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January 30, 2020

The 2020 Oscar Nominations: Brigid and Alex Review

Brigid Downey and Alex Stewart Review the 2020 Oscar Noms

Note: This post was edited on 4/23/20 for pronoun changes as Alexis Frost came out as MTF transgender.

The 2020 Oscar Nominees: Brigid Downey and Alex Stewart Review

The Oscar Nominations came out a few weeks ago and man they were polarizing. Now, I have my own opinions, but I also have a movie buff best friend. My friend Alexis Frost (Alex for short) is a film critic for InReview. InReview is a review blog run by another writer we went to college with, Mitchell Chapman.

Now, I don’t watch a ton of TV and movies so me doing this by myself would be pretty dang boring. I did have my own opinions about some of the categories I wanted to talk about. Also, I’ve been trying to get Alex to guest blog with me on here for a long time and honestly, picking her brain about the Oscars Nominations sounds like the most entertaining thing on the planet! So, without further ado, here are our picks and opinions for the 92nd Annual Academy Awards Nominations.  

*** Some categories were cut for space and because we had nothing interesting to say ?

Best picture

Winner: Parasite!

  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “The Irishman”
  • “Parasite”
  • “1917”
  • “Marriage Story”
  • “Jojo Rabbit”
  • “Joker”
  • “Little Women”
  • “Ford v Ferrari”

Brigid’s Pick & Prediction: None/Haven’t seen any of them

See here’s my thing, I’m not a huge movie buff, but Josie and I go to the movies more as adults than I ever did as a kid. I feel like my movie taste palette has grown, but I still haven’t seen most of the nominations on this list (or all the lists). I feel like the Oscars, and awards shows in general, pick so many things that come out at the end of the year and honestly I haven’t had a spare second to watch them. If I had to pick what I’m rooting for it would be “Marriage Story” or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood because they’re on my watch list or Little Women because… feminism. 

Alex’s Pick: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Alex’s Prediction: “The Irishman”

While I’ve seen a couple of movies nominated, I’m more inclined to hope for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. When reviewing it, I appreciated how Tarantino seemed to be in his element with this project. However, the Irishman has been making a buzz; both for the critical acclaim and Martin Scorsese’s feud. Watching this reminds audiences of the brilliant work that Scorsese can do.

Best actress in a leading role

Winner: Renee Zellweger!

  • Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
  • Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
  • Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
  • Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”

Brigid’s Prediction: Renee Zellweger “Judy”

Again, I haven’t seen any of these, but of course, I would love for “Bombshell,” “Marriage Story,” or “Little Woman” to win. Which is why my prediction if for Judy because to be honest, I haven’t heard much about it which means it’s probably going to win #sorrynotsorry

Alex’s Pick: Charlize Theron

Alex’s Prediction: Either Theron or Scarlett Johannson

Charlize Theron is a dynamic actress and seeing that she plays Megyn Kelly, who’s been a dynamic figure not only on Fox News but also in American journalism. But I’d be lying if I said that she was the only one I can see winning Best Actress. Scarlett Johannson has been praised for her performance in “Marriage Story.”

Best actor in a leading role

Winner: Joaquin Phoenix!

  • Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
  • Adam Driver, “Marriage Story” 
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
  • Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes” 

Brigid’s Pick: Adam Driver

Brigid’s Prediction: Jonathon Pryce

Again, I know I need to watch “Marriage Story,” but I did watch “The Rise of Skywalker” so I have a soft spot for Driver right now. He is killing it in the industry these past few years and he’s a kick-ass actor. My prediction is for Pryce though because “Two Popes” has been popular at other awards shows.

Alex’s Pick & Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio gives an amazing performance melds flawlessly with the 60s setting that Tarantino goes for. The scenes where his character’s on set show or having an existential crisis are a testament to DiCaprio’s work. 

Best director

Winner: Parasite!

  • Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
  • Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
  • Sam Mendes, “1917”
  • Todd Phillips, “Joker”

Brigid’s Pick: Write in: Greta Gerwig, “Little Women”

I’m not even doing a prediction for this one because this whole category is BS. We’ve already seen it at the Golden Globes, but female directors are getting snubbed this year and it sucks. I don’t care who wins this one, but my write-in is Greta Gerwig because she deserves it. There I said it

Alex’s Pick: Quentin Tarantino (with a Greta Gerwig write-in)

Alex’s Prediction: Martin Scorsese

I wholeheartedly agree that Greta Gerwig was snubbed and am disappointed as much as the next person. But I enjoyed “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and thought it was a solid film. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Martin Scorsese got it. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” isn’t the best Tarantino film, and there’s a lot of work done on the Irishman that makes it stand out and shows what Netflix films are capable of.

