Back to IndieWire

Oscars 2020: Here Are the Movies That Deserve to Win, According to 128 Film Critics

Many of the results diverge from the expected outcomes on Sunday.




Critical acclaim usually isn’t enough to guarantee an Oscar win, and in some cases, the nominees most beloved by critics don’t even stand a chance. That logic certainly applies to the results of IndieWire’s annual critics survey, which asks participants to vote on the nominees that should win in every category, regardless of whether or not pundits predict that they will. Many of the results diverge from the expected outcomes on Sunday.

However, one serious frontrunner received major support. “Parasite” topped many of the categories where it stands a good chance of winning, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film. At the same time, the biggest threat to a “Parasite” Best Picture win is Sam Mendes’ “1917,” and few critics supported that outcome: The film came out in fifth place for Best Picture, while frontrunner Sam Mendes came in fourth place for Best Director.

With 128 film critics voting in this year’s poll, it should come as no surprise that the movie remains a popular favorite. Notably, other movies not unexpected to win on Sunday landed in significant runner-up slots, with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” coming in second place for Best Picture and “The Irishman” auteur Martin Scorsese landing in second place for Best Director just behind of Bong Joon Ho.

Many other categories diverged from the safe bets. In the acting categories, only Best Supporting Actor frontrunner Brad Pitt received the most support for his beloved “Hollywood” turn, well ahead of runner-up Joe Pesci. But Antonio Banderas topped the Best Actor category for “Pain and Glory,” beating out “Joker” star Joaquin Phoenix by a significant margin; he wound up in third place, behind runner-up Adam Driver for “Marriage Story,” despite Phoenix’s expected victory on Sunday.

And while “Marriage Story” is expected to score an Oscar win for Laura Dern in Best Supporting Actress, more critics would like to see that one go to Florence Pugh for her energetic turn as individualistic Amy March in “Little Women.” That doesn’t mean critics are dismissive of “Marriage Story,” though: Scarlett Johansson topped the poll for Best Actress, far ahead of expected winner Renee Zellwegger for “Judy,” who landed in third place; “Little Women” star Saoirse Ronan took second.

Editorial use only. No book cover usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Wilson Webb/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock (10509382j)Laura Dern as Nora Fanshaw and Scarlett Johansson as Nicole'Marriage Story' Film - 2019Noah Baumbach's incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.

Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson in “Marriage Story”

Wilson Webb/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock

The divergence continues into several other feature categories. While “Parasite” maintains the same dominance in Best International Feature that it’s likely to receive on Sunday, the survey shows the most critical support in Best Animated Feature for the surreal French romance “I Lost My Body,” rather than the obvious popular favorite, “Toy Story 4.” Another striking contrast comes from the Best Documentary category, where “Honeyland” — also nominated for Best International Feature — has the largest amount of critical support by far, beating out clear frontrunner “American Factory.”

While the films that top each category indicate major critical support, the survey also reveals which nominees critics would prefer not to award on Sunday. While “Ford v Ferrari” won both Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing (anticipating real outcomes on Sunday), the old-school racing drama received no votes at all for Best Picture. Similarly, none of the participating critics voted for Todd Phillips as Best Director. While the lack of support for the divisive movie shouldn’t come as a shock, “Joker” scored the most nominations of any film this year, and the survey illustrates just how much Academy preferences tend to differ from critical preferences. Likewise, “1917” received no votes for Best Original Screenplay.

Conversely, the most significant show of support in the survey goes for a movie that’s not even nominated. Per tradition, the survey invited critics to vote on the nominees for Best Film and Best Director at the Independent Spirit Awards, which take place on Saturday. It’s there that “Uncut Gems” emerges as the clear-cut winner alongside Josh and Benny Safdie. The A24-produced gambling thriller was the surprise hit of the fall, a commercial sensation that found Adam Sandler scoring some of the best reviews of his career. The zany character study was completely shut out of the Oscar race by the Academy, but the Spirits squeezed it in — and if critics had a choice, it would score one last pair of consolation prizes before the 2020 awards season comes to a close.

View the full list below.

Best Picture

1. “Parasite” (64)

2 “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (19)

3. “The Irishman” (15)

4. TIE: “Little Women” (8) / “Marriage Story” (8)

5. “1917” (7)

6. “Jojo Rabbit” (6)

7. “Joker” (1)

8. “Ford v Ferrari” (0)

Best Director

1. Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”) (76)

2. Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”) (19)

3. Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) (18)

4. Sam Mendes (“1917”) (15)

5. Todd Phillips (“Joker”) (0)

Best Actor

1. Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”) (54)

2. Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”) (35)

3. Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) (26)

4. Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) (10)

5. Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”) (3)

Best Actress

1. Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”) (47)

2. Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”) (43)

3. Renee Zellweger (“Judy”) (22)

4. Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”) (11)

5. Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) (5)

Best Supporting Actor

1. Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) (71)

2. Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”) (29)

3. Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) (13)

4. Al Pacino (“The Irishman”) (10)

5. Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”) (5)

Best Supporting Actress

1. Florence Pugh (“Little Women”) (58)

2. Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”) (49)

3. Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”) (9)

4. Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”) (6)

5. Kathy Bates (“Richard Jewell”) (5)

Best Original Screenplay

1. Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won (“Parasite”) (57)

2. Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) (26)

3. Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”) (23)

