2020 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win in Every Category

From the Best Picture race all the way down the ballot to the shorts program.

The Oscars couldn't possibly be this predictable... Could they?

With days to go until the Academy unveils their winners, it certainly feels like many of this year's little good men could be engraved here and now: We know which actors will win (Zellweger, Phoenix, Dern and Pitt) and you have a 50-50 shot at picking Best Picture correctly, which is better odds than most years. (Who had money on Green Book in '19?) So where will the 92nd Annual Academy Awards find its requisite upsets then, having preordained winners for its biggest awards?

See our individual breakdown of those categories here:

Best Picture

Best Actress

Best Actor

Best Supporting Actress

Best Supporting Actor

Beyond that, there are still tons of categories to provide unexpected, unpredicted wins. Below, ET's resident awards prognosticator makes a go at predicting every category, offering up the best guesses based on a mix of merit, Academy buzz and countless hours spent tracking precursor awards and ever-fluctuating awards season narratives.

Images via NEON / Universal Pictures


Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who Should Win: Parasite
Who Will Win: 1917

1917 is a model Best Picture winner for the Academy: A prestige historical drama that is as technically triumphant as it is bloody entertaining. Perhaps most importantly, it's a well-liked film -- I've yet to hear anyone with a strongly negative review of 1917 -- which should serve it well on the preferential ballot. It's already taken home the precursor awards that forecast an eventual Best Picture win, from an early upset at the Globes to a key win with the Producers Guild. (The latter a reliable Oscars predictor.)

But how powerful would a Parasite win be? Not least of which because it's a brilliant film: An expertly crafted comedy about class warfare, a must-see family drama about the haves and have nots. But also because of what that win would mean right now -- in this time, in this culture -- as the first non-English-language film to be named Best Picture. Ever. In the history of the Oscars.


Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who Should Win: Bong Joon-ho
Who Will Win: Bong Joon-ho

Conventional wisdom says that should picture and director split -- as has increasingly been the case in recent years -- to go with the Directors Guild's pick for the latter. And yet, while Sam Mendes won with the DGA, I'm breaking with precedent and predicting director Bong -- whose singular vision in Parasite has inspired such broad passion that he's been greeted like a rock star on the awards circuit -- to "spoil" here.


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

Who Should Win: Adam Driver
Who Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix will win his first Oscar for his showy, physical turn as Gotham City's Clown Prince of Crime -- the second actor to win for the role. And deservedly so; it's a demanding performance that holds up the entire movie. Adam Driver's work resonated a bit more with me, however, delivering an equally impressive range -- the highs, the lows, the Sondheim -- in a more vulnerable vehicle.


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

Who Should Win: Renée Zellweger
Who Will Win: Renée Zellweger

Renée Zellweger began awards season as the Best Actress frontrunner -- for her endlessly captivating channeling of the late, great Judy Garland -- and has held onto that pole position throughout, despite mixed reception to Judy as a whole. Zellweger delivers the epitome of an Oscar performance and will be rewarded as such.


Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who Should Win: Brad Pitt
Who Will Win: Brad Pitt

You might as well start referring to him as Academy Award Winner Brad Pitt now. (Sure, he technically has an Oscar already, but as a producer.) Unflappable stuntman Cliff Booth is the role Pitt was born to play, and the only question come Oscars night will be what gems he delivers in his acceptance speech this time.


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

Who Should Win: Laura Dern
Who Will Win: Laura Dern

Who should win? Jennifer Lopez, who delivered the performance of a lifetime in Hustlers. Alas, since she was not given the honor of just being nominated -- for reasons I still cannot understand -- Dern is the clear choice to win a career-capping first Oscar for her showy turn as Marriage Story's deliciously cutthroat divorce lawyer. (It helps that she's so good as Marmee in Little Women, to be sure.)


Knives Out, Written by Rian Johnson
Marriage Story, Written by Noah Baumbach
1917, Written by Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Written by Quentin Tarantino
Parasite, Screenplay by Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won

Who Should Win: Parasite
Who Will Win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won's screenplay is, hands down, the most original -- unlike anything we've seen before, suspenseful and darkly funny, biting and soulful, twisty and turny and ever timely. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, meanwhile, is the brand of loquacious, pulpy script that has made Quentin Tarantino a stalwart in this category, and I expect he'll soon add a third writing Oscar to his collection.


