Posts tagged “2020

2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Production Design

Today is Best Production Design.

Funnily enough, when scheduling out these categories, I thought to myself ‘Costumes seem easier than Production Design, so I should put that first and then wait on BAFTA for Production Design’. Turns out, Production Design is one of the easiest categories on the night and Costumes is actually up for debate. Oh well.

Either way, we’ve gotta deal with this now, and based on how the precursors have gone, this should be a pretty straightforward one on the night. Which is good, since the more easy ones you have, it gives you more time to consider what you’re gonna do for the hard ones. (more…)


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Today is Best Makeup & Hairstyling, a category that’s quietly gone over a bit of an overhaul the past few years that nobody noticed. Just three years ago, there were only three nominees in this category and no real precursor help to speak of. Now we’ve got it all — a shortlist, five nominees, three major precursors… and still generally the same stuff winning every year.

This year presents us with an intriguing referendum on the integrity of voters. Because we know they love actor transformations in this category, almost as much as they love ‘how did they do that’ makeup effects. So here, we have our classic actor transformation alongside a stunning achievement in makeup effects. However, one of those films is a foreign film. So now you have to wonder — are voters actually gonna watch all the nominees like they’re supposed to before they vote in this category? Or are they simply gonna vote for what they know and not consider the foreign film because it hasn’t come across their radar?

That’s what lies before us in this year’s Makeup & Hairstyling category. (more…)


Oscars 2020: CDG Awards

The Costume Designers Guild handed out their awards today.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom won Period, Mulan won Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Promising Young Woman won Contemporary.

All that basically means that despite the frills of Emma, Ma Rainey has won every single Costumes precursor and is basically gonna win the Oscar.

That was easy.

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2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Original Screenplay

Today is Best Original Screenplay, a category I wanted to wait on the BAFTAs to go over, just in case they decided to go against how the tide in this one was already going.

In the end, we’ve got a pretty straightforward one, and it’s pretty clear which choice is gonna win and who’s gonna win if that one doesn’t. You really couldn’t ask for better help than that.

So here’s what this one looks like: (more…)


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Director

Today we go over Best Director, a category we arguably could’ve gone over a week ago and nothing would’ve changed.

But hey, at least now we’ve got both DGA and BAFTA in, and they’ve confirmed what we already knew, so this one’s basically a walk in the park and there’s not much we need to discuss. (more…)


2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Adapted Screenplay

Today is Best Adapted Screenplay. A category that, in the 90s, used to dominate the writing categories. Most Best Picture nominees came from this category. But in recent years, that tide has turned. And it feels like now most Picture nominees come from Original, while there’s always those other few who end up here. And because it’s not as overly stacked as it used to be, most years there’s been that overwhelming #1 that you’re almost certain is gonna win.

This year is no different, and we pretty much know where this one’s gonna go and we really don’t need to waste too much time talking about it. (more…)


Oscars 2020: BAFTA Awards

So the BAFTA Awards were handed out in two parts this year, which is strange to me. I’m just gonna cover it like I usually do and run down all the categories. But some of these were handed out yesterday.

Either way, I’m curious to see what, if anything, this does for the Oscar race, since at this point most of my beliefs about what’s going to happen locked up (even if that belief is ‘the category is wide open’). Mostly I’m expecting them to either solidify the things I feel are going to happen or go completely off the board and not help at all. But we’ll see.

Here are your BAFTA winners: (more…)


Oscars 2020: DGA Awards

And the DGA Awards.

Chloe Zhao won for Nomadland, which sews up that category in case you had any doubt about that. She’ll finish up with a BAFTA win tomorrow, now that she needs it, and we’ll have yet another locked category on the night.

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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…)


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…)


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…)


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…)


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…)


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…)


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…)


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…)


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…)


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…)


Oscars 2020: PGA Awards

The PGA Awards were handed out last night.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Nomadland took home Best Picture, which basically shores up that discussion. All that’s left to announce are BAFTA and SAG. And no one’s expecting BAFTA to vote for anything except Nomadland and SAG doesn’t really matter so much. Nomadland’s not nominated there and the only outcome there that will affect the race is if Chicago 7 wins, thereby nominally making it the second choice. Otherwise, that one’s locked.

In other categories, Soul won Best Animated Feature (no surprise), Hamilton won a Streaming Award (no shit) and My Octopus Teacher won the Documentary category. Only that and Time are in the Doc Feature field and, honesly, the win doesn’t mean a whole lot to me at the moment. Since the category began in 2007, only five PGA doc winners went on to win the Oscar. And you know what they were? The obvious populist five: Man on Wire, The Cove, Searching for Sugar Man, Amy and O.J. Made in America. Other stuff that won here are the docs that got ignored by the Academy: Life Itself, Jane, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Apollo 11. It’s hard to put that much stock into this, though it is a piece of information and given how the doc category is a giant question mark this year, I am wondering if we’re gonna see a March of the Penguins situation emerge with this one. Because truly, right now I can make a case for four of the five nominees.

But otherwise the big news to come out of here is that the Best Picture race is locked and depending on how the BAFTAs and all the guilds go, we might have a whole lot of locked categories coming our way over the next three weeks.

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Oscars 2020: WGA Awards

The WGA handed out awards last night. This will help us figure out what’s gonna win the Screenplay awards.

At this point, given the protracted season, we kinda know what’s most likely to win, but this is definitely a big help. Once BAFTA announces in a few weeks we’ll know for sure. But this is the one you definitely wanna see those top contenders win.

Though here, the presumptive Adapted winner wasn’t eligible, so it’s really just a matter of what they gave it to instead to see what people are gonna consider the red herring vote come Oscar night.

Let’s see what they went with: (more…)