92nd Academy Awards Recap

So most years when I write this article, I talk about how good I feel, how nice it is for the crunch of awards season to be over. But honestly, I’ve been relaxed for about a week. I finished my picks and all that stuff last Sunday night after BAFTAs. I proofread it Monday morning, and really all I did between then and now was maybe tweak a ranking or two (none of which ended up actually mattering in the end, which we’ll get to). And they shortened the time span this year, so the whole thing went pretty quickly and didn’t drag on at all. And now here we are, with the entire rest of February to go. This is weird, but also kinda great.

I’ll straight up say it — I put like no effort into this year’s awards. I kept putting off having to actually think about everything until all the results were in. I thought harder about what would be nominated than I did about this. There was only about three weeks between nominations and the awards, so I just let the results come to me and once they were all in, sat down and went, “Yup, that all looks about right,” and let the picks essentially make themselves and didn’t worry all too much about it.

And for most of the night, it sure looked like I might only get one category wrong of all the 24. That didn’t happen, but I still did insanely well (sorry to spoil it at the top, but I did). But man, for a while I thought, “There’s no way I’m gonna do well on this. I feel like I’m phoning this one in.” Because most of the choices were so obvious and I didn’t agonize over them like I normally would. So I figured it had to just be that I was wrong. Or maybe I’ve just done this so long that I’ve learned that I don’t have to spend much time thinking about it all. Which is kinda freeing.

Anyway, let’s recap the Oscars, so we can finally put 2019 to rest and close out the decade in film (sort of).

Some quick (well… it’s me) notes on the ceremony I jotted down as I thought them throughout the whole thing:

  • OH SHIT. Janelle Monae as Mr. Rogers. What a way to start this ceremony.
  • She should be the new Mr. Rogers. I’d watch that show. She’s a national treasure.
  • Oh shit. And she kept going.
  • This is the best opening I’ve ever seen at one of these shows.
  • They did this right.
  • Janelle Monae and Billy Porter should host this ceremony next year. And maybe every year.
  • Honestly, just have Janelle Monae be like one of those SNL hosts with open invitations. Whenever she wants to host the Oscars, it’s her job. That’s how talented she is and how good she is at everything. She’d put on the greatest show every time. I guarantee it.
  • The set is amazing. It’s not overdone like in years’ past. It’s simple and feels classy. Though I did kinda hope that big thing that came down in the middle had a spiral staircase in it that people could descend from.
  • And then Steve Martin and Chris Rock, two previous (great) hosts. They had some nice jokes. But ultimately it almost felt like the producers saying, “And now here’s the dated, borderline tone deaf kind of stuff you could have gotten this entire time instead. Isn’t it nice what happens when you let black people, women and LBGTQ people do some of this stuff instead?” Kind of unfair, to put them on to do tired monologue jokes after Janelle Monae, but if they did it to make a point, then I’m all for it.
  • I like the little montages thing they did for the big categories. It works. It’s not a competition, it’s a celebration. Where one of them just happens to get an award. It’s a much better way to introduce the categories.
  • I loved Questlove DJ’ing. Half of this show felt like them trying to make it entertaining for the people stuck in the room. Only some of them could go get shitfaced at the bar. A lot of them had to sit there the entire time until their category was up. So at least Questlove got to do music for them.
  • I also notice they did stuff for the kids early — Hair Love, Toy Story, the Frozen song. And I like it. It never felt like the show noticed or cared that young kids might be watching some of these awards, so it’s nice to give them something to grab onto and maybe want to see again and/or emulate. I only wish that maybe (and you couldn’t have planned for this, per se) some of the other great moments (like the female conductor for score and Hildur winning) maybe happened in that span too before the kids went to bed.
  • The set design for “Into the Unknown” was terrific. And the part where they sung it in other languages deal was INCREDIBLE. Really smart choice. Of course, maybe better if you had a song like “Let It Go” with which to do it. But this is one of the few times we’ve had really forward-thinking producers working on the show. We had some in 2016, but that ceremony got marred by the envelope mishap at the end. But other than that, it’s been pretty establishment choices, so we’ve had the same boring ceremonies, with an occasional good host or good number or something along the way.
  • The other set designs for song performances were fine. The Stairway to Heaven for “I’m Standing with You” (which had a real Busby Berkeley / Matter of Life and Death vibe to it) was nice. The clouds for Randy Newman were simple, but nice enough.
  • Diane Keaton is awesome. I’m not sure most people realized she was doing Annie Hall there. I’m can say pretty definitively that Billie Eilish sure didn’t.
  • The difference between the Oscars and the NFL Awards that happened last weekend is that here, no one’s thanking God and Jesus when they win an award. Because in Hollywood, the only God that exists is your agent and Ted Sarandos.
  • I saw that Bachelor ad with the Ghost pottery like four times, and all I can think is how good the horror version of that would be.
  • The ‘Film Songs’ montage is amazing. I was in before they even started it. Because truly, all those songs, you just need to hear a few notes, and you’re transported. And then Eminem doing “Lose Yourself” after it was a very welcome surprise. No idea where that came from, but it certainly got the crowd hyped. For a while, the ceremony felt like the Grammy Awards, though not as openly rigged as those are.
  • I was hoping for a medley situation where Eminem handed off to something else (how great would that have been? Though he’d never have agreed to that), but hey, I’ll take it. No idea where that decision came from (I guess because he didn’t perform when he won?), but it had to be for the people in that room. Though really, I think it was for everyone.
  • Eminem: 1 Oscar. Martin Scorsese: 1 Oscar.
  • That rap bit was nice. Short and sweet. And is a nice way to get more people of color on the telecast and introduce the boring old white people to something a little more exciting.
  • The cast and crew of Irishman had to sit there for three and a half hours and come away empty-handed. Now they know how it feels.
  • Bradley Cooper changed the Oscars forever. They don’t introduce songs anymore before they perform them.
  • Billie Eilish doing the In Memoriam is a big way to know she’ll be okay on the Bond song. Also, there was a real star-studded list of stiffs this year. How many people on that list do you think she would recognize by name? Like, two, right?
  • Joaquin and Renée ran long and they still basically came in under 3 1/2 hours. That’s the best produced Oscars in a long time.

