Time For the Delayed Blitz! – 93rd Academy Award Nominations!

It’s here. It’s time. We’ve made it at last. After the most tumultuous year in cinema history, we finally arrive at Nomination Day. Twenty-three categories have been filled with hopefuls vying for the top prize in the film industry, and the annual Blitz is officially on! It’s not lost on me that it’s been exactly one year to the day since the last time I got to go into a theatre and see a movie. But I’ve made it through, and so have all of you. Take comfort in that. Be proud of that. We’re not at the end of the tunnel yet, but despite heavy losses along the way, we’ve persevered, and that’s nothing to take for granted.

Thanks to the near-complete shutdown of Hollywood, I only managed to see 50 movies in calendar year 2020, a number I tend to hit around May in most normal years. I’ve added 40 more films since the New Year in anticipation of this moment, and I’m going to have a few more to watch over the next few weeks. But let’s not dwell on that just yet. We’ve been waiting a long time for this moment, a full two months longer than normal, so let’s get to the main event. Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra had the honors this year in making the official announcement (and they got to sleep in, broadcasting from London… dicks), and you can watch it all here.

The nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards are:

Best Picture
The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director
Another Round – Thomas Vinterberg
Mank – David Fincher
Minari – Lee Isaac Chung
Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Gary Oldman – Mank
Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Actress
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman – The Father
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Yuh-jung Youn – Minari

Original Screenplay
Judas and the Black Messiah – Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas
Minari – Lee Isaac Chung
Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
Sound of Metal – Darius Marder, Abraham Marder, and Derek Cianfrance
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin

Adapted Screenplay
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jenna Friedman, Lee Kern, and Nina Pedrad
The Father – Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller
Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
One Night in Miami… – Kemp Powers
The White Tiger – Ramin Bahrani

Animated Feature
Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

International Feature
Another Round – Denmark
Better Days – Hong Kong
Collective – Romania
The Man Who Sold His Skin – Tunisia
Quo Vadis, Aida? – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Documentary Feature
Collective
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
Time

Documentary Short
Collette
A Concerto is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song For Latasha

Live Action Short
Feeling Through
The Letter Room
The Present
Two Distant Strangers
White Eye

Animated Short
Burrow
Genius Loci
If Anything Happens I Love You
Opera
Yes-People

Original Score
Da 5 Bloods
Mank
Minari
News of the World
Soul

Original Song
“Fight for You” – Judas and the Black Messiah
“Hear My Voice” – The Trial of the Chicago 7
“Husavik” – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Io sì (Seen)” – The Life Ahead
“Speak Now” – One Night in Miami…

Cinematography
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
News of the World
Nomadland
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Costume Design
Emma.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Mulan
Pinocchio

Film Editing
The Father
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Makeup & Hairstyling
Emma.
Hillbilly Elegy
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Pinocchio

Production Design
The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
News of the World
Tenet

Sound
Greyhound
Mank
News of the World
Soul
Sound of Metal

Visual Effects
Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
The One and Only Ivan
Tenet

***

Okay, let’s unpack. First and foremost, I must apologize, because I thought Best Picture going to a firm 10 nominees would start this year. Apparently, it’s next year, as there are only eight nominees this time. Borat and Ma Rainey get left off the final list, both of which qualify as extreme snubs. I kind of get Borat not getting there, because the Academy hates comedy, which is why there was no love at all for Palm Springs or On the Rocks, but leaving Ma Rainey off, especially when it has the same number of nominations – five – as Nomadland and Sound of Metal outside of Best Picture? I don’t know. Feels a little squirrelly. I guess it’s because it didn’t get an Adapted Screenplay nod, even with the WGA, but that’s a reach at best.

Best Director gives us our first surprise with Thomas Vinterberg up for Another Round in place of Aaron Sorkin or Regina King. I’m not opposed, and it wasn’t completely impossible, as he was nominated for the BAFTA in this category. I think it gives us a hint as to which film has the advantage for International Feature right now. Speaking of, yay, I get to hunt down Tunisia’s film. I watched 10 of the 15 shortlisted films, and that translated into four of the five nominees. Of the other five, I managed to track down two. The Man Who Sold His Skin was not one of them. Hurray for anxiety! Also, it should be worth noting that Chadwick Boseman got his posthumous nomination but Jack Fincher did not.

On to acting, and we get a couple more upsets. First, Andra Day, fresh off her Golden Globe win, finds herself up for Best Actress. That shouldn’t be a big surprise, except for the fact that the Globe was her first nomination of any kind for her performance in the film, and “Tigress and Tweed” was NOT nominated for Original Song. Glenn Close continues to defy logic by getting nominated for Hillbilly Elegy, which all but seals that she’ll win the Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress. I’m glad Amanda Seyfried got a nod, but it kind of stinks that it was at the expense of Helena Zengel, who had been nominated in every major ceremony to date. Why couldn’t she stay up and Close come down? Jared Leto gets left off for The Little Things, and deservedly so, because that movie sucked, replaced by Lakeith Stanfield, who most assuredly deserves recognition. It is striking to me, though that both title characters from Judas and the Black Messiah are up for Supporting Actor, rather than one in each category. This could lead to vote splitting. I still say Delroy Lindo should have been nominated for Da 5 Bloods, which amazes me that it’s only up for the score.

A few other raised eyebrows come in Documentary Feature, which is just a hodgepodge that ignores the critically and audience acclaimed films as always, Emma. only being up for Makeup and Costume Design, and both Trolls (yay!) and The Croods (meh) left off for Animated Feature. Both were nominated at the Annies while Over the Moon was left off, but the Academy does tend to go for less commercial fare outside of Disney/Pixar, and Shaun the Sheep wasn’t eligible last year, when it was nominated for the BAFTA, so it’s not entirely shocking.

As for me, I now have more viewing to do. Outside of the Shorts (which we’ll just have to see what ShortsTV does for the reels this year), I have nine films on this list that I’ve yet to see. Sadly, I don’t get to avoid the Mulan remake. God dammit. It’ll be a pain to track down The Man Who Sold His Skin, but thankfully, the others are all available on streaming services or DVD. As always, I’ll cover this lot in a “Back Row Thoughts” column of mini-reviews rather than devoting full space to them, in order to save time.

So here’s the plan going forward. We’ve basically got six weeks until Oscar Night, and the plan as always will be to cover every category. There’s still a bit of uncertainty as far as accessibility is concerned, particularly with the Shorts, but barring something horrendous, we’ll run the table once again. Over the course of this week, I’ll plan the coverage, catch up on the remaining nine films, and map out a calendar. Then on Friday, I’ll write up a central hub post for the remainder of the Blitz, which I’ll update with links to each category as it’s covered. Starting next Monday, we begin the breakdowns, one for each weekday, starting with Documentary Feature as promised. Once all 23 categories are done, I’ll make my official predictions for what will actually win come April 25, and on the big night itself, I’ll once again be live blogging the event.

It’s been a long time coming, folks, but we’re almost there. Let’s enjoy this celebration of film for the gift it is. Let’s go Blitzing, everyone!

Join the conversation in the comments below! Do you agree with these nominations? Who do you think has the inside track for Best Picture? Which category is your favorite? Let me know!

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