Best actor in a supporting role

Winner: Brad Pitt!

  • Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
  • Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
  • Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
  • Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”

Brigid’s Pick: Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

Brigid’s Prediction: Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”

I haven’t seen any of these either (this is why we have Alex!), but I really want Tom Hanks to win. I’ve seen clips of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and he brings Mr. Rogers to life so well. Honestly, right now we need a Mr. Rogers in the world. 

Alex’s Pick & Prediction: “Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

This wasn’t even a challenge. I reviewed this movie, and one of the movie’s strengths was Tom Hanks’ performance. Hanks is a chameleon as this beloved childhood icon who leaves the audience in the same situation as the protagonist-trying to see if both really are as wonderful as they seem. There’s method acting and then there’s making the character come to life. And that’s what Tom Hanks does with the late Mr. Rogers.

Best actress in a supporting role

Winner: Laura Dern!

  • Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
  • Margot Robbie, “Bombshell” 
  • Florence Pugh, “Little Women”
  • Scarlett Johanson, “Jojo Rabbit”
  • Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell” 

Brigid’s Pick: Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”

Brigid’s Prediction: Scarlett Johanson, “Jojo Rabbit”

I need to watch “Bombshell” asap (puts on my todo list). I absolutely love Margot Robbie. It’s not a secret I love Margot Robbie. However, “Jojo Rabbit” has been crushing the awards and I wouldn’t be surprised if it took this one. I also think Scarlett Johanson is amazingly talented and wouldn’t be upset if she won, either.

Alex’s Pick: Margot Robbie “Bombshell”

Alex’s Prediction: Florence Pugh “Little Women”

Margot Robbie has had a solid decade in the 2010s and here she gives a powerful performance that echoes performances Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton gave in “9 to 5.” But just as  Robbie’s been having a solid decade, Florence Pugh’s year has been just as dynamic and does to Amy March what Winona Ryder did for Jo in the 1994 adaptation.

Best animated feature film

Winner: Toy Story 4!

  • “Toy Story 4”
  • “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
  • “Missing Link”
  • “I Lost My Body”
  • “Klaus”

Brigid’s Pick: Write-in: “Frozen II”

Brigid’s Prediction: “Toy Story 4”

“FROZEN II” WAS SNUBBED! “Klaus” was cute, I’ve never heard of “Missing Link” or “I Lost My Body,” and we all know “Toy Story 4” is going to win (even though the ending sucked). I, as a massive Disney/Pixar/Marvel/Star Wars fan can honestly not fathom why people love “Toy Story” so much. It’s cute, yeah, but I think it’s also massively dated and the last two have just been milking the franchise for all that it’s worth. I’m aware that a lot of people feel the same way about “Frozen II,” but that movie and album are defining my 2020. The music is incredible, the animation is groundbreaking, and the story is honestly exactly what I needed as a 24 yr old trying to figure out my place after I moved across the country. 

Best international feature film

Winner: Parasite!

  • South Korea, “Parasite”
  • Spain, “Pain and Glory”
  • France, “Les Misérables”
  • North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
  • Poland, “Corpus Christi”

Alex’s Pick & Prediction: South Korea “Parasite:

Bong Joon-ho has made a name for himself with this and “Okja” in 2017. While I have yet to see “Parasite,” I know that it’s garnered acclaim across the board.

Best original screenplay

Winner: 1917!

  • “Marriage Story”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Parasite”
  • “Knives Out”
  • “1917”

Alex’s Pick & Prediction: “Knives Out”

This was another movie that I reviewed, and I can easily say that this is one of the smartest movies I’ve ever seen. The movie’s less whodunit and more what and why-dunit? Nowhere is the writing better shown than the will reading scene. Every scene has some application of Chekov’s Gun and it’s amazing. Rian Johnson had previously shown his directing prowess here and with “The Last Jedi,” and that he’s just as good a writer as he is a director.

Best adapted screenplay

Winner: Jojo Rabbit!

  • “The Irishman”
  • “Jojo Rabbit”
  • “Little Women”
  • “The Two Popes”
  • “Joker”

Brigid’s Pick: “Little Women”

Brigid’s Prediction: “Joker”

Again, haven’t seen any of these, but I would like “Little Women” to win. I think “Joker” might take this one though even though I really wish people would stop making movies about the Joker and start making movies about other lesser-known villains, but I also have my own huge bias against the Joker and will probably not be seeing that movie in the near future.

Alex Pick & Prediction: Little Women

“Little Women” is one of my favorite books. I’ve been excited about the movie ever since I saw the trailers. And I’d be lying if I said I’ve seen it, but looking at the trailers and clips, there definitely is a sense of heart put into the story, as it introduces a new audience to the beloved Louisa May Alcott book.

