It’s hard to believe, the Parasite buzz has lasted all the way until Oscar Sunday. And here we are on Oscar Sunday, patiently awaiting the awards. The South Korean masterpiece surprised everyone with the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble a few weeks back and has kept up its momentum for a possible Best Picture spoiler this evening.
Obviously, the favorite is Sam Mendes’ World War I drama 1917. Most people view the award the most “crowd-pleasing” film after last year’s catastrophe of Green Book overtaking Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, but that isn’t necessarily how it always works out. The incredibly small-feeling Moonlight outdid powerhouse La La Land in 2016, and a movie about a woman falling in love with a fish (The Shape of Water) won the year after.
There are room for strange cinematic achievements to thrive in the category, and that’s where Parasite fits in. The problem is, not much up to this point proves the film has a fighting chance.
Parasite won the SAG, but only two of the last eight winners of the award have gone on to win Best Picture. One algorithm I looked at counted the win as “not statistically significant” because of that low percentage, and therefore didn’t account it into their formula to accurately predict the grand prize.
Bong Joon-ho was ineligible at the Globes because they are too white for their own good, and his film also didn’t win at the Critics Choice Awards (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood). The Producers Guild and Directors Guild both went with 1917, and both are some of the most accurate forecasters in the recent era.
I do believe Parasite has a very strong outside chance of out sheer, unfathomable, and wide-ranging love for the film. It can be argued, but I think the preferential ballot will surely help it out. I don’t see many people putting in their latter half if they’ve actually taken the time to check it out.
Also, don’t count out Quentin Tarantino. He came away with the Critics Choice (five of the last eight winners have gone on to win Best Picture) and the Golden Globe for Best Comedy (1917 claimed the Drama win). Quentin also won the Screenplay award at the Globes and has a very strong chance to take home his third Oscar on Sunday.
It’s a three-horse race, but it’s safe to say the most signs are pointing towards 1917.
Sam Mendes for Best Director is essentially a lock after winning at the Directors Guild. Fifteen of the last 16 winners at the DGAs have repeated at the Oscars. The only time it didn’t happen was when Ben Affleck didn’t even receive a nomination for Argo back in 2012 (yet the film still claimed Best Picture).
Renee Zellweger, Joaquin Phoenix, Laura Dern, and Brad Pitt will all surely repeat in the acting categories. The only possible spoiler could come from Supporting Actress, with Dern outshined by both Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. Yet there isn’t a standout among the other four nominees. Maybe it’s Johansson because of her multiple nominations?
Other than Best Picture, the Original Screenplay award might be the most intriguing out of the “Big 8.” Baumbach was the favorite for quite a while going into the Globes, when Tarantino took it away from him. But now with a surprise BAFTA win for Bong, and Parasite has slightly shifted the tides. If Parasite pulls it off here (and editing), it has a valid chance at one of the top two categories.
Adapted Screenplay has a similar story. The Irishman seemed like the only option a few months ago but it legitimately hasn’t won anything during this awards season (other than small critics circle stuff). Little Women became the frontrunner until Jojo Rabbit won at the BAFTAs. Everyone is going with Taika Waititi, but look out for Greta Gerwig. Her snub in the Director category might be enough for many votes here.
Cinematography (1917) and International Film (Parasite) are both utter locks. Editing is the most interesting out of the smaller categories and, oddly enough, one of the most important awards. Parasite is the spoiler with its unbelievable work in the second half to build tension but Ford v. Ferrari and its ability to recreate the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be hard to ignore for most voters. Look for one of these two to come away with Oscar gold.
Watch the 92nd Academy Awards tonight on ABC, starting at 8 p.m. EST.