(L-R): Actor Dean-Charles Chapman, co-writer-director-producer Sam Mendes and actor George MacKay on the set of the war drama, ‘1917.’

Filmmakers of all merits will surely shine bright during this month’s anticipated Oscar ceremony, but there are certain actors, directors and movies that are truly standing out amongst their competitors. The 92nd Academy Award show, which is set to air live this Sunday, February 9 on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, is Hollywood’s highest recognition of excellence in cinematic achievement from 2019. There are several movies that critics are buzzing about this Oscar season, which are leading the odds for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

With just a few short days left until the 2020 Academy Award ceremony, the top-two favorites to win in the Best Picture category are ‘1917‘ and ‘Parasite,’ the former of which has already been honored with several top honors during this awards season. The epic war drama has won in the category from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.

However, the latter is the first South Korean-made movie to be nominated in the Best Picture Oscar category, and has already won the Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe and the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. As can be seen in the chart on this page, ‘Parasite’s odds to be named as Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have moved from +333 to +306, while ‘1917’s odds went from -244 to -264. The two drama’s shift in odds comes after the initial front-runner and assumed Academy favorite, ‘The Irishman,’ saw its odds worsen.

After the nominations became official on January 13, the Oscars, which is the pinnacle of award season for most filmmakers, critics, fans and the overall film industry, the Best Director category has also become a highly discussed topic. Sam Mendes, who helmed ‘1917,’ previously won in the category for his directorial debut, the 1999 drama, ‘American Beauty.’ His odds for earning his second trophy currently sit at -963. He previously won in the category for ‘1917’ at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards.

Bong Joon Ho, who directed ‘Parasite,’ saw his odds of winning the Oscar statue shift from +198 to +350. Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s odds of taking home the Best Director Academy Award for ‘The Irishman,’ which is his final mob movie, don’t look good, as they shifted in the wrong direction to +2275.

The Best Actor Oscar race seems to be a sure bet for Joaquin Phoenix, whose odds for his performance as the title character in ‘Joker‘ have improved to -3075. The performer, who was previously nominated for Academy Awards for his roles in ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Walk the Line’ and ‘The Master,’ already won for his portrayal of the anti-hero at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes,d SAG and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards ceremonies.

In the Best Actress category for this year’s Oscars ceremony, Renee Zellweger has also emerged as the favorite to win. Like Phoenix, she has enjoyed the best odds of any nominee so far this year, for her performance as the title character in the biographical drama, ‘Judy.’ For her role as Judy Garland, Zellweger has also been honored at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, SAG and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards ceremonies. She previously won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 2004 for her role in ‘Cold Mountain.’ Zellweger’s odds to win her second Oscar statue are now -1875.

Another clear favorite in the acting categories is Brad Pitt, whose odds in the Best Supporting Actor category moved from -1875 to -2975. He’s nominated for his portrayal of stuntman Cliff Booth in the comedy-drama, ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.’ The performer also received awards in the category for the role at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, SAG Awards and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. Pitt was previously nominated for Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in ’12 Monkeys,’ and Best Actor in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ and ‘Moneyball.’

The Best Supporting Actress is another easily predictable category, as Laura Dern maintains her lead at -1751. She’s leading her category for her portrayal of divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw in the drama, ‘Marriage Story.’ Like her fellow leading Oscar acting nominees, she also dominated in her category at this winter’s BAFTAs, Golden Globes, SAG Award and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards ceremonies.

With just a few days left before this year’s Academy Award winners are announced, the nominated filmmakers still have some time left to continue campaigning for their movies. While the odds still have time to change before the ceremony, ‘1917’ and its director, as well as Phoenix, Zellweger, Pitt and Dern, seem the most likely to hear their names called as the winners on the Dolby Theatre stage during the Oscar ceremony.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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