Best documentary feature

Winner: American Factory!

  • “American Factory”
  • “The Edge of Democracy”
  • “Honeyland”
  • “For Sama”
  • “The Cave”

Brigid: I’m not a huge documentary person. I’ve seen a few good ones in my lifetime, but I have to really be in the mood to watch one. My biggest issue with them is they tend to be overly edited and horribly biased especially “muckraking” ones about modern-day issues. Half the time they get “debunked” five years later and I’d honestly rather do my own research on a subject. So, I haven’t seen any of these and to be quite honest with you I don’t know what most of them are about, but if I had to make a wild guess “American Factory” has been highly talked about in the media for a few months now. That’s what I’m putting my money on this year.

Alex’s Pick: “The Edge of Democracy”

Alex’s Prediction: “The Cave or For Sama”

Here’s the conundrum I face. There are a lot of amazing documentaries I’ve seen, especially in 2019. But not many of the ones I’ve seen haven’t been nominated or were much older. But looking at the premise and subject of many of them, “The Cave or For Sama” stands out as showing the realities of the Syrian Civil War. And with “The White Helmets” winning Best Short Documentary in 2017, there is a precedent to it.

Best Original Song

Winner: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”!

  • “I’m Standing With You,” from “Breakthrough”
  • “Into the Unknown,” from “Frozen II”
  • “Stand Up,” from “Harriet”
  • “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” from “Rocketman”
  • “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” from “Toy Story 4”

Brigid’s Pick: “Into the Unknown”

Brigid’s Prediction: “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away”

Like my animation commentary, “Into the Unknown” is innovative and insanely technical in how every note contributes to the story. Lopez’s really labor over every detail and they explain how in the video I’ve linked below. However, just like with my animation commentary I think Disney/ Pixar really shot themselves in the foot by having “Toy Story 4” and “Frozen II” come out the same year because if you ask most people above the age of 10 they will pick “Toy Story” every time.

Alex’s Pick: “Into the Unknown”

Alex’s Prediction: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” from “Rocketman”

Robert and Kristen Lopez are some of the most dynamic songwriters today, with a record that rivals Lin Manuel Miranda’s work. “Avenue Q,” “Book of Mormon,” and the “Frozen” films being some of their best. But I’m going with the precedent of musical biopics as Oscar bait and the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I have a strong feeling for this song Elton John did for his biopic

Best visual effects

Winner: 1917!

  • “Avengers: Endgame”
  • “The Lion King”
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
  • “The Irishman”
  • “1917”

Brigid’s Pick: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Brigid’s Prediction: Avengers: Endgame 

Yay! I’ve actually seen three of these! I’ve seen “Avengers,” “Star Wars,” and “The Lion King” this year, which makes picking for this category actually insanely hard. I chose “Star Wars” to win purely because I’m always blown away by “Star Wars” movies for their visual effects, though I would also be very happy if “Avengers” won because it was also very impressive. “Lion King” is also impressive because the CGI was incredibly realistic, but where I think it might fail is how a lot of people were claiming that because so much of it is CGI that it isn’t visual effect, it’s animation. We shall see…

Best cinematography

Winner: 1917

  • “1917,” Roger Deakins
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robert Richardson
  • “The Irishman,” Rodrigo Prieto
  • “Joker,” Lawrence Sher
  • “The Lighthouse,” Jarin Blaschke

Brigid’s Pick: “1917”

Brigid’s Prediction: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” 

So for cinematography, I really want “1917” to win because I’m so impressed by tracking shots even though they make me dizzy. I think “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” will win, though, because it’s so hyped up and it has a certain sense of nostalgia to it that I think the Academy usually leans towards.

Alex’s Pick: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Alex’s Prediction: “1917”

Among the rest of Tarantino’s filmography, his latest film is the most immersive; transforming the audience to Hollywood in the late sixties and feeling the tension of the Manson Family. But “1917” has been praised as this century’s “Saving Private Ryan,” and even in the promotional footage, captures the audiences’ attention

Best makeup and hairstyling

Winner: Bombshell!

  • “Bombshell”
  • “Joker”
  • “Judy”
  • “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
  • “1917”

Brigid’s Pick: “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” 

Brigid’s Prediction: “Bombshell”

So makeup and costume awards you don’t really have to see the movie to get it. You can see it in the promos and screenshots. I just find the way they do Angelina Jolie’s makeup in “Maleficent” to be absolutely phenomenal. I’m forever a sucker for movies that are live-action but have the whimsy of feeling animated. I think Bombshell might just take it though because they made the actresses look so much like their real-life counterparts. 

Best costume design

Winner: Little Woman!

