Trophy Talk

Rotten Tomatoes Predicts the 2020 Oscar Winners: Our Final Picks for the 92nd Academy Awards!

Win your office pool with our predictions for who will win (and who should win) on Sunday Night. And yes, we're predicting a handful of upsets.

by | February 4, 2020 | Comments

The big night is finally here! (You’re feeling as drained as we are by awards season, right?!) The Academy Awards will be handed out on Sunday evening and at long last some of our biggest questions of the season will finally be answered: Who will be named Best Director? Will Parasite make history as the first foreign-language Best Picture winner? And will Quentin Tarantino get his third Best Original Screenplay Oscar?

Some of the biggest names in Hollywood will be on hand to dole out the little gold men – Zazie Beetz, Mahershala Ali, and Steve Martin are among the night’s 32 presenters. And more of the world’s biggest stars will be on hand to potentially receive those statuettes: Joaquin Phoenix, Laura Dern, and Leonardo DiCaprio are among the night’s potential big winners.

All five Best Original Song nominees will be performed during the show, along with something special from Billie Eilish. (Bond song, anyone?)

To help you with your Oscar ballots – and to get the debate started – the Rotten Tomatoes team has made some educated guesses on who will win come Sunday night. We polled our own staff, consulted our Awards Leaderboard, reviewed our notes from the season, and then met as a staff and deliberated to finalize our picks. It got… heated.

So, if you want to win your office pool, or just be the most informed person at your Oscars party, read below for our predictions for the 2020 Academy Awards and let us know who you think will win in the comments.

Follow us on social all day Sunday, February 9, for reactions, and check back with Rotten Tomatoes after the ceremony to hear our take on the Oscars’ most memorable moments and the night’s biggest shocks.


Best Picture

Parasite
(Photo by © Neon)

Who will Win?
Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) 99%

What should win?
Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite should and will win. In our internal discussions, we all agreed that 1917 is perhaps the safer bet, and there was plenty of love for Jojo Rabbit and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. But just about everyone we’ve seen out and about during the season – including many voters – is raving about Parasite, and it has topped our Awards Leaderboard for most of the year by a wide margin. And so we are going against the punditry and are betting on Bong for the big win. If he does win, Parasite will make history as the first foreign-language Best Picture winner, just one year after Roma came so close to pulling off the same feat.


Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker
(Photo by © Warner Bros.)

Who will win?
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (2019) 68%

Who should win?
For his extraordinary performance as Batman’s premier foe, Phoenix has been comfortably in the frontrunner’s seat for the entire season and that’s exactly where he should be. Earlier in the year, we thought that Adam Driver‘s work in Marriage Story would give three-time Oscar nominee Phoenix a run for his money, but those thoughts quickly evaporated as Joker swept just about every Best Actor contest this season. We shall forever lament the fact that Adam Sandler didn’t make it on nominations morning for Uncut Gems – justice for Sandman! – but we are confident that even if he was nominated Phoenix would still come out on top.


Best Actress

Who will win?
Renée Zellweger – Judy (2019) 82%

Who should win?
Like Phoenix, Renée Zellweger has been waving at her competition from the winner’s dais all season. And deservedly so: Her portrayal of Judy Garland in the twilight of her too-short life goes beyond impersonation, perfectly capturing Garland while movingly tapping into Zellweger’s own experiences with Hollywood and the press. Still, we have to admit the Academy’s choice to ignore both of the jaw-dropping performances Lupita Nyong’o gave us in Jordan Peele’s Us still has us upset.


Best Supporting Actor

(Photo by © Columbia Pictures)

Who will win?
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) 85%

Who should win?
Brad Pitt. At this point, we just wanna know what he’s gonna say when he wins. (Maybe he will even let us know who has been writing his witty self-deprecating acceptance speeches all season.)


