Short and Sweet: 91st Academy Awards Shortlists Announced!

For the first time ever, the Academy has revealed the shortlists for nine different categories all at the same time. Typically, this process is doled out over a few weeks to give each category a moment in the spotlight, but for our purposes, it’s way more convenient.

As ever, I will link to whatever reviews I’ve already done, and provide whatever viewership information I can. When it comes to the Short Subject categories, it’s probably best to just wait until the nominations come out on January 22 and the categories get their individual theatrical screenings starting in early February. Still, if I can help you get a jump start, I will.

Also, now that we have the shortlists, it’s time for me to go into overdrive in another attempt to clear the Documentary Feature list before the nominations are announced. I fell one short last year. Let’s hope I can get it done this time, especially since I’ve already seen a bunch of docs already this year.

Here are the shortlists for nine of the 24 Oscar categories. The full press release can be found here.

Documentary Feature – 15 films, 5 nominees
Charm City – In Limited Release
Communion – In Limited Release
Crime + Punishment – On Hulu
Dark Money – On DVD/Blu-Ray
The Distant Barking of Dogs – Unknown
Free Solo – In Theatres Now
Hale County This Morning, This Evening – Unknown
Minding the Gap – On Hulu
Of Fathers and Sons – In Limited Release
On Her Shoulders – In Limited Release
Shirkers – On Netflix
The Silence of Others –
Three Identical Strangers – On DVD/Blu-Ray
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – On DVD/Blu-Ray

Documentary Short Subject – 10 films, 5 nominees
Black Sheep – Unknown
End Game – On Netflix
Lifeboat – Unknown
Los Comandos – Unknown
My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes – On YouTube
A Night at the Garden – On YouTube
Period. End of Sentence. – Unknown
’63 Boycott – Unknown
Women of the Gulag – Unknown
Zion –
On Netflix

Foreign Language – 9 films, 5 nominees
Birds of Passage – Colombia – In Theatres 2/13/19
The Guilty – Denmark – On Amazon and iTunes
Never Look Away – Germany – In Limited Release
ShopliftersJapan – In Limited Release
Ayka – Kazakhstan – On DVD/Blu-Ray
Capernaum –
Lebanon – In Limited Release
Roma –
Mexico – In Theatres and on Netflix
Cold War –
Poland – In Limited Release Friday
South Korea – In Limited Release

Makeup & Hairstyling – 7 films, 3 nominees
Black PantherOn DVD/Blu-Ray and Netflix
Bohemian RhapsodyIn Theatres
BorderIn Limited Release
Mary Queen of Scots – In Theatres
Stan & Ollie – In Theatres 12/28
Suspiria – In Limited Release
Vice – In Theatres 12/25

Original Score – 15 films, 5 nominees
AnnihilationOn DVD/Blu-Ray
Avengers: Infinity WarOn DVD/Blu-Ray
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – On Netflix
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansmanOn DVD/Blu-Ray
Crazy Rich AsiansOn DVD/Blu-Ray
The Death of StalinOn DVD/Blu-Ray
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldIn Theatres
First ManIn Theatres
If Beale Street Could Talk – In Theatres
Isle of DogsOn DVD/Blu-Ray
Mary Poppins Returns – In Theatres Wednesday
A Quiet PlaceOn DVD/Blu-Ray
Ready Player OneOn DVD/Blu-Ray

Original Song – 15 songs, 5 nominees (up to 2 per film)
“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
“Treasure” – Beautiful Boy – In Theatres
“All the Stars” – Black Panther
“Revelation” – Boy ErasedIn Theatres
“Girl in the Movies” – Dumplin’ – On Netflix
“We Won’t Move” – The Hate U Give – On DVD/Blu-Ray 1/22/19
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” – Marry Poppins Returns
“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” – Mary Poppins Returns
“Keep Reachin'” – Quincy – On Netflix
“I’ll Fight” – RBG
“A Place Called Slaughter Race”Ralph Breaks the InternetIn Theatres
“OYHAYTT” Sorry to Bother YouOn DVD/Blu-Ray
“Shallow”A Star is BornIn Theatres
“Suspirium” – Suspiria
“The Big Unknown”WidowsIn Theatres

Animated Short – 10 films, 5 nominees
Age of Sail – On YouTube
Animal Behaviour – Unknown
BaoReleased with Incredibles 2 – On DVD/Blu-Ray
Bilby – Unknown
Bird Karma – Unknown
Late Afternoon – Unknown
Lost & Found – On Amazon Prime
One Small Step – On YouTube
Pépé le Morse – On Vimeo
Weekends – Unknown

Live Action Short – 10 films, 5 nominees
Caroline – On Vimeo
Chuchotage – Unknown
Detainment – Unknown
Fauve – On Vimeo
Icare – Unknown
Marguerite – Unknown
May Day – Unknown
Mother – Unknown
Skin – Unknown
Wale – Unknown

Visual Effects – 10 films, 5 nominees
Ant-Man and the Wasp – On DVD/Blu-Ray
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
Christopher Robin –
On DVD/Blu-Ray
First Man
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – On DVD/Blu-Ray
Mary Poppins Returns
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story – On DVD/Blu-Ray
Welcome to Marwen – In Theatres Friday

* * * * *

A few thoughts on the individual categories, except for the shorts, because the note for all three of those is, “Can’t wait to see them!”

