It’s Oscars Time! JM Picks His Favorites In The Top Categories! Do You Agree?

While most are arguing about snubs and surprises I’ve been tasked to make my actual Oscar picks for MikeTheFanboy. Unlike most I’ve been very fortunate to have seen almost all of the films prior to the nominations. Although I will admit I abstained from the categories Animated Short, Best Live Action Short and Documentary Short Subject completely as I have no knowledge or desire to see them. Nonetheless, it’s going to be a very fun Oscars race.

The oscars logo rare nominations 2013 promo academy award academy awards nominees rare

Visual Effects:

 

“Avengers: Endgame”

“The Irishman”

“1917”

“The Lion King”

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

Considering all of the hype surrounding the de-ageing process for “The Irishman,” the film has quickly lost steam with numerous YouTube videos enhancing the Oscar nominated technology. A Disney remake blurred the lines of animation and live-action, which is too confusing, and how many times can we really reward a war movie? In the end, two sagas have “concluded” and “Avengers: Endgame” looks to come out on top.

Costume Design:

 

”The Irishman,” Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson

Jojo Rabbit,” Mayes C. Rubeo

“Joker,” Mark Bridges

“Little Women,” Jacqueline Durran

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Arianne Phillips

Ruth Carter should’ve been nominated for “Dolemite Is My Name,” but this gets tough trying to decide if you want a classic, historical, war-period, graphic novel/vigilante or a vintage look. I’m going with Arianne Phillips because of how quickly and instantly iconic the costumes of the leads became. The “Joker” costume stands out, but no other costumes really resonates so “Once” should walk away with the award fairly easily considering how everyone enjoyed the look of the film.

Makeup and Hair:

 

“Bombshell”

“Joker”

Judy

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

“1917”

Kazu Hiro came out of retirement for “Darkest Hour” winning an Oscar and once again, does an unbelievable job transforming the cast of “Bombshell,” especially Charlize Theron and John Lithgow. Besides cinematography, this is the only other no-brainer category for technical awards.

 

Original Score:

 

“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir

“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat

“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman

“1917,” Thomas Newman

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

Certain songs and music cues capture your imagination as soon as you hear the first few notes. Think of “The Raiders March” a.k.a. The Indiana Jones’ theme or Hans Zimmer’s “Jack Sparrow,” which is synonymous with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Although the nominees possess an impressive body of work, only one truly stands out this year and it’s Hildur Guðnadóttir’s. It’s hard not to discuss her score without smiling or keep discussing the subject once its brought up.

Original Song:

 

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” in “Toy Story 4”

“I’m Gonna Love Me Again” in “Rocketman”

“I’m Standing With You” in “Breakthrough”

“Into the Unknown” in “Frozen 2”

“Stand Up” in “Harriet”

Cynthia Erivo has the best chance to become an E.G.O.T. winner by claiming original song, however that’s assuming people will see the movie. Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez changed the world with their iconic songs in “Frozen” and “Coco.” However, “Into the Unknown” lacks the same punch and for “Frozen 2” not getting nominated in Best Animated Feature hurts their chances. Perennial Oscar contender Diane Warren is back with “I’m Standing With You” for the 11th time, but much like Randy Newman it might take another couple of songs before she gets her coveted Oscar. Randy Newman should’ve won for “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” which was the best in the film series and got his makeup/2nd Oscar for “Toy Story 3” in the “concluding chapter” so voters will be looking elsewhere. Considering the iconic writing duo of Bernie Taupin and Elton John hadn’t won an award together until their Golden Globes win for “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” this will be a nice gift to wrap up their awards season and careers.

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Film Editing:

 

“Ford v Ferrari,” Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland

“The Irishman,” Thelma Schoonmaker

Jojo Rabbit,” Tom Eagles

“Joker,” Jeff Groth

Parasite,” Jinmo Yang

Start your engines as only two films overlap with Film, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing making “Joker” and “Ford v Ferrari” the two most likely candidates. Considering the film was virtually forgotten and lapped up by others, “Ford v Ferrari” looks to win this race. After all, it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. The fact the film is still in the race says something to voters even though “Parasite” could make it a photo-finish.

Sound Editing:

 

“Ford v Ferrari,” Don Sylvester

“Joker,” Alan Robert Murray

“1917,” Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Wylie Stateman

“Star Wars: The Rise of SkyWalker,” Matthew Wood, David Acord

Lee Smith’s editing being overlooked is a tragedy and the Academy will make up by awarding both Sound Mixing and Sound Editing to “1917.” Now that more voters have access to the film, this will become more obvious by the day. “Ford v Ferrari” might have the speed, but shifting into gear during the last few laps will be challenging.

