Oscars 2020: Thoughts on the nominations

With the official Oscar nominations already revealed, here are my thoughts, including some surprises and the biggest snubs.

Every year, there are always certain films that stand out above the rest. Thinking about it though, 2019 was a fantastic year for cinema and one of the best in recent years. Specifically speaking, with awards season in full swing, there are a variety of movies that should be considered and after seeing the Oscar nominations announcement, some of the films and performances I did want to see get some love actually did.

I’ll be discussing most of it below, including the list of nominations for the categories I care about the most, along with my thoughts, some surprises, and the biggest snubs. I’ll probably discuss some of the technical awards, but not all of them, so you probably won’t see categories such as “Production Design.” If you want to see a list of all the nominations, you can check out the announcement video below:

Best International Feature Film

  • Corpus Christi
  • Honeyland
  • Les Miserables
  • Pain and Glory
  • Parasite

Nothing really surprises me about these nominations. I am shocked The Farewell wasn’t nominated considering the Chinese culture is a big focal point of the movie. Then again, it is an American film, so I’m not entirely sure it can be considered a snub.

Best Film Editing

  • FORD V FERRARI
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker
  • Parasite

When I think of film editing, I want to see films where the transitioning between scenes are smooth and almost seamless. I’m actually surprised 1917 didn’t get a nomination since most of the film is shot to look like one take. Then again, in order to pull that off, there needs to be a lot of predetermined planning and a general idea of where the director wants to go with it. So, I think that belongs more to the cinematography category.

As for these films on the list, I think each of them deserve the nomination. I can’t speak for Jojo Rabbit since I haven’t seen it just yet, but the others, I have. For example, at least in my opinion, FORD V FERRARI should most definitely win for the racing sequences. These are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a film and I can’t imagine director James Mangold having all that in mind prior to filming. He must’ve had an idea of it, of course, but these scenes truly came to life in the editing room.

The same can be said about The Irishman, Joker, and Parasite. There are a lot of scenes in this movie that focus solely on the characters and the editing of the scenes really makes these characters and the portrayals from the performers stand out. Speaking more on Parasite, the one scene where Mr. Kim is trying to convince Mrs. Park that the housekeeper is sick is fantastic.

If there was a snub, I would say Us, but I don’t think it was being considered as much even though it should have.

Best Cinematography

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

I like most of the choices here and each are deserving. Specifically speaking, The Irishman is beautifully shot and really captures the essence of what Martin Scorsese has done best for so many years, and that’s the mob/crime dramas. I can say the same about Joker. Seeing Joaquin Phoenix lose himself in this role is only elevated by how the scene is shot. Seeing certain angles and perspectives of this character is what really makes it all the more impressive and disturbing. 1917 is a no-brainer, that’s for sure, and it’ll probably win, too. It’s definitely one of the most impressively shot films of the year.

I still think Parasite should’ve got a nomination, though. Part of what makes this movie so fantastic is how it’s shot. I can say the same about FORD V FERRARI. These were definitely snubbed.

Best Visual Effects

  • Avengers: Endgame
  • The Irishman
  • The Lion King
  • 1917
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I’m glad to see some of these films get some love in this category, specifically Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Although I wasn’t the big fan of the the last two, I do think they need to be respected in the visual front, especially The Lion King. What director Jon Favreau was able to do with the animation is truly spectacular. At some points, you forget it’s animation since the lions seem so real, along with the world around them.

I would love to see Endgame get a win here since it’s probably one of the only chance it has at winning an Oscar. In reality, I wouldn’t be mad if either of these three won since the other two will have other opportunities to win anyway. Regardless, I think the de-aging technology in The Irishman is pretty good. In fact, a lot better than some were stating. But, I’ve seen it done better in other movies. There’s a specific scene in the movie where Robert DeNiro beats up a store owner and you can see the age in his movements and how he beats him up. It’s not very convincing, that’s for sure.

I think some snubs include Alita: Battle Angel, Shazam!, and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Most of Alita is all visual effects and it’s a shame it didn’t get any consideration since it’s a great film. Shazam! also has some fantastic visuals, especially in some of the fight scenes and the third act.

There’s a specific scene in Far From Home which was breathtaking. I’m referring to the mind-bending sequence where Mysterio takes Spider-Man on acid trip, in a sense, and messes with his mind. Just for that scene alone, it should be considered for this category.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  • I Lost My Body
  • Klaus
  • Missing Link
  • Toy Story 4

I haven’t seen I Lost My Body. In fact, I haven’t even heard much about it, so it’s definitely a surprise. As for Klaus, I’m very surprised it got nominated. Granted, I’ve heard it’s delightful, but I wasn’t sure whether or not it would get a nomination. I’m glad it did, though. Every other choice was a no-brainer and they definitely deserve the consideration.

If there were some others that might’ve been considered, it would’ve been Frozen II and Abominable, especially Frozen II. I’m actually surprised it didn’t get nominated, but I wouldn’t call it a snub since the other nominees are probably more deserving.

Best Original Song

  • “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4
  • “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman
  • “I’m Standing With You” from Breakthrough
  • “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II
  • “Stand Up” from Harriet

None of these nominations really surprise me. In fact, they all deserve to be on here and I can’t really think of another song that was left out.

