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Saturday, April 20, 2024

And the Oscar goes to…

Predictions for the 2020 Academy Awards

Best Picture: “Joker”

“Joker” is by far the most interesting approach to the character I’ve seen to date. In this portrayal, Joker starts out as his own worst enemy rather than immediately becoming the villain of everyone else. The incorporation of mental health is cautious and thoughtful, bringing positive attention to those who feel they’re on the outskirts of society. Joaquin Phoenix’s ability to discover new passages in a character, which many already thought had been explored, is why this film deserves “Best Picture.” Joaquin Phoenix received the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Male Actor in a Leading Role” earlier this year. 

Lead Actor: Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”

Jonathan Pryce plays Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio before he ascended to the papacy, after Pope Benedict XIV stepped down in the wake of sexual misconduct and financial scandals. Pryce’s performance as an advocate of decency and human agency convinces the viewer that he cares about all the people in a changing world. 

Lead Actress: Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”

Charlize Theron proves yet again that her limit to the kinds of characters she can transform into is undefined. Theron plays Megyn Kelly in 2015 in the wake of sexual harassment allegations levied against Roger Ailes, the CEO of Fox, from multiple women, including herself. She emits the strength and grit it takes to come out the other end of a highly-publicized and personal battle. 

Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth, the easy-going, mellow stunt double to Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a near washed-up actor who’s neither easy-going nor mellow. Pitt demonstrates the importance of supporting roles by smoothing out the edges of key scenes, such as the quintessential Tarantino fight scene at the very end of the film. Pitt received the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Male Actor in a Supporting Role.”

Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”

Dern plays the successful lawyer to Nicole, played by Scarlett Johansson, a loving, yet cunning advocate for her clients whom she holds dear. Dern’s performance in this film highlights her ability to command an audience with power and grace. One monologue provides a refreshing take on the fight for gender equality.  Dern received the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Female Actor in a Supporting Role.”

Director: Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” 

This film is quintessential Tarantino. It really makes no sense, but the theatrics make up for the many questions the audience is left with at the end of each scene. The audience is constantly looking from one side of the screen to the next like googly-eyes on a cuckoo clock. The way Tarantino captures the naivety of Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie, as she watches her own movie through her acute body language exemplifies his directional capabilities.  

Original Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”

The dialogue in this film is intense from start to finish. “Marriage Story” spares none of the harsh realities that come with a relationship — or worse, one that’s slipping through our fingers. The screenplay expresses such raw emotion that it makes it difficult to look at the screen, and for some, the mirror. The writing in “Marriage Story” explores the deep crevices of a point no one wants the reach — the end. 

The 92nd Academy Awards will air on Feb. 9 on ABC. 

Written by: Josh Madrid — arts@theaggie.org


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