The Irishman, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit, Screenplay by Taika Waititi
Joker, Written by Todd Phillips and Scott Silver
Little Women, Screenplay by Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes, Written by Anthony McCarten

Who Should Win: Little Women
Who Will Win: Jojo Rabbit

I want the world for Greta Gerwig, who was able to adapt Louisa May Alcott's classic into a story both familiar but new, modern and timeless. (Not to mention, a win here would begin to make up for her being blanked in directing.) But losing to Taika Waititi isn't a bad shake, considering he transformed Jojo Rabbit's source material into something truly Taika, while never losing its heart.


How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

Who Should Win: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Who Will Win: Toy Story 4

Sony's Into the Spider-Verse broke Disney and Pixar's winning streak in this field, effectively opening the door for Missing Link (which earned a surprise win at the Globes) or Klaus (which took home the BAFTA and Annie Award) to come out on top this year. I expect Pixar will have the last laugh, though. That said, I'd love to see How to Train Your Dragon reign victorious, recognizing a near-perfect trilogy that has garnered three nominations but not yet a win.


Corpus Christi (Poland)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Les Misérables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea)

Who Should Win: Parasite
Who Will Win: Parasite

In a year that seems to have less and less room for surprises, Parasite winning the newly renamed International Feature (né Best Foreign Language Film) is the surest of sure things. And it will make history: Parasite will be the first South Korean film to ever win here.


American Factory
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama

Who Should Win: Honeyland
Who Will Win: American Factory

American Factory's look at clashing culture and labor politics in an Ohio automobile facility has the backing of Netflix and the Obamas, which alone makes it one to beat. Though status doesn't always serve as an advantage in this race: Look at one-time frontrunner Apollo 11, which failed to score a nomination. Which may serve the quieter, environmentally attuned beekeeper doc, Honeyland. (It's worth noting the latter pulled off the rare feat of a dual nomination -- here and in International Feature.)


In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)
Life Overtakes Me
St. Louis Superman
Walk Run Cha-Cha

Who Should Win: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)
Who Will Win: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone is a more optimistic peek behind a particular curtain than most of its fellow nominees, which could be a boon in this mostly bleak shorts offering. That its subject -- life in Kabul for a group of young girls learning to read, write and skateboard -- might draw to mind the also-empowering Period. End of Sentence. doesn't hurt either, considering that won this award last year.


Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors' Window
A Sister

Who Should Win: Nefta Football Club
Who Will Win: Brotherhood

If I were a member of the Academy, I'd be casting my vote for Nefta Football Club, a 17-or-so minute romp about two brothers and a literal drug mule they encounter in the mountains of Tunisia. It's the most straightforwardly comedic of the lot, and director Yves Piat has a Taika Waititi-esque voice that I'd love to see recognized. I presume the Academy will opt for something with more dramatic heft, like the haunting, beautifully shot Brotherhood, about an estranged son's return home after fighting for ISIS in Syria.


Dcera (Daughter)
Hair Love

Who Should Win: Hair Love
Who Will Win: Hair Love

The animated shorts race ought to go to either Hair Love or Pixar's Kitbull. The latter would be an easy vote to cast -- the cute one about the dog and the cat -- however, Hair Love is sweet enough itself, while also proving especially poignant this year in ways big and small. (Oscar aside, if you can track down the startling beautiful Memorable, I cannot recommend it enough.)


Joker - Hildur Guðnadóttir
Little Women - Alexandre Desplat
Marriage Story - Randy Newman
1917 - Thomas Newman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - John Williams

Who Should Win: 1917
Who Will Win: Joker

Thomas Newman's scoring of 1917 is tense but understated, before swelling -- as the film does -- into something grander, more intense, more emotional. (That this is the composer's 14th nomination here without a win means he's more than due.) This year, Hildur Guðnadóttir has the momentum, though, for her visceral Joker soundtrack. It will certainly be a pleasure to see her win and give another one of her winning speeches. (In addition to her Joker wins thus far, she just took home a GRAMMY for her work on Chernobyl.)


