Oscars 2019: My Nominations Ballot

A tradition here on the site is for me to spend the two days before Oscar nominations to guess what I think those nominees are going to be and give you my preferred nominees in all the categories. I keep the articles separate because to me, what I think should happen has absolutely no bearing on what I think is actually going to happen. All too often I find that people writing about the Oscars are completely unable to do that. The two main reasons I stopped reading all the Oscar sites years ago are because 1) too few people actually did the work in analyzing the categories and went with general overall ‘narratives’ and ‘feelings’, and 2) they far too often went with their own personal opinions when they weren’t sure (or sometimes even when they were). So what I do is get all my personal opinions out of the way first, and then when I pick everything, you get the full, unvarnished honesty and analysis to help you out.

And also admittedly this is the “one for them, one for me” model. If you want all the good shit, you gotta indulge my narcissism and listen to me prattle on about my own opinions for a day. I think it’s a reasonable tradeoff. I can at least get this one done in less than half the time it takes me to write up that other article.

Anyway, while tomorrow you get all the guesses as to what’s gonna be nominated on Monday, today you get what I’d nominate, assuming I could have a magic wand and create the entire Oscar ballot. Or, I guess, slightly more realistically, if I were able to vote for the nominations in every category, this is what my ballot would look like. Since I’m at least adhering to the shortlists for a bunch of the categories and am not just picking willy-nilly. I want this to be as realistic as I can possibly make it, even if it is a ‘dream scenario’ kind of situation.

But anyway, here’s what I’d nominate in all of the categories this year:

We begin with Best Picture.

Of course, in a totally realistic scenario, I’d list my top five films and then assume the weighted ballot situation and so forth. But in my version of a nominees list, I’m basically just taking whatever’s going to be nominated and replacing them with my ideal situation. So in this category only, I fudge it a little bit. Because we have that sliding scale situation, I rank the nominees from #6 through #10, that way wherever the Best Picture list cuts off, that’s where my list cuts off too. We must have five nominees and we can have up to ten. In every sliding scale year we’ve had either eight or nine so far, so chances are that’s what we’re gonna get this year.

I’ll go over the specifics of how the voting actually works tomorrow, but for now, let’s just go with — they’ll have anywhere from 5 to 10 nominees, and here are the 5-10 nominees I would vote for, list ending wherever theirs ends up ending on Monday.

Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Knives Out

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

6. Little Women

7. 1917

8. Jojo Rabbit

9. Waves

10. Motherless Brooklyn

This is my exact top ten list, just shuffled a bit. 1-5 appear exactly as is, just alphabetized instead of ranked, because it doesn’t matter in the initial five. I moved Little Women up from #9 to #6, because I’d rather see that nominated over everything else on my list. (Since to me, being nominated isn’t always the same as being a top ten film of mine. I don’t always need to see my favorite films nominated and I do generally respect the institution of Best Picture. Some things I feel I’d like to see have that recognition over others. And hey, it’s my damn list, so I’m doing what I want.)

Little Women being 6 means 1917 goes from #6 to #7. I put Jojo after that because I wanted to see that nominated next after that, and then Waves at 9. Motherless Brooklyn dropped to ten because, while I loved it, I’d rather have seen all the other nominees get on over it. I’m really hoping we get 9 instead of 8 this year, just because I’d love to get Waves on my personal list, since I know it’s not getting on the actual list in the end. I mean, ideally I’d love for this to be a year where we have ten nominees, but this will be the ninth sliding scale year and it’s yet to happen so far, so I’m not gonna hold my breath on this being the first time.

Still, most years I feel like I never actually post the full top ten list. Maybe once I’ve done it, but I always feel like there’s usually an animated movie or something else I leave off because I don’t feel like it necessarily needs to be on the Best Picture list. This year, I’m very happy with my top ten and am totally happy with having it on. Though I do feel like I’m always rearranging something for the nominations ballot. Can’t explain it, but I just kind of go with whatever I feel makes the most sense to me.

Not a whole lot to add about this one, since this is the top ten list and I’ve already gone over why I love all these films. Mostly I’m happy because there’s a legitimate chance of seven of these (maybe eight, if we get really lucky) making the actual Best Picture list. That feels like the biggest total of straight up top ten films of mine in a while, if ever (in the history of the site). Or maybe just ever. I haven’t bothered to look (and don’t really want to, so as to maintain the innocence of optimism).

Oh, and were this to be the actual category, the vote would of course be Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It was my #1 film this year, and I see no reason not to vote for it.

Best Director

Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari

Trey Edward Shults, Waves

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Shout out to Sam Mendes and Rian Johnson. I’m surprised I didn’t immediately go all in on Mendes, given the one-take nature of his film, but them’s the breaks.

My top five was Once Upon a Time, Ford v Ferrari, Parasite, The Irishman and Knives Out. As you can see, I went with 3/5 of that list here. Quentin and Mangold and Bong Joon-ho. They were all gimmes to me. All three were masterworks of direction, and I had to put them on my list. The other two had to earn a spot. And when I really thought about how I felt about the direction of all the films — I love Marty, but I just didn’t love the direction as much as I loved the other two films I did nominate. And Rian Johnson, while I really loved his direction of Knives Out, he just got edged out due to lack of space. Him and Mendes were basically tied for that #6 spot and I’m glad I didn’t have to figure out which one among either I’d vote for.

Of the rest of the top ten (in the order I’d have voted for them, since, most of the time, if you’re gonna vote a film for Best Picture, you probably loved the direction the most), I absolutely loved what Greta Gerwig did with Little Women and put her on almost immediately after figuring out the top three. And then I saw Trey Edward Shults, and I thought about the strong, visceral emotional response his film gave me. And while I loved The Irishman and I loved 1917 and I loved Knives Out, neither made me feel what Waves did. And also, just to give a further shout out to that film and get it on a few more people’s radars, I felt it was a good fifth choice. It’s not like my vote matters for what’s going to happen or means anything. So why bother giving you yet another boring-ass list with the same names you see everywhere else. Everyone else is gonna have Marty or Sam on their list. So I’m putting Trey. He did an amazing job with that film and truly does deserve my vote for a nomination.

