Best Picture is always the most intriguing race. Not only is it the top prize, but due to quirky Academy rules, we don’t know exactly how many titles will ultimately make the cut. Nominations are finalized through a complicated preferential ballot system, which means there could be between five and 10 films in the running, although in recent years it has netted out to eight or nine. For a potential preview, we should look at a normally reliable predictor: the Producer’s Guild Awards.
This year’s Best Picture race will likely include most of the 10 titles up for PGAs: 1917, Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Knives Out, Little Women, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Parasite. Others hoping to sneak in include The Farewell, The Two Popes and Bombshell. But Best Picture is not the most competitive category. Best Actor has two sure things in the form of frontrunners Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) and Adam Driver (Marriage Story) and then chaos.
There’s a logjam of worthy contenders, including Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Robert De Niro (The Irishman), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name), Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems), Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell) and George MacKay (1917). Seven of these thespians, almost-certain nominees in lesser years, will not make the ballot.