/Here are EWs early predictions for the 2020 Oscar nominations

Here are EWs early predictions for the 2020 Oscar nominations

Over the past few months, EW has been offering in-depth analysis of this Oscar season’s (very) early days, assessing potential frontrunners, making the circuit rounds, and tracking the dominant narratives taking shape for 2020. Now, as the last remaining contenders start getting screened and precursor nominations officially trickle in, we’re ready to present our picks for who will make the cut on Jan. 13, when the 2020 Oscar nominees are announced.

We’ll update this post regularly as the race comes into tighter focus. And we’ll soon expand with predictions for every below-the-line category as well. As for now, check out our breakdowns of the directing, acting, and screenplay categories — in addition, of course, to Best Picture.


Epic new films by Oscar mainstays Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino lead this race, but a South Korean critical phenomenon and a surprise TIFF People’s Choice winner add plenty of intrigue. As to what’s yet to premiere: Early Little Women reactions are strong, Clint Eastwood’s newest could be a late-breaker, and the craft behind Sam Mendes’ 1917 could make it one of the biggest players of the year — but in a season where voting ends in early January, will it start screening too late? 

The Top 10:

The Irishman (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Parasite (dir. Bong Joon-ho)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (dir. Quentin Tarantino)

Marriage Story (dir. Noah Baumbach)

1917 (dir. Sam Mendes)

Little Women (dir. Greta Gerwig)

Jojo Rabbit (dir. Taika Waititi)

Ford v Ferrari (dir. James Mangold)

Bombshell (dir. Jay Roach)

Joker (dir. Todd Phillips)

In the Hunt:

The Farewell (dir. Lulu Wang)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (dir. Marielle Heller)

Richard Jewell (dir. Clint Eastwood)

The Two Popes (dir. Fernando Meirelles)


Waves (dir. Trey Edward Shults)

Hustlers (dir. Lorene Scafaria)

Pain and Glory (dir. Pedro Almodóvar)


Is this finally Tarantino’s year? Will Scorsese win a second time? BongHive, assemble!

The Top 5:

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Sam Mendes, 1917

Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Greta Gerwig, Little Women

In the Hunt:

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story

Jay Roach, Bombshell

Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Pedro Almodóvar, Pain and Glory


Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Lulu Wang, The Farewell

James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari


Manolo Pavón/Sony Pictures Classics

It’s the most competitive Best Actor race in years: Multi-nominees Leonardo DiCaprio, Joaquin Phoenix, and Robert De Niro are likely to figure in here. But there’s also long-beloved actors like Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce, seeking their first nominations; comics Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy making acclaimed turns on the (relatively) serious side; and a pretty dead-on Elton John portrayal. Oh, and Adam Driver’s career-best performance, which may walk away with the whole thing.

The Top 5:

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Robert De Niro, The Irishman

Joaquin Phoenix, The Joker

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

In the Hunt:

Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari

Taron Edgerton, Rocketman

Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems


Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters

Matt Damon, Ford v Ferrari

Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell

Michael B. Jordan, Just Mercy


It’s Renée Zellweger’s to lose, this much we know, and Charlize Theron has emerged as a formidable challenger with the relatively buzzy Bombshell. Beyond this pair? This category is still taking shape and seems primed for a few surprises.

The Top 5:

Renée Zellweger, Judy

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Awkwafina, The Farewell

In the Hunt:

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

Lupita Nyong’o, Us

Alfre Woodard, Clemency


Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell

Helen Mirren, The Good Liar

Ana de Armas, Knives Out


Call this a battle of the Oscar heavyweights: Stellar supporting turns from over a half-dozen Oscar winners (seriously!) figure most competitively in this race, along with other industry veterans like Alan Alda and Willem Dafoe. Seriously, when Brad Pitt is looking like the baby of the category… 

The Top 5:

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Alan Alda, Marriage Story

In the Hunt:

Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy

Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse


Sterling K. Brown, Waves

Tracy Letts, Ford v Ferrari

Timothée Chalamet, Little Women


Alison Cohen Rosa/STXfilms

Sure to be an eclectic mix, several contenders here have multiple movies to choose from, including Laura Dern, Margot Robbie, and Meryl Streep. But two scene-stealers seeking their first nominations could come to dominate this conversation.

The Top 5:

Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Florence Pugh, Little Women

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

In the Hunt:

Shuzhen Zhao, The Farewell

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Annette Bening, The Report

Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Meryl Streep, Little Women


Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dolemite Is My Name

Nicole Kidman, Bombshell

Meryl Streep, The Laundromat

Laura Dern, Little Women

Anne Hathaway, Dark Waters


Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Lionsgate

Lauded foreign-language contenders stand a fighting chance against frontrunners Quentin Tarantino and Noah Baumbach.

The Top 5:

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story

Bong Joon-ho & Han Jin-won, Parasite

Pedro Almodóvar, Pain and Glory

Charles Randolph, Bombshell

In the Hunt:

Lulu Wang, The Farewell

Rian Johnson, Knives Out

Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917

Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Dolemite Is My Name

Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins & Susanna Fogel & Katie Silberman, Booksmart


Trey Edward Shults, Waves

Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth & Jason Keller, Ford v Ferrari


Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures

New cinematic takes on a comic-book villain, an American literary classic, and a few riveting magazine articles could make waves in this year’s adapted field. 

The Top 5:

Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes

Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

In the Hunt:

Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, Joker

Mario Correa & Matthew Michael Carnahan, Dark Waters

Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, Avengers: Endgame

Billy Ray, Richard Jewell


Destin Daniel Cretton & Andrew Lanham, Just Mercy

Stephany Folsom & Andrew Stanton, Toy Story 4


Check out our Awardist columns!

Why Fox News scandal drama Bombshell appears primed for awards success
Why Netflix could run the table at next year’s Oscars
How this year’s Toronto International Film Festival shaped the 2020 Oscar race

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