Sound Mixing:

 

“Ad Astra”

“Ford v Ferrari”

“Joker”

“1917”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Lee Smith’s sensational, seamless job at editing enhances the one continuous shot effect to make it seem like he did “nothing.” Considering he got snubbed, it makes this category tricky as usually mixing and editing are generally handcuffed. Since sound mixing and sound editing go hand in hand “Joker,” “Ford v Ferrari” and “1917” are the most likely to win both. Considering the behind the scenes shots being released lately, the impact of “1917” this Oscars will most certainly rack up, if not sweep the technical categories.

 

Production Design:

 

“The Irishman,” Bob Shaw and Regina Graves

Jojo Rabbit,” Ra Vincent and Nora Sopkova

“1917,” Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh

Parasite,” Lee Ha-Jun and Cho Won Woo, Han Ga Ram, and Cho Hee

Creating a fully immersive recreation of trench warfare and the battlefields of World War I is undoubtedly spectacular. However, let’s be honest and admit we couldn’t stop appreciating all of the little intricate details in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Whether it was the streets of Hollywood, the film sets or the vintage aesthetics, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has captured our hearts and minds.

Animated Feature:

 

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” Dean DeBlois

“I Lost My Body,” Jeremy Clapin

“Klaus,” Sergio Pablos

“Missing Link,” Chris Butler

Toy Story 4,”  Josh Cooley

Sequels shouldn’t get a pass and easy win, so when “Missing Link” name is called don’t be surprised. The past 10 winners for the Golden Globe have gone on to claim Oscar gold 80% of the time. Sure, Netflix nabbed two nominations with “Klaus” and “I Lost My Body,” but considering “Frozen 2” missed the mark shows the Academy wants to recognize less franchise films and more original ideas. It’s time to discover this fun stop-motion movie.

 

Best Documentary Feature:

 

“American Factory,” Julia Rieichert, Steven Bognar

“The Cave,” Feras Fayyad

“The Edge of Democracy,” Petra Costa

“For Sama,” Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts

Honeyland,” Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov

While people were complaining about snubs in the acting and directing categories, well-informed individuals were stunned by the mix-up in the documentary category. I’ve probably seen more documentaries this year than any genre and the quality was unparalleled with some sad snubs (“Apollo 11,” “The Biggest Little Farm” and “The Great Hack”). However, history was made when “Honeyland” was nominated for Best Documentary Feature and International Film, the first time in Oscars’ history. This should easily win with its narrowed competition and should be the one “under the radar” nominee everyone should rush out to see.

 

Best International Feature Film:

 

“Corpus Christi,” Jan Komasa

Honeyland,” Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov

Les Miserables,” Ladj Ly

“Pain and Glory,” Pedro Almodovar

Parasite,” Bong Joon Ho

I’m devastated “Beanpole” didn’t get nominated, which was probably because of anti-Russian sentiment. Please don’t let that deter you from checking out the movie about post World War 2 life- think “Cold War.” Although “Corpus Christi” is a worthy nominee, this was a difficult year to be nominated considering competition with “Parasite.” Although I appreciate the balanced perspective of nominating only one film per country to create equal footing, each year we’re not actually representing the Top 5 and as a film fan I feel it’s a great disservice. Then again we would probably have at least one country like France, Spain, and/or Italy getting two nominations each year. Still, this is one of the strongest years with foreign films in a very long time.

Cinematography:

 

“The Irishman,” Rodrigo Prieto

“Joker,” Lawrence Sher

“The Lighthouse,” Jarin Blaschke

“1917,” Roger Deakins

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robert Richardson

One shot. It worked for Chivo a.k.a. Emmanuel Lubezki with “Birdman” and once again with Roger Deakins’ unbelievable work, which combined with Lee Smith’s editing and Sam Mendes’ directing created one of the best shot films ever. This is the most no-brainer of all the categories.

Adapted Screenplay:

 

“The Irishman,” Steven Zaillian

Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi

“Joker,” Todd Phillips, Scott Silver

“Little Women,” Greta Gerwig

“The Two Popes,” Anthony McCarten

The excitement and anticipation should satisfy most viewers with which way this might go. Anthony McCarten is slowly becoming the go-to for biopics after receiving nominations for “The Theory of Everything” (Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture) and “The Darkest Hour” (Best Picture) under his belt. Steve Zaillian has now officially joined the 5-timers club, but has an Oscar for “Schindler’s List.” Unfortunately, “Joker” is too polarizing so it comes down to Nazis and women. The backlash and momentum might overtake this category a la “Argo” style with Greta Gerwig winning a much deserved Oscar, albeit in the “wrong category.”

 

Original Screenplay:

 

“Knives Out,” Rian Johnson

“Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach

“1917,” Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino

Parasite,” Bong Joon-ho and Jin Won Han

I’m most nervous about this category as I’m truly pulling for everyone. You could legitimately make the case for any of the nominees and although Quentin Tarantino might win his 3rd writing Oscar and join elite company, Noah Baumbach’s marvelous movie “Marriage Story” packs the most punch with its actors elevating a stellar script into another stratosphere.

