You hear that? It’s the sound of a bazillion critics, journalists, fans, and trolls causing Twitter to groan louder than Jillian Michaels watching Lizzo twerk in concert. The platform is out of control and there must be only one reason why — Oscar 2020 nominations are out!
As always, there will be a handful of snubs (ignored achievements), dubs (surefire wins, so why bother), and rubs (maybe wins…but there’s a catch). We did this with the Golden Globes and batted well above average. Let’s see how we do on Matrix observations of The Academy Awards’ culmination of observation for 2019.
(And, again sans host, The Oscars air Sunday, February 9 on ABC.)
C’mon. You know there will be a handful. There always are when it comes to that gold-shellacked body of largely homogenized board of armchair movie quarterbacks. This year bemoans a few sociopolitical ills in society. Did you notice — or care about — these?
No-No for J-Lo
The movie was lauded by only a few core demos among cinephiles, but those few shouted loudly. Jennifer Lopez was nominated at the Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actress for the stripper-turned-felony-burglar biopic(ish), Hustlers. She also got love from the hoity-toity SAGs and Critics’ Choice; yet, Oscar gave her the Heisman.
Horror Gets Horrified Again
Welp, it happened one more time. Oscar has its solid, unabashed favorites (Quentin Tarantino, we’re looking at you). That gold-plated, crusty fart also has full genres in his crosshairs. Forget the talent. Ignore the writing. Who cares? One of those resoundly vying for recognition but keeps getting a foot in the fanny is horror.
Did you see Hereditary? Toni Collette was truly superb but no one with a nomination cared. Same goes for Florence Pugh in Midsommar. And, to really stress the importance of good acting in a horror film, Lupita Nyong’o did it twice…in the same movie! Both were memorable (and, not for nothing, both of Lupita’s roles were great) and yet, nada.
Talk about gore. This is getting ugly, Oscar!
Oscar is a Chauvinistic Neanderthal (and Still Racist)
Just look at him. So smug, so misogynistic, so…guy. Dude must have issues with a scorned ex, because he isn’t a fan of females at the helm of movies. In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director for her gripping tale of war, The Hurt Locker — the first time, and the last time, that has ever happened.
Oscar is back up to his girl-hating shenanigans as not one woman was considered for Best Director. Greta Gerwig for Little Women? Nuh-unh. Lulu Wang for The Farewell? Nope. Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood? Next. Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here? Meh.
To be fair, the five guys up for the gold are pretty salty this year, but this is becoming a terrible trend. Maybe Oscar just needs to get laid? Who knows, but this sucks.
You Talking to Me? No.
Among the bevy of nominations, Netflix’s and Martin Scorsese’s marathon depiction of Jimmy Hoffa’s (still unsolved and unresolved) murder, The Irishman. In fact, the film garnered 10 with one glaring exception — two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro. Um…did you see this @#$%& film?!
Al Pacino? Nominated. Joe Pesci? Nominated. De Niro, whose role of Frank Sheeran led this movie? Bupkus. Then again, De Niro was overlooked by the aforementioned Globes, and the SAGs and BAFTAs. Unsure who, but someone’s getting whacked for this one.
That’s Not Funny
As highlighted previously, Oscar is a rotten curmudgeon. He holds grudges and could care less how hypocritical it makes him look. Remember the Hollywood fave, Dreamgirls? Eddie Murphy’s role as James “Thunder” Early was so good that the Golden Globes gave him the award for Best Supporting Actor. Oscar even thought so with a nomination. And, although many critics believed that was his award to lose, Oscar had a problem — Eddie Murphy’s very next role on Norbit.
And so, Alan Arkin got the statue for Little Miss Sunshine. Great acting, but not so much. Something was afoot and Oscar just snubbed his peaked nose and went on his way. Fast forward to Netflix movie Dolemite Is My Name. Murphy was marvelous. Again, Globes thought so giving him a nomination, but Oscar? Still sitting on his grudge, snubbing his nose, and going on his way.
Maybe, Oscar isn’t only Bitter Beer Face, but he doesn’t like to laugh. Remember, he hates genres, like horror and CBMs. Another one seems to be comedy — not that fru-fru, stiff upper lip crap causing a smattering of golf claps in the theater. I mean, the literal “LOL”, old-man coughing comedy. Another guy who dabbles in that, other than Murphy, is Adam Sandler. He’s been quiet for a while, and then he comes out with a gripping, dramatic role in Uncut Gems. Think Oscar cared about that? No. Many other critics did, but not Oscar.
Oscar Has Let It Go
It was the sequel of the runaway hit animated film, and owner of one of the worst earworms in recent history, Frozen and, its best original song “Let It Go.” The sequel was widely anticipated, as seen in the box office. Audiences rewarded Frozen 2 with more than $1.325 billion in box-office receipts making it the most profitable animated film in history. One thing: Oscar was still dealing with the earworm so no nom for you!
There are certain wins on the horizon. It’s almost a gimme. Others will be good for movie trivia nights and cinephile debates. To that point, your faithful troupe of film lovers here at MoviesMatrix put our heads together and made our choices for the majors (and some of the minors).