Best Original Song

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

The nominations for original score are pretty great, if you ask me. The only thing is the lack of Alan Silvestri for Avengers: Endgame. He’s definitely been snubbed here. I also think the score of Uncut Gems by Oneohtrix Point Never (Daniel Lopatin) was unique and worth some sort of consideration.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • The Two Popes

I find most of the nominations very interesting, specifically The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, and The Two Popes. Although most of them are based and/or inspired by real life events, or are inspired from pre-existing fictional source material, each film doesn’t necessarily stick to it entirely.

For example, The Irishman is a based on the true story of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, but some of it is Scorsese’s take on how it happened. I mean, till this day, most people aren’t sure what really happened. Jojo Rabbit is a comedic satire about Adolf Hitler, and a good one at that. Joker is maybe inspired by the comics, but it’s a completely original story from Todd Phillips. The Two Popes is based on two real characters, but it’s a dramatization of the facts, at least some of the events.

So, yes, they are adapted screenplays, but a lot of them are original takes, which isn’t the first time it has been done. Then again, I don’t think it has been this extensive in a long time.

The biggest snub is Dolemite Is My Name, which should’ve definitely gotten a nomination. The story of Rudy Ray Moore is an interesting one and it was told in a very entertaining way while still staying true to the facts.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Knives Out
  • Marriage Story
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Parasite

I think every nomination for this category is the right choice. Each film here tells an original story and does it well. Although, if there is a snub, it has to be Jordan Peele’s Us. I’m still very disappointed it isn’t getting all the love it should be getting since it’s a great sophomore effort.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes
  • Al Pacino in The Irishman
  • Joe Pesci in The Irishman
  • Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Honestly, I think most of these choices are pretty spot on. I don’t have any complaints here, Song Kang-ho getting loved for Parasite would’ve been nice. Jamie Foxx could’ve also been a consideration for Just Mercy.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell
  • Laura Dern in Marriage Story
  • Scarlett Johansson in Jojo Rabbit
  • Florence Pugh in Little Women
  • Margot Robbie in Bombshell

It’s an absolute robbery that Jennifer Lopez didn’t get nominated for Hustlers. It’s one of the biggest snubs of the entire show, in my honest opinion. Other than that, I don’t have many other complaints for this category. I’m actually surprised Florence Pugh got nominated, but rightfully so. She’s had a phenomenal year.

Best Leading Actor

  • Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Adam Driver in Marriage Story
  • Joaquin Phoenix in Joker
  • Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes

Out of all the categories, this is probably the one that angers me the most. For one, let me say that all these actors are great and maybe they did deserve some consideration. But, I simply think there are many other great performances that were overlooked and it’s very disappointing.

For one, we all know the best performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood came from Brad Pitt, not Leo. He was just nominated for it because he’s, well, Leo. I can’t speak for Banderas and Pryce’s roles since I haven’t seen those movies. But, I didn’t really see them getting a lot of buzz to begin with, so it’s very surprising to see them get nominated.

There are a bunch of snubs here, including Christian Bale in FORD V FERRARI, Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems, Taron Egerton in Rocketman, Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name, Mark Ruffalo in Dark Waters, and Robert DeNiro in The Irishman. The ones that enrage me the most are the Bale and Sandler snubs. These are two of the best performances of the year and it’s a huge shame they didn’t get nominated. In reality, any of these could’ve been chosen over Leo.

As unlikely as it was, I would even say Robert Downey Jr. deserved some recognition for his performance in Avengers: Endgame. The same can be said of Zac Efron for his career-defining role as Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which seems to have been forgotten.

Best Leading Actress

  • Cynthia Erivo in Harriet
  • Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story
  • Saoirse Ronan in Little Women
  • Charlize Theron in Bombshell
  • Renee Zellweger in Judy

In all honesty, I wasn’t a fan of Harriet and I thought such a historical figure deserved much better. Erivo was great as the character, but that’s about it. Even then, I still don’t think she should’ve been nominated. Everyone else is very deserving, though.

The biggest snub, for me, is Lupita Nyong’o for Us. It’s one of the best performances of the year and, again, it’s another snub for the movie as a whole. I would even go on to say it’s the best performance from an actress this year.

Best Directing

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

All the directors in this category are very deserving and I’m glad they’re getting recognized, especially Bong Joon-ho for his masterwork in Parasite.

There are some snubs, though. I think James Mangold should’ve gotten some love for FORD V FERRARI, as well as Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit. I also think The Safdie Brothers did a great job with Uncut Gems, along with Noah Baumbach for Marriage Story. Greta Gerwig doesn’t get much love either for Little Women, which is a shame.

Lastly, again, as unlikely as it was anyway, I don’t think The Russo Brothers get nearly as much love as they should for Avengers: Endgame. It’s a stacked category, so I’m not mad with the decisions.

Best Picture

  • FORD V FERRARI
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Parasite

As always, the Academy didn’t nominate 10 films, even though it could. But, as for the nominations, they’re pretty spot on and basically the movies I expected to get chosen. The only that didn’t make the cut, which I was sure it would, is Knives Out, which is a bit surprising.

Again, I still think Avengers: Endgame and Uncut Gems should get love here also, but unfortunately, they didn’t.

What do you think of the nominations? Feel free to discuss below!

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