2020 Oscar Nominations

Here we are once again with the 2020 Oscar nominations and while I attempt to limit any coverage of the awards season hoopla (simply because there are so many to cover and too little to care about) the Academy Awards are obviously the biggest show of the season and so it was with great anticipation I awaited this morning’s announcements. What had been great about this year's award season up until really this past weekend was that there seemed a real lack of any clear front-runner, though 1917 quickly seems to be taking that spot with an impressive ten nominations this morning including for Best Picture and Director. There have been so many films vying for the attention of awards season audiences this season, including a few that seemed poised to make a big impression this year, but haven't garnered as many accolades as expected including The Lighthouse (which scored a cinematography nom here) and apparently Uncut Gems (my favorite film of the year) and while we're piling on A24 let's just go ahead and acknowledge the fact The Farewell received zero nominations alongside Gems. Returning to what did receive nominations though, while 1917 is currently making a strong case for Best Picture after its $36.5 million box office pull in its first weekend of wide release it was Todd Phillips' Joker that received the most nods with eleven total nominations. The Irishman and Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood join 1917 with ten nominations a piece (though Robert De Niro was not one of those nominations in the Lead Actor category) while Marriage Story, Parasite, Jojo Rabbit and Little Women all came out with six nominations a piece with the most noise surrounding any of those nominations being that Great Gerwig did not receive a directing nod for her sophomore effort, Little Women. While I understand that call to recognize a more diverse array of artists I wasn't the biggest fan of Little Women (I thought it was fine, but didn't fall in love with it) and would have preferred a nomination for The Farewell's Lulu Wang, Queen & Slim's Melina Matsoukas or Olivia Wilde for Booksmart (which also received zero nominations and is a travesty in my opinion). The fact remains though that 2019 was an incredibly string year for film and there were inevitably going to be some great films left off the list. It's also important to remember that just because your choice wasn't nominated that the other films deserve to be degraded; overall, the nominations largely went to deserving films, but we'll dig into all that in further paragraphs. For now, hit the jump for a full list of nominees.

I liked Joker. It made my top 10 of the year. I'll put that out there front and center as it is destined to become the Green Book/Bohemian Rhapsody of this year's nominations, but is a far better character study and more technically proficient film than either of those aforementioned winners. Joker will become the movie everyone will love to hate and seemingly much of the vitriol towards it will not be due to the quality of the overall film, but because people, mostly critics, don't like that a film about an unstable white guy going off the rails was nominated more than a movie directed by a woman about the repression of women and how they simply dealt with it rather then going off the rails. It's a fair enough point and it's not hard to see how that perspective means well, but ultimately it comes down to who's film conveyed the story of those characters the best and in my opinion I didn't look at Joker as a movie about a whiny white guy who was pissed off because he didn't get his way, but instead as movie about a mentally deranged man who no one took the time to look at, care for or show interest in thus leading him down a path of both self-destruction and murderous tendencies. Joker is a film that highlights the effects of ignoring mental health issues and it smartly did so through the guise of a big comic book property with one of the genre's most iconic characters and one of today's most respected actors. All of this and I haven't even mentioned the rapturous score from Golden Globe winner Hildur Guðnadóttir and the pristine cinematography by Lawrence Sher (both of which were included in today's nominations). Now, those who enjoyed Little Women more as a film would certainly argue that Little Women did in fact convey the story of those more likable, more gracious characters better and that's simply a difference of opinion we'll have to live with (I'll certainly be watching the film again to see if it improves on second viewing for me), but this is largely all to say that while Joker will be castrated this awards season for the very reasons it can be castrated I'm of the opinion it is wholly deserving of the nominations it received.

Now that we have that big elephant out of the way, what were the biggest snubs this year? Like I said, 2019 was such a great year for movies that it was inevitable great performances, movies and the like would unfortunately be left on the outside looking in, but naturally there are also those that were among the best of the best and deserved spots over ones that have ultimately made it into the final ballot and that's what we'll be looking at here. For me personally, the biggest snub is the fact The Safdie Brothers and their film, Uncut Gems, received no nominations including for star Adam Sandler who it seemed was a lock for Leading Actor since the film premiered last September. And while I didn't necessarily expect the Safdies to get a nomination for directing I was hopeful they'd at least score in a few of the below the line categories like Editing, Sound Design or even Screenplay. Furthermore, one of the other biggest oversights in general this awards season has been Dolemite Is My Name and while I haven't seen Pain & Glory and Jonathan Pryce is certainly worthy of his nomination in The Two Popes, it's hard to believe Eddie Murphy didn't land one of those five spots. Hell, I would probably have put Murphy in over DiCaprio if we're talking how much the overall film depends on the nominated performance and I absolutely adore OUATIH.

