92nd Academy Award Nominations are here to elate and disappoint you

Posted by Matthew on January 13, 2020
Editorial, News

That’s right folks, the invitees to the big dance have been announced. Has the Academy finally learned from its past and expanded its focus to be more inclusive for people of colour? Turns out they didn’t! Did they recognize more women in the best director category? Also a no!

I love the Oscars because I am a weirdo and, honestly, this is kind of business as usual. There are a bunch of really awesome artists being recognized, but also there is some pan-fried bullshit going on here, too.

Let’s take a look at the categories and add some pithy commentary.

Best Visual Effects

  • Avengers: Endgame – Dan DeLeeuw, Matt Aitken, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick
  • The Irishman – Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Stephane Grabli, and Nelson Sepulveda
  • The Lion King – Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newman
  • 1917 – Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy

I haven’t seen The Lion King or 1917 yet but I will say that for a film that is 100% animated except for one shot, it feels weird that The Lion King is up for Best Effects and not Best Animated Feature.

To me, this feels like a lock for Avengers: Endgame, that kind of spectacle doesn’t come easy. That film definitely has the most, at least.

The Irishman made a valiant effort but also the de-ageing really doesn’t work at the beginning of the film.

Best Film Editing

  • Ford v Ferrari – Andrew Buckland and Michael McCusker
  • The Irishman – Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Jojo Rabbit – Tom Eagles
  • Joker – Jeff Groth
  • Parasite – Yang Jin-mo

There’s no clear winner here for me (or clear what the eff option like there was last year), but Ford v Ferrari blends together all kinds of moments to make some of the most thrilling race scenes I’ve seen in a film so I’m officially pulling for it to win.

Best Costume Design

  • The Irishman – Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson
  • Jojo Rabbit – Mayes C. Rubeo
  • Joker – Mark Bridges
  • Little Women – Jacqueline Durran
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Arianne Phillips

Here’s another one with no clear choice for me but I’m going to go ahead and say the costumes in Little Women and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood are both excellent choices.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

  • Bombshell – Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker
  • Joker – Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou
  • Judy – Jeremy Woodhead
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten and David White
  • 1917 – Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole

I mean, do they give it to Joker because of the face paint? Nnnnoooooo I don’t think so. Probably Bombshell for making Charlize Theron look like Megyn Kelly or Judy for making Renée Zellweger look like Judy Garland, right?

Best Cinematography

  • The Irishman – Rodrigo Prieto
  • Joker – Lawrence Sher
  • The Lighthouse – Jarin Blaschke
  • 1917 – Roger Deakins
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Robert Richardson

1917 isn’t a single take but it’s shot to look like one and I feel like maybe Roger Deakins, after not winning so many damned times, should maybe take home his second in two nominations. Then again, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has some gorgeous camera work.

Best Production Design

  • The Irishman – Production Design: Bob Shaw; Set Decoration: Regina Graves
  • Jojo Rabbit – Production Design: Ra Vincent; Set Decoration: Nora Sopková
  • 1917 – Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Production Design: Barbara Ling; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
  • Parasite – Production Design: Lee Ha-joon; Set Decoration: Cho Won-woo

These are all good choices, to be honest.

Best Sound Mixing

  • Ad Astra – Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano
  • Ford v Ferrari – Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow
  • Joker – Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland
  • 1917 – Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler and Mark Ulano

I feel like 1917 will probably take this, but Ford v Ferrari probably should take this one. I don’t really know how Joker ends up in this category, but I don’t know how it ends up in any category (except two).

Best Sound Editing

  • Ford v Ferrari – Donald Sylvester
  • Joker – Alan Robert Murray
  • 1917 – Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Wylie Stateman
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Matthew Wood and David Acord

See the previous category. Ford v Ferrari creates thrilling races (and all kinds of other car awesomeness) with visuals and with sounds, and I hope it takes both of these.

