The stage is set for the much-awaited night of Hollywood – the 92nd edition of the Academy Awards – scheduled for 6.30am (IST) on Monday, which will see nominees across 24 categories battling it out, to walk home with the golden Oscar statuette.
With global film critics naming Sam Mendes’s war film 1917 and Bong Joon-ho’s Korean social satire Parasite the frontrunners in the race for the Best Picture and Best Director awards, they say it is highly likely that 1917 will bag the award for the Best Picture and Parasite for the Best Director.
Mendes’s period drama set in the backdrop of the First World War, spins the story of two British soldiers who are tasked with delivering a message that could save the lives of their comrades who are all set to walk into a trap.
Korean black comedy Parasite follows the lives of an impoverished family, members of which pretend to be qualified individuals to get employed in a rich household.
It was the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
BBC’s film critics Caryn James and Nicholas Barber predict Parasite, the 10th foreign film to be nominated in the category, may win the Best International film if not the Best Picture.
1917 on the other hand has already won the Directors Guild Awards, seven BAFTAs and the Producer Guild Awards.
The other strong contenders in the Best Picture categories are James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, Todd Phillips’s Joker, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon in Hollywood.
Psychological thriller Joker which already leads the pack at Oscars with 11 nominations, is speculated to win the Best Actor award. Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the titular role of Batman’s antagonist, recently bagged the best actor award at Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTA and Golden Globes, for playing the transition of a gaunt and mentally ill man in Gotham City to the dreaded Joker.
Other strong contenders in the category are Antonio Banderas for Pan and Glory, Adam Driver for Marriage Story and Eddie Murphy for Dolemite Is My Name.
It is also being speculated that Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which has bagged 10 nominations, will give tough a competition to Joker in the best actor list, best-supporting actor, best director and best original screenplay categories.
In the best actress category, critics say, Renee Zellweger has the dibs on the Oscar trophy over the others for her portrayal of an aging American singer and actress at the last leg of her career trying to reconcile with her painful past, in Rupert Goold’s Judy.
If predictions are to be believed, Zellweger is likely to have a neck and neck competition with Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Laura Saoirse Ronan (Little Women) and Yong Mei (So Long, My Son) for the award.
While Brad Pitt is being speculated to win the Best Actor in a Supporting Role award for Once Upon in Hollywood, Laura Dern is expected to finish her winning streak at Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Bafta at the Oscars, for the role in Marriage Story.
Pitt whose winning speech at BAFTA (read by co-star Margot Robbie), left everyone in splits, is expected to have saved the best for the last.
This will also be the second year, when the Oscars will be staged without an official host.
This year the Oscars will pay tribute to ace actor Kirk Douglas and basketball legend star Kobe Bryant, as part of its montage which honours stars the industry has lost in the past one year.
The event will see Elton John, Idina Menzel Cynthia Erivo, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz and Randy Newman performing to this year’s nominated songs.