As for Lead Actress, I'm kind of appalled, but not necessarily shocked that Lupita Nyong'o is nowhere to be seen on the list for her performance in Jordan Peele's Us and though I'm sure Cynthia Erivo (only the third person to receive acting and song nominations for the same film) is deserving for her portrayal of Harriet Tubman in Harriet (which I've yet to see) it would seem this is the...shall we say safer choice...whereas the Academy could have certainly nominated both Erivo and Nyong'o (gasp!) as the category could have done without the obligatory Bombshell nom (Charlize was better in Long Shot and so was the movie). Supporting Actress holds what will largely be considered one of the biggest snubs of the year as Jennifer Lopez was left out for her exceptional turn in the otherwise mediocre Hustlers. It kind of doesn't help that Scarlett Johansson's nomination in the Supporting category allowed her to join the elite Oscars two-timers club with double nominations as she was nominated in Supporting for Jojo Rabbit and Lead for Marriage Story. And lastly, despite the fact there was little buzz and even less of an actual chance I was still somewhat hopeful Shia LaBeouf might sneak into the Supporting Actor category for his portrayal of his father in Honey Boy, but alas that is the most stacked category of the night as it includes some of Hollywood's biggest stars including front-runner Brad Pitt along with Joe Pesci (first nomination in 29 years), Al Pacino (first nom in 27 years), Anthony Hopkins (first nom in 22 years) and Tom Hanks (first nom in 19 years). Other fun tidbits include the fact that Martin Scorsese is now the most-nominated living director with nine nominations and Parasite made history with its multiple nominations becoming the first South Korean movie to be nominated for best picture and best international film.

Well, that's enough time spent on that topic. I'm sure there will be many more points brought up and topics discussed surrounding the Oscars before they finally air on February 9, 2020 when they will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.

Nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards

Best Picture
“Ford v Ferrari” (Disney/Fox)
“The Irishman” (Netflix)
“Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight)
“Joker” (Warner Bros.)
“Little Women” (Sony)
“Marriage Story” (Netflix)
“1917” (Universal)
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony)
“Parasite” (Neon)
Best Director
Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”)
Todd Phillips (“Joker”)
Sam Mendes (“1917”)
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”)
Best Actor
Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”)
Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”)
Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”)
Best Actress
Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)
Saorise Ronan (“Little Women”)
Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)
Renee Zellweger (“Judy”)
Supporting Actor
Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”)
Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”)
Al Pacino (“The Irishman”)
Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”)
Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”)
Florence Pugh (“Little Women”)
Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”)
Adapted Screenplay
Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”)
Steve Zaillian (“The Irishman”)
Anthony McCarten (“The Two Popes”)
Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”)
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver (“Joker”)
Best Original Screenplay
Rian Johnson (“Knives Out”)
Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”)
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917”)
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won (“Parasite”)
Animated Feature
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World””
“I Lost My Body”
“Missing Link”
“Toy Story 4”
International Feature Film
“Corpus Christi”
“Les Miserables”
“Pain and Glory”
Best Documentary
“American Factory”
“The Cave”
“Edge of Democracy”
“For Sama”
Best Cinematography
“The Irishman”
“The Lighthouse”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Best Costume Design
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Film Editing
“Ford vs. Ferrari”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
Makeup and Hairstyling
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
Original Score
“Little Women”
“Marriage Story”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
Original Song
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Elton John, “Rocketman”)
“Im Standing With You (“Breakthrough”
“Into the Unknown” (Frozen 2)
“Stand Up” (Harriet)
Production Design
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Sound Editing
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’
Sound Mixing
“Ad Astra”
“Ford vs. Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Visual Effects
“Avengers: Endgame”
“The Irishman”
“The Lion King”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
Documentary (Short Subject)
“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone If You’re a Girl”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”
Short Film (Animated)
“Hair Love”
Short Film (Live Action)
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbor’s Window”
“A Sister”

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