Supporting Actress:

 

Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell

Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”

Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit

Florence Pugh, “Little Women”

Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”

No offense to any of the other categories, but to me this was the best nominated category I wholeheartedly agree with 100%. Adam Sandler’s response to his movie mama Kathy Bates was the best Oscar reaction of the year. Margot Robbie proves once again she is a force to reckon with and Scarlett Johansson’s double nomination makes it tough to decide. First time nominee Florence Pugh caps off an amazing year, but her co-star and Marmee Laura Dern will finalize an already impressive awards campaign by winning her Oscar for “Marriage Story.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 05: Laura Dern attends the ‘Marriage Story’ Los Angeles Premiere at the Directors Guild on November 05, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix)

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”

Every single performer in this category has won an Academy Award, but only one has accomplished this feat in the supporting category (Joe Pesci for “Goodfellas”). Tom Hanks might be America’s favorite actor, but his two Oscars put him at a disadvantage against (4) very strong performances. In the end, Brad Pitt will finally win a competitive Oscar to join his Best Picture win (“12 Years a Slave”) and will probably be one of the few shining moments for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

Lead Actress:

 

Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”

Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”

Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”

Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”

Renee Zellweger, “Judy

One of the best storylines this Oscar season is the Best Actress race. Cynthia Erivo has the chance to be the youngest E.G.O.T (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award) winner. Saoirse Ronan had become the second youngest 4-time Oscar nominee (Jennifer Lawrence beats Ronan by a few months) at the age of 25 and momentum is swelling for “Little Women.” Scarlett Johansson has finally been nominated for an Oscar and makes history in the process by becoming the 11th person to be nominated for Best lead and supporting performances in the same year. Renee has been the frontrunner for the past several months and Charlize has been nipping at her heals on the campaign trail, but both already have Oscars so I believe it will go to one of the remaining three. My gut wants Saoirse Ronan, but Scarlett Johansson’s tour-de-force performance is too good to pass up.

Lead 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”

This year was going to be a tough decision considering all of the contenders with most pundits putting the race between 7-10 strong selections. However, it’s going to come down to Adam Driver and Joaquin Phoenix. Driver is now coming into his own with back-to-back Oscar nominations (nominated last year for Supporting Actor in “BlacKkKlansman”) and an amazing assortment of performances this past year (“The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” “The Dead Don’t Die,” “The Report,” “Marriage Story” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”). However, Joaquin Phoenix’s phenomenal performance as the titular and iconic character captured even the most ardent naysayers’ approval. Needless to say, this win will be a makeup for “The Master.”

 

Director:

 

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”

Todd Phillips, “Joker”

Sam Mendes, “1917”

Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite

For all the complaints about this particular category, can you genuinely and absolutely articulate a sound argument justifying one of these directors out? These nominations are based on MERIT and the quality of these films are far superior than most of the “snubs” shoved down our throats complaining about the lack of representation. Putting politics aside, Bong Joon-ho directed the best and most unexpected film of the year.

For those keeping tally, you may have noticed I’ve left off one film in almost every category, “The Irishman.” Although I love the movie, the backlash seems too real and regrettably I believe it might join the history books with “The Turning Point,” “The Color Purple” and another Martin Scorsese film “Gangs of New York” with ZERO wins despite 10 (or more) nominations.

Best Picture:

 

“Ford v Ferrari”

“The Irishman”

Jojo Rabbit

“Joker”

“Little Women”

“Marriage Story”

“1917”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Parasite

Best Picture comes down to (5) films: “Parasite,” “The Irishman,” “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” “1917” and “Marriage Story.” In the most complicated category, a ranking system is implemented with members required to vote with a specific rank from 1-9 (since nine films were nominated). All of the #1 votes are tabulated and if a film fails to receive 50% of the vote, which is fairly likely considering nine films are nominated, the film with the lowest #1 rankings is removed. From there, the ballots with the excised #1 film are reevaluated to see what movies were ranked #2 with those votes redistributed with films still in the race. This process continues until a movie has over 50%. Considering most people have “1917” and “Parasite” as the two frontrunners, there is enough of a divide with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “The Irishman” fans. Most of the people I’ve talked to either have seen one or the other with “1917” or “Parasite.” That being said there are also the stubborn types who will refuse to vote for a “foreign film” since it has its own category and the same with voting for a “war movie.” Therein lies the challenge of a “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” or better yet, “Marriage Story” emerging. Considering it has the legitimate chance to win Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Screenplay, no other film has balanced nominations in the principle categories. It’s the ultimate underdog story of the season and support seems to be growing.

 

 

 

 

 

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