That’s really the takeaway for me. This is truly the best produced Oscars in a long time, possibly ever. It dragged a little bit, but only in the moments they had to include in there. Overall it was a fun show with some smart ideas and things people can use going forward, and really was everything the Oscars should be. HUGE props to Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain.

Anyway, let’s get into the awards.

I should note that most of the reactions you’re about to read is the one I had as the awards were announced. I’m presenting them in the general order I usually present all the awards, but all my reactions were done spur of the moment. So while, as you read them, something might have multiple wins, but for me, it happened as it won. So it’s pure, unfiltered drunkenness. And then I cleaned it up by adding my thoughts after the fact. So really, it’s just schizophrenia. Whatever. Just go with it.

Best Picture: Parasite

This is amazing. This is really amazing. This is one that everyone is happy with. No one feels bad about this. It’s the first foreign language film to win Best Picture and is generally the one film everyone seems to have loved most throughout the year. I’m thrilled about this. I’m very happy to have gotten it wrong. As much as I love 1917, I just don’t think that would have been an interesting winner. This one will look great. Because imagine how many people are gonna go and discover this movie now over the years, especially those with no idea what they’re in for in terms of plot. That’s what this award is all about.

I will say, I did half-expect this to go to 1917 even after Bong Joon-ho won Director, because that would have been so on brand for them.

Jane Fonda presented it too, which is great, considering all the protests she’s been doing. That’s a good job out of the Academy, having her do it.

I also completely missed my chance, in the moment, to make an “On Golden Bong” joke.

Best Director: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

OH SHIT.

Fucking YES.

Oh I’m so happy about this. This shakes up the boringness of this entire season.