The vote for the win, though… that’s tough. It kinda has to be Quentin, though catch me on a different day and I might say Mangold. Might even say Shults on a really good day. But I think most times, I’ll just pair up the Picture/Director vote and take Quentin. At this point, who gives a shit what I’d vote for. This will never be the actual ballot. The only ballot I do ever pick preferred winners for is the actual ballot. So let’s see them nominate these actual five and then we’ll talk.

Best Actor

Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Kelvin Harrison Jr., Waves

Edward Norton, Motherless Brooklyn

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Shout out to Brad Pitt in Ad Astra and Roman Griffin Davis in Jojo Rabbit. They were both very good. But I wouldn’t swap off anyone here for either of them.

Leo gives my favorite lead performance of the year (for men) and is just absolutely wonderful in the film. He was a gimme. I had Bale second on my favorite male lead performances list, just because it’s a pure movie star performance. So he was an immediate add as well. Harrison went third because, without giving too much away, he is the focal point of Waves and just delivers a real emotional gut-wrenching performance. You’re really with this kid all the way. I’m all for that one. (He’s also in Luce, which apparently a lot of people loved, even if I did not. So if you somehow feel the need to have to supplement my choosing of him here, you can say he’s got two great performances that make him worthy of a nomination.) Joaquin is great in everything and is great here. Everyone’s talked about him ad nauseam, so I’m leaving him there and moving on.

Norton, I felt, for a performance with tics and things, was stronger than Joaquin in a lot of ways, mostly because Joaquin got to do his thing and the film worked around him. Norton had to not only deliver his performance, but direct the film around his performance and not let all the stuff he’s doing with the character become overwhelming to an audience and figure out what the right balance of that would be at any given moment while delivering the performance and directing the film. I’m very impressed by that and easily put him on my list. And then we get to the two I shouted out above, both of which were great, neither of which I’d nominate over these five.

Leo’s my vote. I’m past the point of trying to make the math work out and going, “Oh, well he’s already won and he hasn’t, so I’m gonna vote for him this time to get him one.” The best performance is the best performance and should be the vote, and to me Leo gave the best performance. So he’s the vote.

Best Actress

Awkwafina, The Farewell

Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Aisling Franciosi, The Nightingale

Florence Pugh, Midsommar

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Lupita Nyong’o just missed at #6, but these are the clear five for me. Aisling Franciosi gives the best lead performance of the year (either gender), and she was automatic for me. No one bothered to go see her movie, so there’s really not much I can add except to say that both she and the movie are amazing, and you should probably go see it, because her performance is better than anything that’s gonna be nominated in this category.

Next, I loved Cate Blanchett in Where’d You Go Bernadette, and I know that’s a movie and a performance that is gonna get mixed reviews from everyone who sees it. But I think it’s her best work in a while, which includes a lot of great other work. I think it’s a better performance than Blue Jasmine, which she won for. So there. So she was easily my #2 in this category.

Awkwafina makes #3 by sheer fact of her being the performance that most impressed me of everything else that was remaining from the year. It took me a while to come to terms with her as an actress because of the stage name, but she was perfectly fine in the couple of movies I saw her in before this and watching this film, she really impressed me with her dramatic chops. So on she went. Saoirse I just love, and she’s wonderful in Little Women, so that was an easy one to add as well.

And Florence — well, I’ve loved Florence since Lady Macbeth. She was the Aisling Franciosi of a few years ago. That performance was the best of its year and got horribly snubbed and no one bothered to see the movie. But at least she’s now someone we recognize as a great actor and now see her delivering great work in high profile stuff. I wasn’t necessarily blown away by her performance in Midsommar (she’s a bit too passive and pushed to the background for a lot of the middle of the movie, and a lot of the work is her looking confused or just overly manic. But the stuff at the beginning of the film is ultimately what helped me want to nominate her). I actually preferred her Little Women performance to this (but that’s a different category, so we’ll deal with that after), but in terms of how thin I felt the Best Actress category was, she did manage to make the top five for me. Like Toni Collette last year, she’s someone that, in a stronger year, I probably wouldn’t opt for on a personal list, but the year is what it is, so she’s nominated.

Vote-wise, it’s Franciosi by a mile.

This is also why I go out of my way to stress that this is my own personal ballot, because so many idiots are gonna read this and go, “What about Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story?” Not realizing that, intrinsically, if it’s not on here, I didn’t like it enough to nominate it. Just because the masses like something doesn’t mean that I do too. (And also, if it’s not on my favorite performances list at all then it’s probably because I didn’t really like it all that much. Just saying.) It’s important to have your own opinions, kids.

Best Supporting Actor

Chris Cooper, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

I went slightly against my performances list here. I had Christopher Plummer at fifth, but went with Willem Dafoe instead for the fifth spot, just because while I loved what Plummer did, I’m not sure I need to see him nominated. Dafoe would just add so much flavor to the category. And shout out to Sterling K. Brown in Waves. I really loved that performance, but in the absence of being able to see the film again, I’m not sure I’d take him over the other five people on this list. Maybe in the future once I can revisit it, but at the moment, this is where I’m at.

It’s a strong year, too. In another year, Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy would get serious consideration, as would Robert Pattinson in The King and Bill Camp in Dark Waters. But I couldn’t really get past those top four and then had two really strong contenders for that last spot.

I also might, on another day, have Plummer in that fifth spot. But I just enjoy the Dafoe performance so much that it would make a nice bookend to his Shadow of the Vampire performance. Not that that means anything, but… honestly, I don’t have to justify shit. These are my five. Dafoe’s amazing, everyone agrees that Pitt was amazing, I think we can all agree that Pesci steals The Irishman out from under the other two. Hanks as Mr. Rogers is just stunning, and I’ve made it very known for the past two months how much I think Chris Cooper is just as good as Hanks in that movie, so you bet your ass I nominated him alongside Hanks. The actual category is looking to have three of my five. I just swapped one film with double nominees for another. Pacino I thought was just fine. It felt like Pacino being Pacino. Just like I felt that De Niro in Irishman was basically De Niro in Casino. There wasn’t enough there to make me want to nominate the performance past, “Yeah, he’s really good.”

Supporting Actor was, to me, the strongest of the acting categories this year. I could have made a legitimate category ten deep on my performances list. There was an embarrassment of riches in this category. Every year has one of those, and this one got the draw this year.

