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Oscars 2020: ADG Awards

The Art Directors Guild handed out awards tonight.

Mank won for Period Film, Tenet won for Fantasy Film and Da 5 Bloods won for Contemporary Film. And Soul won Animated.

Which pretty much just confirms my suspicions that Mank is gonna win the Oscar, especially now that it’s swept all the precursors. So that just made another category easy.

DGA’s happening now, so I’ll update that once they announce that Chloe Zhao won.

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2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Original Score

Today’s category is Best Original Score, which has largely been a really solid category throughout the years. And the reason I know that is because, even since they’ve started announcing a shortlist for the category, even those have been solid. Sure, like International Feature this year, there are a couple of entries on there that are more about the stature of the composers more than the scores themselves, but that’s why you have a shortlist of 15. To be able to have that extra padding. Overall, these categories have been really good most years and while I can quibble about some of their choices of winners, they generally get it right in terms of the nominees.

This year, we get a nice mix of great scores, respected composers and overall good movies represented. And, like most years, while I can quibble one choice over another, it’s a really nice list that really feels like it cares about quality above all else. And you have to respect that, especially given the ups and downs this branch has had in the Original Song category over the years. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “So let’s dance, the last dance / Let’s dance, the last dance / Let’s dance, this last dance tonight.” ♫


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Costume Design

Today is Best Costume Design. Normally I’d wait to go over a category like this until I see what BAFTA and the guild have to say, but given how this one looks I think we can make pretty solid guesses as to how it’s gonna turn out. If things change based on those other two, then we can recalibrate. But until then, we’re just gonna follow the usual logic for this category — follow the frills.

Everybody knows what normally wins in Costume Design, and I bet most people just glancing at all five nominees in this category will know automatically what’s most likely to win. That’s really the only kind of logic you need most of the time. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “Raindrops are falling on my head / And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed / Nothing seems to fit / Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling / So I just did me some talking to the sun / And I said I didn’t like the way he got things done / Sleeping on the job / Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling.” ♫


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Supporting Actor

Today is Best Supporting Actor, a category that has been really solid in recent years. And also really easy to guess. This year is no different. We basically know who’s gonna win from a mile out. Which really just means that I have to figure out what the hell to say here to justify an intro rather than a one-sentence article.

Honestly, I don’t really have anything. So let’s just get into the category. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel / Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel / Like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon / Like a carousel that’s turning running rings around the moon / Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face / And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space / Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.” ♫


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Original Song

Today we’re going over Best Original Song. And the beauty of this category is that everyone can participate in it. You simply just have to listen to 5 songs and then pick which one you think is the best.

It’s weird because there aren’t any real precursors for this category and you’re pretty much just going based on what you think everyone’s tastes are gonna be, and yet almost every single year you pretty much know “Okay, this should win, but in case it doesn’t, this is gonna win instead.” It’s weird how that works out. But then, I guess Academy members are ultimately pretty predictable.

I’m not sure if this is one of the categories affected by the pandemic or if it’s just a weak year in film songs. Either way, we’ve got a pretty forgettable category here that came from a pretty forgettable shortlist. So this is a situation where we’re just gonna do our best and try to get through it. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “Some day, when I’m awfully low / When the world is cold / I will feel a glow just thinking of you / And the way you look tonight.” (85th Anniversary)


Oscars 2020: VES Awards

The VES Awards were handed out tonight. Theoretically they’re helpful in picking what’s gonna win the Oscar, but given what this year looks like, I’ve already written my my category breakdown because the category is so cut and dry. This is one of those situations where, just by looking at the list of nominees, you know exactly which one is gonna win. Wanna know how I know that? Here’s the category:

Love and Monsters

The Midnight Sky

Mulan

The One and Only Ivan

Tenet

(Yup, that’s right. Academy Award winner The One and Only Ivan.)

Anyway, here’s what VES did: (more…)


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Animated Short

Today is Best Animated Short. I know most people tune out during the shorts categories, but this one at least has cute stuff in it, so maybe some people pay a little bit of attention during it. Though I know most people could care less about them.

Most of the time this category is fairly easy to pick apart. You know Pixar or Disney is one of the top two most likely to win and then you have to decide if it’s gonna beat the other emotionally-affecting short that’s on the list. Most years you’ve got a really solid hold on the category and at worst it’s usually ‘will A win or will B win’?

This one feels kinda like that, though maybe more skewed toward ‘A should win, but… Pixar…” Which the argument I feel like I’m usually having when I pick this category every year. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “There can be miracles / When you believe / Though hope is frail / Its hard to kill / Who knows what miracles / You can achieve / When you believe somehow you will / You will when you believe.” ♫


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Documentary Short

Today’s category is Best Documentary Short, which is one of those categories the average viewer doesn’t know anything about and either just sort of guesses or looks up what people are saying is gonna win. But contrary to popular opinion, this is generally a pretty easy category to guess. I’ve started telling people — one of three things wins this category year in and year out: people in third-world countries overcoming dire circumstances, people with mental illness overcoming it to create art, or the occasional Holocaust short. That’s pretty much all that wins here. Go back and look at the winners. There’s maybe like one short over the past 15 years that falls out of that pattern.

Most years a clear winner presents itself just when you talk about what each is about. It’s really not that bad. This year is interesting because we’ve got a few interesting scenarios at play here. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment / You own it, you better never let it go / You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow / This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.” ♫


Oscars 2020: SAG Awards

The SAG Awards were tonight. Honestly, this is the one awards show where I was pretty thrilled they cut it down to an hour and just ran through all the winners rather than doing the whole pageantry. Not that they don’t deserve time to celebrate themselves and their peers’ work, but it always was just such a boring show. It’s all just a little too self-serious with the kind of dumb humor that only works in circles where no one’s funny. It’s just not a fun show and I only really ever cared about the winners. So having a really concise little show was pretty helpful for me.

Normally I’d say that this sewed up all the acting categories. Well… this really only sewed up two of the categories, busted one wide open and kept the other one a gigantic mystery that will remain such all the way until Oscar night. Which is legitimately exciting to me.

Here are your SAG winners: (more…)


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Actor

Today we go over Best Actor. Which, when I think back over this category in the years I’ve covered these awards (or even watched them seriously), it’s hard for me to think of many categories that felt like legitimate toss-ups. Most of the time there’s a clear winner and then a nominal second choice and then sometimes we get the one versus the other, but the precursors tend to heavily favor one over the other, so you’re generally pretty sure how that’s gonna turn out. Which is odd to me, given how major a category this is.

This year feels like it’s another one of those situations where we all know what’s gonna happen going in, and it’s less about who’s going to win as much as it’s about appreciating who’s going to win and the impact they had on the film industry in such a short time. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “Once I had a secret love / That lived within the heart of me / All too soon my secret love / Became impatient to be free / So I told a friendly star / The way that dreamers often do / Just how wonderful you are / And why I am so in love with you.” ♫


Oscars 2020: Makeup & Hairstylist Guild Awards

The Makeup & Hairstylist Guild Awards were held tonight.

As a reminder, this is your Oscar category:

Emma
Hillbilly Elegy
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Pinocchio

There were five categories given out that affect this category. Two, Best Contemporary Makeup and Best Contemporary Hairstyling, went to Birds of Prey, which isn’t nominated. Of the other three, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom won for Period/Character Makeup and Period/Character Hair while Pinocchio won for Special Makeup Effects. Which pretty much cements those two as the favorites to win here, and I’m not sure anyone would dispute that. The BAFTA category has all of these nominees minus Emma, and I’m pretty sure what wins that will likely spell out what the Oscar favorite is, though I have a sneaking suspicion about what’s likely to happen even before that. But we’ll see.

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2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Visual Effects

Today’s category is Best Visual Effects, which is the single most compromised category this year. Which isn’t its fault. We had a pandemic and theaters were closed and a lot of films got pushed a year. And the films that are most affected by theaters being closed are the big budget effects films. So the crop of films for this year was admittedly very weak. Most years we get a longlist of 20 and then the shortlist of 10. This year we didn’t even get the longlist and the shortlist of 10 had at least three or four choices that wouldn’t have made it past the list of 20 any other year.

In the end we get a category that’s likely to go down as one of the more forgettable Visual Effects categories, but given that there’s a very obvious and clear choice at the top I’m not sure people will notice it. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay / I heard the laughter of her heart in every street café / The last time I saw Paris, her trees were dressed for spring / And lovers walked beneath those trees and birds found songs to sing / I dodged the same old taxicabs that I had dodged for years / The chorus of their squeaky horns was music to my ears / The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay / No matter how they change her, I’ll remember her that way.” ♫ (80th Anniversary)


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best International Feature

We continue our category breakdowns with Best International Feature. They’ve been tweaking this one a bunch in recent years and all of the changes seem to be impacting this category for the better.

On top of changing the name of the category to be more inclusive, they increased the shortlist from 9 to 10 last year and this year increased it from 10 to 15. I’m not sure that change was meant to be permanent but I can’t see why it wouldn’t be. It eliminates all of the nonsense they had to implement about ‘executive committee saves’ and all that. Because, if you remember, after I believe 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days didn’t make the shortlist despite being one of the consensus best films of that year, they implemented a system whereby the top six vote-getters would automatically make the shortlist but reserved three spots for ‘saves’, which allowed the heads of the branch to basically pick three other movies to automatically make the shortlist no matter how many votes they got. Which kept a lot of higher profile films in competition and also seemingly allowed them to get a lot of newer countries into the fray, rather than having the category just be France, Germany, Italy and Russia every year. But now, making the shortlist 15 allows all those higher profile films to make the shortlist and allows for more countries to make it on.

This year, I think the only negative about the expanded shortlist was that there were about 3-4 spots that clearly were just people voting for directors they respected rather than simply quality of film. But other than that, it feels like this is as close to improvement this category’s seen in a long time (since people not watching more than a small handful of films is an Academy-wide problem. So you can’t expect this category to be the outlier). (more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “Every night in my dreams / I see you, I feel you / That is how I know you go on / Far across the distance / And spaces between us / You have come to show you go on / Near, far, wherever you are / I believe that the heart does go on / Once more you open the door / And you’re here in my heart / And my heart will go on and on.” ♫


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Animated Feature

And we’re finally on the downhill. It’ll be category breakdowns every single day from here on out and then it’s Oscar weekend, baby.

Since the theme of this year is brevity, I’m not gonna do the whole rigamarole I normally do. We’re gonna focus on this year and this category and only discuss what we need to know to figure it out. It’s just gonna be how we got this category, what general information you need to know and a ranking of how likely each nominee is to win at the present moment.

We begin with Best Animated Feature, because that is one of the most locked categories of the entire night and we really don’t need to stress about it all that much.

(more…)


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Pic of the Day: ♫ “What a feeling / Bein’s believin’ / I can have it all / Now I’m dancing for my life / Take your passion / And make it happen / Pictures come alive / You can dance right through your life.” ♫