I got all 9 right, woohoo!
Ok, FOR THE WIN:
I thought Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Irishman would remain dual front-runners for longer, creating a world where they might split the old-white-male vote and allow Parasite to slide past for a dark horse win.
But now (mainly after Irishman lost the Globe to 1917), buzz has piled onto Hollywood, and that is widely considered the horse to beat. And I don't have the cajones, yet, to predict against that grain.
But there's still a real chance for a surprise here!!! After all, Hollywood is mildly divisive, with its share of dissenters - if enough rank it low in the preferential ballot system (especially as it holds the front-runner status, drawing those that are mixed on it to rank it lower in order to help sink it), then a dark horse could storm through.
I don't imagine that dark horse would be Irishman, as it too has its dissenters, and the passion for it is a touch muted. Though it's not worth counting out, for sure - Scorsese is Hollywood royalty after all, and this is seen as his mobster swan song.
1917's surprise Globes win, combined with its strong box office open this past weekend and Mendes' move to the front of the best director odds could build the narrative for that movie to charge ahead. If Mendes takes DGA and solidifies his best director status, I could see the film following suit even if it loses PGA. But we've been seeing more & more picture/director splits in the preferential voting system, so I still think it's not all that likely.
That leaves Parasite (because really, those are the only four movies with much of a shot here - more on why Joker won't win in a minute). Is it possible that woke Twitter and other vocal advocates are loud enough in the next few weeks about how male & white the industry and, thus, Oscar nominations are this year that a groundswell develops for the least white (if not least male - but at least it's even in its gender makeup) nominee, and flat-out crowd-pleaser? No foreign language film has EVER won best picture, so it's a long shot (especially since it's a shoe-in to win best international film). But watch out! It is ABSOLUTELY possible - almost everyone loves it, EVERYONE likes it, and that matters.
It's worth noting that Birdman is the only movie since 1980 to win best picture without an editing nomination (and that movie's one-take appearance made that statistic moot), and Hollywood missed in that category. Uh oh!.... that IS a sign of its weakness. (Green Book had an editing nomination, Roma did not...) I'm not ready to predict against it - but just saying. (PS - 1917 also doesn't have an editing nomination, but since it's one-take-ish shot like Birdman, that too is rather moot.)
Now let's talk about the Joker of it all. Um, I thought this movie was really problematic, and I'm kind of appalled that it's nominated here. Sure I thought it had many great qualities, but the storytelling was incredibly lacking to the point that it simply added up to aimless Joaquin-performance-porn. The fact that voters as a whole couldn't recognize that is troubling. So what we now have is a hollow & unintelligently haunting superhero-villain portrait as the most nominated film of the year. That is not the Academy I grew up loving, and I'm sad about it. I sleep easier confident that it's far too divisive to win with a preferential ballot - at least there's that. It'll win for Joaquin and perhaps a few technicals and that'll be that (a la Bohemian Rhapsody last year).
Now what do YOU think?! Comment below! :)