The Oscar goes to the most underwhelming movie

Jonathan Recchia

 Because audiences are only typically able to recall what is the newest, the phrase “this has been a great year for film” gets tossed around by fans and critics every awards season. 

Yet, I would be telling a blatant lie if I said 2019 was anything short of a standout. 

While there are some pretty rough snubs, most notably not giving any love to Adam Sandler for his crazy performance in “Uncut Gems,” and failing to nominate a female director AGAIN the Academy did a relatively good job of shining light on some pretty stellar flicks. 

Films like “Parasite“ and “JoJo Rabbit” offered viewers some much-needed and poignant satire with an abundance of dark humor. 

Next-level performances were put on display in “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman,” reminding viewers how transcendent an actor’s ability can be. 

“1917’ was groundbreaking, “Joker” sparked an unholy amount of discussion and “Once Upon a time…in Hollywood” and “Little Women” reminded us all why we adore cinema. 

This year’s crop of nominees includes a slew of familiar faces looking to cement their legacies and newcomers looking to become household names. 

It’s sure to be a ceremony full of laughs, tears, woke speeches and of course, lots and lots of cringe. 

Here’s how I anticipate things shaking out.

Best Picture Nominees:

“PARASITE”

“FORD V FERRARI” 

“THE IRISHMAN” 

“JOJO RABBIT” 

“JOKER” 

“LITTLE WOMEN” 

“MARRIAGE STORY” 

“1917”

“ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD” 

Will win: “Parasite”

Should win: “Parasite”

Statistically speaking, “1917” is the frontrunner for the night’s top award. 

After raking in over a quarter of a billion dollars at the box office and taking home the best drama award at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, the film has the rare distinction of being a critical and financial smash hit. 

And yet, the Oscars have increasingly become more difficult to predict in recent years so I’m anticipating an upset. 

That upset being a win for Bong Joon Ho’s South Korean masterpiece, “Parasite.” 

The twisted satire about greed and class discrimination blends an infectiously entertaining story with biting commentary that perfectly bookends the 2010s. 

“Parasite” is the best comedy of the year. 

It’s the best drama of the year. 

It’s the best film of the year, and perhaps, the best film of the decade. 

A foreign film has never won best picture at the Oscars in its 92-year history. 

I expect the Academy to (finally) do the right thing and end this horrific drought.

Best Director Nominees:

Bong Joon Ho, “PARASITE” 

Quentin Tarantino, “ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD”

Sam Mendes, “1917”

Martin Scorsese, “THE IRISHMAN”

Todd Phillips, “JOKER” 

Will win: Sam Mendes 

Should win: Bong Joon Ho 

Minus the decision to snub Greta Gerwig after her exceptional work on “Little Women,” in favor of Todd Phillips’s painfully average direction in “Joker,” this year’s crop of directors is kind of stacked. 

To the delight of pretentious film bros around the globe, Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese are up for awards once again. 

Similar to the best picture category, I see this as a two-horse race between Sam Mendes and Bong Joon Ho. 

Since I just asserted that Bong Joon Ho might’ve made the best film of the decade, it’s no surprise that he’s my pick for this award. 

Objectively speaking though, while “1917” has a pretty uninteresting plot, it’s direction is quite the technical achievement. 

Look for Mendes to win his first directing award since “American Beauty,” in 1999. 

Best Actress Nominees:

Scarlett Johannson, “MARRIAGE STORY”

Cynthia Erivo, “HARRIET”

Saoirse Ronan, “LITTLE WOMEN”

Charlize Theron, “BOMBSHELL”

Renee Zellweger, “JUDY”

Will win: Renee Zellweger

Should win: Scarlett Johannson 

Anyone who has been paying close attention to this year’s awards season knows that both leading acting awards have some pretty heavy favorites. 

Renee Zellweger has won every major acting award for her artful portrayal of the late Judy Garland in “Judy,” and is poised to complete the sweep come Oscar Sunday. 

It’s important to note though that Glenn Close swept all the awards last season only to leave the Academy Awards empty-handed, so don’t count out co-front runner, Scarlett Johannson, who received two acting nominations this year for “Marriage Story” and “Jojo Rabbit”. 

If she does pull it out, we’ll be collectively hoping she doesn’t thank Woody Allen in her acceptance speech. 

Best Actor Nominees:

Antonio Banderas, “PAIN AND GLORY”

Leonardo DiCaprio, “ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD”

Adam Driver, “MARRIAGE STORY”

Joaquin Phoenix, “JOKER”

Jonathan Pryce, “THE TWO POPES”

Will win: Joaquin Phoenix

Should win: Adam Driver 

Joaquin Phoenix might be my favorite actor working today and he has reached a point in the industry that any project he is attached to is must-see entertainment. 

From “Her” to “The Master” to “You Were Never Really Here,” the dude simply doesn’t miss, and it’s about time he receives some recognition for all the great work he has done. 

I just wish it wasn’t for “Joker,” a film that puts his eccentric talents on display but is ultimately pretty lackluster compared to the rest of his filmography. 

In my ideal world, Adam Driver would take this one for his heart-wrenching work in “Marriage Story,” 

And yet I expect him to lose to a clown. 

Other:

Best Animated Feature: “TOY STORY 4”

Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, “ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD”

Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, “MARRIAGE STORY”

Adapted Screenplay: “LITTLE WOMEN”

Original Screenplay: “PARASITE”

Cinematography: “1917”

Best Documentary: “HONEYLAND”

Original Score: “JOKER”

Original Song: Elton John, (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again, “ROCKETMAN” 

Sound Mixing: “1917”

Sound Editing: “1917”

Film Editing: “The Irishman”

Best Foreign Language Film: “PARASITE”

Best Live Action Short Film: “BROTHERHOOD”

Best Animated Short Film: “HAIR LOVE”

Best Documentary Short Subject: “ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN”

Production Design: “ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD”

Makeup and Hair: “JOKER”

Costume Design: “LITTLE WOMEN”

Visual Effects: “1917”