This is huge, historically, too. That’s eight times ever for the DGA going down. This is so great. I’m so happy about this. Mendes already has one, so he’s fine. This is a big deal.

(As you can tell, kids, this is a big deal, and I’m very happy about it. This is sober me talking. I had to go in and clean this shit up later on, because you should never let drunk you hit the send button on anything being written down.)

This is awesome, though. The minute he won this, you knew it won Picture too. And man, that’s so wonderful. This went the exact opposite way I thought it was gonna go. I thought it was gonna be this boring year with obvious winners, and we got the two biggest awards of the night going to the surprise choices that we all feel good about. How can you not feel great about this? Plus his speeches were so good. The man just wanted to get drunk and he kept winning Oscars instead!

Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Amazing intro from Olivia Colman.

I know Joaquin doesn’t give a fuck and I know he doesn’t care about being back here, but he’s too nice to say all the shit he really feels about how bullshit this all is. Which is both touching and infuriating at the same time.

Though I will say, he gave the smartest speech I’ve heard in a long time. And I like that he said what he needed to say and didn’t care about running long. He’s a very thoughtful dude, and owned up to some of his shit he did in the past on set, which not every actor would do. All I’ve ever heard about him was that he could be difficult, but is ultimately a sweet, down to earth guy when he’s not fully working (and deeply invested in the work). It’s great to see him win, even if I’m not the biggest fan of what he won for. But how he’s handled this whole thing, which I know is not easy for him to have had to go through, is really classy. Good for him.

Best Actress: Renée Zellweger, Judy

Not much to say here. We knew she’d win, she won. I didn’t love the performance, but no matter what, the fact that she played Judy Garland will always look okay on paper. Plus, as much as I thought it was kind of a ‘meh’ win — put it up against The Blind Side. Looks totally fine.

Renée now has two wins, and she was really cool about the whole thing. Speech ran kinda long, but ultimately was nice and always went the right direction.

Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Only three of them showed up. I love it. Tony Hopkins and Joe Pesci don’t give a fuck. Nor should they and nor should they need to.

Really, this is all about Brad. He won his first acting Oscar and deserved it all the way. The performance is amazing, and his speech was appropriately touching. He didn’t do the comedy thing he did all the way through the other ceremonies. He was honest and it felt nice. All around a good thing.

Also, I think this is the first of DiCaprio’s supporting actors to come through to a win? I know every time he’s gotten the Actor nomination he brought a supporting actor along with him, but I don’t know if they’ve ever won. Alda in Aviator, Hounsou in Blood Diamond, Jonah in Wolf of Wall Street and Tom Hardy in Revenant. No. This is the first one. Interesting.

Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

She was locked all the way so this is no surprise. But hey, they got Laura Dern her Oscar.

Also, fun fact: her parents have five nominations between them and she’s got three, and now the family has eight Oscar nominations and one win. That’s crazy.

Best Original Screenplay: Parasite

BONG JOON HO!

He looked so happy to be looking at his Oscar on the stage. How can you not be happy for him?

I’m glad I saw this one coming. I mean, granted, it won the two major precursors, but I’m glad I didn’t fall for the ‘Quentin wasn’t eligible for WGA’ trap. He’d have won if there weren’t such overall love for Parasite out there.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jojo Rabbit

How come when they presented this they manage to get the word “Jew” in the clips twice? Anyone else noticed that? Okay, sure, Jojo you can maybe excuse it because of what the movie’s about (though still, you could have picked another scene). But Irishman too? It’s almost like some secret signal for the old white people who are trying to maintain a foothold on the Academy. Like their own personal “Hail Hydra” or something.

Anyway, Jojo wins, as expected, after WGA and BAFTA wins. Greta started off strong, but you kinda knew they’d never actually give it to her. Which is a shame, because she deserved it. I’d have went crazy if she won. My ideal Oscars was her winning, Hair Love winning and then Parasite in Picture and Director. We’re near perfect now, but Greta winning would have put it totally over the top.

