The 92nd Annual Academy Awards: Head vs. Heart

That’s right, it’s that time of the year again! The time when my BFF and I sit underneath 46 blankets infant of my TV from 1am to 5am to see who takes home the most coveted prizes in the movie business. Oscar night complete with too much food is a long standing tradition in my house, as is my annual breakdown of who I think is going to win versus who I actually want to win. I don’t know about you, but it really feels like this year hasn’t been the most vintage in terms of widespread quality. Nevertheless, there are still opinions to be had! Without further ado, here are my head vs. heart predictions for the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.

Best Picture

Head says: 1917 / Heart says: Marriage Story

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1917 is a brilliant film, both technically and emotionally. It holds the prestige of being the only nominated picture that I saw twice in the cinema, so that has to count for something, right? It seems to have done the best in lead up ceremonies this season, so it’s probably a pretty safe bet for the ‘big one’ too. From a personal point of view, however, the film that touched and moved me more than any other this year was Marriage Story. It tapped in to all of the family melodrama stuff that I love, punctuated with two extraordinary performances. It definitely won my heart!

Best Actor

Head says: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) / Heart says: Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

Screenshot 2020-02-02 at 23.03.00

It’s fair to say that all four acting categories feel like locks this year, stronger locks than we have seen for a long time. There is no doubting the Joaquin Phoenix did the damn thing in Joker, all the logical data points to him as the winner on Sunday. As you might have guessed, however, Adam Driver’s performance in Marriage Story was the one that I felt most impressed by.

Best Actress

Head says: Renée Zellweger (Judy) / Heart says: Renée Zellweger (Judy)

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The Academy is a sucker for giving out prizes to actors who play real people, and Renée Zellweger surely has another statuette coming her way this weekend. Everything about her performance as Judy Garland in Judy screams Academy Award, right down to the fact that it is a standout turn in a movie that is more or less just ‘fine’. That’s a hallmark in Best Actress winners from across the years. As someone who loves Judy Garland and any kind of biopic of this nature, it was always going to be at the top of my list.

Best Supporting Actor

Head says: Brad Pitt (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) / Heart says: Joe Pesci (The Irishman)

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I won’t say that I was underwhelmed by this year’s crop of Best Supporting Actor nominees, nor was I overwhelmed, simply whelmed is appropriate. I don’t buy the criticism for Brad Pitt’s turn in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood being ‘just playing himself’, that’s silly. He’ll be a completely satisfactory winner on Sunday, but there was just something about the work of Joe Pesci in The Irishman this year that I felt a little bit more drawn too. It felt like kind of an honour seeing the guy come out of retirement to so exquisitely add his talents to Scorsese’s ‘greatest hits’ project.

Best Supporting Actress

Head says: Laura Dern (Marriage Story) / Heart says: Florence Pugh (Little Women)

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This is without a doubt the category on which I have the strong feelings this year. You know how much I loved Marriage Story, I want the thing to win Best Picture, but I do have to say that the wave of support for Laura Dern feels much more like an ‘it’s her time’ moment than a true reflection of her work in the film. Dern is great, but she doesn’t grab the film and hold it hostage like I feel Florence Pugh did in Little Women. In a film full of amazing performances, Pugh’s Amy March stood out from the rest to become what I believe is the definitive version of the character on screen. Laura Dern has this Oscar in the bag, but I would given anything for an Olivia Colman style upset in this category on Sunday!

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