In terms of vote — it’s Pitt. He’s probably gonna win the category, and to me, he deserves it. Just an amazing performance all around, and it kind of feels fitting that I have both him and Leo winning. Pure chance, but that’s how it worked out. And yes, I’m aware that in this situation, I have four of the first five categories going to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I don’t really think of that part, since in my mind, what I’d vote for is so far removed from reality. It’s like, “Okay, I get to pick all the nominees” — never gonna happen. “And then you can cast a vote” — okay, but then everyone else would be voting too. “But then whatever you vote for becomes the actual winner.” — that’s the part that breaks my suspension of disbelief. I’m cool with ‘you can pick all the nominees’, but the notion of actually being the one that decides the vote is a bridge too far. So I’m not even considering the ramifications of any of this shit, because it’s kind of like, “If you were a billionaire and had one of every luxury car, which would you drive on Wednesday?” There’s so many levels deep in that fantasy, I really don’t care past ‘I’m a billionaire’.

Best Supporting Actress

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit

Taylor Russell, Waves

Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

Cho Yeo-jeong, Parasite

Shout out to Julia Butters in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, who is incredible in her few scenes but doesn’t nearly have the screen time for me to feel like she deserves a spot over the other five choices here. But man, is she for sure one of my five favorite supporting female performers of the year.

I also thought strongly about Florence Pugh for that fifth spot. And I thought it would be funny, the idea of making her my fifth nominee over Scarlett and making her a double nominee, when it looks like Scarlett is actually gonna end up the double nominee. And honestly, in another few days, I might have actually done that. But now, I chose to give Florence her one nomination and give Scarlett her one nomination. That’s fine with me. It also puts Jojo a double nominee in this category, giving both Supporting categories double nominees. I can’t remember off the top of my head if there’s a year that had multiple acting categories with double nominees in them. It’s down in there somewhere, but I can’t spend the time trying to dig it up right now when I’ve got more important stuff to be doing (I gotta finish this article and my head is deep into tomorrow’s article. Which…  you’ll see why I’m saying this when you see that article).

But yeah, I’ve got Scarlett and Thomasin McKenzie, who were both great in that movie. Taylor Russell is amazing in Waves and was an easy nominee there. I almost had three nominees from that film, but Sterling K. Brown missed in a really strong Supporting Actor year. And then I’ve got my top two supporting female performances with Shuzhen and Cho Yeo-jeong. I loved both of them so much and they were the first two I put on this list.

So yeah, I’m happy with my list. Though again, in a couple of days/by the next time I watch Little Women, I might have switched over to Florence in that fifth spot over Scarlett. And honestly, had Julia Butters had like one more scene, she might have felt like she had enough to get on here over both of them. But whatever. That’s my category.

Shuzhen is the vote for me. She was my favorite of the performances, and I honestly hope she actually gets nominated. Honestly, I’d wish for any of my top three to be nominated. Because I know they feel unlikely to based on precursors and I’d love the ability to actually vote for them on a ballot. Because the way it’s shaping up, I’m not sure who the hell I’m gonna be able to vote for in the eventual category.

Best Original Screenplay

Ford v Ferrari

Knives Out

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Waves

Oh man, this category was brutal for me. I had nine contenders, and probably could have had a tenth if I even remotely looked for one rather than spitballing it off the top of my head and wanted to torture myself.

Major shout outs to Freaks, The Farewell and The Nightingale. I loved the films, but I just could not find the room for them in this category. The Nightingale feels more like a directing and acting film than a writing film, so I’m not so upset about it, even though I know there was a strong script there. The Farewell I wish I could have included, but I just didn’t like the script as much as I liked all the others I chose. Freaks, I’ve said all year, I consider one of the best written sci-fi films in a long time. But I just didn’t have the room for it. There were a bunch of ‘must haves’ in this category, which precluded me from taking it. And that’s before the Sophie’s Choice of the fourth and fifth spots.

I had to have Knives Out, Once Upon a Time and Parasite on the list. Those were essentials. Which means I had Dolemite Is My Name, Ford v Ferrari and Waves fighting for the last two spots. And I loved all those scripts. I don’t even think it could happen, but I’d be rooting for a tie in the fifth spot and having six nominees, just so they all could get on. In the end, I took Dolemite off, but it was a real tough decision. I just really wanted to get Waves on and loved Ford v Ferrari so much that I think the script will end up getting overlooked due to it being a ‘directing’ and technical kind of movie. I’m real happy with this category, and it’s one of those where I’d rather see the finished omelet rather than all the eggs that went into making it.

The vote here is tough. I actually wouldn’t go Quentin here. And I wonder how much of that is me having already given him Picture and Director. But I also feel like Parasite is just so well-written and so goes in places that you just could never see coming that I have to vote for that. Quentin’s just feels like a Quentin script. He’s won twice and I’d have given him three Oscars in total (Basterds being the one he didn’t win for I’d have given him). I don’t need to see him win this, though were I so inclined I’d have happily voted for him again. I thought Rian Johnson wrote a masterwork with Knives Out, but he just got squeezed by a better script. Shit happens. Waves I loved, but that’s more acting than writing in the end, so that’s a ‘nominee but no vote’ situation. And Ford v Ferrari I wanted on to show that even though it’s a great movie and impeccably made and directed, a great movie has to start with a great script. And that movie has one. That was never gonna be the vote in the end. So yeah, Parasite’s the vote for me in this one.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Dark Waters

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Little Women

Motherless Brooklyn

Four of these were gimmes. Jojo and Irishman and Little Women had to be on. I thought Motherless Brooklyn had some strong writing (and all four are in my top ten), so those were all pretty easy for me. The fifth spot was interesting. I thought A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was strong, but ultimately it didn’t feel like the right choice. I actually considered Endgame for the spot, but I ultimately didn’t seriously think about going there. In the end — the trial movie. Those are always tough writes, because you have to get the facts in there, make them interesting and dramatic, but also give the audience the message while not hitting them over the head with it. So I’m going in on Dark Waters. I think they did a great job with that movie. (I’ll also note that I wonder if A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood would have been my choice if I hadn’t already seen the documentary, which covered a lot of the ground the movie does, albeit in different ways. But we’ll never know, will we?) I’m happy going with the movie I know not everyone saw.

I also love that the Original Screenplay category is so much stronger than Adapted this year. That gives me hope for the future.