Best Editing: Ford v Ferrari

This was the category I was most worried about. And looking back, I’m not sure why. Though also, I totally see why, since Parasite won every other category it was up for, save Production Design. Though, the wins aside, this made the most sense as a choice. Though I did really luck out here that Parasite didn’t win (I’m sure that was a tight vote) and was feeling really strong when it happened, because at that point I was running out of categories to get wrong. Mostly for me, watching the Oscars (aside from the Chinese food and the drinking and being on a shit ton of text chains at once) is counting off categories that I think I can get wrong. So each one I’m worried about that goes my way is like a potential pitfall avoided. So when this happened, I was almost out of pitfalls. Of course, the two big ones came in opposite, but shit, I’m glad this one came out okay. This could have gone another way, and I did luck out with it.

Best Cinematography: 1917

Nice intro by Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

They missed the boat on not having Deakins’ speech be one long unbroken take, though, from seat to stage.

Deakins has two Oscars now, guys, and all is about right with the world. Now he can lose in the future and the worst it’ll be is, “Wow, he probably should have won because he gave the best effort.” Which isn’t that bad. It’s not like, “THIS DUDE HAS NEVER WON EVER AND HE GAVE THE BEST EFFORT AGAIN.” You know, one less thing.

Best Original Score: Joker

Oh, they’re conducting the original scores. That’s nice. Have they done that before? If not, that’s a great idea that should for sure happen going forward, to give people an idea of what’s actually up, rather than just a bunch of assembly line nominees.

Though maybe don’t have video monitors right above as the musicians are playing. That’s like having a TV on your dashboard while you drive.

Amazing speech though. Amazing words to the women with music in their hearts. I’m happy she won for that speech alone. No one else in the category would have given nearly that interesting a speech.

Hildur is also the fourth woman to win Best Score, and good for her. I just wish her speech could have been given in the earlier part of the show, when the kids on the east coast and other places were still awake to maybe have seen it.

Best Original Song: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”, from Rocketman

YEAH BABY.

Great tux, Elton.

This one made sense as the show went on. Because as you heard “Into the Unknown,” you kinda realized it wasn’t that great a song and that most people weren’t really gonna care to vote for it — you know what it felt like? It looked like people were waiting for a reason to come out and shit on Frozen. You know what I mean? They all voted for “Let It Go” because it was the song of the year and all their kids loved it, but now they’re all kinda over it and they’re all willing to be like, “You know what? We didn’t really like that all too much.” That’s my feeling on that. It just felt like Elton was too juicy a carrot to pass up in this category. It made the most sense. And now Elton and Bernie have finally won something together.

Though also, now that it’s fully over, we can say it — what a bad year for original songs. They left the best one (“Glasgow”) off, and the rest were just kinda okay at best. That Elton song is fine, but let’s not pretend like it’s something we’re gonna really remember. Honestly, give me the “ass like that” song from Star Is Born over most of these nominees. At least that one I still remember.

And fucking Diane Warren wrote that song, who the half-broken Music branch wants to see win more than anything, because they’ll nominate her for literally anything she writes, even if it’s for a piece of shit faith-based movie about a woman who thinks she saved her son from a coma because she prayed REALLY LOUDLY.

Probably should have just ended with the “ass like that” joke, but hey, drunk me doesn’t always make the best decisions.

Best Production Design: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Congratulations to the City of Los Angeles. Two Production Design Oscars in four years.

Nothing else more to add here. This was the obvious choice and there’s not much to talk about. I think they made the right one. Parasite is a compelling alternative, but I just can’t get over the feeling of what they did in this movie. Plus, I saw it in person and felt like I was driving down 1969 Los Angeles during the few days they set those shops up. That was nuts. So I’m happy with this as a winner.

Best Costume Design: Little Women

Easy winner. Not much to say here. This was one where, in the absence of having concrete evidence, it defaulted to the obvious choice. And here we go. At least Little Women won something.

