Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when Hollywood gives itself a loving reach around in the form of statues with asses that resemble the ass of Bette Davis’ first husband. Much like last year, they’re going hostless because they realised people liked it when they didn’t spend 25 minutes hearing jokes from the host about how we’re running 15 minutes late. It’s also just because the Oscars are desperate to seem hip and cool, why do you think Joker has so many nominations? It’s not because of quality, it’s because they’re desperate for young people to tune in so they picked the movie they could stomach nominating (because nominating the comic book movie that wasn’t ashamed to be a comic book movie would just be impossible) and hope the audience of people who proclaim Joker to be the best movie ever will tune in to improve their sagging ratings.
So today we’re going to go through my predictions, AKA what I would like to win each category (and what is realistically going to win). Along the way, I’m going to be spiteful and bitter over the snubs that happened because this is my blog and I get to be bitter whenever I want, so this is going to be a joyful time for all of us.
I’m only going to be talking about the feature categories because we talk about feature-length films here, plus getting hold of every short is a pain in the neck and considering this year I’ve got thoughts on 20 feature categories, I believe I’m allowed to skip the 3 short subject categories and the Documentary one (because I can only see 2 out of the 5 nominees, so it’d be unfair to pick from that pile)
This year might be one of the strongest lineups of films that I’ve ever seen. Eight of these films deserved every bit of praise and worship they got… and also Joker is here because it’s popular (spoilers, Joker’s getting exactly two nods from me and no love of any kind, deal with that now because, since my review, I have soured on that movie like it was milk left on the counter for a month). To pick a film out of this batch isn’t easy but my hopes are all on Jojo. Jojo Rabbit was the surprisingly sweet gut-punch of a film about giving up nationalism with incredible performances by everyone, a fantastic script and the absolute best scene in cinema during 2019. Seriously, I defy you to find a better scene than Jojo kicking Hitler out the window while saying “Fuck you Hitler”. It cannot be done. Saying that, I’m aware that 1917 is the favourite to win based on its track record at other ceremonies but screw it, Jojo is better.
To paraphrase the legendary drag queen Alyssa Edwards “The one that I would want to send home with an Oscar is not in this lineup”. Welcome to the first entry in “HOW THE HELL WERE THEY NOT NOMINATED”, where I plan on being a petty bitch and screaming about how Taron Egerton was robbed of a nomination he deserved. Taron gave, in my opinion, the performance of the year with his role in Rocketman and proved himself to be a true triple threat. But Rocketman was one of the gigantic snubs of this year (Was it too gay? Is that it? Because it seems that for a film about a gay character to stand a chance with the Academy, they have to be dead by the end of the movie) so now I have to go with my second choice for this award and admit that Joaquin Phoenix was always going to go home with it.
I wanted Taron to win, but I’ve known for months that it would inevitably be Joaquin. Despite my many issues with Joker that make me have this bizarre love/hate relationship with that film, the one element of it that’s unambiguously incredible is Joaquin’s role as Arthur Fleck. He is why the movie was memorable in any way, without him it just doesn’t work at all… also he probably should’ve had his Oscar already at least once for any of his past roles so they owe him. Now go watch Rocketman, that film has been under-appreciated so appreciate it, damnit!
Oh look, here’s another category that snubbed the person who should’ve won it. I know the Academy hates genre films, but how did they not look at Lupita’s performance in Us and transcend that anti-genre bias? Hell, how was Florence Pugh ignored for her work in Midsommar? Instead, we have this category full of people who gave fine performances, but nothing transcendent like Lupita or Florence. So, essentially, we’re pretty much waiting for this award to be picked up by Renee Zellwegger for a performance that was great, but nowhere near as great as the snubbed actresses who should be up for this award. Renee absolutely delivers a great performance that shows why she’s already an Oscar winner, with a deft hand for drama and comedy her work in Judy is great. I might not be a fan of what she did with the singing but hey, she’s not actually Judy Garland so I can’t realistically expect her to sing like that.
Having said that, the ultimate upset for this role could be Charlize Theron in Bombshell who basically just skinned Megyn Kelly and became her and you know how the Academy loves that.
Finally a category I legitimately can’t argue with. Every nominee here delivered genuinely great performances and any one of these guys could walk home with an Oscar. There’s a part of me that would love to see this go to Brad Pitt because his performance in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was probably one of the coolest performances of the year and, frankly, he should already have one for his acting work (he only has one as a producer for 12 Years a Slave). I’m also open to admitting there is a high likelihood that Pitt’s going to get it since he has been sweeping the awards to the point where they ran out of ways to put it in headlines so they had to use memories of his relationship with Jennifer Aniston to find a fresh way to talk about him winning. So, the very realistic option is Brad Pitt… but then I sit for a minute and remember how brilliant Joe Pesci was in The Irishman and I know who I have to pick for “who I would like to win”, which is what these posts are always about anyway.
For starters, Pesci came out of retirement for this movie so there’s a good chance we might not get another performance out of him, so there’s just the factor of “Do it now, while we can!”. If this is the last Pesci role, goddamn what a role to go out on. Pesci has always been known for his loud bombastic characters who take over a room the second he walks into them. So for him to pull back and be so subdued was attention-grabbing itself, and then he just turned in a performance that sang to me. Subtle and nuanced, but with that familiar fire just barely hidden behind the eyes at all times, it’s something special and should put a second award on his mantle… though, again, I won’t be mad if Pitt takes it.
Guess who is going to be eternally pissy about a snub? If you guessed me, you know me far too well. How was Jennifer Lopez not in this lineup? How? HOW!? I do not get what the hell is going on this year, some of these snubs are comically egregious to the point where it has to be intentional, just to court controversy. How do you watch Hustlers and not look at what Jennifer was doing, stealing a movie from personalities like Lizzo and Cardi B while also being hilarious, dramatic and emotionally engaging throughout, and not give her the damn nomination that everyone on the planet with a functioning brain agrees she deserved to have.
OK, how’d I get up on this box of soap?
Anyway, the winner is going to be Laura Dern. She’s basically had this award in her hand since Marriage Story was released with her only real competition being a certain Jenny from the block and since she doesn’t have that issue at the moment, Laura is working on her acceptance speech right at this moment. I’m happy for her, sincerely, Laura Dern is a fantastic actress who is good in literally everything she ever does and I’m glad she’s going to get to put the phrase “Academy Award Winner” beside her name in every trailer she pops up in from here on out… but holy crap guys, HOLY CRAP THIS YEAR!
This one feels like it’s going to be controversial no matter who wins. Will Marty get his second award ever in the year he decided to come for an entire genre? Will the painfully annoying Todd Phillips get to take home an Oscar for making a film that hates itself? Do none of them deserve the win because Greta Gerwig is sitting right there just waiting to hear her name called but won’t because the Academy has nominated 5 women for best director in the entire history of the Academy and somehow managed to ignore Greta this year for Little Women? Who knows what’s going to happen but oh my god do I hate every single thing about this category. So who should get it? Oh god, I do not care. Give it to Sam Mendes, he pulled off a single-take film and that’s really hard, plus it denies awards to several people who have annoyed me and acknowledges the depressing truth that it won’t be Bong Joon Ho because this year’s ceremony is just not that interesting.
How is this the only category Knives Out is nominated in? Just one? Just one nomination for one of the most fun and original films of the year? For the film that was voted third best film of 2019 by a very smart boy who totally isn’t bringing this information up as an excuse to link back to that list because best lists only get half the views of worst lists and I would really like to see people hearing about good movies they might have missed? Oh well, I guess Knive’s Out is going to have to win this award. Not only does this film have razor-sharp dialogue and some of the most creative plotting I’ve seen in ages, the script for this one has to be absolutely perfect for everything to work and they had so many balls in the air that if the script wasn’t meticulously sorted out to make everything work it would just crumble. This film should’ve been drenched in nominations, but I guess it’ll have to settle for winning the only one that it’s got.
If you can adapt something that’s been adapted 25 times and make it feel fresh and modern, you’ve done something special. Little Women was one of the nicest cinema experiences and its script is so beautiful, I genuinely loved every minute of it… plus, Greta needs to go home with an Oscar and since the cowards are too cowardly to give her the Best Director Oscar that she is entitled to, then she should get this one just to make up for the slight.
All signs point to The Lighthouse pulling an upset, since Oscars love black and white films and tend to reward ones who still use that kind of imagery… but I haven’t been able to see that one yet so I can’t fairly call it the winner. So, looks like I’m going with the film with the insane long take style that managed to play with light and colour like an expert painter. 1917 is just so visually stunning that it’s almost offensive how good it is because a war film shouldn’t be this damn good looking while also being emotionally devastating. It’s so good to look at that if you just turned the sound down, you’d still have a great experience.
Editing is a tricky award to call because when it’s done well, you don’t notice it. When it’s done poorly, oh my god do you notice. It’s also hard to call because last year the Oscars gave this award to the worst edited film of the bunch (if you’ve seen the clip from Bohemian Rhapsody where they meet at the table outside, you know this is the truest statement I will ever make). It’s even hard to call because the film that would’ve easily won it, 1917, isn’t nominated because of some reasons (seriously, that film managed to hide every one of its edits so well that it created the illusion of a single take. How is THAT not Oscar worthy?). That being said, Ford v Ferrari was a sublimely edited masterpiece. The racing scenes alone have some of the tightest editing, you can tell they had it nailed down to the individual frame and the pacing is just perfect. Much like the motor of a racing car, this movie’s editing is so perfectly assembled that it’s what makes everything else so perfect.
Each of the nominees this year deserves it and all of them made something special… but 1917 had to design a production where you could just go from one location to another without the camera cutting away, so they had to work out transitional looks and things we would linger on. That film basically should be sweeping the technical awards so let’s throw it this one
A good costume design should complement the film, be part of creating a world that people will want to enjoy… or it can just be really goddamn pretty, which the costume design of Little Women absolutely is. Florence Pugh’s dress in the carriage scene. That one outfit is why this movie deserves an award. Every other bit of costuming is fine, going between worlds of privilege and desperation and every single one looking pretty but that first outfit Florence Pugh wore in the carriage was where I immediately went “Oh, that’s pretty” and wanted to shower it with awards.
Huh, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is an Oscar nominee. That’s an interesting decision to make (*grumblegrumble* Rocketmanshouldbenominatedinstead *grumblegrumble). Also interesting is the fact that this year we get 5 nominees instead of 3 due to a change in the rules that allowed them to increase it. All the nominees this year certainly did a lot for their respective movies, but I’m going to have to pick Bombshell for this one. Bombshell did one thing that made it the instant winner, and it’s the same thing that Darkest Hour and Vice did that gave them the award almost instantly… they did fat prosthetics on someone and let the camera get so close you could see the pores on their skin. There are so many shots that’re close on Roger Ailes that if the makeup wasn’t flawlessly done it wouldn’t work, and it does. Parts of Charlize’s impeccable Megyn Kelly look are also prosthetics and you couldn’t tell.
Even though I’m going to state that Joker is probably the most likely to take this one, especially because it’s already won a few awards so far for this category and because the chances of Joker only taking home one award are slim, let’s not put it past John Williams to surprise everyone. He has been nominated 6 times just for his Star Wars music so let’s just keep in mind that he could surprise us all and take this one (and probably should, he won it for the first Star Wars so giving it to him for the last one in this saga would just be nice), even though I’m going to officially say Joker.
Look, I know that Disney might normally have a lock on this. They put out the big Elsa song from Frozen 2 and another Randy Newman Toy Story 4 song that’re both basically designed for this award. Hell, do you know how much I would really like to say “Give the award to the song about the suicidal spork”? That’s a sentence I was destined to say… I don’t care, give the goddamn award to Elton John. I’m Gonna Love Me Again is the song I’ve played more often this year than anything else. It’s a fun energetic day brightening number that makes the idea of loving yourself sound as joyful as could be. Bernie’s lyrics are fantastic as per usual and Elton is giving his all with that beautiful instrumentation, showing us why he is one of the greatest pianists of all time with his effortless riffs. Plus, this is as close as I’m going to get to Taron getting up on that stage to hold an award since he performs the song so just let me have this one.
Sound Mixing and Sound Editing are always one of the hardest things to call because a lot of people really don’t know the difference. They also tend to go to the same movie, in fact during this decade alone Sound Mixing and Sound Editing have gone to the same movie 6 times out of 10. So when it comes to Sound Mixing this choice is based upon an understanding picked up by this article from Mic, and I’m kind of just hoping Ad Astra gets it. The sound is a major part of that movie working as well as it does, it’s minimal but meticulous in how each sound is just carefully set up and laid out to create the feeling needed for the film. I won’t be shocked if something else wins, but Ad Astra is where I’m hoping this goes.
You know what? This one I’m just going to pick because someone deserves the praise. Matthew Wood has been nominated in this category 5 times, he did the sound editing for all the new Star Wars movies and he is basically the one in charge of the sound of modern Star Wars movies, give him the damn award for Star Wars IX – The Rise Of Skywalker. I say this as someone who doesn’t like the newest Star Wars movie (I literally gave it an award that claimed it tried to kill me) but it had good sound editing so give it that award.
Sadly, Cats isn’t nominated or that would be the obvious pick.
This year has some genuine contenders, from The Irishman’s incredible work in de-ageing to The Lion King showing that we don’t need real lions when the computer can handle that for us (even if they can’t have expression) but… screw it, Endgame only got one nomination, it’s in this category and you look at that battle sequence and tell me this film doesn’t deserve an Oscar just for that shot where a thousand superheroes pop out of giant glowing anuses. We’re not about fairness here, we’re about my personal choices and I’m saying the Oscar should go to Endgame, since the cowards doing the voting were too cowardly to nominate it in anything else because it’s a comic book movie that isn’t ashamed about being a comic book movie. Having said that… it’s the Academy, they’re not fun enough to pick the awesome visuals of Endgame, so they’re probably going to make a big deal out of the de-ageing effects of The Irishman.
Missing Link. Give the Oscar to the sweet little film about a bigfoot trying to find a new home that’s done in glorious claymation. It’s beautiful, it’s hilarious, it has some of the best visual designs of any of the nominees and the studio needs all the prestige it can get. Again, this movie was slept on horribly by the public so if you haven’t seen it, this is the point where you go off to fix that and then you can come back and agree with me that it deserves a big shiny statue. It is a tiny bit more likely that Klaus is going to take it, thanks to the innovation of the animation style and because more people saw it, but it should be going to that glorious claymation that everyone slept on.
Parasite. It’s going to be Parasite. Fun little cheat to figure this category out without even having to see any of the films mentioned, if something is nominated in Best International Film and Best Film, it’s winning the International Film without even trying. Parasite is nominated all over this year, the one that it’s basically guaranteed to get is this one specific award. Like, it’s such an obvious pick that the other nominees might as well just go out for dinner and party that night since they probably won’t be needed to make a speech. It doesn’t hurt that Parasite is also genuinely amazing with an engaging story that plays with genre like nothing else and contains performances that’re so good that they should probably be nominated too… Parasite is taking home something, this is what it’s most likely to take home.
And that’s my predictions/hopes/rambling thoughts about this year’s Oscars. Who do you think should win? What snubs made you bitter? How not-excited are you about this year’s Oscars because oh my god, they’re killing themselves so slowly that it’s almost an art form in itself. Let me know in the comments below because oh boy, this is a fun thing to talk about.