In terms of a vote… honestly I just love what Taika did with that movie, so I think it’s him. Greta would be a second choice. I love what Steve Zaillian did with The Irishman, but I’m not gonna say it’s a script I loved enough to vote for more than just nominate. It’s either Greta or Taika for me, but Taika, taking a very serious novel that has a much wider scope than this, and turning it into this movie… that’s really impressive to me.

Best Editing

Ford v Ferrari

Knives Out

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Waves

The category started with two films for me — Ford v Ferrari and Knives Out. Ford v Ferrari is just perfectly edited, not only in the car scenes but also in that classical way that gives you a movie with no bad scenes. That’s the Howard Hawks model — ‘three great scenes, no bad ones’. The more rewatchable a movie is, the better I find its overall editing. So that’s 1. And Knives Out — that entire movie is precise editing. The amount of flashbacks and quick cuts and piecing the narrative together… that had to go on. So those were two.

Once Upon a Time of course was gonna go on, because it’s again the rewatchable thing. That movie just unfolds like a fine wine, and it’s wonderful. You just wanna sit with it. I’ve been curious about Quentin’s editing since Sally Menke died. Django held up just fine, but Hateful Eight I thought was maybe a bit bulky. But this one is lean and precise. So that was on too. Parasite had to get on, given how well they tell that story and how you truly just go along with it with no idea of where it’s going.

So that was a quick four, and then I had to figure out the fifth. In terms of ‘most’ editing, Uncut Gems was one you look at pretty quick. They maintain a level of tension there throughout that is impressive. But I didn’t feel the need to nominate it over the other choices. The Irishman — three-and-a-half hours and it totally moves and it’s engaging all the way. But it feels a bit lax at times, and while I don’t feel like the film drags, I do think the editing (while great, because it is still Thelma) was not my favorite. That’s one of those — I’d nominate it if there was nothing else, but I had other choices I liked more. And I don’t necessarily ascribe to ‘you need Editing for Picture’. To me, the best for each category is what should be nominated.

1917, meanwhile, it’s designed to look like it’s unedited, so that wasn’t going here. That’s all in camera editing, which comes down to directing and cinematography. I wasn’t gonna put Motherless Brooklyn on my list. I considered Jojo, but ultimately I had better choices. I looked down my list of favorite films to see which ones stuck out to me for Editing — The Aeronauts I did consider, but if it couldn’t overtake The Irishman, it wasn’t going on. Loved Ad Astra’s editing, but again, didn’t beat Irishman. There’s a lot of that.

The only two I really came up with for that last spot were Waves and Little Women. And I’d have been happy with either there. There really wasn’t a whole lot separating them. Ultimately, what led me to siding with Waves is because, while watching Little Women, I found myself going, “Are we in three timelines right now?” Because after a certain point, there’s flash forwards, flash backs, we’re flashing forward within a timeline. And I get that it’s not trying to provide a linear narrative and instead spiritually convey the material. Which it does amazingly. I just had that moment that took me out of it for a minute because I couldn’t fully track just where we were. I don’t think it’s a flaw so much as it’s all I really had to differentiate between those two for the final spot on the ballot. Loved both their editing.

Ford v Ferrari is my vote. I could just as easily have gone for Knives Out or Once Upon a Time, but Ford v Ferrari is clearly the vote. Loved how they put that film together.

Best Cinematography

1917

Ford v Ferrari

The Lighthouse

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Cinematography is one of my favorite categories every year. Nothing makes me happier than figuring out which films looked the best. And this is normally a category where I really like to go deep and think of some cool stuff… but this year… shit, it’s really strong at the top. It’s hard to ignore those top films.

1917 was a gimme — Roger Deakins getting a one-shot film. Of course. Bob Richardson shooting Hollywood in 1969. Gorgeous. Those were an easy two. The Lighthouse — stunningly shot in crisp black-and-white in a matter that could have been presented as a silent film. That was three. No effort whatsoever.

After that, I thought about it. A Hidden Life… Terrence Malick. Always makes gorgeous looking films. Considered it. Joker — I have a lot of issues with a lot of things in that movie, but the cinematography is not one of them. So that was considered. Ultimately neither made it. Waves — stunning. Thought that was gonna make it on. But… Ford v Ferrari looks incredible and is gorgeously framed. I wanted to shout that one out by including it. And Little Women… my god. Some of those exterior New England shots are paintings. So that was fifth. Waves just missed out, and maybe over time that will become something I’d have nominated. For now… love my choices.

in terms of a vote… shit, that’s tough. I really wanna take Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but I think I gotta go Deakins. So I’ll say Deakins now, but I reserve the right to change my mind. And by that I mean… chances are both films will be nominated, so in a month I will actually need to decide what my favorite is. Also, if any of the other three also get nominated, I will need to decide if they are the choices.

Best Original Score

Jojo Rabbit

Little Women

Marriage Story

Motherless Brooklyn

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Okay, so I listened to all of these scores between last night and now (the beautiful thing about just happening to have booked a flight the day before this article is due when I’ve done zero score listening to this point). While I can’t speak to what my overall favorite scores of the year are just yet (give me a month on that and I promise that article will be ready to go as it usually is), I can however rank these 15 in the order I liked them. At least a broad order.

I broke them down into three tiers. First, the tier of ones I thought were perfectly fine but wouldn’t nominate. That tier includes Bombshell, The Farewell, Frozen II, Pain and Glory and Us.

Us was too much of a horror/thriller score for me, even though there were some really nice parts. Bombshell was two halves of a score to me. One half I did not care for and the only part that was good was the part with the female vocalist, which you heard in the trailer in that elevator scene. There’s not enough of that on the score for me to really like it enough to vote for it. The Farewell is a nice score, but there’s not enough of it for me to put it any higher than this. Frozen II doesn’t come anywhere near the first score, and really what helps a score like that elevate from ‘animated score’ territory is the strength of the songs they weave into the score. And I didn’t like Frozen II’s songs. So that was out. And Pain and Glory was a really solid score. It just didn’t beat out the other ten. That’s it. Love Alberto Iglesias, thought it was good. It just fell to this tier. (So that’s 15-11, if we’re ranking the 15 shortlisted scores. They’re not in order, but those are that 5.)