  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Little Women”
  • “The Irishman”
  • “Jojo Rabbit”
  • “Joker”

Alex’s Pick: “Little Women”

Alex’s Prediction: “Jojo Rabbit”

The costume design for “Little Women” is not only period-accurate and immerses the audience to the nineteenth century, but it takes the movie a step up to the 1994 film. But I would be lying if I said this was the only movie that had a good shot. Jojo Rabbit has the look and feel of a Wes Anderson film and the costumes play up the aesthetic Taika Waititi gives of “Moonrise Kingdom” meets “The Producers.” 

Brigid’s Pick & Prediction: “Little Women”

I have to agree with Alex on this one “Little Women” while not being 100% historically accurate (most films never are) it’s pretty darn close. Collars are where they should be, skirts are the right poof, etc. and while I’m sure there’s some costume analyst out there who would disagree with me, from someone who has done costume design, I think it’s close enough for Hollywood. 

Best original score

Winner: Hildur Guonadottir

  • “1917,” Thomas Newman
  • “Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • “Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat
  • “Marriage Story,” Randy Newman
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

Brigid’s Pick: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

Brigid’s Prediction: “1917,” Thomas Newman

Here’s the thing, I think we all know “Star Wars” music is some of the best music ever created in cinematic history. However, I feel like (and here’s the real tea) The Oscars will never pick “Star Wars” because it’s not artsy enough. “Star Wars” is too mainstream, it’s too Disney, and it’s not going to win for best original score because no one thinks it’s ‘groundbreaking’ anymore. It’s going to go to a heartfelt ballad from a period piece full of emotion.  

Alex’s Pick: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

Alex’s Prediction: “Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir

On the one hand, I want John Williams to get it. It’s been over two decades since Williams won it and it’s about time he was recognized for his work. And it would also get Star Wars an Academy Award under the belt. But Hildur Guðnadóttir has been garnering praise for her work in the movie. While I didn’t cover Joker, her work was sampled in the trailers and packed a punch of anticipation for the film.

Best documentary short subject

Winner: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)!

  • “In the Absence”
  • “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
  • “Life Overtakes Me”
  • “St. Louis Superman”
  • “Walk Run Cha-Cha”

Alex’s Pick: “Saint Louis Superman”

This is another hard pick for me. While I haven’t had the time to check these nominees out, I was able to research the subject and “St. Louis Superman” seemed to be the more interesting. Bruce Franks Jr. sounds like an interesting person who took initiative in the face of unrest and shows dedication to his community.

Best sound editing

Winner: Ford v Ferrari

  • “1917”
  • “Ford v Ferrari”
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Joker”

Brigid’s Pick & Prediction: “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” 

That’s it. That movie is all I care about in this section. I don’t care about your feelings on the director’s rivalry, the plot, etc. If you think that “Star Wars” doesn’t consistently bring out killer sound effects and editing then we aren’t watching the same franchise. 

Alex’s Pick: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

Alex’s Prediction: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

When going to see “The Rise of Skywalker,” I was blown away by the sound editing (both literally and figuratively). It was immersive and I could feel every explosion and sound wave. But “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” used the sound to bring me to late 60s Hollywood.

Final Thoughts: 

Brigid

So here’s the thing, I wish The Oscars would recognize more women. I also wish they would stop nominating movies that came out in the last few months so that I have a chance to watch some of them before the nominees came out. But that’s not even my whole issue, my issue is that most of the movies on these lists aren’t even on my watch list. “Little Women,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Bombshell,” and “Marriage Story,” are pretty much all the movies from these nominees that I haven’t seen and want to see. 

I’ve seen great movies this year: “Captain Marvel,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Frozen II,” “The Lion King,” “IT: Chapter II,” etc. most of my favorites got one nomination if any. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the more I watch award shows the more I realize they cater to film critics and not the general public. And the more I read movie reviews the more I realize I don’t agree with critics (except Alex! We have very philosophical conversations about media!) 

Alex

2019 has been an interesting year in cinema. I did a little retrospective here. But the heavy hitters in this season seem to come from Tarantino, Scorsese, and the director of the Hangover Trilogy. I’m writing this well aware that the Oscars are very niche-y for film critics like myself, but I like to use the opportunity to share movies people probably haven’t seen or heard of. A lot of the dissonance does come from how critics have to see everything because they want to make sure audiences don’t waste their money. But I will always use my experience to educate and discuss the Oscars with the casual viewer.

What are your 2020 Oscar Picks? Do you agree with us? Sound off in the comments!

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One Comment on “The 2020 Oscar Nominations: Brigid and Alex Review

[…] find a game to play together online through Steam or Xbox (or other gaming platforms.) My friend Alex has been trying to get me to play Civ V with her on Steam and I might take her up on […]

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