Honestly imagine if anything else had won, how bad a choice that would have looked historically.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Bombshell

Nice intro. Ray Romano’s Charlize Theron joke was great. And the “Pesci would say ‘get the fuck out of my trailer'” joke was nice too, even though they bleeped it.

Also, how’s it looking that all the two ‘female’ films won for was Costumes and Makeup and nothing else? I’m sure there’s nothing objectifia… I mean objectively wrong about that, optics-wise.

I know we’re all happy about the foreign film coming in big, but this is also something maybe worth mentioning.

But that’s the Academy, isn’t it? Black Panther gets some awards, Green Book wins Best Picture. Parasite wins Best Picture, one non-white acting nominee and the ‘women’s’ films get relegated to the ‘beauty’ awards. It’s the equivalent of both, “No, I love women! I’m the father of a daughter!” and “No, I have Black/Asian friends, I swear!”

I’m the first one to say that it’s not about who is or isn’t nominated and it should be about pure merit, even though admittedly the voting base and what they watch/how they go about watching stuff does tend to be the problem more than anything else, but man… you guys really don’t do yourselves any favors. Like, ever. It’s like they take one step forward while also triggering that gun they have pointed at their other foot.

Best Visual Effects: 1917

I’m glad we’re all at a place where we can openly make fun of Cats. But that was a perfect introduction. The batting of the microphone is great too. It feels like it may have been a complete accident they capitalized on, too.

But yeah, we’re back to obvious Visual Effects winners. Interesting that 1917 won this and lost Picture and Director. But I guess they just weren’t voting for The Irishman at all costs. They’ve still got it in for Netflix.

And we once again return to tradition — the Best Picture nominees always win this. We had the one hiccup, but other than that, that’s how this one goes.

Best Sound Editing: Ford v Ferrari

Oh, good. They got it right. And finally I got one wrong. I get nervous when I do too well here.

(This was the first category of the night I got wrong. I think I was 11/11 at this point.)

I’m sure these Sound categories were really too tight to call. Which you’ll see in a second.

Best Sound Mixing: 1917

Oh, good again. This should be the reason why you don’t split the Sound categories, as I did to prove a point on my personal ballot.

So yes, right after me getting Sound Editing wrong, we turned around and went right back to Sound Mixing as being right. On my own ballot, I put Ford v Ferrari in Mixing and 1917 in Editing, because that made more sense to me, and then they split the other way. That’s why I always say to not split them. Because if you had either film in both, you gotten one of the two. right The only way you could have been better was by predicting this exact split. Or you could have done what I did and got both wrong.

Weird that they split this way in the end, but I’m assuming that’s because they were really tight and the voting came down to the wire in both. in the end, though, they split, as they had split all the Sound precursor throughout the year. 1917 won BAFTA, and almost always does the BAFTA winner win at least one Sound Oscar, and then 1917 won the big awards at the two guilds, so it won the other. Makes sense, though it would have been nearly impossible to have guessed this specific split.

And also, you have no idea how happy I was to have gotten one wrong. What was there for me to do if I went 24/24 in an Oscar year? I’d have to just stop after that, because what else is there to strive for? Fortunately I got the big two wrong later on too on the straight ballot to make it more reasonable, but even if 1917 won both and I went 23/24, that would still have been too insane to consider, because that means all I got wrong was a tight race in a Sound category. That’s fucking nuts.

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 4

Shocker. Did anyone really think it was going any other way?

They really were on point with those speeches though. They got all three in before what felt like time would have ran out. Good for them on that. I guess when you work for Pixar, you get to practice speeches all the time because you win everything all the time.

But yeah, Toy Story winning this was such an obvious choice. No one knew what Klaus was and no one cared about the other ones. This category defaults the same way unless there’s a Spider-Verse to take it down instead.

Best International Feature: Parasite

The biggest lock of the night.

“I’m ready to drink tonight.”

Korea’s first win (and nomination) in this category.

