PJO Reviews – 2020 Academy Awards Predictions


Photo by P.J. Osheske

PJO Reviews: bringing you his comments on the movies.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s everyone’s favorite time of year again. No, not the Super Bowl; it’s time for the 2020 Academy Awards. And this year, the lineup is packed. From DC’s villain origin story Joker to South Korean drama Parasite and the World War II satire Jojo Rabbit, 2019 has proved itself to be a great year for films.

I’m going to break down the nominees for some of the main categories and let you know who my picks are. So, if you’re placing a bet with friends on who takes home awards this year, I’d recommend continuing on in this article. Spoiler alert: Cats wins nothing.

Best Actor & Actress in a Leading Role

Let’s start off with two of the most popular categories: Best Actor and Actress. The competition for Best Actor is fierce but there’s one clear standout in Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker.

Phoenix brought a new level of character to the Clown Prince of Crime that was previously thought untouchable by movie-goers and comic fans alike. Also, having already taken home the 2020 Golden Globe for Best Actor, his chances of taking the Oscar as well are pretty good. A

s a runner-up/wildcard, I’d go with Leonardo DiCaprio for his performance as Rick Dalton in Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood. DiCaprio managed to fit right into this recreation of 60’s Hollywood and made it his own world.

Best Actress is a tough one. I’m stuck between two main contenders: Renée Zellweger from Judy or Saoirse Ronan for Little Women. Zellweger won the 2020 Golden Globe for Best Actress, meaning that she is very likely to win again at the Academy Awards. But, I believe that Ronan’s performance in Little Women was moving enough to cause an upset and finally give her the win she deserves.

Best Director

This one is an incredibly tough call to make. My top three choices are between Parasite, 1917, and Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood.

1917 excels in the extremely intricate production design and cinematography required in order to create a film that occurs in real-time and has the appearance of being one extremely long take with no cuts.

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood gives us another masterpiece from legendary director Quentin Tarantino, so it’s without a doubt high on this list.

But, my pick would have to go to Parasite. Bong Joon-Ho is able to portray this extremely intricate story excellently despite the film being entirely in Korean. To be able to cross the language barrier and still excel is, in my opinion, worth the Best Direction Oscar.

Best Picture

Alright, I know this is the one category that everyone that’s not a film nerd cares about (That’s why I put it at the end). This 9 film list has proven to be quite the challenge to pick just one winner. If I chose from the heart, I would go with Jojo Rabbit. Taika Watiti’s WWII satire proves to not only be an excellent comedy but also a heartbreaking story. Featuring all-around amazing performances, Jojo Rabbit is a timeless film that I would recommend to literally any person I have ever met.

But, after talking it over with others (my mom and my friend Phoebe) I’m going to have to go with Parasite for Best Picture, for the same reasoning that I gave for Best Director. Thinking back on the film, I have no recollection of it being in another language. I can perfectly retell the story without missing a beat.

I’ve highlighted the language aspect of this film, but the story is truly the stand-out of this feature. I would not expect the story of a poor working-class family to be as interesting as Parasite is. The ability to successfully tell this complex genre-bending heist/comedy/thriller/drama in a way that the language used doesn’t matter is truly spectacular.

To add on, every third of this movie feels like an entirely different experience and the fact that these stark contrasts were able to blend together into one neat central story just shows that we have an absolute masterpiece on our hands. It is not an understatement to say that Parasite is the best film of 2019, and deserves all of the recognition and awards it receives.