Put on Your Blitzin’ Shoes! – 92nd Academy Awards Nominations Announced!

The moment has come at last. Over 300 films were submitted for this year’s Oscars, and now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has had their say. After weeks and months of anticipation, conjecture, campaigning, and outright nail-biting on my part, we finally have our list of contenders across 24 categories. Issa Rae and John Cho got up in the wee hours this morning to announce the lists to the world, with each discipline nominated by a branch of the Academy consisting of those very professionals and artists. Actors nominate actors, directors nominate directors, sound engineers nominate sound engineers. And after 15 minutes of sitting on the edges of our respective seats, we have our nominees.

You can find the official list of nominees from the Academy here. I’ll be beginning the Oscar Gold Blitz in earnest tomorrow, going category by category for the next 25 days leading up to the ceremony.

Here are the nominees, in order of their reveal (which may turn out to be the ceremony’s order as well), with my immediate reactions.

Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell
Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh – Little Women
Margot Robbie – Bombshell

YES! I don’t have to watch Hustlers! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! Oh, Academy, I knew you wouldn’t let me down! I find it interesting that this was the first reveal, getting rid of any drama about the potential for a Jennifer Lopez nomination, dashing all hope immediately. I’m sure it’ll be the start of another #OscarsSoWhite controversy, but remember, she was only nominated by the Golden Globes and SAG. The union is susceptible to doing favors, and the Globes exist solely for the HFPA to pretend they’re equal to the celebrities with whom they want to rub elbows. Actual actors took the time to look at the submissions, and more importantly, actually see Little Women, which hadn’t come out when the Globe nominations were announced, and they rightly decided that Florence Pugh was worthy and Lopez in her natural state as a stripper was not. Justice has been served.

Costume Design
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

No real surprises here, other than Joker, as much of the costuming comes down to one character, while the others are for the entire ensemble. I thought 1917 might sneak in there, but really, no shockers, no complaints.

Sound Mixing
Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari
Joker
1917
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

Again, no real shockers here. You have a space drama, which requires a proper live mix with a lack of background noise at many parts, a racing film where engines roar, a dialogue-heavy psychological drama about fame and comedy, a war movie with tons of explosions, and a Hollywood epic with tons of filming locations that require a different balance at each one. This all makes complete sense.

Sound Editing
Ford v Ferrari
Joker
1917
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

As usual, there is one outlier in each sound category, and here they make perfect sense. For Star Wars, there are a ton of sound effects to be added in post, while in Ad Astra, a lot of the sound design relies on the isolation and solitude of being in space for real, rather than an effects-heavy space opera. One favors a live mix, the other favors post effects.

Original Score
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Again, no surprises. This pretty much reflects the Globe and BAFTA nominations. Star Wars is essentially an obligation because of John Williams, but all are worthy.

Animated Short
Dcera (Daughter)
Hair Love
Kitbull
Memorable
Sister

I can’t wait to see this set, as I’ve already seen two of the nominees via YouTube. I find it interesting that at least three of the nominees are stories about girls, so yay for representation!

Live Action Short
Brotherhood
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window
Saria
A Sister

Interesting, we have Sister in Animation and A Sister in Live Action. I sense a theme.

Best Supporting Actor
Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
Al Pacino – The Irishman
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

Mild disappointment here. I think Willem Dafoe got hosed, and while the performances are good, I don’t think The Two Popes is all that great. It’s fine, but nothing groundbreaking. It’s probably all a moot point, as Brad Pitt will almost certainly win. I kind of wish the Acting Branch had the stones to pick between Pacino and Pesci, rather than dooming them both to a loss as they’ll surely split votes among the Academy at large.

Documentary Feature
American Factory
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama
Honeyland

Not the five I would have picked, which you’d know if you read my recap of the shortlist. Of the five that I would have nominated, only For Sama made the final cut. However, none of the three that I didn’t deem worthy got picked, so I’m not too fussed.

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

I just love all these titles! Of note for those trying to handicap the race early, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) was also nominated at the BAFTAs as the best overall British Short Film, so keep an eye out.

International Feature
Corpus Christi – Poland
Honeyland – North Macedonia
Les Misérables – France
Pain and Glory – Spain
Parasite – South Korea

WOOHOO! Parasite got nominated, finally breaking the barrier for South Korea! Also, we finally get a category with movies I haven’t seen yet (not counting the Shorts, obviously). Les Misérables is due out later this week, but I’m a little worried about Corpus Christi. It’s not slated for a stateside release until two weeks after the Oscars. Hopefully some arthouses or the Laemmles can fast-track it a bit. I was kind of hoping Atlantics from Senegal would get a nod instead, since it’s on Netflix, and therefore easily accessible.

Production Design
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
1917
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Parasite

I’m a little disappointed that Little Women and Knives Out weren’t nominated here, but I really can’t argue against these choices too much.

Film Editing
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Parasite

I may need to watch Joker again. I really liked it, but it’s a bit curious that it’s getting nominated in all these tech categories, even though it’s mostly a showcase for Joaquin Phoenix.

Cinematography
The Irishman
Joker
The Lighthouse
1917
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

Glad to see that The Lighthouse isn’t completely shut out, and apart from the superlative acting, the camera work is by far the best element of the film.

