Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 Oscar Nominations (Reaction and Analysis)

So, the 92nd Academy Award nominations were announced early this morning by John Cho and Issa Rae and, as per the norm, there were some snubs and surprises. Less so than usual, but a fair amount just the same. You can read the entire list here. The bigger news was that these nods are a reflection of an extremely shortened awards season, in many ways lacking the ups and downs and twists and turns we normally get leading into announcement morning. Or to further put it into perspective: Here we already are on January 13th and the host-less telecast airs from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on February 9th in just a few weeks. That's not only the smallest window in Oscar history, but the quickest turnaround for certain Academy voters who no longer have the time or luxury to base the entirety of their decision-making process on what others do. And after riding an upswing in ratings from last year's blockbuster-heavy show, it may be time to put up or shut up for them. How did AMPAS do this year? Well, here are some of the big takeaways...

-Joker leads the pack with a total of 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Director (Todd Phillips), Actor (Joaquin Phoenix). Original Score (Hildur Guðnadóttir) and even that coveted Film Editing nod, which is thought of as a must if you want to take home Best Picture. We knew the film could potentially clean up this morning, but this is clearly a best case scenario and MUCH better than anyone anticipated.

-The currently peaking 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood trail with 10 nods, including Picture and Director (Sam Mendes and Quentin Tarantino respectively). Even though Joker just upped its odds, these two are still considered the favorites for the top prize due to their more Academy-friendly subject matter.

-Looks like we've got 9 Best Picture nominees again this year.

-Joaquin Phoenix is a lock. No one can touch him right now.

-Similarly, Judy's Renée Zellweger probably has Best Actress wrapped up, albeit with far less competition.

-In a minor surprise, Cynthia Erivo got in for somewhat poorly received Harriet. But considering the Academy's long-standing love for movies about historical heroes, maybe not.

-Whether or not you feel they're each in the appropriate category, Pitt and DiCaprio are in, with Pitt more than likely to win for Best Supporting Actor.

-In a surprise, but not exactly a shock, Robert DeNiro doesn't get in for The Irishman, as most of the attention this season has been focused on co-stars Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, both of whom are nominated for Supporting.  

-This is as good a chance as Tarantino will ever have at winning Best Director.

-With multiple nominations for The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes, Netflix becomes the year's most nominated studio. Who would have thought?  Well, besides everyone.  

-Ford v. Ferrari is kind of surprisingly one of them, without being recognized for much else outside of the sound categories.

- Despite Parasite earning a Best Picture Nomination, does its presence (and likely win) in the Foreign Film category pretty much guarantee it can't possibly win the Big Prize?

-Sorry, but I wouldn't consider the Academy failing to nominate J-Lo for Best Supporting Actress in a movie about strippers a "snub." At least not by their standards.

-Taron Egerton not scoring a Best Actor nod for Rocketman is most definitely one, especially coming off a bunch of precursor notices and Rami Malek's win for Bohemian Rhapsody still fresh in minds. Or maybe that's the problem?

-No Lupita Nyong'o for Us, though for some reason the exclusion doesn't feel like a shock given the Academy's rocky relationship with sci-fi and horror. It seems like just the kind of performance they'd overlook, ridiculous as that seems.

-Presumable lead actress lock Awkwafina overlooked for The Farewell, as the film's ignored for just about everything else as well, highlighting the divide that still exists between critics and voters.  

-No Adam Sandler for Uncut Gems or Eddie Murphy for Dolemite, but good luck finding anyone who predicted they'd get in. The former just peaked too late, making him maybe the biggest casualty of this shortened season.

-Knives Out didn't make the impact many were hoping, earning only an Original Screenplay nomination for Rian Johnson.

-The never-nominated Scarlett Johansson becomes a double nominee for both Marriage Story (Lead) and JoJo Rabbit (Supporting).

-Speaking of potential double nominees, the guessing game's over. Margot Robbie gets her Supporting nod for Bombshell instead of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. 

-Richard Jewell may have flopped at the box office, but Kathy Bates still gets in for Supporting, as most suspected she still would. But Laura Dern has this race in the bag for Marriage Story.

-While Greta Gerwig may have gone un-nominated for directing Little Women (a snub currently causing an uproar), the film's haul of six nods (including Best Picture, Best Actress for Saoirse Ronan and Supporting Actress for Florence Pugh) is probably better than anyone expected. But if it's okay, I'll just continue pretending Pugh was nominated for Midsommar instead.

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