This has been an Oscar season tailor-made for a Joker movie, with chaos reigning: “1917” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” ruled the Golden Globes, “Bombshell” led the Screen Actors Guild field, and “Joker” itself surprised with a hefty 11 nominations in the British Academy film awards.

This is about the time someone would turn on the Bat Signal, but things might even get crazier on Monday morning when the Academy Awards nominations are announced (8:18 a.m. ET/5:18 PT). While favorites loom in some of the acting races, there’s no clear runaway for best picture, and Hollywood may be looking at not only another #OscarsSoWhite situation, but also one where no women break into the best director category in arguably one of the best years ever for female filmmakers. Whatever happens, movie lovers and experts alike will have snubs and surprises to drive conversation and Oscar pools right up until the big – and again hostless – ceremony on Feb. 9 (ABC, 8 p.m. ET/5 PT). 

Let’s look at the six major Oscar categories and break down the contenders from the pretenders.

Best picture

The best: With three Golden Globe wins, plus important nominations from SAG, Producers Guild and Directors Guild, Quentin Tarantino’s 1969-set historical fantasy “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is a shoo-in. So is Sam Mendes’ World War I thriller “1917,” named best drama at the Globes. Things are also looking excellent for the black comedy “Parasite,” gangster epic “The Irishman” and World War II satire “Jojo Rabbit,” which all scored nods from the four major guilds (actors, directors, producers and writers). 

The rest: Usually eight or nine films (out of a maximum of 10) snag best picture honors, so at most only four coveted slots remain. Expect most if not all to come out of PGA nominees “Joker,” retro racing crowd-pleaser “Ford v Ferrari,” divorce drama “Marriage Story,” period adaptation “Little Women” and murder mystery “Knives Out.” With actors being the largest voting bloc of the Academy, though, don't count out the SAG-nominated #MeToo drama “Bombshell."


The best: Eleven years after Heath Ledger’s Oscar win for playing the Joker, Golden Globe conquerer Joaquin Phoenix is in line to do the same. The “Joker” star’s main competition will come from fellow Globe winner Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”), Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”), Christian Bale (“Ford v Ferrari”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”).

The rest: Bale is probably the most vulnerable. If he, Egerton or perhaps DiCaprio don’t get a nod, Globe nominees waiting in the wings include Eddie Murphy, currently on the comeback trail with “Dolemite Is My Name”; Jonathan Pryce, the BAFTA-nominated heart of “The Two Popes”; and Antonio Banderas, the “Pain and Glory” star who’s never scored an Oscar nod in his long career. But would the Academy really let icon Robert De Niro go zero-for-everything as the heavyweight of “Irishman”?


The best: It’s Renee Zellweger’s show right now and everybody else is singing backup. The Globe-winning star of “Judy” is the clear favorite, while fellow SAG nominees Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”) and Scarlet Johansson (“Marriage Story”) all have a good chance of joining her.

The rest: Awkwafina (“The Farewell”) has better odds now after winning a Globe, but she doesn’t have a SAG nomination. Saoirse Ronan was nominated at the Globes and BAFTA but not at SAGs, plus “Little Women” has yet to generate much awards-season heat. Lupita Nyong’o didn’t have a Globe nod but is in the SAG contingent, plus her terrifying “Us” role might just scare voters into including her. (Hey, it worked for Kathy Bates and “Misery.”) 

Supporting actor

The best: Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar in 2016 and now it seems the time for his “Once Upon a Time” buddy Brad Pitt to snag an acting honor he, too, has deserved for a while. (At least since "Moneyball.") A snub for him would mean riots, so consider him safe. “The Irishman” looks to put two legends in the category, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, plus Tom Hanks had a nomination in the bag as soon as he signed on to play Mister Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

The rest: That last slot – and perhaps two if “Irishman” gets only one contender – will come down to four deserving thespians. Jamie Foxx is SAG-nominated for “Just Mercy” and his inclusion could alleviate some of the #OscarsSoWhite talk that’s likely to come up. Same for “Parasite” standout Song Kang-ho. Anthony Hopkins (“Two Popes”) was in the Globes supporting category, so he’s in the mix, as is Willem Dafoe ("The Lighthouse"), who could make it three years in a row for a nomination.

Supporting actress

The best: It’s the one acting category without an obvious front-runner, as Globes winner Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”) and Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”) seem destined for an epic face-off. With SAG and Globe nods and double the BAFTA love, Margot Robbie is a no-brainer to scoot in for “Bombshell” or "Once Upon a Time" – more than likely the former.

The rest: Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”) and Nicole Kidman (“Bombshell”) have SAG nods, although the former is more likely to earn a best actress slot for "Marriage Story" and the latter might not get in with co-star Robbie being a lock. A couple of Hollywood stalwarts have Globe nominations to their credit: Bates for “Richard Jewell” and Annette Bening, who’s still never won an Oscar, for “The Report.” The last two nominations, however, could go to Florence Pugh, with strong reviews for “Little Women,” and Zhao Shuzhen, the charismatic grandma from “The Farewell."


The best: Directors Guild picks often overlaps with this category, a boon for Globe winner Mendes and fellow Globe/BAFTA nominees Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho (“Parasite”) and Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”).

The rest: The scrum for the fifth slot will come down to DGA nominee Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”) or Todd Phillips (“Joker”), who earned Globe and BAFTA honors. On the outside looking in are Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”) and Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”) – a snub for her would have extra sting since 2019 was one of the strongest years ever for women’s voices and women’s stories in cinema.