"I'm Standing With You," from Breakthrough
"Into the Unknown," from Frozen II
"Stand Up," from Harriet
"(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," from Rocketman
"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away," from Toy Story 4

Who Should Win: "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again"
Who Will Win: "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again"

In a year where Beyoncé and Taylor Swift can't break in and the new Frozen anthem seems like a long shot, you'd think Original Song would be stacked, huh? This one goes to Elton John and Bernie Taupin to right a few wrongs: 1) That the duo's first major award was a Golden Globe earlier this season. And 2) Rocketman being largely overlooked by the Academy, especially Taron Egerton's Best Actor-worthy performance.


Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Who Should Win: 1917
Who Will Win: 1917

War movies do well in the sound fields -- especially editing -- so this is an easy win for 1917.


Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who Should Win: Ad Astra
Who Will Win: 1917

More often than not, the sound categories mirror one another. (Whether that's on account of the work itself or because too few Academy voters know the difference between the two is unclear.) Since there are no musicals in contention this year -- which are favored for mixing -- I'm going 1917 again.


The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who Should Win: Parasite
Who Will Win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

That the house in Parasite was designed and built for the movie -- from the subbasement up -- is a feat that cannot be understated. Here's hoping Academy voters recognize that fact -- that it wasn't shot on location but on set -- and award it justly. Otherwise, it ought to go to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's impeccable recreation of Tinseltown in the '60s, a lovingly detailed restoration that will appeal to older Academy voters who were working in Hollywood at the time.


The Irishman
The Lighthouse
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who Should Win: 1917
Who Will Win: 1917

Fourteen-time nominee Roger Deakins finally won his first Academy Award in 2018 for Blade Runner 2049, the sort of career-achievement Oscar that is as much for his work on that film as it was for the fact that he was due. With 1917, he's a shoo-in for his second Oscar in as many years. The "one-shot" film is built on its cinematography, and only someone of Deakins' caliber could pull it off so skillfully.


Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Who Should Win: Bombshell
Who Will Win: Bombshell

This year's race is between Bombshell and Judy, and that Charlize Theron's transformation into Megyn Kelly is the more uncanny of the two -- and that prolific MU artist Kazu Hiro walked away with this Oscar for similar work on Darkest Hour -- should seal it for Bombshell. (Plus, any conflict the Academy might feel about awarding Theron's performance or the film as a whole -- and thus, feel like they're rewarding Kelly herself -- needn't resonate as much in the craft categories.)


The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who Should Win: Little Women
Who Will Win: Little Women

The costuming nominees this year are a bit ho-hum without the likes of Rocketman or Dolemite Is My Name, both of which would be at the top of the pile had they made the Academy's cut. Of those that were nominated, Little Women's sumptuous 19th-century designs are most deserving.


Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit

Who Should Win: Ford v Ferrari
Who Will Win: Ford v Ferrari

Academy voters often gravitate toward flashy editing -- in a best-case scenario; worst-case they throw their weight behind the most editing -- and Ford v Ferrari's precisely paced race sequences provide the perfect palette for it. This feels like an outlier win for Ford v Ferrari, with no greater ramifications than it's a movie with great editing. (To that point, if Parasite does pull off a win here, that would be a major win on its road to Best Picture-dom.)


Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Who Should Win: Avengers: Endgame
Who Will Win: 1917

An Avengers movie has never won the Academy's visual effects Oscar. No Marvel movie has. (Black Panther, the only Marvel Studios film to walk away with Academy Awards, wasn't even nominated for its VFX.) Endgame is most worthy here -- if only for its epic, largely CG climactic battle -- but I expect more serious-minded Academy members will pass over superheroes for a Best Picture juggernaut like 1917. (Not to hedge my bet too much, but the Academy did previously award this to The Jungle Book, so it's not a stretch to envision them honoring the revolutionary, photorealistic work in The Lion King.)

This year's winners will be announced when the 92nd Annual Academy Awards airs live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT.


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