The crazy short awards season hits high gear Monday morning with the announcement of the Academy Award nominations.

It's always tricky to figure out what will make the final cut and with voting pushed up this year it should be even trickier. Then again, maybe it won't. A lot of spots seemed to be locked in with only a few places open for surprises.

Here is how I see the top six categories shaping out when nominations are announced:

Best Picture


The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit


Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Could Surprise: Ford v Ferrari, Bombshell, Knives Out

Best Picture is usually hardest to figure out because it can be anywhere between five and 10 films. History suggests that it will be eight to nine films though, so I will go with eight for my projections (with "Bombshell" number nine if forced to choose).

"Hollywood," "Irishman," "Parasite," "Jojo Rabbit," and "1917" feel like locks. "Marriage Story" feels the safest of the next tier, with "Little Women" and "Joker" probably next in line. Those are the two I think are on the fence.

Best Director

Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)

Sam Mendes (1917)

Todd Phillips (Joker)

Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)

Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Could Surprise: Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Pedro Almodóvar (Pain & Glory)

Four spots are firmly secure - Joon-ho, Mendes, Scorsese and Tarantino. Waititi has a real shot with a DGA nod. Gerwig definitely has a loud group of support on social media, while Almodóvar is exactly the kind of potential nominee that produces surprises in this category historically.

But I'll take Phillips riding the momentum of its lead actor to garner the last spot. Truth be told, I'm rooting for it just to watch the outrage on twitter. It would be glorious.

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas (Pain & Glory)

Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

Taron Egerton (Rocketman)

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Could Surprise: Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite is my Name), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

This is such a loaded year for best actor that Murphy, one of my favorite performances of 2019, is likely gonna get pushed out due to the competition. DiCaprio, Driver, and Phoenix feel like the certainties. Egerton has gotten a lot of momentum in the last few weeks, so he should slip in. I'll take Banderas in the last spot because he's never been nominated and this is exactly the kind of role that the Academy likes to recognize.

Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)

Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Charlize Theron (Bombshell)

Renée Zellweger (Judy)

Could Surprise: Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Awkwafina (The Farewell)

Again it feels like three people fighting for the last spot. Nyong'o and Awkwafina would not surprise me, but I will take Erivo playing a historical figure (exactly the kind of showy role the Academy loves) to take the final spot.

Best Supporting Actor

Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy)

Tom Hanks (Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

Al Pacino (The Irishman)

Joe Pesci (The Irishman)

Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Could Surprise: Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Shia LaBeouf (Honeyboy)

What a stacked lineup. I'll take Foxx since he got a SAG nomination by Hopkins or LaBeouf are definitely in the mix too.

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern (Marriage Story)

Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)

Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)

Florence Pugh (Little Women)

Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

Could Surprise: Shuzhen Zhao (The Farewell)

This feels like a safe bet for the five nominees, with Zhao or maybe(?) Nicole Kidman the only potential surprise.

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