The 2020 Oscar Trial Balloon Volume 1

Since Oscar SZN officially starts this week with the openning of the Venice and Telluride film festivals, I’ve decided to post my wildly misinformed predictions for the big categories this year. Will I be right? Probably. With ten best possible Best Picture nominees, I’m going to get at least four or five right. With that out of the way, let’s boogie!

Matthew Rhys (Finalized);Tom Hanks (Finalized)


  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood 
  • The Irishman
  • Ford V. Ferrari 
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 
  • Harriet 
  • Little Women 
  • Marriage Story
  • 1917
  • A Hidden Life

Unless the Academy has changed their “electoral college” like voting system for Best Picture, at this time, I feel like A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is going to win. There will be enough people who will like the picture more than Noah Baumbach’s moody medition on divorce or Terrence Malick’s moody medition on pacifism. There are a couple of wild cards: Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat and Tom Hooper’s Cats. Will the Academy want to reward Netflix with three Best Picture nominations? Can something as bizzare as Cats go the distance?


  • Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
  • Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life
  • Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
  • Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood 

Why not? I don’t think he’ll win, but why wouldn’t Malick get another nomination?


  • Adam Driver, Marriage Story 
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood 
  • Robert De Niro, The Irishman
  • Eddie Murphy, Dolemite is My Name 
  • Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


  • Awkwafina, The Farewell 
  • Cynthia Erivo, Harriet 
  • Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen & Slim
  • Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
  • Meryl Streep, The Laundromat


  • Shuzhen Zhou, The Farewell 
  • Annette Bening, The Report
  • Jennifer Hudson, Cats 
  • Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time.. in Hollywood
  • Florence Pugh, Little Women 

It is entirely too early to make a judgment call in the major actor categories. However there is one actor category….



  • Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood 
  • Matthew Rhys, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 
  • John Lithgow, Bombshell 
  • Al Pacino, The Irishman 
  • Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

Friends, Brad Pitt is a lock for this one. Write this one down in permanet marker.


  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  • The Farewell
  • Pain and Glory
  • Parasite
  • Marriage Story

I feel like its either Tarantino or Almodovar here. Maybe Baumbauch upsets the two titians of prose.


  • The Irisman
  • Little Women 
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 
  • Downton Abbey
  • The Laundromat

The Laundromat is a real wild card. Is it going to be something akin to The Informant! or Contagion? Both pictures failed to strike Oscar gold, but maybe that Netflix bump will push The Laundromat into the right direction? Downton Abbey will naturally pick up a couple of below the line nominations and I feel there’s enough good will to give this one a polite tip o’ the cap.

In a couple of days, this all could change because some influencer didn’t connect to the material or a new picture sneaks onto the scene.

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