Big night for Korea. (I wrote that before Director and Picture.)

I should specify, big win for South Korea. Not all Korea. Though if Kim Jong-Un took credit for all these Parasite wins, that would be like our government.

Best Documentary Feature: American Factory

Made the most sense. Won the requisite precursors, awareness was out there. It was in English, which I know doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is. Some people are just not gonna watch The Cave because it feels like too much of an effort. You gotta care enough about the category to go there. It’s not as easy an ask as, say, Banderas/Almodovar, you know? Most people, if they watched any of them on their own, they saw American Factory. And then For Sama you knew had some viewers because of the BAFTA nominations. This made the most sense as the winner, though. Also, when they don’t nominate the obvious winner, Netflix swoops in to take it. That’s what they did with Icarus when Jane was snubbed.

Plus, and this can’t be understated — Obama’s production company produced this, and don’t think for a second people didn’t know that. The only thing that could have been better for them is if he himself were officially nominated and able to accept on that stage. And I almost wish he was able to do that, just for how that all would have went down with the egomaniacal idiot pretending to not watch who would have 100% taken it personally and been a petulant child about the whole thing.

Oh, and have I mentioned? The Documentary branch is broken. Apollo 11 and Maiden should have been here.

Best Documentary Short: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

Not to… Ruffalo any feathers (because he announced this category. It was funny in the moment, and hey, I was drunk), but up until this point in the show, I’m a perfect 10/10. And it’s scary to be perfect this late in the ceremony. It’s like when a pitcher has a no-hitter past like, the fifth inning. It starts to get tense because you sort of know it and expected something to have gone wrong by this point.

Ultimately I did get something wrong, which was a relief. But man, this was the last of the Shorts categories, too. They all happened kind of early and all three of them came in as expected. You almost never get that. And it should have been thrilling to have been 3/3 in them, but really I was just scared shitless because usually I can count on one of these to come in differently.

I had a mini panic attack on like, Friday, thinking, “Oh shit, Walk Run Cha-Cha is gonna come in and fuck me, isn’t it?” That’s how these categories work. They’re pretty meaningless, no one really knows, and ultimately most people don’t really care. They go to people like me to find out what’s gonna win and never think about it again. But when you’re me, you worry about something like that happening. You figure you’ve got it, but then all the scenarios run through your head where the one you discounted is gonna win and fuck you up in the end and make you look like an idiot for not having it (even though you can never fully know).

But, this was the best doc in the category, the most obvious choice (the title was like a bat signal for votes) and is a winner most people should have had.

Best Live Action Short: The Neighbors’ Window

It was nice to have Zack and Shia doing the intros. If only anyone had actually seen that movie.

But yeah, this is the best short by far in the category and is a great winner. You should go see it if you haven’t. It’s terrific.

This was, in retrospect, a really easy choice. This is the one category you never can be too sure of. Of all 24 categories, this is the one that is always a pure toss up because it’s purely about their tastes. No precursors, and you never know just who’s voting for it.

But they have their tastes, and this fits them perfectly. So when I saw this come in, I felt okay. It’s affirmation. You feel like you’re doing things right when you can reason your way through a Shorts category correctly. Because if, say, Brotherhood won, I’d be sitting there, trying to figure out what I could have done to see that coming. And there’s nothing. There’s really nothing you could do in that situation or to see it coming. But because I do this shit every year, I’m gonna look for it and drive myself crazy. At least here, you feel like, “Okay, maybe there’s a system to all this and maybe you can do okay picking this category most of the time.” So that’s nice.

And also, it’s a really great short.

Best Animated Short: Hair Love

YES!

I’m so fucking happy about this one.

This one got announced super early and made me really happy. I wanted it to win because of the message of love and inclusion. The ceremony needed that boost and to have had Pixar win instead of this would have been a real disappointment and buzzkill on what was an otherwise joyous night, the kind we haven’t felt at the Oscars all too often in the past decade.

