New from Every Movie Has a Lesson by Don Shanahan: OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2020: The race for Best Picture

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PART 7: THE RACE FOR BEST PICTURE

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. You have made it until the end. This last chapter column examines the Best Picture race. As I say every year, stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool!

THE ACADEMY AWARD FOR BEST MOTION PICTURE

The nominees:  Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Parasite

Who should be there: It’s hard to complain about any omissions when you have a field of nine. If you had to name a 10th, The Farewell or Knives Out would have filled that spot gloriously.

Happy to be there- AKA “The First Cut”:  In quite a show of depth compared other years with this 5+ field of potential fluff, all nine nominees have at least won one Best Picture award from someone, be it a regional critics group or other entities. Still, you don’t need all of them. The four with the least wins are Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, and Little Women. Personally, three of those five would stay and three of the higher multiple winners should go. I said this back on the Best Director award, I don’t think The Irishman and Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood has any business being at this level. However, they are your second and fourth winning-est movies here.

The true finalists- AKA “The Final Five”: The Irishman, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Parasite

Who should win: After the middling Green Book won last year, I’ve been rooting for a course correcting shake-up in line with the meek Moonlight beating ominous La La Land. Even if I wouldn’t personally call it the Best Picture of 2019, I think a Parasite win would be the kind of impressive earthquake to change the Oscars and the industry it celebrates. That would be beyond historic in this day and age.

Who will win:  Parasite can pull that miracle off, but the movie peaking right now is 1917. With most every Oscar contender staking out early festival audiences and cushy November release windows, we haven’t seen this late of a surprise December/January awards juggernaut since Million Dollar Baby. For anyone who thought the Golden Globe win was an outlier, the Producers Guild Award brought legitimacy that the BAFTA added to. 1917 was my #1 movie of last year and it looks primed to be the epic standard bearer for 2019 while Parasite settles for being the intellectual critical darling.

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