Best Original Song

  • I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4 – Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman
  • (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman – Music by Elton John; Lyrics by Bernie Taupin
  • I’m Standing with You” from Breakthrough – Music and Lyrics by Diane Warren
  • Into the Unknown” from Frozen II – Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
  • Stand Up” from Harriet – Music and Lyrics by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo

This one is Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s to lose, right? They’ve already got the globe, they are writing about their own lives, and they’re legends.

My only question is where the hell is Glasgow (No Place Like Home) from Wild Rose, which is clearly the best song of the year? I was really looking forward to hearing Jessie Buckley sing it.

Best Original Score

  • Joker – Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • Little Women – Alexandre Desplat
  • Marriage Story – Randy Newman
  • 1917 – Thomas Newman
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – John Williams

This category has a family twist with cousins Thomas and Randy Newman going up against one another, but honestly here’s hoping that Hildur Guðnadóttir picks up the win. The score for Joker is one of the films bright spots (and she has had a great year, scoring Chernobyl as well).

Best Animated Short

  • Dcera (Daughter) – Daria Kashcheeva
  • Hair Love – Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver
  • Kitbull – Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson
  • Memorable – Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre
  • Sister – Siqi Song

Best Live-Action Short

  • Brotherhood – Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon
  • Nefta Football Club – Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi
  • The Neighbors’ Window – Marshall Curry
  • Saria – Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre
  • A Sister – Delphine Girard

Best Documentary Short

  • In the Absence – Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
  • Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) – Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva
  • Life Overtakes Me – John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
  • St. Louis Superman – Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
  • Walk Run Cha-Cha – Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt

I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t seen any of the short films. Even the animated ones, even though at least one of them is available to me on Disney+. I’ll have to fix that.

Best Documentary Feature

  • American Factory – Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and Jeff Reichert
  • The Cave – Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær
  • The Edge of Democracy – Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan
  • For Sama – Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts
  • Honeyland – Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska and Atanas Georgiev

I haven’t seen any of the documentaries either, another thing to fix.

Best International Feature Film

  • Corpus Christi (Poland) in Polish – Directed by Jan Komasa
  • Honeyland (North Macedonia) in Turkish – Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov
  • Les Misérables (France) in French – Directed by Ladj Ly
  • Pain and Glory (Spain) in Spanish – Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
  • Parasite (South Korea) in Korean – Directed by Bong Joon-ho

Here’s where I feel like they give the win to Parasite in this category so that they don’t have to worry about feeling bad not giving it best picture. That’s not the worst outcome, to be honest. Pain and Glory is also great but I feel like its chances are better in the acting category.

Best Animated Feature

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Dean DeBlois, Bonnie Arnold and Brad Lewis
  • I Lost My Body – Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice
  • Klaus – Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román
  • Missing Link – Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight
  • Toy Story 4 – Josh Cooley, Jonas Rivera and Mark Nielsen

Missing Link took the Golden Globe in this category, which was surprising, but I haven’t seen enough of these to make a real call. I’m just happy that How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is represented because that’s my favourite Dreamworks franchise and it was a lovely close to that trilogy.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Irishman – Steven Zaillian based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt
  • Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi based on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens
  • Joker – Todd Phillips and Scott Silver based on the characters created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson
  • Little Women – Greta Gerwig based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Two Popes – Anthony McCarten based on the play The Pope by Anthony McCarten

This is another category where I worry they’ll give it to Joker when the clear choice is Greta Gerwig for her Little Women screenplay. She didn’t just bring the story to the screen, she remixed it to be more impactful and snuck in some commentary on the story’s end. It’s a masterclass in adaptation.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Knives Out – Rian Johnson
  • Marriage Story – Noah Baumbach
  • 1917 – Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino
  • Parasite – Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, story by Bong Joon-ho

There are no bad choices here but let me just say that I am super happy for Rian Johnson getting a nomination for his murder mystery story. I feel like this is Tarantinos to lose, but it’s a pretty stacked category.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Tom Hanks A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood as Fred Rogers
  • Anthony Hopkins The Two Popes as Pope Benedict XVI
  • Al Pacino The Irishman as Jimmy Hoffa
  • Joe Pesci The Irishman as Russell Bufalino
  • Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as Cliff Booth

It still feels weird to me that Mr Rogers is a supporting character in the Mr Rogers movie, but that’s neither here nor there. I feel like this category comes down to Pesci or Pitt, and I’d be fine with either of those choices.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Kathy Bates Richard Jewell as Barbara “Bobi” Jewell
  • Laura DernMarriage Story as Nora Fanshaw
  • Scarlett JohanssonJojo Rabbit as Rosie Betzler
  • Florence Pugh Little Women as Amy March
  • Margot Robbie Bombshell as Kayla Pospisil

This feels like Laura Dern’s to lose and it’s nice to see Florence Pugh get a nod as she was great in little women.