It’s not that the short is the greatest thing ever made. But none of the shorts in the category were the greatest thing ever made. This one at least stands for something greater than everything else in the category and everything else in most categories. And to see it have won is a really great thing. Like I said, I’m thrilled about Parasite winning, but the two wins I was most invested in all night were this and Greta. And I got one of them, so that’s nice.

– – – – – – – – – –

Here’s a breakdown of how everything did:

  • Parasite — 4 Oscars (Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, International Film)
  • 1917 — 3 Oscars (Cinematography, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing)
  • Ford v Ferrari — 2 Oscars (Editing, Sound Editing)
  • Joker — 2 Oscars (Actor, Score)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — 2 Oscars (Supporting Actor, Production Design)
  • Bombshell — 1 Oscar (Makeup & Hairstyling)
  • Jojo Rabbit — 1 Oscar (Adapted Screenplay)
  • Judy — 1 Oscar (Actress)
  • Little Women — 1 Oscar (Costume Design)
  • Marriage Story — 1 Oscar (Supporting Actress)
  • Rocketman — 1 Oscar (Song)
  • Toy Story — 1 Oscar (Animated Feature)

Other winners: American Factory, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), The Neighbors’ Window, Hair Love

8 of the 9 Best Picture nominees won awards. Irishman went 0 for 10. Which… so did Gangs of New York. Though the only real win The Irishman could have pulled off was Visual Effects, so it going 0-fer is not all that surprising.

I don’t remember what I put on that bottom section of the picks article where I tried to figure how many awards each film would win, but aside from the Picture-Director swing that brought 1917 down from 5 to 3 and Parasite up from 2 to 4, this all feels in line with what I’ve had expected. In my head, all these totals felt right. Plus, also that fits because I got almost everything completely right. But in my head — Joker was always 2, Once Upon a Time felt like 2, Jojo was the 1, Little Women was the 1, Marriage Story was the 1, Bombshell was the 1, Judy was the 1. And Ford v Ferrari always felt like it would probably get 2, even if I wasn’t sure where the 2 were coming from.

So yeah, no real SURPRISES per se, which probably means it’s a good time to get into this next part.

– – – – – – – – – –

As I do every year… let’s see how I did.

We start with my own personal ballot, which at this point is a place where I put personal choices that I’m rooting for and provide teachable moments by making the deliberately wrong decision so you won’t feel the need to do it.

On that personal ballot, I went 17/24.

Wait, really? I did that well on that? Shit, that tells you how easy this year was, if I could make dumb choices and have what in other years would be a solid ballot.

The ones I got wrong were Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Visual Effects, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

Picture and Director I just straight up got wrong. That happens. Parasite came in stronger than the precursors suggested. But you knew it was second choice in both, so it’s not like Irishman came in and threw us all for a loop. The Screenplays, I went with Greta, who I was rooting hard for and wanted to will into a win, and I went with Quentin just because he theoretically could have won and I figured going opposite in both Screenplay categories would be good symmetry. Visual Effects, I took Irishman just because I personally thought it was gonna win, even though smart money was on 1917 the entire way. And the Sound categories — this is why I tell you not to split them. I split them to make a point, and the point was made even better than I could have hoped for. I put 1917 in Editing and Ford v Ferrari in Mixing, and they split the opposite way, meaning I got neither right. Whereas, if you put either film in both categories, you were guaranteed to get one right and probably came within a handful of votes of getting both right. See that, kids? I’m helping you all by putting myself through the pain of doing it.

So even as I made deliberately bad decisions that I knew wouldn’t come in most of the way, I still got 17 right. That’s… yeah. So now look at how I did when I was actually making the smart plays:

On the ‘smart’ ballot that I said you should take, we went 21/24. Missed Picture and Director, which were both surprises, Director more so. This is just the 8th time ever Director went opposite the DGA and I think maybe the fifth that the person was nominated in both categories and won over the DGA choice (because Spielberg in ’85 and Howard in ’95 and Affleck in ’12 weren’t nominated after the DGA win). So that’s a big deal, historically. Picture at least felt like it could have happened regardless. Director, no one in their right mind would have put Bong as the choice unless there was subjectivity involved. And then the other category that was wrong was Sound Editing, which is a shit happens scenario. Still, 21/24 has to go down as the second best I’ve ever done here. I know I did 22/24 in 2013, and maybe I’ve got another 21/24 in there somewhere, but hell, that’s a great year.

