New from Every Movie Has a Lesson by Don Shanahan: OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2020: The female acting awards




The short turnaround 92nd Academy Awards arrive host-free for the second consecutive year on Sunday, February 9th, barely a month after nominations were announced. The pace has added excitement and urgency right on down to my website’s 2020 Awards Tracker. Let’s start calling some winners. As always, that prognostication data is cited in these predictions. This column examines the music and sound categories of score, score, sound mixing, and sound editing. As I say every year, stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool.


The nominees: Kathy Bates for Richard Jewell, Laura Dern for Marriage Story, Scarlett Johansson for Jojo Rabbit, Florence Pugh for Little Women, Margot Robbie for Bombshell

Who should be here: Two names stand out as missing when you look at the who has won what this season. The big name is Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers and the little one is Zhao Shuzhen from The Farewell. Lopez blasted her stardom and toughness like never before. For me, Shuzhen was the most poignant role of any film this past year. That woman was all of our grandmothers even without a word of English.

Who should feel lucky to be there: While she’s always improving as an actress, the inclusion of Margot Robbie feels like a popularity contest entry, especially when her 2019 resume also includes Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood. Even luckier than her is Bates. She has a superior Oscar on her mantle and Richard Jewell went nowhere with awards buzz.

Who should win and will win: I can try to knock Robbie for having a little extra backup on her resume, but the truth is it works. If Laura Dern wasn’t already exceedingly good in Marriage Story, she has that stalwart Little Women performance in her back pocket as additional confirmation. She doesn’t need any. Her divorce lawyer and the scathing diatribes she emits are stellar enough for an actress who’s been due this top praise for a while. She has swept the major precursor awards in this category. This is a place where the resume win matches the performance one.


The nominees: Cynthia Erivo for Harriet, Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story, Saoirse Ronan for Little Women, Charlize Theron for Bombshell, Renée Zellweger for Judy

Who should be here: Let me say it loud for everyone in the back. LUPITA MF’in NYONG’O! Her dual role in Us has won over double the Best Actress prizes of anyone else in the field. It’s a downright travesty she’s not here to compete for her second Oscar. Lupita shouldn’t just be in this race. She should be flat-out winning it.

Who should feel lucky to be there: Well, I hate to restart the #OscarsSoWhite rant, but Cynthia Erivo should feel lucky to be here. She shouldn’t be. Her performance was excellent, but reality and climate makes her look like a token.

Who should win: I know Scarlett Johansson hasn’t stockpiled the best soundbites when it comes to casting the last few years. She has certainly alienated enough in the industry where being a double Oscar nominee is surprising grace. Still, her wrought and raw performance in Marriage Story was extraordinary. She has steadily been one of the best actresses of her generation and this was a huge peak for her worthy of reward. Scarlett is past being the “ingenue” anymore. It’s time to see her and praise her as a mature woman. An Oscar would go a long way to do that.

Who will win: Alas, the A-lister is likely not going to win. She’s going to be beat by the comeback story of sorts belonging to Renee Zellweger for Judy. Normally, I would quickly label this movie as too underseen and forgotten to resonate or earn votes, but once Renee netted the Screen Actors Guild Award, she broke whatever neck-and-neck race existing between her and Johansson with Nyong’o out of the picture. Like her or not, Zellweger gets her second Oscar.

NEXT: The male acting awards!




from REVIEW BLOG – Every Movie Has a Lesson

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