My thoughts on the 92nd Academy Awards

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Over the years I’ve made an effort to see as many of the nominated films as possible. This year I I’m glad to say that I did pretty good. Below I’ll list all of the nominees and highlight the films I was able to view. For the films I haven’t seen I’ve done a considerable amount of research before making my picks.

The names listed as “Should’ve been nominated” do not imply that there was another  less deserving film. Think of it as a place to put an extra nominee.

Highlight Key:

  • Have seen and reviewed.
  • Have seen.
  • Haven’t seen.

Best Picture

This list is a great selection of films. While the momentum established by Parasite is great, I don’t know if it will carry it to the win. I’m sticking with 1917 as my favorite and the film I believe will win.

Will win: 1917

Should win: 1917

Should’ve been nominated: A Hidden Life

Reaction: Wow. Wow. Wow. What a big win and a huge surprise from the academy. This is hopefully a signal of change from the voters, and not a simple diversion from the norm. All of the nominated films were great, and this one rose to the top.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

I didn’t get to two of these films, but what I did see was impressive.

Will win: Joaquin Phoenix

Should win: Joaquin Phoenix

Should’ve been nominated: Kang-ho Song (Parasite)

Reaction: Nothing surprising about this one. Phoenix gave a masterful performance that couldn’t be ignored.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
  • Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
  • Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
  • Charlize Theron – Bombshell
  • Renee Zellweger – Judy

I haven’t seen all of these films, but I think this category isn’t much of a mystery.

Should win: Renee Zellweger

Will win: Renee Zellweger

Should’ve been nominated: Awkwafina (The Farewell)

Reaction: I knew without seeing this film that she’d win. Zellweger seemed like a lock from day one of the award season.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

This is quite a list of stars to choose from. There are also some great films in the mix.

Will win: Brad Pitt

Should win: Brad Pitt

Reaction: I am excited to see Pitt get one for acting. He’s had a stellar career and this was an incredible performance. He beat some huge names.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

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

Will win: Laura Dern

Should Win: Laura Dern

Reaction: I can’t say enough about how happy this makes me. She’s an incredible talent.

Best Animated Feature Film

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

This year I had a hard time getting behind any of the animated features that were released. I’m sure there are some great films on this list, but I’m relying on the opinions of trusted sources for this one.

Should win: Missing Link

Will win: Missing Link

Reaction: I didn’t expect Toy Story 4 to win. It’s a great film, but this caught me by surprise.

Best Cinematography

I loved many of these movies and liked all of them. From a technical standpoint, 1917 would seem to have an advantage. It’ll be interesting to see how this category goes.

Will win: 1917

Should win: 1917

Should’ve been nominated: A Hidden Life

Reaction: No surprises here. Such a talented cinematographer and an incredible film.

Best Costume Design

I wish this was an easier category to choose from. Each of these films has incredible costuming work. Some of the films have costumes that bring periods of history to life, while others create a unique world for the story being told.

Will win: Little Women

Should win: Jojo Rabbit

Should’ve been nominated: Rocketman

Reaction: I would’ve voted for Jojo Rabbit, but the costumes in this film did look pretty great.

Best Director

Nothing much to say, except that these directors all did incredible work this year. The winner will be deserving no matter who it is.

Will win: Sam Mendes

Should win: Anyone nominated

Should’ve been nominated: Noah Baumbach

Reaction: Wow! Bong Joon-ho is a beast. It’s definitely deserved. This is maybe the biggest surprise of the night. 

Best Documentary – Feature

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

I wish I had found the opportunity and the time to see more of these films.

Will win: Honeyland

Should win: Honeyland

Reaction: I’m not shocked, but just a little surprised. I think that American Factory is a good documentary, but it doesn’t land the heavy blows that several of the others do.

Best Documentary – Short Subject

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

Another category I wish I had been able to dive into more.

Will win: St. Louis Superman

Should win: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

Reaction: No surprise, as I thought this was a category up for grabs.

Best Film Editing

I have had a tough time with this category. So many different styles and paces found their way into the nomination list.

Will win: Ford  v Ferrari

Should win: Ford v Ferrari

Should’ve been nominated: 1917

Reaction: While there were a number of good options. This stood out as a clear leader. Glad to see a solid movie get recognized.

Best International Feature Film

  • Corpus Christi
  • Honeyland
  • Les Miserables
  • Pain and Glory
  • Parasite

I don’t think there’s a lot of mystery about what will win this one.

Will win: Parasite

Should win: Parasite

Should’ve been nominated: A Hidden Life

Reaction: What a great honor for a director who’s been doing great things for years. Hopefully this is the beginning of a wider acceptance of international films. Audiences need to see what the world is making.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

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

This is an interesting category because it includes such a diverse range of films. Like costuming, some of this work created versions of real people, while others created things out of fantasy and imagination.

Will win: 1917

Should win: 1917

Should’ve been nominated: Avengers: Endgame

Reaction: Nope. I couldn’t disagree more than I do with this one.

Best Music – Original Score

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

I love music, and I’m just excited to see who wins.

Will win: Joker

Should win: Joker

Should’ve been nominated: Motherless Brooklyn

Reaction: YES! I love her score for this movie.

Best Music – Original Song

  • I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away – Randy Newman for Toy Story 4
  • I’m Gonna Love Me Again – Elton John and Bernie Taupin for Rocketman
  • I’m Standing With You – Diane Warren for Breakthrough
  • Into the Unknown – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for Frozen II
  • Stand Up – Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo for Harriet

I’ve heard all the songs and I can’t say that anything stands out to me.

Will win: Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Should win: Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Reaction: It’s hard to be surprised when it’s Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Great win for a good song.

Best Production Design

It’s so hard to pick when all the nominated films are exceptional.

Will win: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Should win: Parasite

Should’ve been nominated: Knives Out

Reaction: Not much of a surprise. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood brought Hollywood of the sixties back to life.

Best Short Film – Animated

  • Dcera (Daughter)
  • Hair Love
  • Kitbull
  • Memorable
  • Sister

Another category I didn’t get to fully enjoy.

Will win: Sister

Should win: Hair Love

Reaction: What an incredible win for Hair Love, an excellent short film. It’s heartwarming, and you should look it up and watch it.

Best Short Film – Live Action

  • Brotherhood
  • Nefta Football Club
  • The Neighbor’s Window
  • Saria
  • A Sister

Will win: Brotherhood

Should win: The Neighbor’s Window

Reaction: I’m so so happy for the people behind The Neighbor’s Window. Such an incredible short that everyone should see.

Best Sound Editing

Great films make a category tough to pick from. This is another one of those.

Will win: 1917

Should win: 1917

Reaction: Good win for a good film. Not my first choice though.

Best Sound Mixing

Will win: 1917

Should win: 1917

Reaction: Such a great example of sound editing and mixing. Glad it got one!

Best Visual Effects

Will win: Avengers: Endgame

Should win: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Reaction: I’m just going to be quiet. I should’ve seen this coming. Excellent win for an excellent film.

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

  • Steve Zaillian for The Irishman
  • Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit
  • Todd Phillips and Scott Silver for Joker
  • Greta Gerwig for Little Women
  • Anthony McCarten for The Two Popes

I am a writer, and I think the two writing categories are the ones I’m most passionate about. I think this could go a couple of ways, and I’m hoping for Jojo Rabbit to bring it home.

Will win: Jojo Rabbit

Should win: Jojo Rabbit

Reaction: What an incredible win for Waititi!

Best Writing – Original Screenplay

Will win: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Should win: Any of the nominees.

Reaction: I might have been wrong, but it’s such a great win for an incredible filmmaker.

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