITE (B)

South Korea, Directed by Bong Joon Ho

Brandon: I loved Parasite and I am absolutely thrilled that it is nominated in so many different categories. If it doesn’t win anything, it will be a major upset. However, I believe it is the strongest contender for a foreign language film.

Snubs: Weathering With You


Welp, that is it, everyone! I know that this is not a list for every category, but I picked the 12 or so most that I would be the most interesting, at least for me anyway. Maybe David and Sam will leave their picks, as well as you, in the comments! Let’s see how close I am, I’m thinking 30%.

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