Best Supporting Actress

Netflix
(Photo by © Netflix)

Who will win?
Laura Dern – Marriage Story (2019) 94%

Who should win?
Throughout the season, Dern has been quietly reminding us that she is truly one of Hollywood’s own – daughter to screen legends Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd – and an Oscar win has been her dream for as long as she can remember. Hollywood royalty, a seat on The Academy’s Board of Governors, and a case full of Supporting Actress trophies gives no one – not even double nominee Scarlett Johansson – any chance to cause an upset. Still, as we are just days removed from her Hustlersinspired Super Bowl performance, let us say for one last time this season: “Justice for J-Lo.”


Best Director

Sam Mendes
(Photo by Francois Duhamel / © Universal Pictures)

Who will win?
Sam Mendes – 1917 (2020) 89%

Who should win?
Bong Joon-ho for Parasite. In a heated debate, the RT staff members who backed Parasite were narrowly defeated by the votes for Sam Mendes and 1917 when it came to the question of who was most likely to winWe eventually agreed that with a DGA, BAFTA, and Golden Globe win, Mendes is probably going to take home the prize, and while both men are deserving, most in the room felt South Korean director Joon-ho should win for his genre-bending masterpiece.


Best Original Screenplay

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
(Photo by Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection)

Who will win?
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) 85%

Who should win?
Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won for Parasite. The South Korean flick was the ‘heart’ pick for most of us when we deliberated, and Tarantino’s epic was the ‘head’ pick. We questioned ourselves after Parasite won at the WGAs and BAFTAs this weekend, but ultimately stuck with our original bet on Tarantino. Last year, the BAFTAs picked The Favourite, the WGAs honored Eighth Grade, and then Green Book won the Oscar – so this year’s contest is still very much in the air in our opinionPlus, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was deemed ineligible at the WGAs, and we know that Hollywood loves to honor nothing more than stories about itself.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Taika Waititi - Certified Fresh
(Photo by Bryan Beasley)

Who will win?
Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit (2019) 80%

Who should win?
Waititi for Jojo Rabbit. For Adapted Screenplay, the WGAs and BAFTAs did affect our final pick. During our initial deliberations prior to those awards, we chose Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women as the most likely winner in this category. But after that film was beaten out by Waititi’s anti-hate satire at both ceremonies this weekend, we think the safe money is on Jojo Rabbit.


Animated Feature

Who will win?
Toy Story 4 (2019) 97%

Who should win?
I Lost My Body is a daring piece of animation, and Klaus won big at the Annie Awards – and won the BAFTA – but Pixar is rarely beaten in this category, so we’re confident the latest installment in the Toy Story franchise will be victorious.


Documentary Feature

American Factiory
(Photo by Steven Bognar / © Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection)

Who will win?
American Factory (2019) 96%

Who should win?
Apollo 11, the perceived frontrunner when it made the Oscar documentary shortlist, probably should have been nominated and won this category for the technical achievement alone, but sadly it did not garner a nomination. Without Apollo 11, the Obama-produced American Factory is now the one to beat and our pick to take it all on Oscar night.


International Feature Film

Parasite
(Photo by © Neon)

Who will win?
Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) 99%

Who should win?
Parasite. Do we need to say more? We all love Pain & Glory and Les Miserables, but nothing is keeping Parasite, the only foreign-language film nominated for Best Picture, from winning this one.


Original Score

Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
(Photo by Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Who will win?
Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker (2019) 68%

Who should win?
Joker will and should win. In a rare move, Hildur Guðnadóttir composed the score in pre-production and it was actually played on set during shooting. It is also just deeply haunting and fits seamlessly with Todd Phillips’ and Joaquin Phoenix’s story of self-discovery and descent.


Original Song

@ Paramount Pictures
(Photo by © Paramount)

Who will win?
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” – Rocketman (2019) 89%

Who should win?
We would have loved to see Wild Rose‘s Jessie Buckley perform the Mary Steenburgen-penned “Glasgow (No Place Like Home)” at the Oscars – yes, Steenburgen wrote the song! – but it didn’t make the list of five nominees. Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s new song for Rocketman, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” is the one we think should and will win next Sunday. It’s racked up a number of awards already, gives the Academy the chance to honor the largely snubbed Rocketman, and, well, all those years of hosting Oscar parties are surely set to pay off for Elton, right?