But here is where things get a little awkward because where the hell is Jennifer Lopez on this list? Hustlers is a great film and Lopez gives the performance of her career in it, and while I think Scarlett Johansson had a great year it’s a bit weird to see her nominated in two categories and Lopez overlooked entirely.

Best Actor

  • Antonio Banderas Pain and Glory as Salvador Mallo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as Rick Dalton
  • Adam DriverMarriage Story as Charlie Barber
  • Joaquin Phoenix Joker as Arthur Fleck / Joker
  • Jonathan PryceThe Two Popes as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Ok, real talk, you’re probably aware that I really didn’t like Joker, but Joaquin Phoenix is good in it and if he wins, he wins. But honestly? This should be Antonio Banderas to lose. Pain and Glory is a wonderful performance and collaboration with that films director, Pedro Almodovar. Also, Adam Driver knocks it out of the park in Marriage Story and I am just happy to see his name on the list.

Best Actress

  • Cynthia Erivo Harriet as Harriet Tubman
  • Scarlett Johansson Marriage Story as Nicole Barber
  • Saoirse Ronan Little Women as Josephine “Jo” March
  • Charlize Theron Bombshell as Megyn Kelly
  • Renée Zellweger Judy as Judy Garland

I don’t know who I would choose from these but the truth is that the list is incomplete without Lupita Nyong’o’s name on it. She is transcendently good in Us, and in two roles to boot.

Also, while everyone here is good, it’s worth pointing out that Cynthia Erivo is the sole person of colour nominated at all which feels more than a little egregious. In the past few years, the academy has faced criticism year after year for their slates of nominees being very very white, and while they seem to have made some changes it feels like they haven’t really changed.

The bulk of the voting members are still old white dudes and until that changes significantly the awards are going to reflect their ageing tastes.

Best Director

  • Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
  • Todd Phillips – Joker
  • Sam Mendes – 1917
  • Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Bong Joon-ho – Parasite

I can’t believe Todd Phillips is on this list for making a Martin Scorsese fan film, and worse I worry he might actually win in a year where Scorsese himself is nominated.

Then again, if there is any justice they’ll give it to Bong Joon-ho for Parasite anyway.

All of this hinges on one important fact though: Greta Gerwig didn’t get nominated for Best Director again, and Little Women is far and away one of the best directed films of the year. If you don’t believe me just look at the fact that it has two acting nominations, a writing nomination, and it’s up for Best Picture. That doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I find myself wondering if they’ll give her the writing award as a way to feel better about this. To reiterate, she 100% deserves the writing nomination. She also 100% deserves a best director nomination.

Best Picture

  • Ford v Ferrari – Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold
  • The Irishman – Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • Jojo Rabbit – Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi and Chelsea Winstanley
  • Joker – Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • Little Women – Amy Pascal, Denise Di Novi and Robin Swicord
  • Marriage Story – Noah Baumbach and David Heyman
  • 1917 – Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougal
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh and Quentin Tarantino
  • Parasite – Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon-ho

The field of Best Picture nominees is, honestly, mostly pretty great. I don’t think that Joker deserves a spot but I fully admit I may be in the minority on that one.

While there are what feel like some pretty clear front runners this year (1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I’m looking at you two) I’m really happy that Marriage Story and in particular Ford v Ferrari have some love as well. They’re both great stories, they’re both great movies, and they both deserve the nod.

So those are this years nominations. Which are you excited about? Which are you shaking your head at? Comment and let me know!

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