Next is the tier of honorable mentions (10-6), ones I thought were really solid but just missed the list either because I didn’t like them enough or due to lack of space. They were Endgame, The King, Joker, 1917 and

Endgame was really nice, but I’ve heard that score before. Silvestri did Infinity War. So I get it. It’s nothing new for me. I wouldn’t nominate that. Joker is really nice, but it didn’t stand out to me the way Britell’s other recent scores have. Joker was really solid, but I liked all the other scores more. That would have been my #8, if that means anything to anyone. 1917 I really liked as a score, but it felt like a Thomas Newman action score. It had a lot of shades of Skyfall without the great stuff I loved from Skyfall. I still listen to that “Tennyson” drop. This was missing those sections, even though there’s a lot of good to it. So that ended up at #7. The hardest part for me was dropping a #6 out. Which was Ford v Ferrari. I loved portions of that score. But when you came down to it, the other five scores all had more that I liked from them. So that one just got squeezed due to lack of space.

And then we have my five nominees. Jojo was a beautiful score that had shades of Giacchino’s Pixar scores. And that’s what endeared me to it. Of course, give me a month and I might swap my opinion on that against Ford v Ferrari, but now, I’d put him on. Motherless Brooklyn is a beautiful free-form jazz score that is right up my alley. Marriage Story is pure Randy Newman. And not Pixar Randy Newman, either. Film composer Randy Newman. And it really hit me right in the nostalgia bone. It’s no Pleasantville, but it’s a wonderful score. John Williams. Star Wars. I think enough is said there. And Little Women — Alexandre Desplat had me within the first six notes. It’s like that year he did The Imitation Game, and the minute that score started I went, “Oh, holy shit.” This one was not quite that, but it had me immediately and I knew that one was on.

In fact, that’s my favorite score on this list. Desplat gets another one of my votes. I’ve said it for a while, that he’s my favorite working composer. So it’s really no surprise that yet again he’s gonna get my vote.

Best Original Song

“Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn

“Glasgow,” from Wild Rose

“High Above The Water” from Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

“Into The Unknown” from Frozen II

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman

Four of these were my preferred category (in an incredibly weak year for original songs). My fifth preferred choice (“I Punched Keanu Reeves,” from Always Be My Maybe) was not shortlisted. And I put the Toni Morrison song on there because it’s the only one I particularly cared for in any way past a general indifference or dislike.

Of the shortlisted songs, I didn’t particularly like “Letter To My Godfather,” “Spirit,” “Never Too Late,” “A Glass of Soju” or “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away.” “I’m Standing with You” was fine but whatever.” “Speechless” felt bland. “Catchy Song” was fine but I wouldn’t want to vote for it unless I absolutely had to. “Stand Up” was also fine but unspectacular and hard to differentiate among several other songs of similar import from recent years. And “Da Bronx” I did enjoy but that’s another one I wouldn’t necessarily put on unless I had to. And I almost had to. So “High Above the Water” makes the fifth spot and I really don’t particularly care about this category.

The vote for me is Thom Yorke, just because I loved that song, though I’m totally cool with “Glasgow” being a winner or even Elton John again. He won 25 years ago, but I’m cool if that’s what we wanna do again. Frozen would be a weak winner to me. But this is just my ballot. So I’m taking Thom Yorke. That would be an amazing speech he won’t give.

Best Production Design

1917

Knives Out

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

1917 is pure productions design. World War I, trenches, and it’s a oner type movie, so they had to get their sets mapped out so they can shoot the way they did. That was obvious. And Once Upon a Time — of course. Little Women was another gimme. And so was Parasite, since that entire movie is basically two houses. And Knives Out was another gimme — that entire house is just a stunning piece of production design. So really, my category was done for me pretty simply.

Which means that without thinking, I had a category and now have to think about what other movies had really great production design I couldn’t have voted for. Like Joker, like Ad Astra, like Ford v Ferrari, like Dolemite, like The Lighthouse, like Jojo, like A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Production design was great this year.

I also have no clue what I’d vote for in this category. Kinda has to be Quentin, since even though he’s using a lot of stuff that still exists, that movie feels like you’re in 1969 Hollywood. 1917 and Knives Out would also be major contenders for me. And Parasite also kind has to be right up there too. I can literally vote for this entire category. So for now I’ll say Quentin and not melt my brain trying to actually have to make a real choice.

Best Costume Design

Dolemite Is My Name

Jojo Rabbit

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rocketman

I’m always bad at figuring out this category. Because most of the time, I’m just thinking frills or thinking, “Well that one costume looked nice.” I’m not a great arbiter of this. So I just went through and figured which ones made me remember the costumes most.

Once Upon a Time and Little Women were obviously the first two. Dolemite also had flashy costumes, so that’s three. And obviously Rocketman. So that was four. The fifth spot — I thought about Knives Out, because of that sweater, but that wasn’t happening for real. Jojo was really the one for me. Because Sam Rockwell’s costume at the end, Taika as Hitler, and then the Scarlett costume is basically what you have to get you to that big moment near the end. I thought they did a great job there, and rather than have to sit there and really look up a bunch of other films and look through at a bunch of costumes (like The Aeronauts, or A Hidden Life or The Souvenir or whatever), I went with that.

The vote is either Once Upon a Time or Little Women. I’m thinking I’m gonna vote Little Women for now and then figure out my real opinion later. This part doesn’t matter. The point here is just getting a category going.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

1917

Bombshell

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rocketman

We’ve got a shortlist of ten, so I worked from there. I was never gonna nominate Maleficent. Half the makeup in that movie is CGI to me. I know it’s not, but that’s what it feels like. Downton Abbey was a boring choice and I wasn’t going there. Joker felt like it was pretty much for his face paint and the grease in his hair. I just didn’t wanna do it. Judy also felt like a boring choice to me, so I didn’t go there. And Dolemite… just missed.

In terms of the category — of course Rocketman, of course Once Upon a Time. Little Women I thought was stunning in terms of how they didn’t give them these pristine old-timey haircuts and let their hair actually exist like it would in real life at a time when they couldn’t exactly take showers all the time and have all these products to keep their hair looking like it does in these movies. So that was really impressive to me. Bombshell — Charlize and Nicole Kidman look very much like their counterparts, and Lithgow as Ailes looked good and wasn’t distracting like fat suits tend to be. So that’s on. And 1917 — war movie. Lot of scars and dirt and shit on people. So I’m good with all of that.