Documentary Feature – I honestly don’t know how I’m going to run the entire shortlist this time, as the availability for two of them I can’t track down, and several others are in limited release, which means if I can even find them, I have to pay full price, which I can’t afford right now. I can catch the two on Hulu, as my roommate has it on the main TV in the living room, and of course I can get anything on Netflix, but apart from that, I’m jolly well fucked. Also, how the hell did Filmworker not make this list? This is always a hard category to peg, as documentaries that connect with audiences are often penalized for that very fact. Only March of the Penguins and An Inconvenient Truth have been audience-loved winners since the turn of the century. I sincerely hope Won’t You Be My Neighbor? can join that group. It’s also worth noting that all six Independent Spirit nominees in this category are on the shortlist, so maybe they have some influence on the documentary wing of the Academy this time.

Foreign Language – I’ve actually got something of a head start on this, thanks to already seeing Burning and Shoplifters in theatres, and I saw Roma on Netflix over the weekend (review coming soon). The hardest one to see will be Birds of Passage, as it doesn’t even get released until well after the nominations come out. That’s a heavy gamble for Colombia. If it doesn’t get a nod, no one will see it. I will also count myself relieved that Belgium’s submission, Girl, did not make the cut despite its Golden Globe nomination. Netflix has the distribution rights, but it won’t come out until next month, and honestly, we already covered trans representation with A Fantastic Woman winning earlier this year. Did we really need another? Forget the fake controversy of hiring a cis-male to play the lead instead of a trans actress, we just didn’t need another trans film piggybacking off of the previous winner. I’ll still see it when it debuts on Netflix, but I’m glad the Academy has opted to dodge this potential PC bullet.

Makeup & Hairstyling – I’m gonna go ahead and pat myself on the back for my prediction that Sweden’s submission, Border, would not make the Foreign Language field, but would advance here, because again, the prosthetics job on this film is nothing short of amazing, even if the rest of the film is crap by comparison. In fact, if Vice and Stan & Ollie get nominated alongside it, it’ll be the battle of the prosthetics, as Christian Bale has been transformed into Dick Cheney the same way Gary Oldman was made into Winston Churchill last year, and John C. Reilly’s fat rolls make him almost unrecognizable. It’ll be a tough choice, because if we get that, it means leaving out the incredible job on Rami Malek to make him look a dead ringer for Freddie Mercury.

Original Score – It’s an interesting list, with Annihilation being the only one that makes me think, “Really?” I saw If Beale Street Could Talk yesterday, with a post-show Q&A with the actors, producers, and the scorer. He gave some amazing insights into his process for the instrumentals here. I’d be thrilled to hear the process for the other 14 films.

Original Song – This entire category is basically open-and-shut for “Shallow,” which has near-universal acclaim, even from people like me who only liked A Star is Born instead of drooling over it (seriously, Vegas odds have it as a 13-5 favorite to win Best Picture – WTF?). I also find it interesting that between this category and Makeup, the Academy seems to really want people to watch the Suspiria remake, despite it being the biggest box office flop of the year.

Visual Effects – Can we just rename this the “Let’s Give Disney an Oscar” category? Of the 10 films that remain, six of them are under the Disney umbrella, be it for Disney Proper, Marvel, or Star Wars. The other four represent three bids for Universal and one for Warner Bros. I’m glad Bumblebee didn’t make it, so now I will most likely have no reason to see it (early reviews are that it’s the best Transformers movie by default, but still crap), and the same goes for Aquaman. I just wish this list had come out before I wasted my time with Mortal Engines, because this was the only real category in which it could compete. Also, I would like to know where I can get the drugs that the VFX wing were taking when they decided to advance Jurassic World.

* * * * *

That’s all I’ve got for now. In addition to all the other movies I’m trying to get in before the calendar year expires, I’m back on the doc quest. Pray for me.

Join the conversation in the comments below! What category are you looking forward to the most? Which shortlist are you closest to completing yourself? What’s the most compelling short film title, and why is it My Dead Dad’s Porn Tapes? Let me know!

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