Sound Editing

1917
(Photo by © Universal)

Who will win?
Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate – 1917 (2020) 89%

Who should win?
The precise sound effects of 1917 work with the incredible cinematography of Roger Deakins to plunge audiences in the trenches, and that’s why it’s our pick for the one that should and will win in this category.


Sound Mixing

(Photo by © Twentieth Century Fox)

Who will win?
Paul Massey, David Giammarco, and Steven A. Morrow – Ford v Ferrari (2019) 92%

Who should win?
Ford v. Ferrari. If the precise sound editing of 1917 puts you in the trenches of WWI, the sound work on Ford v. Ferrari places you squarely in the driver’s seat for some epic F1 racing. We’re predicting a split ticket in the sound awards so the Academy can allow itself to honor both films for their incredible sonic achievements.


Makeup and Hairstyling

Lionsgate
(Photo by © Lionsgate)

Who will win?
Kazu Kiro, Anne Morgan, and Vivian Baker – Bombshell (2019) 69%

Who should win?
Ever since Charlize Theron emerged from the elevator in the trailer for Bombshell looking eerily like former Fox News host Megyn Kelley, we have had the film down as our pick for Best Makeup and Hairstyling and nothing – not even Joker’s iconically painted face – has changed our opinions since. It will and should win.


Costume Design

Sony Pictures
(Photo by © Sony Pictures)

Who will win?
Jacqueline Durran – Little Women (2019) 95%

Who should win?
Mayes C. Rubeo for Jojo Rabbit. Corseted dramas usually top all other costumed contenders at the Oscars, making Little Women an easy pick to win, but Jojo Rabbit’s colorful take on WWII Germany is a fashion wonder that many during our deliberations felt was just as worthy of the gold.


Cinematography

Who will win?
Roger Deakins – 1917 (2020) 89%

Who should win?
Roger Deakins is a god of cinematography at this point and was long overdue for an Oscar when he won for Blade Runner:2049. If you want to know why he should and will win for 1917, just check out our extended interview with Deakins above, in which he breaks down his craft and the challenges he faced while shooting Mendes’ film.


Production Design

Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures
(Photo by Andrew Cooper / © Columbia Pictures)

Who will win?
Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh – Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) 85%

Who should win?
Production designer Barbara Ling and Quentin Tarantino managed to shut down Hollywood Boulevard for several hours while shooting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and we believe that enviable boast alone will secure their win here. However, the incredibly detailed production design for Parasite – the central home was constructed for the film, as was the squalid apartment and surrounding area the poorer family lives in – had more than a few defenders and is our pick for who should win. It might just cause an upset.


Film Editing

Parasite
(Photo by © Neon )

Who will win?
Yang Jin-mo – Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) 99%

Who should win?
Frequent Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker clearly put in work to cut Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half–hour gangster epic, The Irishman, but the intricate camera work and editing is a huge part of what makes Parasite a masterful piece of cinema. Go back and check out the “TB” sequence if you need further proof.


Visual Effects

1917
(Photo by © Universal)

Who will win?
Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy – 1917 (2020) 89%

Who should win?
Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, and Dan Sudick for Endgame. With over 2,000 visual effects shots and an Oscar-worthy motion-capture performance from Josh Brolin as Thanos, Avengers: Endgame should be the odds-on choice for Best Visual Effects, but we are betting the Academy’s love for 1917′s imperceptible VFX will give it the edge. Perhaps one day The Academy will choose to honor motion-capture or stunt performances in their own categories.


The Shorts

For this section we relied on the truly obsessive members of our staff who have seen all (or most) of the shorts. These are their picks and likely your best bet if you haven’t seen any of them.

Documentary Short – Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

Short Film (Live Action) – The Neighbor’s Window

Short Film (Animated) – Hair Love 


The 92nd annual Academy Awards will be presented Sunday, February 9, at 5pm PST / 8pm EST.

Are you as obsessed with awards as we are? Check out our Awards Leaderboard for 2019/2020.

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