What’s even better is that Scorecard ballot I do. That’s the one I was keeping track of all night going, “Oh shit.” Because I saw where it was headed. That’s what makes this the best year I’ve ever had. Look at how this fucking thing turned out:

  • Best Picture: +2
  • Best Director: +2
  • Best Actor: +1
  • Best Actress: +1
  • Best Supporting Actor: +1
  • Best Supporting Actress: +1
  • Best Original Screenplay: +1
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: +1
  • Best Editing: +1
  • Best Cinematography: +1
  • Best Original Score: +1
  • Best Orignal Song: +1
  • Best Production Design: +1
  • Best Costume Design: +1
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling: +1
  • Best Visual Effects: +1
  • Best Sound Editing: +2
  • Best Sound Mixing: +1
  • Best Animated Feature: +1
  • Best Foreign Language Film: +1
  • Best Documentary Feature: +1
  • Best Documentary Short: +1
  • Best Live-Action Short: +1
  • Best Animated Short: +1

That’s a +3! 27! My personal best ever was +5. I had this entire year cold. Either #1s or #2s came in every category. I agonized over how to rank the 3-5 in a lot of those categories, and the reason I agonized, turns out, is because it was that easy. I was planning for contingencies and I didn’t need to. It was 50/50s all the way. This feels kinda like that monologue in Moneyball where the dude finally decides to run to second and falls down and feels like an idiot, but does’t realize he hit the ball 60 feet over the fence.

Picture/Director were surprises, but they were the obvious surprises, so I had them right there when 1917 faltered. And Sound Editing and Sound Mixing were tossups. So one #1 came in and one #2 came in. Had that one right there too. Everything else was the #1 choice. This is as perfect a year as you can possibly have.

And consider this: if the precursors played out and 1917 had won both Picture and Director, I’d have had a 23/24 ballot and +1/25 on the Scorecard. So while this is still the best overall year I’ve ever had, that would have actually made it an essentially perfect year. That’s nuts.

I’m happy this way, though. Parasite won and I still have perfection to strive for while doing this in the future. Though I’m sure next year will be a complete disaster and I’ll go 12/24 and just fuck everything up and make the wrong reads in every category.

– – – – –

Anyway, those are your Oscars. I’m happy to move on to 2020. Though not immediately. I’m still enjoying not having to get into watching stuff. I’ve got about 30 movies backed up from January/February already. But I’m enjoying his little mini movie vacation I take during Oscar season, so I’m in no rush to start them. Plus, I’ve got some cool shit in store the rest of the year that I’m working on now. Which is also a compelling reason not to rush right into it all just yet.

Before I go, let me note that my Oscar trivia article is there and is updated with all the new winners from this year.

Normally I’d say, “That concludes our 2019.” But we’re not done yet. Because this ceremony is happening three weeks earlier than expected. So we do have one more 2019 article tomorrow. But after that we’ve concluded our 2019. And then we move onto something else that I’m very excited about. Keep an eye out Wednesday/Thursday for what that’s gonna be. I’ve got a lot of tricks up my sleeve this year. It should be fun.

– – – – – – – – – – –

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2 responses

  1. Great job throughout the season mate. And completely agree about the ceremony, was probably the most well produced one ever. Now we can all take a deep breath and get ready for 2020’s films.

    February 10, 2020 at 3:53 pm

  2. Whereas 11 of the Top 12 films at the box office saw declines of between 61% and 81% on Monday, “Parasite” INCREASE 16% on Monday.

    February 13, 2020 at 1:18 am

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