MATTHEW LIEDKE ON FILM: Mendes is the clear front-runner in the directing race

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Editor's Note: Ahead of the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9, the Pioneer will have a series in the Weekender issues with predictions for major categories.

The World War I epic "1917" is shaping up to have a good Oscar night next weekend, with the movie in position to win at least two Academy Awards.

Best Director

The nominees:

  • Martin Scorsese for "The Irishman"
  • Todd Phillips for "Joker"
  • Sam Mendes for "1917"
  • Quentin Tarantino for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
  • Bong Joon Ho for "Parasite"

Who will win: Sam Mendes is very likely to win the Oscar for directing. This season, he's already won the Golden Globe and Critic's Choice award in the category. His biggest win, though, came from the Directors Guild of America, which gave him the directing award for best theatrical film. Since 2010, the DGA winner has gone on to win the Oscar eight out of nine times.
Who could win: Hollywood does love movies about Hollywood so Tarantino could take the stage, Scorsese is a legend so he could be rewarded, and Joon Ho has made a largely praised film so it could go to him. However, I still think Mendes is a really safe bet.

Who should win: "1917" was No. 4 on my top 10 of 2019 list, so I would be thrilled for Mendes to win. However, Joon Ho would be just as deserving.


Best Editing

The nominees:

  • Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland for "Ford v Ferrari"
  • Thelma Schoonmaker for "The Irishman"
  • Tom Eagles for "Jojo Rabbit"
  • Jeff Groth for "Joker"
  • Yang Jinmo for "Parasite"

Who will win: This category is a major tossup, and could go a lot of ways. I'm leaning mostly toward "Ford v Ferrari," though. The film's editing goes from really good to superb in the third act during the final race. The editing is excellent in the racing scenes, creating a great thematic experience.
Who could win: Because of how the film plays out, it's possible "The Irishman" could be picked for this. Also, the tension building editing in "Parasite" could win the award, too.

Who should win: I found "Ford v Ferrari" to be an above average film, but not one of my favorites in 2019. However, as the editing is excellent, I'd say it has earned the award.

Best Cinematography

The nominees:

  • Rodrigo Prieto for "The Irishman"
  • Lawrence Sher for "Joker"
  • Jarin Blaschke for "The Lighthouse"
  • Roger Deakins for "1917"
  • Robert Richardson for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"

Who will win: This is another award "1917" should likely win on Oscar night. The movie has partially become well known for being shot in one continuous take, where the camera follows the characters from start to finish. It's marvelously well done and legendary director of photography Roger Deakins has a great chance at picking up another gold statue.
Who could win: "The Irishman" and "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" had very stylized cinematography and there's certainly a chance of an upset here, but it's a small one.

Who should win: While I'm all for Deakins getting another Oscar, I'd also like to see "The Lighthouse" win something, since it's gone mostly overlooked this award season.

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