South Korea’s “Parasite”received a rousing standing ovation at the Screen Actors Guild Awards even before the voters bestowed its cast with its SAG ensemble award for a motion picture — the first-ever foreign language film to do so. Its journey started at Cannes when it took the Palme d’Or. “Jojo Rabbit” has been hopping along ever since it won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival — the same prize that launched last year’s “Green Book” to an eventual Best Picture victory.
Yes, both of these darkly humorous titles could possibly take the most coveted prize at the Oscars. But “Parasite” is a shoo-in for Best International Film and its original script while “Jojo Rabbit’s” best chance is for its adapted screenplay. Given that no foreign language film has yet to win for Best Picture, director Bong Joon Ho‘s surprise worldwide hit that has grossed $163 million might not be able to break that precedent.
But if you want a surer bet on what is going to end Oscar night in a blaze of glory, put your money on “1917.” Right now, nearly 3,000 Gold Derby users are predicting the World War I epic based on a true-life story to win Best Picture. “Parasite” sits at No. 2 while “Jojo Rabbit” is nestled at No. 6. Here are 6 reasons why “1917” will win the Oscar war.
Timing: “1917” smartly arrived in theaters in limited release on December 25, just in time for the holidays. It would open wide on January 10, grossing $36.5 million for the weekend an beating projections of $25 million while becoming the first film to dethrone “Star Wars: The Rise of Starwalker” at the box office. Ticket sales remain strong — as of February 2, “1917” has grossed $249 million worldwide.
Talent behind the camera: Sam Mendes, who was previously known for being the artistic director for London’s Donmar Warehouse, was recruited by DreamWorks to direct his big-screen debut in 1999 with “American Beauty.” It would be the fledgling studio’s first Best Picture winner while Mendes snared a directing Oscar for his first feature. It has taken him two decades to find himself up for those same two honors again for a deserving project.
Talent in front of the camera: Two relatively unknown actors, George MacKay (“Captain Fantastic”) and Dean-Charles Chapman, were wisely cast as the pair of young British soldiers who race against the clock to alert 1,600 soldiers to call off an attack that could put their lives in jeopardy. It helps that these two actors aren’t that well known, making them feel more relatable as unlikely heroes. Not that there aren’t familiar faces as they make their way through trenches and across no man’s land as sort of cinematic landmarks. They include Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Mark Strong and Andrew Scott in supporting roles.
Technique: Much like 2014’s Best Picture Oscar winner “Birdman,” the camera appears to be capturing the action in one long take as the two soldiers surge ahead to alert the troops through multiple terrains and danger zones. Rather than be just a trick, the technique makes “1917” a must-see on the big screen.
Trophies: “1917” has been saluted by nearly every major precursor to the Oscars, winning picture and director at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAS, Best Theatrical Film from the Producers Guild, a Directors Guild win for Mendes and the Critics’ Choice trophies for picture and director.
Testosterone: There have been steps taken in recent years to diversify who exactly gets to fill in a ballot for the Academy Awards, with people of color making up 1,200 of the total 8,000 or so voters. But the majority of the membership who get to choose remain mostly white, middle-aged or older and male — the demographic that would most fully embrace a look back at the past and revel in male heroics in a combat zone.
Be sure to make your Oscar winner predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on February 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.