In terms of the vote… that’s where it gets interesting. I. Don’t. Know. It’s either Little Women, Bombshell or Once Upon a Time for me, and since I can’t figure it out now, let’s just take Little Women.

Best Visual Effects

1917

Avengers: Endgame

The Irishman

The Lion King

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Well this was an easy category for me to pick. Of the shortlist — I wasn’t voting for Terminator. I wasn’t voting for Gemini Man. And I wasn’t voting for Captain Marvel. I’d have considered Alita, but there was no way it was getting on over the other five. That’s one where, technically in terms of pure effects, I’m sure it is one of the best efforts of the year. But also… I just kinda liked the other films better, and it’s my ballot. And then Cats I was only gonna put on as a complete joke. And even I wouldn’t stoop that far.

So we’re left with five films — The Lion King is a pure animated film, save the opening shot. And it looks stunning. So that’s on. Star Wars I will always put on. The Irishman gets on because they de-aged actors for an entire film. That’s impressive as shit. Endgame for sure gets on too. And 1917 — war movie done in a single shot. They had to have a lot of effects there, and I bet most of them were practical. I’m always down for war effects. That’s a great looking category to me.

I’m curious to see if this ends up being the actual category. I feel like Alita has a shot at getting on over something (probably 1917), but there’s a legitimate shot at this being the actual Oscar category. Which is cool.

In terms of a vote… fuck, that’s hard. I kinda wanna say Lion King. Irishman makes the most sense, but I think Lion King is my vote right now. Let’s wait and see four of these or five of these get nominated and then I’ll actually have to have a real opinion. But for now, I think Lion King actually is my vote.

Best Sound Editing

1917

Ford v Ferrari

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Uncut Gems

Every time I pick the Sound categories, I’m acutely aware of why they’ve finally said, “Maybe we should combine them into a single category.” It’s really difficult to not have most or all of them the same. Even if you know the difference between the two categories.

Here’s the difference: Sound Editing is the compilation of all the things that go into the movie: effects, dialogue, ADR, music. The music part is basically score, but it’s also how you weave it into the scenes and against the action. So I get it. Dialogue… speaks for itself. ADR is also hugely important because sometimes you can throw an extra line in there somewhere and change a scene dramatically. And effects… obviously. So I’m really gonna try to think about each one and consider which films really impressed me with each specific area, and then Mixing I’ll only think of the actual mix itself rather than the specific elements being involved in the mix.

So here… in terms of pure effects… Ford v Ferrari had to get on. That’s a no brainer. 1917 is a war movie, and those always are big on effects. So that was an easy one for me too. Uncut Gems was also a very quick one for me, because I heard the Safdies say they wrote something like 100 pages of ADR to add to their movie. There’s a lot of overlapping lines all over the place in that movie, and I felt that should be shouted out. Once Upon a Time was another one I put on pretty quick as well. Just the way they weave the music in and out, giving you the diegetic radio stuff, and then the pure action stuff at those times in the movie… I thought they did a great job. Maybe more of a Mixing nominee than an Editing nominee, but fuck it, I’m going both.

And in thinking about the final nominee, I considered Ad Astra for it, but since it’s more of a drama than a space movie in al ot of ways, I’m not sure I could fully convince myself to put it on. Of course you think John Wick in that scenario, given how many damn gun shots are in it. But also, how could you not go Star Wars in a situation like this? That franchise was built on sound and they always get nominated, and with good reason. They created an entire company because of the sound effects in that movie. And honestly, I’m happy to give them one more nomination. I thought about my other choices here, and was happy to put Star Wars on as the fifth one.

In terms of the vote, the answer is Ford v Ferrari. The racing scenes are just incredibly edited, and there’s a lot of dialogue and a lot of music… it’s everything you want out of a winner in this category.

Best Sound Mixing

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Waves

So now, Mixing is the entire sound mix, rather than just the compilation of the sounds. So I’m trying to focus on that aspect so as not to flood the two categories with entirely the same nominees. However, I’m gonna have to do it twice — Ford v Ferrari was a brilliant mix and deserves both nominations. And Once Upon a Time is more of a Mixing film than an editing film. After that — I loved what they did with Waves and absolutely adored the entire mix of that film, so that was my third choice.

After that… it took some thinking. I was trying to think which films really stood out to me as having a great overall sound design, rather than running to nominate the same things. I also didn’t want to just go musical, with Rocketman. And honestly, while Rocketman was fun… not sure I particularly loved the sound design there all that much. I gave Irishman a nomination here, since Marty’s films generally have a good mix, and he always does a good job with weaving music in and out, putting in effects at the right moments and just creating a nice atmosphere for a film. You hear it in something like Goodfellas or The Departed most, but it’s here too. I appreciated what they did with that film. And the last spot, I struggled with, so in the end, to save time, I just went Star Wars again. Because that is the epitome of big Hollywood sound design. And honestly, I’ve got better things to do than sit there and think about best sound design for a list like this that doesn’t mean much of anything.

Once Upon a Time would be the vote for me in this category. I loved how they put that film together.

Best Animated Feature

Frozen II

Klaus

Missing Link

Okko’s Inn

Toy Story 4

Okay, we’ve got a list of 32 eligibles. I have seen 26 of them. I have not seen: Away, Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles, The Last Fiction, Marona’s Fantastic Tale, Rezo, The Swallows of Kabul. I’m probably gonna rent Buñuel soon because I can, but to this point I have not done that. Away sounds really cool to me, as does The Swallows of Kabul, and had I been able to see them by now, perhaps they’d have been on my eventual list. But I haven’t, so they’re not. Marona’s Fantastic Tale sounds cool, but I doubt even if I saw it I’d have nominated it. Rezo sounds like I’d have been indifferent toward it and The Last Fiction sounds like something I would not like at all. So really it’s just Away and The Swallows of Kabul. Would have been nice, but I’m fine as-is with the category. No one really bothers with the stuff they haven’t heard of anyway.

Of the ones I have seen, there were 6 I straight up did not like: The Addams Family, Angry Birds 2, Ne Zha, Promare, Upin & Ipin, White Snake. The last four were because they were foreign and the genres just did nothing for me. Angry Birds is because fuck a movie based on an app. And Addams Family just sucked. I thought it was impossible to fuck up The Addams Family. I was wrong.

There were another 5 that I thought were well made and all, but just didn’t care about: Abominable, Children of the Sea, How to Train Your Dragon 3, Lego Movie 2, Secret Life of Pets 2. Just straight indifference from me all around. There’s always gonna be a bunch of animated stuff that just doesn’t do it for me that I leave to those who did get something out of them.

Then we have another 9 that I thought were just fine, but wouldn’t have nominated: Another Day of Life, Dilili in Paris, Funan, Pachamama, Primal, Spies in Disguise, This Magnificent Cake, Tower, Weathering with You. Weathering with You is the same as Your Name, which I thought was just fine but also didn’t do it for me. Tower was nice, with mixed animation styles, but the story didn’t do much for me. This Magnificent Cake should have been an animated short and I’m not sure why they put it at feature. Spies in Disguise I surprisingly didn’t hate, even though I didn’t think much of it past, “Sure.” Primal was fine. No dialogue, dinosaurs fucking shit up. But it’s basically a TV show edited into a feature. That’s cheating. And I didn’t like it enough to vote for it anyway. Pachamama was just fair. Funan was serious, but I wouldn’t vote for it. Dilili in Paris looked good but the story was weird as hell. And Another Day of Life was another serious one that was just fine.

But, if you’re doing the math, that leaves six films left that I’d be okay with nominating. Which meant that one had to get left off. Unfortunately that one was I Lost My Body. That’s the one where… I just was more interested in the dude and girl’s story than I was in the hand. Looked nice and all, and they might nominate it, but I just left it off in favor of the other five.

Of those five — Toy Story 4 was a gimme. Frozen II, as much as I’m annoyed at how bad the narrative is for a theatrical Disney feature, I did enjoy it enough to put it on in an incredibly weak year. (That’s the point where it would have been nice to maybe have the option of Away or The Swallows of Kabul, but oh well.) Missing Link — I’ll always put Laika on, even if I don’t necessarily love their films. The artistry of their stuff is just amazing. Okko’s Inn I thought was terrific. That was eveyr bit the film that Weathering with You wasn’t for me. That was closer to Ghibli than anything else and I really liked the emotional journey of the character. And then Klaus… I was really surprised by how much I liked that movie. And in the end, it held together for me as a full piece than I Lost My Body did. Artistically, that should have been the choice. But I’m picking which ones I felt best about nominating. And for me, Klaus was that fifth film. Again, would have been maybe nicer to have one of those I didn’t see (and to have it be worth putting on instead), but alas.

The vote is Toy Story 4, because that’s all I got. That’s the best film on the list. Is what it is.

Best International Film

Atlantics (Senegal)

Les Misérables (France)

Pain and Glory (Spain)

The Painted Bird (Czech Republic)

Parasite (South Korea)

Okay, I’m fudging this one a bit. I was supposed to watch the rest of the films I was able to get a hold of, but it never happened. It’ll happen this week, but not in time for this article to go up. So we’re just gonna go by what I’m thinking I’m gonna like best. Won’t really affect much of anything in the end, since we all know Parasite is the best film in the category and should and will win it. So that’s all by the bye.

I’ve seen three of these so far — Parasite is my #5 film of the year, so of course that’s on and that’s the vote. I saw Pain and Glory, which I quite enjoyed and would be totally fine seeing nominated. Honeyland — ehh. Didn’t care. Didn’t do anything for me even though it was fine.

Of the rest, I have a copy of Les Mis I have a copy of Atlantics, I have a copy of Beanpole and I have a copy of Truth and Justice. So I’ll watch all of those in the next week or so. It won’t affect tomorrow’s article and I’m not going back to change this, but for the actual Oscar night article, I’ll mention which ones I liked best in my little ‘this is what I’d vote for’ recap at the top of the category.

I saw a trailer for Les Mis in a theater and actually said, “Wow, that looks good.” Which, for me to say that about a foreign film usually means that I’m gonna like it. So I’ll put that on the list. Atlantics also sounds really interesting and seems to be really good from what I’m hearing, so I’ll put that on too. Beanpole didn’t sway me one way or the other based on what I saw. Those Who Remained did not sound like my cup of tea. Truth and Justice… can’t tell. Corpus Christi sounds like it could be cool, but from the minute I heard about it on the longlist of eligibles, The Painted Bird caught my eye. So let’s assume I know me well enough that I’d like that one over the others and make that my fifth choice.

Like I said, I’m voting for Parasite here no matter what happens, so the rest of the nominees are fairly irrelevant. I would have liked to have seen most of them before this article, but hey, shit happens. If all goes well, by the time you’re reading this, I’m knee deep in actually watching some of them so I can be more prepared (if that’s even a thing) for tomorrow’s article. You never know.

Best Documentary Feature

Apollo 11

Aquarela

For Sama

Maiden

Midnight Family

So we had a shortlist of 15 for this category. Of that shortlist:

  • Loved: Apollo 11, Maiden
  • Liked: The Apollo, Aquarela, For Sama
  • Was fine: The Biggest Little Farm, The Great Hack, Honeyland, Knock Down the House
  • Whatever: American Factory, The Edge of Democracy, One Child Nation
  • Haven’t seen: Advocate, The Cave, Midnight Family

I’m not big on documentaries generally, especially when they’re about serious or political topics. It takes a lot to really get me invested in one of those, because generally I get what it’s about within fifteen minutes and then feel like I’m being beaten over the head the rest of the time. I need to be engaged or entertained to wanna watch a documentary, which is why I tend to gravitate toward the ones with fun topics or real emotional angles to them. As such, some of the documentaries people really liked — American Factory, One Child Nation, The Edge of Democracy — they did nothing for me. I was bored out of my mind while watching them. Knock Down the House I enjoyed just because it had the nice, uplifting message of hope about fixing the deeply broken political system, but I’d have only voted for that if I had nothing else. Honeyland, I mentioned in Foreign Language Film, was whatever to me. The Great Hack actually managed to hold my attention in a Fyre Festival way, where you’re watching obviously guilty people try to make themselves look better by informing on even more guilty people. The Biggest Little Farm is pleasant, but to me it’s basically We Bought a Zoo, but even more white.