Visual Effects
Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Ugh, I have to watch that shitty Lion King remake now, especially because there’s a good chance it’ll win, as The Jungle Book remake won out over Doctor Strange a few years ago. Looks like history might repeat itself.

Makeup and Hairstyling
Bombshell
Joker
Judy
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
1917

Ugh, another Disney remake I have to watch, GRRRRRRRR! I was initially so happy that this category was finally expanding to five nominees. Now I hate it. Though I can at least take some solace in the fact that during the announcement itself, the group of people behind the camera who clap for every nominee noticeably hesitated on Maleficent, as if even they were going, “Really?”

Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Klaus
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

Wow, Frozen II got left out! I’m glad I Lost My Body got a nod, but this is a genuine shock. Maybe this is finally the year for Laika to break through (they won the Globe, they’re up for the BAFTA, and they tied Frozen II for the most Annie Award nominations).

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

I’m surprised but not surprised that the Breakthrough song got nominated. One, Original Song is one of the few categories where Christian films can make a splash. Also, I’m pretty sure Diane Warren has some kind of dirt on the rest of the Music Branch, because come the fuck on! How many times can the rest of the Academy tell you people “NO!” before you stop nominating her schmaltzy schlock!?

Adapted Screenplay
The Irishman – Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi
Joker – Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
Little Women – Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes – Anthony McCarten

Come on, Greta!

Original Screenplay
Knives Out – Rian Johnson
Marriage Story – Noah Baumbach
1917 – Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin Won

This the only nomination Knives Out got, and that’s criminal, because it’s going to come in fifth in the voting, as the rest of the field is filled with powerhouse multi-noms in other fields. I still don’t get 1917 getting nominated, because the dialogue is fairly scant, but really, it’s a battle between it and Tarantino, with the likely result being one wins here, the other gets Best Director.

Best Actor
Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes

Taron Egerton got robbed! Leo was fine but doesn’t deserve a nomination, same with Pryce. Antonio Banderas I don’t mind, but really he’s just there to create some drama with Parasite so that International Feature isn’t a foregone conclusion.

Best Actress
Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Renée Zellweger – Judy

ScarJo gets two nominations this year, which is awesome, as she’s never been nominated before, which, how? Sadly, she won’t win either category, but it’s nice all the same. Barring some major upsets with SAG and BAFTA, this looks like Zellweger’s to lose, as once again Best Actress comes down to an otherwise mediocre movie that exists solely to showcase one lead woman and get her an Oscar. The fact that she already has one for Cold Mountain may be the only thing that stops her.

Best Director
The Irishman – Martin Scorsese
Joker – Todd Phillips
1917 – Sam Mendes
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho

I’m sure we’ll get tons of complaints about there being no women (even Issa Rae during the broadcast sneaked in a snarky, “Congratulations to all those men.”), but remember this is the Directors Branch nominating, not the entire Academy, so it is very much a boys’ club. That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to slot Greta Gerwig in place of Todd Phillips.

Best Picture
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Parasite

No real surprises here, though I’m certainly very glad that Parasite is getting its due. I mentioned when the Producers Guild nominations came out that their field of 10 might be whittled down by one or two spots to make the Academy’s field, and so it was, with only Knives Out getting cut (hehe, puns). I personally don’t agree with the inclusion of some of these films, but that’s simply a matter of taste. I just wish something released prior to August would have gotten a little recognition.

And that’s where the real “snubs” are. You can say what you want about Hustlers or The Farewell getting excluded for a lack of racial diversity, but the real culprit here is that almost nothing from summer or earlier got any love, which only serves to perpetuate the marketing model of backloading everything into the fall and holidays. Taron Egerton got left off in favor of Jonathan Pryce, for example. The only true “blockbuster” apart from Joker to get anything beyond a throwaway Visual Effects nomination was Star Wars. The Mustang got ignored entirely, as did Uncut Gems and Us, which just sucks donkey balls, while Ad Astra, Knives Out and The Lighthouse are left with one token nod each.

Overall, this is a fairly concise and consolidated field. Each of the nine Best Picture nominees is nominated in at least three other categories, with no other film getting more than three total. As for my personal viewing, I have five films to see, apart from the Shorts: Two International Features (one coming out this week, the other a challenge to track down), and three other films with respective Rotten Tomatoes ratings of 61%, 53%, and 40%. It’s worth noting that each of those films is nominated in a category where the respective branches don’t nominate by watching the entire film. Original Song is just listening to the list of tracks, and Makeup/Hairstyling and Visual Effects are nominated by special caucuses known as “Bake-Offs,” where the submitted films give a short presentation highlighting the features they want nominated, and the branch votes right then and there.

My category-by-category breakdown will begin tomorrow, and go straight through until February 7, when I will predict the winners, two nights before the ceremony itself. Short films get released as a block on January 31, so those three will be among the last I do, which is a shame, because I like to space them out, but what can you do?

Keep it locked here as we go into our full-on blitz package! It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Join the conversation in the comments below! What do you think of the nominations? Who got snubbed? What was overrated? What categories and showdowns are you most looking forward to? Let me know!

 

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