4. Rian Johnson (“Knives Out”) (22)

5. Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917”) (0)

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”) (81)

2. Steve Zaillian (“The Irishman”) (23)

3. Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”) (15)

4. Anthony McCarten (“The Two Popes”) (5)

5. Todd Phillips and Scott Silver (“Joker”) (1)

Best Animated Feature

1. “I Lost My Body” (64)

2. “Toy Story 4” (22)

3. “Missing Link” (12)

4. “Klaus” (10)

5. “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (7)

Best International Feature Film

1. “Parasite” (84)

2. “Pain and Glory” (28)

3. “Honeyland” (6)

4. “Les Miserables” (5)

5. “Corpus Christi” (2)

Best Documentary

1. “Honeyland” (46)

2. “American Factory” (30)

3. “For Sama” (27)

4. “The Cave” (12)

5. “The Edge of Democracy” (5)

Best Documentary – Short Subject

1. “Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone If You’re a Girl” (27)

2. TIE: “In the Absence” (15) / “St. Louis Superman” (15)

3. “Life Overtakes Me” (13)

4. “Walk Run Cha-Cha” (7)

Best Live Action Short

1. “The Neighbor’s Window” (19)

2. “Brotherhood” (15)

3. TIE: “Nefta Football Club” (13) / ”A Sister” (13)

4. “Saria” (6)

Best Animated Short

1. “Hair Love” (32)

2. “Kitbull” (16)

3. “Memorable” (13)

4. “Daughter” (11)

5. “Sister” (4)

Best Original Score

1. Hildur Guðnadóttir, “Joker” (40)

2. Alexandre Desplat, “Little Women” (35)

3. TIE: Randy Newman, “Marriage Story” (23) / Thomas Newman, “1917” (23)

4. John Williams, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (1)

Best Original Song

1. “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” “Rocketman” (49)

2. “Into the Unknown,” “Frozen 2” (26)

3. “Stand Up,” “Harriet” (18)

4. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” “Toy Story 4” (13)

5. “I’m Standing With You,” “Breakthrough” (0)

Best Sound Editing

1. “Ford v Ferrari” (Donald Sylvester) (52)

2. “1917” (Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate) (41)

3. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Wylie Stateman) (22)

4. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (Matthew Wood and David Acord) (5)

5. “Joker” (Alan Robert Murray) (3)

Best Sound Mixing

1. “Ford v Ferrari” (Paul Massey, David Giammarco, and Steven A. Morrow) (39))

2.“1917” (Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson) (35)

3. “Ad Astra” (Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano) (33)

4. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler, and Mark Ulano) (13)

5. “Joker” (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, and Tod Maitland) (1)

Best Production Design

1. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Production Design: Barbara Ling/Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh) (55)

2. “Parasite” (Production Design: Lee Ha Jun/Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo) (52)

3. “1917” (Production Design: Dennis Gassner/Set Decoration: Lee Sandales) (10)

4. “Jojo Rabbit” (Production Design: Ra Vincent/Set Decoration: Nora Sopková) (5)

5. “The Irishman” (Production Design: Bob Shaw/Set Decoration: Regina Graves) (3)

Best Cinematography

1. Roger Deakins, “1917” (52)

2. Jarin Blaschke, “The Lighthouse” (35)

3. Robert Richardson, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (28)

4. Rodrigo Prieto, “The Irishman” (11)

5. Lawrence Sher, “Joker” (1)

Best Make-up and Hairstyling

1. “Bombshell” (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, and Vivian Baker) (61)

2. “Judy” (Jeremy Woodhead) (22)

3. “1917” (Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis, and Rebecca Cole) (14)

4. “Joker” (Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou) (13)

5. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” (Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten, and David White) (8)

Best Costume Design

1. Jacqueline Durran, “Little Women” (57)

2. Arianne Phillips, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (39)

3. Mayes C. Rubeo, “Jojo Rabbit” (11)

4. Mark Bridges, “Joker” (8)

5. Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson, “The Irishman” (6)

Best Editing

1. Yang Jinmo, “Parasite” (65)

2. Thelma Schoonmaker, “The Irishman” (33)

3. Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland, “Ford v Ferrari” (22)

4. TIE: Tom Eagles, “Jojo Rabbit” (3) / Jeff Groth, “Joker” (3)

Best Visual Effects

1. “1917” (Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy) (48)

2. “The Irishman” (Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser, and Stephane Grabli) (27)

3. “Avengers: Endgame” (Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, and Dan Sudick) (21)

4. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, and Dominic Tuohy) (13)

5. “The Lion King” (Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Elliot Newman) (12)

Best Feature at Indie Spirits

1. “Uncut Gems” (49)

2. “Marriage Story” (30)

3. “The Farewell” (26)

4. “A Hidden Life” (16)

5. “Clemency” (5)

Best Director at Indie Spirits

1. Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie (“Uncut Gems”) (70)

2. Robert Eggers (“The Lighthouse”) (21)

3. Alma Har’el (“Honey Boy”) (16)

4. Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) (13)

5. Julius Onah (“Luce”) (4)

Cassavetes Award at Indie Spirits

1. “Give Me Liberty” (30)

2. “Wild Nights With Emily” (23)

3. “Burning Cane” (20)

4. “Premature” (9)

5. “Colewell” (4)

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Awards and tagged , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox