And the Nominees Are: Analyzing the 92nd Academy Award Nominations
Okay, so Oscar nominations are out. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. I posted the list earlier, but by itself and without comment, because I woke up at 5:30 and typed the nominations As they were spoken. This is all from the time between then and now, as I’ve thought about it all and could talk somewhat coherently about it all.
Somehow I thought they started reading the nominations at 5:30. You know, like it said. So I woke up and saw Issa Rae and John Cho had already finished half the nominees. So I went back, hurriedly typed out twelve categories and caught it just as they started round two. At least I didn’t sleep totally through them, which has happened before.
Anyway, the thing I always say now is — we’ve just crossed that Autosave zone. There’s no going back now. No more talk about what can or will be nominated — this is the list. This is what we have now and in perpetuity. We get our ‘shouldn’t have been nominated’ stuff out now, but this is what we got. Now all that matters is what’s going to win. And that’s what we’ll be talking about for the next 24 days. Because literally I have to start category breakdowns TOMORROW due to the truncated schedule. We’re gonna go 24 days from tomorrow through all the categories and that takes us to two days BEFORE the Oscars. That’s how short this time period is.
But anyway, let’s see how it all went down. What the surprises were, where the snubs came, what this means for picking the winners. All that good stuff.
Here are your 92nd Academy Award nominations:
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Nine nominees. As soon as I heard Ford v Ferrari, I knew we were getting nine. There was no way they were leaving Little Women off if Ford v Ferrari got on. The precursor set up made it feel like 9. Knives Out was the one that got left off, and in the end, we got the exact list it looked like we were gonna get. And I, for one, am thrilled. This is 7 of my top ten. I knew I was stuck with Marriage Story and Joker, but the rest are in my top ten. All that’s missing is Knives Out, Motherless Brooklyn and Waves. And Knives Out missed, Motherless Brooklyn is just a ‘me’ thing that I didn’t need to see nominated, and Waves I’ll continue saying is one of the biggest snubs of the year (mostly in the acting categories). I can live with this, though. This is a great list.
PGA went 9/9, with Knives Out being an omission due to only nine nominees. BFCA went 9/9, with them having Uncut Gems as their #10. Everyone had this list. This was the consensus list, and it’s nice to see a consensus list we can all get behind. I don’t think there’s anything we all out and out think is a piece of shit on here or something where you’re like, “The Blind Side… really?”
It should be a fun race. I wanna see what the PGA does. BAFTA I suspect will go in on 1917. If they go in elsewhere, then it gets interesting. But the PGA is really gonna tell us how this race is gonna go. What if 1917 was the choice all along? It certainly doesn’t feel like Marty’s got any momentum to actually win anything, and I remain baffled by this outpouring of support for Joker. But okay, that’s what they voted for. There’s always one movie I’m baffled about each year. I feel like it’s Once Upon a Time, 1917 and Parasite as the ones who can really win it, with the only monkey wrench being the lack of Editing nomination for Once Upon a Time. But we’ll see. I’m just happy we got a good list.
Big takeaways: No big takeaways other than we got a really badass Best Picture list. Because when you look at how things are shaping up, you know certain things you have to live with. You know your limitations so to speak, so really all you want is to stretch the possibilities as far and as well as possible. And they did that with this list. There’s some great stuff on here. And I have to say… almost across the board, too. There’s stuff for just about everyone on the spectrum of loving movies. You can dislike one corner, but you’ve got your own corner to go into if you want to. That’s nice. Overall, there aren’t a lot of big takeaways because we basically got what we expected. But it’s still nice to see. I’m very pleased with this.
Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Sam Mandes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Todd Phillips sidling up to the Best Director list:
I mean, I think we all saw that coming. I put Noah Baumbach on my guesses list just because that’s the one that would have immediately made my spirits drop if I saw it. At least Phillips I can go, “Well yeah, he got nominated like everywhere else.” The DGA miss actually was a positive for him, because the DGA is always one off. It would have been more improbable had he got on there. Which sounds stupid to say, but… kinda.
Otherwise, the other four were basically locked all the way through. So no real surprises there. DGA goes 4/5 as they usually do and it’s starting to feel like no matter how Best Picture goes, Sam Mendes is gonna win this one. But it’s early. We’ll see. I resigned myself to Todd Phillips in that last spot, but those other four… great list. Again, hard to be too mad with this one because even if I may disagree… they demonstrated (with 11) nominations that they liked Joker. I can’t fault them for having a preference and showing it.
Big takeaways: No Taika, which no one was really taking seriously until that DGA thing. And they’re usually one off. So in the end, we got the list most people should have been expecting. I do my thing to make things easier on myself. I was only half-expecting Noah Baumbach to actually get there, and most of that was so I could hedge my disappointment with, “Hey, I got it right.” This should have been expected on a pure numbers level. Really my big takeaway is… the precursors told the true story. They don’t always do that.
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
Am I the only one who immediately made that connection upon hearing the nominees list? Probably, right?
Is this cosmic justice for Terry Gilliam finally getting it made?
But wow, I can’t believe I pulled Antonio Banderas. I totally expected to get that wrong. Me getting that right made my entire day and made me totally fine with whatever I got wrong here. And the fact that they didn’t nominate Taron Egerton made me even happier. I’m going down the list typing and I realize, “Wait, we’re on Joaquin? That means no Taron. Who’s… oh shit, Pryce?” And then I remembered Man Who Killed Don Quixote and it made me insanely happy.
I managed to go 4/5 and it’s because I put Antonio on. So all I got wrong was Pryce over Egerton. Which… fair. Also… I’m so fucking happy. Remember when I said yesterday that we’re all in this weird Oscar bubble and that when Egerton doesn’t get nominated we’re all gonna step back and go, “That does make sense. The performance wasn’t really that amazing”? I mean, of course you don’t, because no one actually bothered to read the 42,150 words I wrote and just skipped to the picks. I know how it goes.
Big takeaways: This does mean that both Popes were nominated. And it means that Joaquin has this shit on lockdown, in case you didn’t already think he did beforehand. Him and Leo and Driver are the only consistent things in the category. And with Joker getting 11 nominations, Joaquin can’t lose unless he straight up comes out and says some awful shit over the next month. Which he won’t do. He’ll be gracious and get his political statements across, but he won’t get too much into how bullshit it all is to the point where they don’t vote for him. Also, congrats Antonio Banderas on that first nomination. Good for him. It’s been a while and it’s nice to see him get that nomination. Also, can you imagine if Leo hadn’t won by now, the fever pitch we’d be at, knowing he was gonna lose to Joaquin and that Brad was gonna win?
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy
So we got the boring, expected five. I tried to spice it up by taking Awkwafina and hoping that came in, but that’s just me being difficult. I knew where this was going. Forgive me for actually thinking they’d nominate an Asian in an acting category.
There wasn’t anything else that made sense for this one, precursor wise. Saoirse got on pretty easily and Erivo got on. That means the only black actor nominated in an acting category was nominated for playing a slave. You realize that they’re actively fucking with you, right? That’s your bone they threw. “We want people of color nominated!” “Here’s a slave.”
All that aside, Cynthia Erivo is awesome, so I’m totally happy for her, especially since she pulled off the Mary J. Blige, Actress and Song in the same year. That’s fantastic. And honestly, as bad as I think that movie is and how badly it tells the Harriet Tubman story, it’s gonna look fine on paper, which is really all that matters historically. And apparently she can EGOT with a win here. It’s not gonna be this category, but theoretically Song is open.
Does that also make it three years in a row where someone (Blige, Gaga, her) is nominated for acting and Song? That’s nuts.
The rest of this is expected — Scarlett, Charlize and Renée hit everything and how could they have left off Saoirse? in a year like this? Of course she got on.
Big takeaways: Uhh… Renée Zellweger is gonna win unless Scarlett pulls off a BAFTA or SAG win? And even then, it’s tough. Otherwise, what’s the takeaway? The Academy is still kinda tone deaf and racist? We knew that. Not much to take away here other than the fact that I’ll be voting for Saoirse Ronan in this category on my personal ballot and it’s the most boring Best Actress category since 2013 and 2014.
Best 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
This was the obvious one. Everyone should have went 5/5 here. There was really no one else, unless they went foreign.
I like that Legends of the Fall reunion with Hopkins and Pitt.
Also funny that The Irishman was De Niro’s passion project and they all got nominated except him. But fuck — Pesci, nominated for Raging Bull, Goodfellas and this. The Scorsese trifecta.
This is also Pacino’s first nomination since Scent of a Woman, right? And Hopkins… that’s his first since Amistad. Shit. And Hanks… Cast Away? WOW. Everyone but Brad has not been nominated in 19 or more years. 2000 for Hanks, 1997 for Hopkins, 1992 for Pacino and 1990 for Pesci. And Brad’s last acting nomination was Moneyball in 2011. Holy shit.
Big takeaways: Brad Pitt’s gonna win an Oscar, guys. And Chris Cooper again got hosed. Which I’ve been saying all along, but it’s just the final nail in that coffin. And again… both Popes. One pope goes one way, one pope goes another and Joe Pesci’s like, “What do you want from me?” PLEASE someone at one of the parties or luncheons get that photograph. PLEASE someone get that photograph. Stage it if you have to, just get it.
Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Well, it’s Kathy Bates. I had a feeling that the lack of coordination for specific categories for Parasite was gonna prevent those nominations from coming in. And in the end, the veteran makes sense. Honestly, all she needed was BFCA on top of the Globe nomination and I’d have probably had her on as fifth even as I thought a foreign nominee could come in. It makes total sense on every level except, “Where the fuck are the precursors?” She had critics groups and NBR and all that… but they don’t vote here. So I don’t know where the support came from. Still, I like her, so that’s cool. She’s the only actress out there who can play a character in a western named “Ma” and you just totally understand it immediately.
Otherwise — Scarlett is a double nominee. And she’s gonna lose twice. Florence gets on, which I’m thrilled about. And NO JENNIFER LOPEZ. I said all along that was the only acting nomination I was invested in seeing not happen. And I’m gonna be loud right about it. Because I have so many stupid friends who think they know the Oscars, but all they read are the sites that take what the people who don’t know what they’re talking about are saying and then run with it and make people think shit like that could actually happen. Did you really think Jennifer Lopez was gonna be nominated for an Oscar? For Hustlers? I mean, really. Grow up.
Though that would have made her the first person ever to be nominated for an Oscar and perform the Super Bowl halftime show in the same year. (Christopher Plummer did it in consecutive years.)
But yeah, I kinda half-figured Florence would get on, but still couldn’t figure out that last spot. I didn’t think The Farewell had the real support out there to get anything but Screenplay (which it didn’t even get), so my guess was just a filler for, “I can’t make sense of this.” And instead we got Kathy Bates, who seemed like an automatic nominee at the beginning of the race. So we’re back to the beginning and we have a pretty decent category, all things considered. I’d have preferred Cho Yeo-jeong and Zhao Shuzhen (and Taylor Russell, while we’re at it). But I can live with this category because J-Lo isn’t on it.
Big takeaways: I think I did that already. But I guess it’s just that Laura Dern is further locked for that Oscar. Scarlett is the only one who can siphon votes away from her because of the double nomination. But that’s it. It’s hers. Oh, and the other takeaway — I FUCKING SAID JENNIFER LOPEZ WASN’T GONNA BE NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR. Trust me, it’s important I say that. I’ve got a lot of text conversations where I’ve been steadfast about this since precursors started. It’s nothing against her, it’s just making other people own up to their shit. I own up to when I’m wrong, so I expect everyone reading this who tried to tell me about J-Lo to come clean. In fact —
Best Original Screenplay
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Everyone should have had four of these no problem. The only question was that fifth spot. I guessed The Farewell, but instead they went all in on 1917, which you had to half-expect. Booksmart had the precursors, but I just knew that wasn’t gonna happen. Those types of comedies never get on. You only have to look at Eighth Grade last year to know that. Nothing too big or bad here at all and not really much to add, because it’s what was expected.
Big takeaways: They really like 1917. Otherwise, I assume this means Quentin wins his third Oscar. Unless they’re gonna go in on Parasite.
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Two Popes
I nailed this one. That was an easy one. There were only six choices, and I think we all figured these were all better choices than A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. There’s really not a whole lot to talk about with this one, because these were the expected five.
Big takeaways: Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig are both nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. And they’re writing a Barbie movie for Margot Robbie. But also, the two of them accounted for five acting nominations this year. And I think 12 overall nominations? Not bad. Oh, and the category feels pretty open for the win, doesn’t it? Greta just won BFCA, so we’ll see how that works out. I’d love to see her win it. But it’s gonna be an interesting one.
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood gets left off. That is the only headline for this category. And it wasn’t for 1917, either. Which is interesting. I thought for sure they’d go all in on the ‘non editing’ movie just because they loved it. But no, we got Jojo and Joker and the casualty was Quentin. I wonder how much of that is what everyone’s said about his last two films… since Sally died, the editing has gone downhill. Quentin’s never been nominated for Editing without Sally. I really do wonder if that’s it.
But anyway, the top six were all there and the only surprise here was an exclusion rather than an inclusion, since all the evidence to this point suggests 1917 and Once Upon a Time are the frontrunners for the win. So to see neither here (one by default) is interesting. Otherwise… we had to have expected at least four of these. This category was always gonna be a ‘what did they leave out’. And it just turns out that the one they left out was not one we were expecting.
Big takeaways: This will make the Best Picture race more interesting, otherwise as a pure category, it’s solid. Does Ford v Ferrari win this on ‘most’ editing? Or does Parasite win it? Or does Joker or Jojo win it? Or do they just give it to Thelma again because it’s Thelma? This’ll be interesting. We may have another 2011 on our hands.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
I had this one cold. I knew not to bite on Ford v Ferrari.
Deakins, Richardson and the black and white movie were obviously on. Irishman you had to figure because it hit everything and it’s Marty. And Joker felt like it was gonna get on. Ford v Ferrari was bringing up the rear in that list. There were only six choices, and these five made the most sense and fit the branch the most. Good shit. I love this category (though admittedly I’d have put Ford v Ferrari or Little Women on instead of Irishman and/or Joker).
Big takeaways: Deakins is gonna win his second Oscar, baby! Unless they go in on Bob, which I guess is possible, but all signs point to Rog right now. And that’s awesome. After all those years of getting ignored. You can’t retroactively give him an Oscar for Assassination of Jesse James or True Grit or Skyfall, but you can give him a second one now.
Best Original Score
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
BOOM. That’s another 5/5 for me. Shit. I’m doing better than I thought. Maybe it’s because I got massacred in the shorts categories as we expect to and it felt worse because they did the categories out of order. But wow. That’s more 5/5s than I was expecting. I probably should be keeping track, but that’ll all work itself out in the end.
This was an easy one because these were the only five scores that made sense. You knew Johnny was getting on. You knew Joker was on. You knew 1917 was on. And Little Women is Desplat. Of course he was on. So it was either Marriage Story or Jojo. And Giacchino’s never been nominated outside of Pixar. Of course it was Randy. That score hit just about everything and felt like it was the choice all along. This should have been an easy 5/5 for everyone.
Big takeaways: I think the takeaway is that Joker’s gonna win. Desplat feels like he should, but give me just about any category he’s in and I’ll probably say that. Cousins Randy and Thomas Newman are both nominated in the same category, which is pretty cool. Thomas Newman’s about to be 0-15. And I think this is #52 for John Williams? Full deck of cards.
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
Randy Newman: nominated for a Marriage Story and a Toy Story in the same year.
I kinda figured they’d go there, though I refused to guess it because I’d have been so pissed if I guessed him on principle and was wrong. I’m happier being wrong this way. But what’s interesting about this is… they swapped a gimme off for the one I thought they’d put on, so in the end, I went 4/5. And I really shouldn’t have. But I did.
“Glasgow” isn’t nominated, depriving Mary Steenburgen of that nomination, but “Stand Up” gets on, giving Cynthia Erivo that double nomination. Otherwise, Diane Warren is on, of course, Rocketman is on and Frozen is on. Really, there were only six choices here, turns out. So I was spot on in my analysis of this category, and was gonna go 4/5 either way, because I’d have put Randy on instead of “Stand Up.” But also, 4/5 in Song? I’ll take that shit almost every year.
Oh, and I guess I should also mention — I really hope none of you actually had Beyoncé on your lists and actually thought that was coming in. Because that shit was obvious.
Big takeaways: I think really the only takeaway is that either Elton John is gonna win or Bobby Lopez is gonna triple EGOT. That’s really it. Breakthrough won’t get the votes, I doubt Randy wins. This isn’t like the last time, where the category was bland and they went for the one they knew. And “Stand Up” would need a hell of a push to get there. I think this is Frozen or Elton.
Best Production Design
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Wow. 4/5 here. It was the Jojo/Joker swap. I had Joker on but it was Jojo, my Alternate. I did well. How did this happen?
There’s not a whole lot for me to talk about with these categories because everything’s getting nominated everywhere. All the Best Picture nominees have like six nominations apiece. It’s the same films in every category. And that was all expected. So there’s no a whole lot to talk about because… we figured this would happen.
But yeah, Parasite got on, which is a big deal. It’s contemporary and shows they really loved it. Otherwise, California got on and New York didn’t.
Big takeaways: The City of Los Angeles might win its second Production Design Oscar in four years. Otherwise no real big takeaways to be had here. We got five of the top six contenders, all are Best Picture nominees and it’s a pretty straightforward category. Good for them. Good category.
Best Costume Design
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
No Rocketman. Good for them. Irishman gets on because of Sandy and no Dolemite, which I had on from BFCA.
But wow… did Joker just get on Costumes with no precursors? That’s interesting. It got left off Production Design but they put it on Costumes? Oh… it’s Mark Bridges. I see how that happened. Got it. Makes sense. That was an oversight. That should have at least been in contention on overall nominations alone. Oh well, can’t catch ’em all (unless you’re in Kanto).
Big takeways: None? I mean, this is the same general list as everything else. I assume Once Upon a Time or Little Women wins this, but who the hell knows. We’ll see how things shake out. Hard to have big takeaways when the same things are in every category. Mostly I’m just happy that Rocketman got the nominations you’d have expected it to get. Which are minimal.
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Fucking Maleficent. Of the entire set of Oscar nominations, this might be the only one that annoys me. Fucking why? But hey, it’s the first year of five. So it’s fine.
I can’t believe I got three of these. Bombshell and Joker were gimmes. Judy I had, but wasn’t certain would come in. But with Renée on Actress it makes total sense. I thought Once Upon a Time would make it, but I guess not. And 1917 makes total sense, in the end. Probably should have had that, but I overestimated Rocketman. Shit happens. But good. We’ve got a Makeup category with five nominees on it for the first time ever. That’s the big takeaway here.
Big takeaways: Oh, right. Takeaways go here. Uhh… Bombshell is winning this. That’s the only takeaway here. Unless people are gonna just fucking sweep vote Joker everywhere (which hasn’t happened at the Oscars in a number of years, that anything wins more than like four or five total), Bombshell should win this one pretty easily.
Best Visual Effects
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
This was the expected category. I tried to pull a fast one with Alita on there, but all the precursors pointed to this category and 1917 was a big Best Picture contender. Makes total sense for it to have gotten on. This was the category. Absolutely zero surprises here.
Big takeaways: The big takeaway is now trying to figure out what wins. This will be a really interesting race to monitor over the next 25 days.
Best Sound Editing
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
I got nervous when they started to announce this. I thought for sure, “I’m fucked.”
But guess what? I WENT 5/5 HERE! How the fuck did that happen? We’ll get to Mixing later, and how bad that went. But you know what? 5/5 helps even shit out. This is fucking great.
This is the kind of category that makes me think, “You know, maybe I do know what I’m doing.” This and Antonio Banderas are all I really needed to make me okay with everything else. This was a great fucking pull. I’m really pleased.
I don’t know how to explain how I ended up at this particular category, so I’m just gonna take my 5/5 and run.
Big takeaways: 1917 and Ford v Ferrari are the frontrunners. That’s all you need to know. And we might not have two Sound categories anymore after this year.
Best Sound Mixing
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Mostly I’m happy that I called Star Wars on just one category. It was ballsy to put it on just Editing and not Mixing, but fuck, that worked out.
The mistake on my part was going two different. Sound categories match 4/5 every year, essentially. 1917 should have been on my list and I overestimated both Rocketman and Irishman. I tried to match the precursors too much. Had I put 1917 on and just one of them, I’d have done 9/10 in both Sound categories. I mean, I’ll take 8/10 ALL goddamn day and twice on Sunday but I could have had 9/10. No one could have seen Ad Astra coming, but shit, I’m thrilled about it. That sound design was great.
Overall, no major surprises here except that Rocketman ends up with just a single Song nomination and nothing more (because it’s not that great a movie) and Sound is Sound. 8/10 is a great way to end up there.
Big takeaways: 1917, Ad Astra. Maybe Mixing throws a curve with Once Upon a Time, but that’s about it. Should be pretty straightforward this year, and you’ll know pretty quick based on precursors if 1917 is gonna sweep these.
Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Toy Story 4
They left off Frozen. But Klaus got on. Yet again one where I guessed wrong, but also guessed right. I had Klaus on my list, but they left one of the gimmes off. So I went 4/5, but it’s not the 4/5 I thought I was getting. Whatever. I’ll take it.
I gotta say… I’m kinda happy Frozen didn’t make it. That’s what they get for that piss poor effort of a sequel.
Plus, I Lost My Body, while I didn’t love it… it’s artistic and that’s what we should be nominating in this category. So ultimately, I love this category.
Big takeaways: They basically just cleared the runway for Toy Story 4 to win this. Though holy shit, if Missing Link somehow starts winning and that’s the Laika movie that wins this category first and not Kubo… wow. But no, it’ll be Toy Story. We all know where this is going.
Best International Feature
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Les Misérables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea)
Well, you had the three gimmes. So everyone should have gone 3/5 here. Truly didn’t expect Honeyland to get on, and now Honeyland is on twice. And Corpus Christi got on, which I half expected. But Honeyland on both Doc and Foreign Language, that’s crazy.
Atlantics is the big snub here. But let’s not pretend like anyone really has a vested interest in this category past Parasite. Maybe you’re happy about Les Mis and Pain and Glory, but that’s about it.
Big takeways: Everyone stops caring about this category now. Because Parasite has it won and it’s the biggest lock of the night. This also means I don’t have to bother watching Truth and Justice or Beanpole. So that’s nice. Now all I gotta do is actually sit down and watch Les Mis and go find a copy of Corpus Christi in the next month, if I can.
Best Documentary Feature
The Edge of Democracy
The Documentary branch is broken. Fucking change the system right now.
Apollo 11 is off. And I expected it to be off. They always leave off the best one every year. You know it’s bad when you’re expecting them to fuck up. But Maiden got left off too! Legitimately the two most entertaining documentaries of the year. That’s like banning all fiction and mandating that people only read textbooks. Who’s in charge of this category, Dolores Umbridge?
I mean, seriously — do you just not want anyone to care about your category? Because it’s going there.
The Edge of Democracy feels like one of their usual boring ass choices. The Cave makes total sense, and For Sama should have been nominated. So they got two. Honeyland in both… whatever. And American Factory was always getting on.
But neither Maiden or Apollo 11 — you guys have fucked this category up beyond belief. Stop trying to game the system and just fucking vote your favorite goddamn docs. You’re leaving the only shit people care about off your lists, and now absolutely no one will care about this category.
Big takeaways: The Documentary branch is broken and needs to be fixed. We’re like five years too late on this one. It’s long overdue. Also, For Sama better win this category, because otherwise just burn it all down. (I reserve the right to also be okay with The Cave, once I’m able to see it.)
Best Documentary Short
In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
Life Overtakes Me
St. Louis Superman
Walk Run Cha-Cha
I feel like I should always just vote for the ones I think are the worst or didn’t see, because they’ll nominate them.
What the hell is Walk Run Cha-Cha doing on here? And I should have put St. Louis Superman on the list because I hadn’t seen it, and of course that would go on.
Life Overtakes Me I half expected. And the other two were gimmes because they were the best ones. So I went 2/5, but it’s Doc Short, so you never expect more than 2/5. So that’s par for the course.
Big takeaways: The hard part’s over. Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone is gonna win this. The work was getting here. This part’s easy.
Best Live Action Short
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window
2/5 again. Nefta and Neighbors’ Window, the two big gimmes. I’m surprised the trans short didn’t make it. Brotherhood was solid and I can easily see that being there.
A Sister is just horse shit. ANOTHER dispatch phone call thing? Is this the type? Is this where we’re at now? Saria I didn’t know anything about, so I can’t say either way either. Mostly I was guessing blindly, so I’m not surprised I did badly here.
Big takeaways: Something’s wrong if The Neighbors’ Window doesn’t win this. I mean, I have to see the bottom two, and maybe those are really good, but knowing this Academy, The Neighbors’ Window is exactly what wins this category most years.
Best Animated Short
I left Kitbull off on purpose, so of course that got on.
Another 2/5 in the end, because I didn’t think Sister would make it, though I could see how it could have.
Had Dcera and Hair Love, missed the rest, but Memorable was the alternate. And I feel like if I were able to see it, I’d have probably had it on. I do badly in shorts even when I’ve seen them all, because it’s such a crap shoot. That’s why you always have to expect to do 2/5 and be happy with anything more.
It’ll be interesting to see how this one goes in the voting.
Big takeaways: Fucking Pixar gets on again. Otherwise, Hair Love is amazing and I really wanna see Dcera and Memorable.
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Okay, let’s break down all those nominations and see what did what:
- Joker — 11 nominations (Picture, Director, Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Score, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
- 1917 — 10 nominations (Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Score, Production Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
- The Irishman — 10 nominations (Picture, Director, Supporting Actor x2, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Visual Effects)
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — 10 nominations (Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
- Jojo Rabbit — 6 nominations (Picture, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design)
- Little Women — 6 nominations (Picture, Actress, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Score, Costume Design)
- Marriage Story — 6 nominations (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Score)
- Parasite — 6 nominations (Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing, Production Design, International Feature)
- Ford v Ferrari — 4 nominations (Picture, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
- Bombshell — 3 nominations (Actress, Supporting Actress, Makeup & Hairstyling)
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — 3 nominations (Score, Visual Effects, Sound Editing)
- The Two Popes — 3 nominations (Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay)
- Harriet — 2 nominations (Actress, Song)
- Honeyland — 2 nominations (International Feature, Documentary Feature)
- Judy — 2 nominations (Actress, Makeup & Hairstyling)
- Pain and Glory — 2 nominations (Actor, International Feature)
- Toy Story 4 — 2 nominations (Song, Animated Feature)
- Ad Astra — 1 nomination (Sound Mixing)
- American Factory — 1 nomination (Best Documentary Feature)
- Avengers: Endgame — 1 nomination (Visual Effects)
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — 1 nomination (Supporting Actor)
- Breakthrough — 1 nomination (Song)
- Frozen II — 1 nomination (Song)
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World — 1 nomination (Animated Feature)
- I Lost My Body — 1 nomination (Animated Feature)
- Klaus — 1 nomination (Animated Feature)
- Knives Out — 1 nomination (Original Screenplay)
- The Lighthouse — 1 nomination (Cinematography)
- The Lion King — 1 nomination (Visual Effects)
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil — 1 nomination (Makeup & Hairstyling)
- Richard Jewell — 1 nomination (Supporting Actress)
- Rocketman — 1 nomination (Song)
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Tally by number of nominations:
11 nominations — Joker
10 nominations — 1917, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
6 nominations — Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Marriage Story, Parasite
4 nominations — Ford v Ferrari
3 nominations — Bombshell, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Two Popes
2 nominations — Harriet, Honeyland, Judy, Pain and Glory, Toy Story 4
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Biggest surprises, talking points, etc (in no particular order):
- Randy Newman, nominated for a Marriage story and a Toy story in the same year. The man can do it all.
- Joker gets the most overall nominations. That’s a surprise. I thought it would do well, but here we are. I’ve got really no words. They made their statement, and here we are.
- 11 nominations, however, is the least overall for the most nominated film since 2014, when both Birdman and Grand Budapest had 9. We’ve been spoiled the last couple of years with 12-14 at the top. This year, though, we got four films with ten or eleven nominations. That’s nuts.
- The Best Picture list is really solid and is the consensus list. Haven’t felt like this since 2016. Typically I’m generally okay with it all, but usually there’s one nomination where I’m like, “Really, guys?” 2016 was the last time I was as broadly okay with all the nominees as I am here, even if there are one or two I didn’t like as much as they did. But I can’t remember the last time a Best Picture list had 7 of my top 10 films on it. So at that point, a long as I didn’t hate any of the other three, that’s as good year.
- The Farewell gets totally shut out. That’s a shame. They have a bias against indies unless they blow up big. And a bias against Asian people, but that goes without saying. I’m surprised Parasite went over as well as it did, given how badly Asians are historically treated at the Oscars. But The Farewell… should have at least gotten Screenplay. I can see it getting squeezed for space, but that’s if you believe they’d have really nominated it. And no acting nominations… it fits the precursors, but it’s also a damn shame given how boring those two categories are.
- Greta Gerwig becomes only the second woman to direct more than one Best Picture nominee. (Kathryn Bigelow is the other, for Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.) It’s crazy that it’s never happened, but it’s impressive that it’s for (ostensibly) her first two films.
- Rocketman gets only one nomination, in Song. Taron Egerton is left off, it misses in Makeup and Costumes and Sound Mixing. The Egerton one is the big one. And I’ve been saying all along that I never bought him as a nominee. Until he won that Globe, I was ready to leave him off my guesses list. So I’m happy to see him left off. But also, it’s worth mentioning, since people did think he was gonna get there (and the category was open enough to where it seemed like he might).
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood gets left off Best Editing. That’s really the big talking point for this entire list. Greater than just about everything else. For anyone actually discussing winners and not getting into the social politics of it all, that’s the biggest deal of any of these nominees. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Though we seem to be trending toward a reality where anything can win anything, with or without Editing or Acting nominations. That dam has been tested for the past couple of years and it’s just a matter of time before it breaks.
- Antonio Banderas gets on Best Actor. He’s just the twelfth Best Actor nominee for a performance in another language. And only the ninth actor (since Marcello Mastroianni did it three times and Javier Bardem twice). And I’m thrilled about it because I love him and I can’t believe I fucking guessed it.
- Both Popes got nominated.
- I love that Don Quixote coincidence. That made me so happy when I realized that.
- John Williams does it again. That dude is automatic, and I love it.
- Thomas Newman and Randy Newman. Cousins. Both nominated in the same category. Randy used to be the one that could never win with double digit nominations. Now it’s Thomas. Maybe this is the year.
- Randy Newman has been nominated Original Song for every Toy Story movie. Diminishing returns each time — “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” to “When She Loved Me” to “We Belong Together” to “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” — but four songs, four nominations is a nice run.
- Frozen II — LEFT OFF. I’m happy, for multiple reasons. Because Abominable was left off too. Meaning the two open spots went to Klaus and I Lost My Body. There might be hope for that category just yet. They continue to surprise me with their ability to not give in to the Academy trying to broaden it out by opening up the voting. This is the branch leveling out to where it used to be, because only the people who care about it are voting and are actually voting fairly legitimately. Leaving off Frozen… that’s a move they’d have made five years ago. And I am HERE for it. They’d routinely leave Pixar sequels off in the past. In fact, Incredibles 2 might be the only non-Toy Story sequel to have made it. So this is actually a normal thing for them. But because they fucked with the voting to try to get more mainstream stuff on, we figured it opened up those floodgates. But apparently not. And that makes me happy. The branch still has integrity.
- International Feature is a terrible name for the category. That’s it. It’s terrible. It’s also officially the most locked category of the night and it doesn’t matter.
- Honeyland gets Doc and International Feature. I know the branches are independent and did what they wanted, but also…did everyone think it was that good? I guess so. Whatever. That’s something that hasn’t happened in a long time, something on both Foreign and Documentary.
- Diane Warren, nominated again. Maybe one of these years she’ll actually win.
- “Glasgow” gets left off. Perhaps the only pure Original Song next to Frozen in the category. And they left it off. Just because they moved Original Song off “most broken” doesn’t mean they fixed it. They’re hamstrung by the lack of actual good original songs out there, which makes a single omission look so much worse. So I get it. But also… don’t fucking leave a legitimate choice off and put on something that is literally the words “I can’t let you throw yourself away” sung over and over and over.
- Cynthia Erivo, double nominee. Actress and Song. I like seeing the double. It makes me feel better overall than if it were just Actress.
- Little Women probably should have been nominated for more. That’s just an opinion, but the more I think back on that movie, the more I feel it. Director, Editing, Cinematography on top of what it got. I can live without Production Design. But those other three for sure. I stand firm that I’d have nominated her over Sam Mendes on my ballot. I mean, granted, I’d have done that to put Trey Edward Shults on, who was never gonna make it, but she deserves to be on that list.
- Knives Out never landed. I figured it wouldn’t, but hey, at least it managed Rian Johnson his first Screenplay nomination. That’s the big note. Rian Johnson finally not ignored by the Academy for once.
- We had our first 5-nominee Best Makeup category. That’s it.
- Academy Award nominee. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Jesus.
- Fun fact: South Korea has never been nominated in the Foreign Language Film category before now. Hell of a way to break that barrier. Six overall nominations including Best Picture.
- This is three years running with double acting nominees in a category. Three Billboards had two in 2017, The Favourite had two last year, and now The Irishman.
- This is our best Visual Effect category since 2015. And we all remember what happened in 2015.
- The Sound categories match 4/5 yet again. They might actually abolish the categories and move them into one after this. Especially if 1917 sweeps them both.
- Only one actor of color. Not that I put stock into needing to do it, but it speaks volumes that the only one they did put was a slavery performance. I can’t get over that. And it’s not even because I needed to see more. It’s just — that’s the one. Wow.
- The Academy Awards were announced and didn’t end racism or sexism. How dare they.
- To follow up on that last one, because I know the hot takes are coming fast and furious (and Joker being the flag bearer in a year with no female directors, no Asian performances being nominated despite Parasite and The Farewell and only one black actor being nominated for a slavery movie is not a good look) — I see both sides of the argument. Or rather, I agree that there need to be more opportunities for people of color in movies. I vehemently disagree that we need to nominate people of color just for the sake of nominating them. It’s not the diversity I need, it’s actually voting for the best performances. And a lot of that stems from the same old boring white people behind the majority of voting. They don’t look past the same old movies, and because the field of other stuff is so narrow, it never get seen or voted for. But even me — I see everything, and some years I don’t have any people of color on my acting lists. This year, I happened to have a woman and an Asian male on my Director category, a black actor in lead, an Asian in Actress, two Asians and a black actress in Supporting. It’s the luck of the draw. To me, those were the best performances and efforts of the year. It is what it is. But also, it does come down to overall opportunity and visibility. To try to put this fucking voting body in any position to be the ones to promote anything other than their own self-interests and do anything socially except pat themselves on the back and then make some nominal speech at a microphone for thirty seconds is stupid. That’s like someone showing up to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner with a camera crew from another country going, “Ah, yes, we’re going to see what a normal American family looks like.” And I’d be like, “Do you know who we are? Because I don’t think you’re gonna get what you think you’re getting.” That’s what it feels like. You can’t hold these people to the standards of life. This is Hollywood. They’re fucking crazy.
- Four of the five Best Supporting Actor nominees haven’t been nominated since 2000 or earlier. Joe Pesci hasn’t been nominated since 1990, Al Pacino hasn’t been nominated since 1992, Anthony Hopkins hasn’t been nominated since 1997 and Tom Hanks hasn’t been nominated since 2000. Brad Pitt is most recently nominated… 8 years ago in 2011.
- The acting categories are locked. Joaquin in Actor, Renée in Actress, Pitt in Supporting Actor, Dern in Supporting Actress. Actress is the only one whose lock can be picked if Scarlett can reel off a few wins, but that looks unlikely now that the train has started. Though isn’t it gonna be sad when Renée Zellweger wins an Oscar for Judy Garland when Judy Garland herself never won? And also coming the year after A Star Is Born, the role she should have won for.
- This is the first time EVER that Best Costume Design has had entirely Best Picture nominees in it. It’s never happened. Ever. Even when there were only two nominees in the category. The entire category has never been filled with entirely Best Picture nominees. And even when they split the categories into bBack-and-White and Color and had two full categories, all the Best Picture nominees weren’t even represented between them. The most we’ve ever gotten are categories with four of the five Oscar nominees, and even that’s only happened twice. That, to me, is the stat of the year. That’s never happened before. And yes, of course I’m the person to have noticed that and looked that up.
- The director of Old School is nominated for three Oscars.
- The Cinematography category is dope. And they had at least two other cool choices to have on instead.
- Kathy Bates gets on Supporting Actress. Which means no Cheo Yeo-jeong, no Zhao Shuzhen. Mostly I’m sad that neither of those performances got on, as much as I like Kathy Bates. (Though also… what a boring ass choice. That’s part of what needs to change. That the branch couldn’t find anyone more interesting than Kathy Bates to give votes to.)
- 1917, 10 nomination including Screenplay. Crazy. I don’t know why. I guess because it came on so late and I wasn’t quite expecting it to get more than like, 8. But whatever. It could win the whole damn thing, even.
- No acting nominations for Parasite. Everything else got one or more nominations in acting categories except Ford v Ferrari and 1917, two movies that makes sense without them (and Ford v Ferrari isn’t a real contender anyway).
- It’s funny, I did horribly on guessing the shorts, but I can automatically tell you two of the three that are gonna win right now. And I might know the third and am just holding it back because I just assume the Academy is racist and won’t vote for a short about a black father and daughter.
- And finally, I’ll say it again — the Documentary branch is broken. Fix that shit, guys. It’s embarrassing.
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Now for the moment only I’ve been waiting for… how’d I do on my guesses?
I expected to do terribly because I put no effort into paying attention and everything came up so early this year due to the shortened schedule. So it felt like I was just thrown into the deep end and was just half-assing it, even though clearly I wrote a fuck ton and thought about it a lot. And even as I was guessing, I thought, “Those are gonna be wrong.” And hearing nominations, I thought, “This feels like it’s going badly.” Not that the count of how well I do matters to anyone but me. The fact that I can routinely go 70% or better on guessing every single Oscar nominee is fucking insane. But for me, it felt like I did worse than normal this year. So let’s see how that worked out.
- I went 9/9 in Best Picture.
- I had five (!) 5/5s this year. That has to be a personal record for me. That’s insane. They were Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Score and Sound Editing
- I had ten 4/5s this year. They were Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Editing, Song, Production Design, Visual Effects and Animated Feature.
- I had five 3/5s this year. They were Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound Mixing, International Feature and Documentary Feature
- And I had three 2/5s this year. Documentary Short, Live Action Short and Animated Short. As long as they’re the shorts, I can live with that.
The five 5/5s is what saved me. That’s more than I thought, which balanced out everything else.
Also, as I went down the list of categories in the order I usually have them, I noticed that I was either 5/5 or 4/5 in every category up until Costume Design. You know how good that is? That means that I was either perfect or one off every major category down to the deep technical stuff and all the shorts and things. That’s how you want to do.
Plus, no matter how this all went, I’m happy because I got Antonio Banderas and went 5/5 in Sound Editing. I’m always gonna do my shit and guess opposite some obvious stuff and be difficult for the sake of ‘fuck it, this doesn’t matter’. But the fact that I pulled those out makes everything else totally worth it.
In terms of categories I got wrong:
- My First Alternate was nominated ten times. In Actress, Editing, Song, Production Design and Visual Effects, I went 4/5 and my First Alternate got on. Which is great. In Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, International Feature and Documentary Feature, I went 3/5 and in one of my two misses, the Alternate got on. Which is good. And in Animated Short, I went 2/5 and my Alternate got on.
- My Dark Horse contender was nominated eight times. I went 4/5 in Director, Actor, Original Screenplay and Animated Feature and my Alternate got on as the fifth nominee. I went 3/5 in Sound Mixing, and one of the two I missed was my Dark Horse. And I went 2/5 in all three Shorts categories and my Dark Horse got on all three.
- Only four total nominees got on that counted as a ‘Surprise’ nominee for me, based on how I designated them below my guesses. Two of the four were in the Shorts categories, which is arbitrary. One was the second miss in International Feature, because I didn’t think Honeyland would get on there, being a Documentary. The other was the only miss in Supporting Actress, because I figured they were going foreign and didn’t see Kathy Bates as the choice. I can live with those.
- There were six total nominees that I had on my ballots as a ‘Shocker’ if they came in. Three of the six were in the Shorts categories, and that’s because I arbitrarily had to rank stuff and something had to be listed as that. Nothing comes as a shock in the Shorts categories, you should know well. One was the second miss in Documentary Feature, The Edge of Democracy. Not so much a shock as much as I just didn’t think they were going there. One was Makeup & Hairstyling, mostly because I refused to believe they’d nominate Maleficent. Not a shock so much as I deliberately put it there as if to say, “No fucking way.” And they say, “Yes fucking way.” The only one that does qualify as a bit of a shock (which in real life is more of a mild surprise) is Ad Astra in Sound Mixing. I just didn’t see that one coming. It does qualify as a bit of a ‘shocker’ to me, because they left a lot of big choices off in favor of that one.
- There’s only one nominee on the entire list that I did not have anywhere in my predictions — Joker in Costume Design. It had no precursors whatsoever. And while I’m not overly shocked (because 11 nominations), it does qualify as a mistake on my part. I should have at least figured it had a minor shot given the overall support. So not even mentioning it at all is an oversight. But you know what? 1/124, I’m fine with that.
This tells me that I was right there and only very, very few actual surprises came in. Joker in Costumes and Ad Astra in Mixing. That’s it. That’s the surprises. Everything else made some semblance of sense. So it’s a straightforward year.
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And now for the tallying…
Out of a total of 124 nominees, I guessed 95. Those 5/5s really helped me. Some of those nominee swaps helped me out too. But shit, I did as well as you’d expect. I nailed basically ALL the big categories.
95/124 is 76.6%. Not my all-time best, but considering how bad I thought I was doing, I’m fucking thrilled. 70% or more is where I want to be. 75% or more is where I personally want to get. 80% is the goal, just to keep me hungry. But 76%… I’m good.
- 2018: 74.4% (90/121)
- 2017: 74.5% (91/122)
- 2016: 77% (94/122)
- 2015: 78.5% (95/121)
- 2014: 71.9% (87/121)
- 2013: 76% (92/121)
- 2012: 71% (87/122)
- 2011: 68% (81/119)
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So those are your Oscar nominees. The category breakdowns start tomorrow, so we’re full on into this without any respite.
Also, friendly reminder that my giant Oscar Trivia article exists, and has been updated for the new nominations. Of course, a lot of it is pending and the final update will be after the ceremony, but now’s a good time to remind you that it exists and is there as a reference.
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