With the Oscar nominations coming out this upcoming Monday, January 13, I have put together what my nominations would be with the movies I have seen from this Oscar year. There are some major movies that I have not been able to see, so if a film you expected is omitted, it may be among the movies I have yet to see.

Admittedly there are certain categories that I just have a blind spot for. Those are the short films (whether they be documentary, live action or animation), foreign films (except the exceptional Parasite) and animated films. I have seen many documentaries but not all of them are worthy of Academy Awards consideration so that category is fudged around a bit.

With these nominations, I will also select which one I would pick from the movies that I have seen at the point of publishing. As I get a chance to see more of the movies involved and nominated with the Oscars, I will be updating this post up through the actual awards show on Sunday, February 9.

Additionally expect a blog when the actual nominations are announced and I’ll be sifting through to see who WILL win the awards and who I think should be taking home the hardware.

Short Film (Edited)

I have not seen any movies that fit into this category

Short Film (Live Action)

I have not seen any movies that fit into this category

Documentary (Short Subject)

Ghosts Of Sugarland

The only short documentary I have seen and it does not deserve to be part of the Academy Award conversation.

Foreign Language Film

Parasite

WINNER: Parasite 

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So Parasite is the only foreign langue movie I have seen this year…and that’s admittedly something I can improve upon. BUT, that doesn’t matter here because Parasite is amazing, fantastic, remarkable and the true must-see from this awarding year. I have written about it numerous times on this site, and it is the safest bet come the award show in February.

Music (Original Song)

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” – Toy Story 4
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” – Rocketman
“Spirit” – Lion King

WINNER: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” – Rocketman

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I have only three songs I can recall off the top having a strong reaction to this year that fit into this category. I am mainly picking this because I really did enjoy Rocketman and let it get an award for more people to watch it…and they’ll learn it’s so much better than Bohemiem Rhapsody (2018). Taron Egerton sang and did it all and he isn’t going to get an acting award so let him have this.

Animated Feature Film

Toy Story 4
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
The Lion King
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

WINNER: Toy Story 4

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I am a sucker for Toy Story. Having seen only four animated movies that’ll fall into this category…for me this is not really close at all. Movie made me laugh and cry, and it gave me everything I’d want from a heartfelt story.

Documentary (Not obeying all the rules of Academy)

The Amazing Johnathan Documentary
Apollo 11
Diego Maradona
Laddie: The Man Behind The Movies
Leaving Neverland (Parts 1 & 2)

WINNER: Apollo 11

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This is the only movie that technically fits the requirements of the Academy and the possible films that’ll be nominated. With that being said, this movie is still incredible. Archival footage up leaking through the all the possible crevices. Telling a story like this with no voice over is an accomplishment.

*IF I were picking from all of the various documentary movies I saw this year, it’d be HBO’s Diego Maradona. 

Makeup and Hairstyling

Bombshell
Dolemite Is My Name
Knives Out
Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
Rocketman

WINNER: Bombshell

bombshell.jpg

Charlize Theron. Plain and simple. Her transformation into Megyn Kelly is beyond transformative. Then there is Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson and John Lithgow as Roger Ailes. Listening to Jay Roach on The Ringer’s “The Big Picture” podcast, he noted how the disclaimer at the upfront of the movie was due in large part to the similarity of the lawyers to their real life appearance.

Music (Original Score)

1917
Bombshell
Joker
Us
Uncut Gems

WINNER: Us

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Not sure if it’s the immediate importance of music in the initial trailer. The literal “get in rhythm” line drop sticks with me because I just remember the drawn out strings that are sewn in throughout Us. It was like the music is a drawn out ellipsis that you think is going to end soon, but never does. The soundtrack feels like the dreading feeling of walking down a staircase into the dark…which is apt for Us.

Visual Effects

Alita: Battle Angel
Avengers: End Game
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

WINNER: The Lion King

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Say what you want about the movie as a whole…The Lion King is a marvel in terms of technical achievement. It plays tricks on the eyes and someone doesn’t make it seem too obvious or glaring. The movie is a disappointment to many, but that’s only in story and nostalgia. One thing everyone agrees upon is that the visual effects are other wordly good.

Actress In A Supporting Role

Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Margot Robbie – Bombshell
Nicole Kidman – Bombshell
Yeo-Jeong Jo – Parasite
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit

WINNER: Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit

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In my mind I was going to pick Laura Dern in Marriage Story. That is what I was going to do because she is amazing. But I kept going back to one scene in Jojo Rabbit, when Scarlett Johansson is acting out being both her husband and herself to Jojo. It is surprisingly emotional, ending with the dance, that scene just stuck with me. Dern is almost a shoe-in for the category, but with Johansson maybe going to miss out on Best Actress, I wanna give her some shine here for an heralded role.

Actor In A Supporting Role

Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Song Kang Ho – Parasite
John Lithgow – Bombshell

WINNER: Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood

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The biggest lock of the 2020 Academy Awards. The epitome of cool. The statue of suave. Get this sexy man on the stage to make a quick but memorable speech, pretty please and thank you. Brad Pitt stole the show in Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood and he’ll steal the hearts of America again, like at the Golden Globes, when he accepts his award in February.

Actor In A Leading Role

Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Robert De Niro – The Irishman
Jonathan Pryre – The Two Popes
Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

WINNER: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

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I really wanted to put Adam Driver down, but just couldn’t pull the trigger. I think part of me wanted to lean that way because Marriage Story is a better movie than Joker, but there is no denying that Phoenix is a madman for this performance as Arther Fleck. From the way he uses his body to emulate embarrassment, to his vicious smile to his perfect evolution to bi-polar to normal insanity. The final scene of him becoming the Joker with the blood on his face and mouth; whether that be fantasy or not, that is beautiful.

Actress In A Leading Role

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Lupita Nyong’o – Us
Florence Pugh – Midsommar
Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Kaitlyn Dever/Beanie Feldstein – Booksmart

WINNER: Charlize Theron – Bombshell

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Is Charlize Theron the most underrated actress in the world right now? My Column.

Her transformation into Megyn Kelly steals the show in Bombshell and carries that movies to its highest point. Her ability to play the role without it seeming like an imitation is very difficult to put into words. It’s that good, it’s that jaw dropping.

Should note that I put in Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldshein as a duo from Booksmart as a nomination. The funniest movie of the year only came together because of the chemistry they shared, so let them share a nomination here.

Costume Design

Dolemite Is My Name
Jojo Rabbit
Midsommar
Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
The Two Popes

WINNER: Dolemite Is My Name

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Dolemite is my name is a movie that coasts on coolness. Eddie Murphy is still charismatic as hell, and he looks even cooler with the clothes of Dolemite. Snazzy, over the top, flamboyant and magnetic in all the best way. It’s the clothes that set the tone of the 1970s and add to hilarity of this portrayal of Blaxploitation phenomenon.

Production Design

1917
Joker
Midsommar
Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
Parasite

WINNER: 1917

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1917 should clean house with this, as well as one other category. You feel like you are a rat trapped in the mazes of the trenches throughout the World War I story. The stages and settings built add to that realism and allow for cinematographer Roger Deakins and director Sam Mendes to shine.

Sound Editing

Alita: Battle Angel
Avengers: Endgame
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Rocketman
Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker

WINNER: Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker

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Alright, I am not a major fan of Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker. But there is no denying its grand in scale, and the pure amount of sound editing raises it above the class. Even if the movie was a major disappointment, the sounds of blasters and lightsabers is still cool as hell.

Sound Mixing

Parasite
Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
Rocketman
Uncut Gems
Us

WINNER: Uncut Gems

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As am I am still thinking about, Uncut Gems’ ability to create immense confusion and disorientation is wonderful. There are countless scenes taking place in a crowded room and it’s incredibly refreshing noticing that all the parties are talking at the same volume. It’s not like in a club when two people are talking and suddenly the rest of the room is suddenly muted for the audience’s sake. It’s part of the vibe of Uncut Gems, and the patience in having that approach and editing all that audio together must be immense.

Film Editing

1917
Knives Out
Marriage Story
Parasite
Uncut Gems

WINNER: Uncut Gems

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Swapped my mind on this one. Originally I had 1917, but hearing multiple reviews and podcasts about it, I am altering my pick. It’s always good to learn from others.

All of the editing with 1917 was done with the camera, which is amazing in its own right. But Uncut Gems is chaotic in all hell with its frantic cutting and use of close-ups. The shots are never static, much like how the pace is never even keel. The amount of post production editing had to be remarkable and I can’t stop thinking about how every piece of Uncut Gems brings massive anxiety.

Cinematography

1917
Jojo Rabbit
Midsommar
Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
Parasite

WINNER: 1917

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If Roger Deakins doesn’t win, then we riot. Plain and simple. 1917 is the most beautiful movie of the year, hands down. Make it back-to-back Oscars for Deakins in his past two nominations (Deakins won for Blade Runner 2049 in 2018).

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Steven Zaillian – The Irishman
Taiki Waititi – Jojo Rabbit
Todd Phillips & Scott Silver – Joker
Scott Z. Burns – The Laundromat
Anthony McCarten – The Two Popes

WINNER: The Irishman

Cover

Steve Zaillian takes Charles Brandt book and draws it out into an amazing three-tiered character study. Nobody really knows what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, and the grand thing about The Irishman is that by the end of it, that death isn’t what you are thinking about. Instead, it’s heartbreaking story of self realization, self destruction and regret.

Once I heard this one take on The Irishman, it really sold me on it. This is the perfect Martin Scorsese movie because it blends his fascination with faith and mobsters in the most seamlessly.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Rian Johnson – Knives Out
Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Ari Aster – Midsommar
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho – Parasite

WINNER: Parasite

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For the record I REALLY wanted to put Guy Busick, R. Christopher Murphy on this list for Ready Or Not. It was a crazy movie and premise that was a really fun ride.

Still in awe of how Bong Joon Ho made a story that is impossible to predict. Nothing about it is ordinary. He took on the real issues of social inequality with a comedic but emotional tone and managed to make empathy for both sides. There are no pure antagonist in Parasite, only naive characters who don’t know any better.

Parasite blends genre effortlessly and final act is the most explosive mind-melding conclusion this awards season. Perfectly written…and perfectly directed.

Directing

Sam Mendez – 1917
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho – Parasite

WINNER: Bong Joon Ho

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Ahhhh, SEGWAY!

Bong Joon Ho makes the most with the limited spacial environment he set Parasite in. He paces the movie so that the ending comes at you like a trap door boulder chasing you out the theater. Also have to have a little bias in that he wrote Parasite and then put it all on screen.

A love a movie that makes you think and treats the audience like its educated. Parasite forces you to get smarter as the movie goes on while making you feel stupid because you don’t see anything coming.

Picture

1917
Bombshell
Dolemite Is My Name
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Knives Out
Marriage Story
Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood
Parasite
Uncut Gems

WINNER: Parasite

parasite1.jpg

Let’s make history. Let’s have the Best Picture winner be a foreign film. Roma certainly deserved it last year but came up short. This year Parasite has a strong a case as any to be the first to cross that threshold.

All of these movies I have picked for my Best Picture nominees are excellent. I could make a case for any of them, but none have as many bullet points in their favor as Parasite. It’s the movie I can’t stop recommending to anyone who asks.

IF, I had to pick me top three, it’s the following: Parasite, 1917, Marriage Story

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