Jokers, Parasites and Bombshells: Here are the anticipated nominees for this year's Academy Awards


Hollywood will be waking up bright and early on Monday morning. 

Oscar nominations are set to be announced just after 8 a.m. EST, 5 a.m. California time on Monday. It's a wake-up call most stars won't mind getting; anyone who gets the chance to sleep in that morning is going to be a little bit bummed. 

Renée Zellweger will be getting an early phone call, so will Laura Dern; we're guessing Brad Pitt might still be up from the night before. They're all favorites in an Oscar season that has a handful of sure-things and a few big awards that have yet to be determined, especially the wide-open Best Picture field. 

Anything can happen with the nominations, of course, but here's our best guesses in the top six categories, along with the outsiders who may swoop in and make a mess of things. 

Like Pitt's character says in "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," "and away we go." 

Best picture

The contenders are likely set with a small margin of error, while the eventual winner is still anyone's guess. The mob tale "The Irishman," the WWI epic "1917" and the yesteryear throwback "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" are all in the mix, but Bong Joon Ho's "Parasite" is starting to pull away from the pack and could make history as the first foreign language film to ever win the Best Picture Oscar.  

Likely nominees: "Parasite," "Marriage Story," "The Irishman," "Jojo Rabbit," "1917," "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," "Joker," "Little Women," "Ford v Ferrari"  

Potential disrupters: "Bombshell," "The Two Popes," "The Farewell," "Knives Out"  

Too bad no one's talking about: "The Last Black Man in San Francisco": This stirring indie is a passionate plea for the soul of a city, but it was likely too small scale (and released too early in the year) to make a dent in awards season.  

Best actress

Back in September when "Judy" arrived on screens this was Renée Zellweger's award to lose, and it's still that way today; the only question is who is going to make up the field that will ultimately lose to her. Expect 25-year-old Saoirse Ronan to collect her fourth nomination and Scarlett Johansson to pick up her first (how has she not been nominated before?), while Charlize Theron is likely to snag her first nomination since 2005's "North Country." 

Likely nominees: Renée Zellweger, "Judy"; Scarlett Johansson, "Marriage Story"; Saoirse Ronan, "Little Women"; Charlize Theron, "Bombshell"; Cynthia Erivo, "Harriet"

Potential disrupters: Awkwafina, "The Farewell"; Lupita Nyong'o, "Us"; Alfre Woodard, "Clemency"

Too bad no one's talking about: Mary Kay Place, "Diane." Death and dying is no one's idea of a good time at the movies, which may be why the 72-year-old's performance in this quietly resonant drama never gained momentum outside of a few critics groups that wisely and justly honored her work.   

Best actor

The question here is whether Taron Egerton's Golden Globes win for his performance as Elton John in "Rocketman" earns him a slot in the race, potentially edging out old stalwart Robert De Niro for his work in "The Irishman." I say no, which means De Niro will nab his seventh nomination in the category (and first since "Cape Fear" in 1991), but one of them will be singing "I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues" come Monday morning. Meanwhile, despite all the excited talk, Adam Sandler should be considered a longshot here — exactly the type of odds his "Uncut Gems" character would love.   

Likely nominees: Adam Driver, "Marriage Story"; Joaquin Phoenix, "Joker"; Leonardo DiCaprio, "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"; Antonio Banderas, "Pain and Glory"; Robert De Niro, "The Irishman"

Potential disrupters: Eddie Murphy, "Dolemite is My Name"; Taron Egerton, "Rocketman"; Adam Sandler, "Uncut Gems" 

Too bad no one's talking about: Matthew McConaughey, "The Beach Bum." McConaughey is more likely to earn a Razzie than an Oscar for his absurd work in Harmony Korine's sun-baked comic fantasia, but there's a thin line between genius and cuckoo and McConaughey's character, Moondog, gets the benefit of the doubt on this one. 

Best supporting actress

Two-time nominee Laura Dern, previously nominated for 1991's "Rambling Rose" and 2014's "Wild," is likely to scoop up her first win for her role as "Marriage Story's" vicious divorce lawyer, while Jennifer Lopez looks to hustle her first Oscar nomination for her performance as a grifting pole dancer in "Hustlers." While Johansson is a lock for "Marriage Story" she's more of a gamble here, and "The Farewell's" Zhao Shuzen will be more than happy to take her place in the race. Stay tuned to this one.  

Likely nominees: Laura Dern, "Marriage Story"; Jennifer Lopez, "Hustlers"; Margot Robbie, "Bombshell"; Florence Pugh, "Little Women"; Scarlett Johansson, "Jojo Rabbit"

Potential disrupters: Zhao Shuzhen, "The Farewell"; Kathy Bates, "Richard Jewell"; Lee Jung Eun, "Parasite"

Too bad no one's talking about: Thomasin McKenzie, "Jojo Rabbit." The relationship between McKenzie's character and Roman Griffin Davis' character is the tender heart of director Taika Waititi's WWII satire, but there's no doubt the 19-year-old McKenzie will be around for a long time and will have plenty of opportunities to line her trophy case in the future.

Best supporting actor

The three Ps — Pitt, Pesci, Pacino — are solid as a rock, and Pitt is set to win his first-ever Oscar for acting for his instantly iconic performance as washed up Hollywood stunt man Cliff Booth. (He won as a producer for 2013's "12 Years a Slave.") Then things get slippery: Tom Hanks will likely slide into the picture for his role as Mister Rogers in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," but who will edge out the deserving Willem Dafoe for his unnervingly intense work in "The Lighthouse?" Likely Hopkins, but we'll see. 

Likely nominees: Brad Pitt, "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"; Joe Pesci, "The Irishman"; Al Pacino, "The Irishman"; Tom Hanks, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"; Anthony Hopkins, "The Two Popes" 

Potential disrupters: Willem Dafoe, "The Lighthouse"; Taika Waititi, "Jojo Rabbit"; Song Kang Ho, "Parasite" 

Too bad no one's talking about: Ray Liotta, "Marriage Story." Talk about a comeback story! The never-nominated tough guy — he was robbed for his work in "Goodfellas" — is a bolt of lightning in "Marriage Story," providing comic fodder just when the movie needs it. He's a gas as the ruthless, slick-talking divorce lawyer you hope you never meet.  

Best director

Golden Globe winner Sam Mendes is fast becoming the one to watch in this category; a win would be his second, following 1999's "American Beauty." Quentin Tarantino has been nominated in this category twice before, but has never won (his two Oscars came for writing), and Scorsese is looking for this 10th nomination in the category (he won previously for 2006's "The Departed"). If Gerwig is nominated — she should, "Little Women" is a hit, and the optics of an all-male field aren't great — that would leave Bong Joon Ho as the lone first-timer in the group (as long as "Jojo's" Taika Waititi, "Joker's" Todd Phillips or "Marriage Story's" Noah Baumbach don't crash the party). 

Likely nominees: Martin Scorsese, "The Irishman"; Sam Mendes, "1917"; Quentin Tarantino, "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"; Bong Joon Ho, "Parasite"; Greta Gerwig, "Little Women"

Potential disrupters: Taika Waititi, "Jojo Rabbit" ; Todd Phillips, "Joker"; Noah Baumbach, "Marriage Story"

Too bad no one's talking about: Ari Aster, "Midsommar." After last year's "Hereditary" and this year's "Midsommar," Aster has given horror fans two gut punches in two years. He doesn't need an Oscar nomination, what he needs is a vacation.


Read or Share this story: