The 2020 Academy Award Nominations – My Reaction

Let’s get the most important thing out of the way first, which is me. I predicted 15 categories on Friday and got 62 correct nominees out of a total 79. Not bad, not great, but I did go 9 for 9 in my best picture so I’m counting that as a success. Now to my reactions:

Snubs:

Every year with the academy there are bound to be snubs and things I disagree with. This year was no different. Here are, in my opinion, some of the biggest snubs from this year’s nominees. (I’m not going to consider every nomination I disagree with a snub because 1. that would take way too long to write about and 2. I want to focus on things that had a legitimate chance of being nominated that weren’t.)

First off, no nomination for Jennifer Lopez. Since Hustlers was released back in September, J-Lo has been seen as a lock to get nominated and a potential winner for supporting actress. She had been nominated for a Golden Globe, a Film Independent Spirit award, and a Screen Actor’s Guild award among many others. This was an absolute shock for me. While I think Kathy Bates, who was nominated, was very good in Richard Jewell I think Lopez had much more to do in Hustlers and overall gave the more interesting and compelling performance.

The next big snub I’ll talk about is something I and many others saw coming so I’ll just get it out of the way now. Great Gerwig was not nominated in Best Director for Little Women. Unfortunately, I knew this was coming but there was still part of me that was holding out hope that I would be wrong. I’ve stated many times now that I think her directing has been wildly underrated in this film and I do believe she deserved a nomination.

Next snub, Apollo 11 for Best Documentary Feature. This, like Jennifer Lopez, was especially a shock to me because Apollo 11 was considered to be a lock here. I have not seen all the nominated documentaries yet so I can’t compare Apollo 11 to them as of now, but this was still a very unexpected snub.

Frozen 2 not being nominated for Best Animated Feature is the 4th snub I’ll touch on. Again, I think most people saw this as a foregone conclusion that it would at least get nominated. While it may not have been as well received as the first Frozen, which won in this category a few years ago, it was still given mostly positive reviews and became one of the highest grossing films of the year. It’s also pretty well known that the Academy loves recognizing Disney in this category. Pixar’s Toy Story 4 did receive a nomination here but it’s still very surprising to me that Frozen 2 was left out.

I don’t know if I consider this next one a snub for me personally because I’m just not all that passionate about any of the nominees in this category but “Spirit” from The Lion King being left out of Best Original Song was a shock. Again, this was something that everyone was expecting to be nominated. Also, it was co-written and performed by Beyoncé. The Oscar ratings are definitely going to drop this year and I’m no expert but I’d imagine having Beyoncé as a part of your show would help with that. So this was an interesting turn of events for sure.

(The Farewell and Uncut Gems both received zero nominations and were snubbed in multiple categories. I’m going to touch on that and Best Actor in later sections of this blog though.)

Surprises:

Snubs and surprises go hand in hand because for every snub that doesn’t get nominated there has to be a shocking selection that takes its place. Here are some of the biggest surprises from this year’s nominees.

I already touched on Kathy Bates’ being nominated while discussing J-Lo’s snub so I won’t talk about it too much here but again this was a big surprise for me. Like I said, Bates gave a good performance but this almost feels like the Academy just nominating Kathy Bates because she’s Kathy Bates.

Not all surprises are bad though. Jarin Blaschke being nominated for Best Cinematography for The Lighthouse was an incredibly pleasant surprise. Even though I didn’t predict this I was absolutely rooting for it. This is a deserved nomination too. The Lighthouse was such a visually compelling movie and the fact that we can now refer to it as the academy award nominated film The Lighthouse makes me very happy.

I said in my predictions blog that the Best Actor category was the most stacked category of the year and could go in many different directions. I was not expecting Jonathan Pryce for The Two Popes to be nominated though. It was certainly a very real possibility and I think Pryce gave a great performance but still a surprise for me. I can’t say I necessarily agree with this one also. For me I still would have loved to see Adam Sandler here. Also, Robert De Niro’s performance in The Irishman has been getting overlooked all awards season because of how great Joe Pesci and Al Pacino were in the same movie. But, De Niro’s performance and character is what guides us through that entire film. He’s in nearly every shot of it. So even though I think Pryce was great and The Two Popes is a fine film, I personally would have gone elsewhere for this nomination.

Another surprise that I don’t really have much to say about because it’s a film I’ve actually never heard of that I don’t think was anyone’s radar is Corpus Christi for Best International Feature. After doing some quick research on the film this morning I found that it premiered in America at the Chicago International Film Festival in October. However, it’s listed release date for the United States is April 22nd, 2020. So, it’s probably going to be hard for me or anyone interested in checking this film out before the Oscars to do so. But hey, I look forward to trying to find it, I’m sure it’s a great film.

Biggest Winners:

A few films walked away as the biggest winners of the morning. Joker received the most nominations of any film with 11 and solidified itself as a serious Best Picture contender. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, 1917, and The Irishman all came away as big winners too with 10 nominations each.

If I were to give my instant Best Picture analysis based on these nominees I would have to say that we mainly have a 3 film race for Best Picture involving 1917, Joker, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. With The Irishman and Parasite, which was nominated for 6 awards, running just behind them in the 4th and 5th place spots.

Although Jojo Rabbit was not as big of a winner as the movies I just named, I still think the fact that it received 6 nominations is a huge win for this movie. This was a film I was not crazy about so I can’t say I think it deserved all 6 nominations but apparently the Academy was pretty fond of it.

Biggest Losers:

Just as there are big winners of the morning there are bound to be big losers as well. First up, the Best Picture chances for Marriage Story. Now, to be clear this film walked away with 6 nominations which is a great accomplishment and makes it by far Noah Baumbach’s most nominated film. However, I think all the nominations received by the front runners plus Baumbach not being nominated for directing tells us that his film doesn’t have a chance when it comes to Best Picture.

After an awards season spent campaigning harder than almost anyone else, Taron Egerton has to be seen as a loser here as well. He did win at the Golden Globes so we can’t feel too bad for him, but he was going after that Best Lead Actor nomination hard and didn’t receive it.

Now I suppose it’s finally time to talk about The Farewell and Uncut Gems. Two great, well received, well made films that I loved from 2019 received a total of zero nominations. I can’t say I was stunned because I was preparing myself for this but I was definitely disappointed. I thought Uncut Gems had a chance for some of the below the line awards such as editing, or sound mixing. However, I was more prepared for that film to be shut out completely than I was for The Farewell. The Farewell is a film that I thought had a legitimate chance to be nominated in some big awards such as Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture yet somehow walked away with zero nominations.

I suppose The Farewell, which was brilliantly directed by Lulu Wang, is a good way to transition into my next big loser which is the Academy’s ability to nominate female directors. I know this was a great year for film and when you can only nominate 5 directors inevitably people are going to snubbed. That is the unfortunate truth for every year, not just this year. However, and I’m not going to talk about this too much, I just want to point out that this is going to be the 92nd Academy Awards and only 5 women have ever been nominated for Best Director in history and only one, Kathryn Bigelow, has ever won. Something feels a little strange about that.

The Oscars take place on February 9th at 8:30PM and I’m ready to be surprised, delighted, and disappointed with many of the winners just as I was with many of the nominees.

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