"The Irishman" on Netflix (286225)
Credit: Netflix

No doubt, by now, you’ve weighed in on the Golden Globe wins and losses, with a lot of criticism on the consistent lack of diversity and inclusion that is Hollywood.

A hashtag isn’t moving the needle far or keeping it pointed in the right direction, or so it seems, and entertainment insiders are weighing in on the Oscar predictions, which will be announced on Jan. 13.

Those in the know feel strongly that Martin Scorsese’s three-hour opus, “The Irishman” (on Netflix), will receive an Oscar nomination as well director Sam Mendes (and win) for the one-continuous shot of his war epic “1917” with Noah Baumbach and his critically-acclaimed “Marriage Story” (on Netflix) another strong contender. My prediction is on “1917.”

After the standing ovation that Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) received at the 2020 Golden Globes (sans Beyoncé), it’s predicted that Phoenix will be nominated and win an Oscar for his role in “Joker.” He will most likely share the nomination with Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”) and Antonio Banderas (“Pain & Glory”).

Awkwafina’s historic win is the first for a performer of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe Award in a lead actress film category. She’s only the sixth woman of Asian descent to be nominated in the lead actress in a musical or comedy category. The others were Yvonne Elliman (1973’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”), Machiko Kyo (1956’s “The Teahouse of the August Moon”), Miyoshi Umeki (1961’s “Flower Drum Song”), and Constance Wu (2018). Hailee Steinfeld, whose mother is of Filipino descent, was also nominated for her work in “Edge

of Seventeen.”

The win might make Awkwafina a serious contender for an Oscar against Renée Zellweger (“Judy”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”).

Now, allow me to turn my attention to films created by or about the African and African American experience and their chances to earn a 2020 Oscar nomination. The Academy has raised the number of eligible films from five to between five and 10 in 2009. A great opportunity for sure.

Best Picture

History: When “Green Book” won last year’s Best Picture nomination, it was not well received by a lot of African Americans.

There have been four films that might have a chance of a nomination which include “Harriet,” “Just Mercy,” “Clemency,” and “Queen & Slim” but most insiders only see “Harriet” as a serious contender under the Best Picture category.

But there is a group of staunch voters who think Netflix’s inspirational Rudy Ray Moore biopic “Dolemite Is My Name” (starring Eddie Murphy) might surprise the voters with a Best Screenplay nomination.

Best Director

Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón won the Oscar last year for “Roma” making Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”) and he the only two directors of color that were nominated. It’s a pretty sure bet that Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” could land his first-ever Oscar nomination.

Best Actress

It’s a hard pill to swallow but you can’t change facts. This category has historically been one of the least diverse with just five actresses of color nominated in the last decade: Ruth Negga, Quvenzhané Wallis, Viola Davis, Yalitza Aparicio, and Gabourey Sidibe.

This category is lean, the last time an actress of color won this category was Halle Berry for “Monster’s Ball” (2002).

But this year insiders predict that this year’s list of nominees has the potential to be one of most diverse ever for the category, with as many as three actresses of color in the mix: Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), Awkwafina (“The Farewell”), and Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”).

Historically the Oscars tend to mimic the SAG Awards and both Nyong’o and Erivo are SAG nominees this year, so one or both of them could end up picking up Oscar nominations as well.

The public relations team might wonder why I’ve not included Alfre Woodard for her role in “Clemency,” but the momentum seems to have started to slow down after not receiving a Globe or SAG nomination. The film opened nationwide on Dec. 27, and Woodard did receive an Independent Spirit Award nomination.

Best Actor

In 2019 Rami Malek was the only nominee of color for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and he won the Oscar. Before Malek, Forest Whitaker won “The Last King of Scotland” in 2006.

In this category, it’s only Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”) who is considered a possible nominee.

Best Supporting Actress

Here is where performers of color have historically stood out. Actresses of color have won the Oscar five of the last 10 years: Mo’Nique, Octavia Spencer, Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, and Regina King, who won the award last year as one of two nominees of color. Mexico’s Marina de Tavira was the other for “Roma.”

Las Vegas bet makers have high hopes that Jennifer Lopez will be nominated for her role in “Hustlers.” She’s also up for SAG and was nominated for a Globe recognition in the

same category.

Best Supporting Actor

It was a double-whammy for Mahershala Ali who won this category twice in the last three years (“Moonlight” and “Green Book”). He was the only nominee of color last year. Before Ali, the last time an actor of color won the Oscar was when Morgan Freeman took it home for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2005.

This year the Best Actor category will bring some of the heavyweights including Al Pacino (“The Irishman”), Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”), Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”), Willem Dafoe (“The Lighthouse”) and Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”).

One might ask, where is Oscar winner Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy”) in this conversation? He still might have a shot since he did earn a SAG nomination.

Best Adapted Screenplay

This category has traditionally been the least diverse. In fact, in the last decade only five writers of color have been nominated (just five times) and won four of the five: “Precious” (Geoffrey Fletcher), “12 Years a Slave” (John Ridley), “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins), and “BlacKkKlansman” (Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee, co-written with Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz).

Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” were the only two nominees of color last year.

Best Original Screenplay

In 2019 only one writer of color was nominated, Mexico’s Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma.” Although “Green Book” won the Oscar none of its writers were of color. Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter Farrelly wrote the screenplay which received criticism for its depictions of race and historical inaccuracies.

In 2018 “Get Out” writer-director Jordan Peele became the first African American to win the category.

It is important to understand that in the last decade, writers of color have won just twice: the aforementioned Peele’s “Get Out” and “Birdman,” which was co-written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Armando Bo, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., and Nicolás Giacobone.

Here Hollywood insiders predict “Parasite” (co-written by Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won) is a real contender.

Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” about a South Korean poverty-stricken family who hustles a wealthy couple with unintended consequences, won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign-language film on Sunday.

The 92nd annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 9. Nominations will be announced on Monday, Jan. 13.