Apollo 11 was perhaps the best documentary I saw this year, so that was an automatic add for me. Maiden was also amazing, so that was also automatic. For Sama was incredibly emotional and a beautiful documentary, so that was #3. Aquarela is just beautiful shots of water without anyone annoying me by talking over it. All things being equal, give me that over American Factory any day. So I put that on. And while I loved The Apollo and how it chronicles that theater and slice of American culture, I didn’t feel a need to nominate it. So instead I went with one of the ones I haven’t seen, Midnight Family, which sounds like it’s awesome — about a family in Mexico who runs their own private ambulance service, and it’s about competing private ambulance services. Which just sounds like it’s gonna be really awesome to watch. I feel like it’s gonna both be entertaining while also raising some interesting ideas about a lot of different pressing social subjects. So I put that on as fifth. Advocate is about a lawyer representing political criminals. That doesn’t seem like it’s up my alley at all, and The Cave is about female doctors in Syria struggling to save people during the Civil War with limited resources while also dealing with sexism. Could be great, could not. Can’t tell.

Really, here’s the thing — if we’re going by what sounds most interesting to me, I’ll take Midnight Family. If I have to only nominate what I’ve seen, then it’s The Apollo. Doesn’t really matter, since in the end my vote is either Apollo 11 or Maiden. I’d love if For Sama could win the actual category around my personal vote, but for me personally, I think the vote is just Apollo 11. That was just a stunning documentary. Maiden I liked a lot, but I’d rather just see the film version of that story. The documetnary was fine, but it felt like a gateway to a feature. Apollo 11 is just a perfect entity.

Best Documentary Short

After Maria

In the Absence

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

The Nightcrawlers

Stay Close

As of this moment, I’ve seen 9/10 of the shortlist. St. Louis Superman is the only one I have not seen.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone is tremendous and probably will win this category. It’s great. In the Absence is also very good. Stay Close I enjoyed quite a bit as well. And the Nightcrawlers was very solid. Learning to Skateboard can be watched via PBS, In the Absence and Stay Close are both NY Times Op-Docs. Nightcrawlers is on Youtube via National Geographic.

Of the ones I did not choose, I didn’t particularly care for Fire in Paradise (which is on Netflix) or Walk Run Cha-Cha (another Op-Doc). And of the remaining three, all things being equal, I went with the one that felt like it was about something important. Which was After Maria (on Netflix). Ghosts of the Sugar Land (on Netflix) was interesting, but it didn’t really accomplish all that much to me. And Life Overtakes Me (on Netflix) was fine, but I think the issue of Hurricane Maria and the current administration’s indifference to helping those affected by it felt like the most pressing subject matter remaining (especially given that Puerto Rico was just hit by another earthquake). So I’m good with this list. I’m sure the eventual category will look nothing like this, I’m sure, but this is the one I like the best.

Learning to Skateboard is for sure the vote. That was amazing.

Best Live Action Short

Brotherhood

Miller & Son

Nefta Football Club

The Neighbors’ Window

Sometimes, I Think About Dying

I’ve seen six of the ten shortlisted films. Of the six, Little Hands was the one I’d be okay not nominating. Not having seen the other four or really getting a sense of what they’re about, I’m gonna vote for the five I’ve seen and liked.

The four I still need to see are The Christmas Gift, Refugee, Saria and A Sister. A Sister looks like a film I’ve seen shortlisted or nominated in this category a lot recently. It’s basically — woman gets a call from her sister, who is seemingly being kidnapped by a dude. And it’s the frantic ‘I need to help her’ type phone call. At least, that’s the gist I got from the trailer. So, having seen The Phone Call, or that foreign language film from a few years ago with the dispatch operator, or the live action short with the woman getting the call from her child who is alone on a beach somewhere and his father missing… I feel like it’s not gonna give me anything new from what I’ve already seen. The Christmas Gift could very much be something I’d nominate, I don’t know. Saria and Refugee… can’t tell. And since I’m perfectly fine with the other five I have seen, I’m just gonna take them.

Brotherhood is very solid, even though the ending comes pretty abruptly, just as you start to get interested in what’s going on. (In the end, I feel like one of the others would probably have taken its spot were I able to see them in time for this article.) Miller & Son is all around pretty solid and thank god doesn’t do anything too crazy at the end to diminish it. I think that would probably have gotten on regardless. Nefta Football Club is a comic short with a fun punchline. That also seems like I’d put it on if I saw all ten. The Neighbors’ Window is just amazing and emotional and wonderful. That’s my favorite short of the year. And Sometimes I Think About Dying is fun and quirky, even though I wish it had just a bit more substance. But if the others are too overly serious, I’d probably have gone with that just to at least have something I moderately enjoyed.

The Neighbors’ Window is my vote. I don’t know if I’m gonna see any other short that’s better to me than that one. I really liked it a lot.

Best Animated Short

Dcera

Hair Love

Hors Piste

Mind My Mind

Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days

This was a tough one because I’ve only seen five of the shortlisted ten, and I had to go into the ones I haven’t seen in order to fill out the category. Which is never good, because I’m basically just going by what I think I’ll think of them.

Of the shortlist — I haven’t seen He Can’t Live Without Cosmos, Memorable, Mind My Mind, Dcera and The Physics of Sorrow. I really liked Hair Love a lot, liked Uncle Thomas and thought Hors Piste was very fun. I didn’t particularly love Kitbull (I thought the story was trading too hard on cute animals and not really giving us anything of value) and Sister was just okay, even though it looked nice.

So, looking at the rest of the choices — The Physics of Sorrow I get the gist of, just because I saw the director’s previous movie, Blind Vaysha, which was nominated a few years ago. That animation style is gorgeous and I’d normally put it on purely on that alone. Dcera also looks stunning, and it’s the fact that they’re doing the stop-motion and doing some interesting camerawork in the little bit that I saw that makes me think I’d really like it. And Mind My Mind looks wonderfully drawn and also looks like it’s gonna have a good story to it as well. So I’ll take Dcera straight up, and the fifth spot was either Physics of Sorrow or Mind My Mind. I’m gonna take Mind My Mind on the story angle, because I’m not sure what I’d love about Physics of Sorrow past just looking at it.

The vote, currently is Hair Love, though I reserve the right to alter that choice after I’ve seen the rest of the nominees.

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