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2020 Oscar Nominations Are In

Nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards were announced Monday morning, and, as always, they are proving to be quite controversial. In my opinion though, this year’s batch of nominees is much better than last year’s. Last year, I loved two of the eight movies nominated for Best Picture and liked two others, and the other half I would categorize as either sub-par or downright bad. This year, I can say I at least like all of the Best Picture nominees—I have yet to watch only one of the nine nominees, “1917,” but I will be seeing it later this week. At the very least, I can be absolutely positive this year’s winner is going to be better than “Green Book.” The nominations for the other categories, at least the ones I care about, are, on average, pretty agreeable. However, there are a few gigantic snubs which left myself and several others rather unpleasantly surprised. 

I am going to briefly go over a select few categories which I actually have a strong opinion on. 

Best Picture

“Ford v. Ferrari”

“Little Women”


“Marriage Story”

“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

“The Irishman”

“Jojo Rabbit”



As I said above, I like all of these movies. In fact, I would rate more than half of these movies an eight out of 10 or above. In my ideal world, “Midsommar,” “Waves,” “The Lighthouse” and “Uncut Gems” would be recognized here as well. My favorite movie nominated is “Marriage Story.” Right now, Vegas odds have “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood,” “1917” and “Parasite” as the three most likely winners, so I would probably bet on one of those—metaphorically of course. Every good Oklahoma Christian student knows gambling is a sin.

Best Actor

Adam Driver in “Marriage Story”

Antonio Banderas in “Pain and Glory”

Leonardo DiCaprio in “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood”

Jonathan Pryce in “The Two Popes”

Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker”


In all honesty, I think all of these performances are excellent. There were just so many great and memorable lead actors this year that choosing only five would leave several praise-worthy performances off the list. As far as I can tell, the award is Joaquin Phoenix’s to lose. Personally, I think Adam Driver gave the best performance of those nominated, but Phoenix is such a talented actor and has had so many great roles—”Her,” “The Master” and “Gladiator,” to name a few—he definitely deserves an Oscar at this point, even if I do not believe he gave the best performance of the year. Just a few of the notable excluded are Adam Sandler in “Uncut Gems,” Robert DeNiro in “The Irishman,” Roman Griffin Davis in “Jojo Rabbit,” Kelvin Harrison Jr. in “Waves,”  Woo-sik Choi in “Parasite,” Robert Pattinson in “The Lighthouse,” Taron Edgerton in “Rocketman” and Eddie Murphy in “Dolemite is My Name.” 

Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo in “Harriet”

Scarlett Johansson in “Marriage Story”

Saoirse Ronan in “Little Women”

Charlize Theron in “Bombshell”

Renée Zellweger in “Judy”


Unfortunately, of these five I have only seen “Marriage Story” and “Little Women.” From what I have heard, Renée Zellweger is the favorite in this category. Personally, I think Scarlett Johansson gave the best performance I saw this year—maybe second best, definitely best of those nominated though—whether lead or supporting, actor or actress, so I think she deserves it the most. As for who got snubbed, Lupita Nyong’o in “Us” seems to be the most obvious one. Yeo-jeong Jo in “Parasite” and Awkwafina in “The Farewell” deserve a mention as well. 


Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates in “Richard Jewell”

Laura Dern in “Marriage Story”

Scarlett Johansson in “Jojo Rabbit”

Florence Pugh in “Little Women”

Margot Robbie in “Bombshell”

I have not seen “Bombshell” or “Richard Jewell,” so I cannot say much about Bates or Robbie, but I very much enjoyed the three others here. Johansson is great in “Jojo Rabbit,” but I am not sure I would have put her for supporting actress since she is already nominated for lead in “Marriage Story,” and she has a much better chance of winning there than she has here. I really loved Florence Pugh in “Little Women,” but I am going to have to pick Laura Dern in “Marriage Story” as my favorite. Dern also seems to have the best chance of winning. As for those who were left out, I think So-dam Park in “Parasite” deserves to be on here. I think she gave my favorite performance in that film. 

Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

Anthony Hopkins in “The Two Popes”

Al Pacino in “The Irishman”

Joe Pesci in “The Irishman”

Brad Pitt in “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood”

Again, I think all five of these performances were fantastic. It is a tough choice, but I think of these, Al Pacino gave the best performance. I recently rewatched “The Irishman,” and I enjoyed Pacino’s performance even more the second time. Plus, for an actor who has had so many iconic performances over his career, it really feels like Pacino should have more than one Oscar at this point. Odds are, Brad Pitt walks away with the award in this category, and I would not mind that at all either; he was great. This brings me to what I think was the biggest snub of the year: Willem Dafoe in “The Lighthouse.” Since my initial review of “The Lighthouse” back in October, I have seen it two more times. The cast really only includes two people and, not to discredit Pattinson’s fantastic work on the film, Dafoe’s character sticks with you. I could write much more about how unjust his exclusion is, but I will spare you from that. Definitely check out “The Lighthouse” if you have not already.

Best Director

Sam Mendes for “1917”

Quentin Tarantino for “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood”

Bong-Joon-Ho for “Parasite”

Todd Phillips for “Joker”

Martin Scorcese for “The Irishman”

This was the category I was the most disappointed with. It is not so much that I think any of these nominees did a bad job—though Todd Phillips is by far the weakest nominee—it is more directors whom I think did a better job are absent. As for who will win, Vegas odds say the only two with much of a chance are Sam Mendes and Bong Joon-Ho, with Mendes having a slight edge. I am going to break with that slightly and bet on Bong Joon-Ho to win just because I think he did the best job of anybody nominated. Trey Edward Shults for “Waves” is probably my favorite directing this year. I really wish it had gotten at least one nomination. I very highly recommend that movie, by the way; it is either my favorite or second favorite movie of 2019.  While I am on this tangent, I also highly recommend you see “Parasite.” If you can only stand to watch one foreign language film this year, that is the one you should see. Back on track, though, other snubs include Josh and Benny Safdie for “Uncut Gems,” Greta Gerwig for “Little Women,” Lulu Wang for “The Farewell,” Robert Eggers for “The Lighthouse,” Noah Baumbach for “Marriage Story” and Ari Aster for “Midsommar.” 

This article is already much longer than I wanted it to be, so I am going to leave it at that. I had a few minor disagreements with some nominees in the other categories, but I was pleasantly surprised for the most part. Following are the rest of the nominations. I will put my prediction in bold.

Animated Feature


“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” Dean DeBlois

“I Lost My Body,” Jeremy Clapin

“Klaus,” Sergio Pablos

“Missing Link,” Chris Butler

“Toy Story 4,”  Josh Cooley


Animated Short

“Dcera,” Daria Kashcheeva

“Hair Love,” Matthew A. Cherry

“Kitbull,” Rosana Sullivan

“Memorable,” Bruno Collet

“Sister,” Siqi Song


Adapted Screenplay


“The Irishman,” Steven Zaillian

“Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi

“Joker,” Todd Phillips, Scott Silver

“Little Women,” Greta Gerwig

“The Two Popes,” Anthony McCarten


Original Screenplay


“Knives Out,” Rian Johnson

“Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach

“1917,” Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino

“Parasite,” Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won Han




“The Irishman,” Rodrigo Prieto

“Joker,” Lawrence Sher

“The Lighthouse,” Jarin Blaschke

“1917,” Roger Deakins

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robert Richardson


Best Documentary Feature


“American Factory,” Julia Rieichert, Steven Bognar

“The Cave,” Feras Fayyad

“The Edge of Democracy,” Petra Costa

“For Sama,” Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts

“Honeyland,” Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov


Best Documentary Short Subject


“In the Absence,” Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam

“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone,” Carol Dysinger

“Life Overtakes Me,” Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas

“St. Louis Superman,” Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

“Walk Run Cha-Cha,” Laura Nix


Best Live Action Short Film


“Brotherhood,” Meryam Joobeur

“Nefta Football Club,” Yves Piat

“The Neighbors’ Window,” Marshall Curry

“Saria,” Bryan Buckley

“A Sister,” Delphine Girard


Best International Feature Film


“Corpus Christi,” Jan Komasa

“Honeyland,” Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov

“Les Miserables,” Ladj Ly

“Pain and Glory,” Pedro Almodovar

“Parasite,” Bong-Joon-Ho


Film Editing


“Ford v Ferrari,” Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland

“The Irishman,” Thelma Schoonmaker

“Jojo Rabbit,” Tom Eagles

“Joker,” Jeff Groth

“Parasite,” Jinmo Yang


Sound Editing


“Ford v Ferrari,” Don Sylvester

“Joker,” Alan Robert Murray

“1917,” Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Wylie Stateman

“Star Wars: The Rise of SkyWalker,” Matthew Wood, David Acord


Sound Mixing


“Ad Astra”

“Ford v Ferrari”



“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”


Production Design


“The Irishman,” Bob Shaw and Regina Graves

“Jojo Rabbit,” Ra Vincent and Nora Sopkova

“1917,” Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh

“Parasite,” Lee Ha-Jun and Cho Won Woo, Han Ga Ram, and Cho Hee


Original Score


“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir

“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat

“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman

“1917,” Thomas Newman

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams


Original Song


“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” “Toy Story 4”

“I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” “Rocketman”

“I’m Standing With You,” “Breakthrough”

“Into the Unknown,” “Frozen 2”

“Stand Up,” “Harriet”


Makeup and Hair





“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”



Costume Design


”The Irishman,” Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson

“Jojo Rabbit,” Mayes C. Rubeo

“Joker,” Mark Bridges

“Little Women,” Jacqueline Durran

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Arianne Phillips


Visual Effects


“Avengers Endgame”

“The Irishman”


“The Lion King”

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

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