What were yours? Here are ours…
It’s a race to the finish line for Thomas Newman’s heralded 1917 and Hildur Guônadóttir’s Golden Globe-winning Joker. Nice respect to the scoring godfather John Williams for his work in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Winner: Thomas Newman (largely because no one onstage can pronounce Hildur’s last name).
Best Original Song
There is a celebrated King of the Mountain here. As soon as Rocketman hit theaters and Taron Egerton roared out these notes, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” was the winner. It got the globe. It got the downloads. It just didn’t get Egerton recognized (another colossal snub).
Winner: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
One movie — and one long, long shot — deserves this honor. Roger Deakins created a template for thinking out of the box with movie making. If you haven’t seen 1917 yet, do it, just for the cinematography alone. And, not for nothing, but how in the cinema-hell is this film not nominated for Best Film Editing for making this truly appear as one shot is lunacy.
Winner: 1917, Roger Deakins
Best Original Screenplay
We haven’t been shy about how we feel about strong writing for a great cinematic experience. Movies can create huge hype, then it’s seen and people are let down–usually because the script was so poorly concocted into a Hollywood movie.
Then, there are the…let’s say, “uncut gems” in Tinseltown. (Yes, still flummoxed by Old Man Oscar ignoring that movie altogether.) These are the movies that don’t get a heaping ton of marketing help, but then the masses see it, love it, and shout about it. We did.
Knives Out, another seemingly snub from this year’s throng, has that same magic. Nice to know there are still original ideas out there, huh? All that to say…
Winner: Parasite (It was just that good, but we admit Bong Joon-ho has his work cut out to win the affectionately entitled ‘Tarantino’ award).
Best Adapted Screenplay
To adapt a work of art into another medium is not an easy task. Greta Gerwig took a story that has been told in many different ways (including three movies and a TV series), so her “adaptation” was a bold effort. Other adaptations could be taking a nihilistic comic everyone and their mother know about, but making it fresh and…original (?), so that is to be applauded as well.
However, history always smiles on Oscar, namely when it’s done by a living legend and three of its actors playing the adaptation get a nod.
Winner: The Irishman, based on Charles Brandt’s book “I Hear You Paint Houses.”
Best Supporting Actress
Few races in this year’s Oscar nomination battle royale is this decisive. Each woman did so well, but this one has been wallpapered at every film award ceremony, just about. Before we go on, mad shout to first-year, welcome-to-the-big-leagues Scarlett Johansson. She is so much more than ‘Black Widow.’
She is a tempest of fury on any set. This year, she got a nomination as both a supporting and a lead actress, for Jojo Rabbit and Marriage Story, respectively. However, she will have to believe that “it really is an honor just being nominated.”
Winner: Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Best Supporting Actor
Just about every person in this category has reached “legend” status. Two of them are in the same movie with Pacino and Pesci. Unfortunately, those two will split voters because it is the same film, so pity for one of them not sucking a little. Hopkins was amazing, if you can get past the first act of subtitles. Hanks brought Mister Rogers back to life for us, but Cliff Booth was someone we didn’t know we needed. The race probably stops on the roof with him.
(Personal Note: There is still no way this man lays a hand on Bruce Lee, so Quentin can suck it on that part of his precious script.)
Winner: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Five powerful performances. One golden statue. So little to go around. What’s terrible about this particular award is more people are talking about who is not considered here — Awkwafina won a Golden Globe but no nomination. Lupita Nyong’o and Florence Pugh were really good, but oh yeah, scary movies can’t be taken seriously.
Again, she won’t win either award, but this was Scarlett Johansson’s year — two Oscar nominations for fantastic films. And, oh yeah, her children’s children are set for life thanks to this Endgame flick.
The always consistent Saoirse Ronan is up. Same can be said for Charlize Theron. So great. But, did you see that trailer with Judy Garland?! Sorry, Renee Zellwegger?
Winner: Renee Zellwegger, Judy
Not much to say here. We were unanimous. So has the varied award folks. Leo was Leo. Antonio reminded us that he’s not dead. Jonathan Pryce stole a movie from Anthony Hopkins (man’s game there). And Adam Driver reminds everyone he’s so much more than Kylo Ren.
But this is the make-good year for the nerd and Joaquin Phoenix just provided Oscar all the reason he needs to send a Tier One statue to Warner Bros. and DC Comics.
Winner: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
One thing we can guarantee about this category — a guy is taking it home. Sorry ladies. This one is not for you, and as criminal as that is, something should be investigated to take a more serious look as to why. Really? Only five women have ever earned a Best Director nod from The Academy? This is either superiority or controversy. (Pretty sure we know which one the answer is.)
Among the sausage fest are three bonafide considerations. Oscar is just teasing Todd Phillips and probably was told to nominate Bong Joon-ho. Oh, he richly deserves it but remember, Golden Globes just wanted to give this a “Best Foreign Film” award. This is a two-man race for the AMPAS ages.
The crusty cats in The Academy adore Quentin and Martin immensely. They probably thumb wrestled for the winner determining which film gets the honor. We thumb wrestled too.
Winner: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Ever since AMPAS extended the finalist for this culminating selection to up to 10, there has still been just about five that really deserve the statue. This year? There really are nine pictures worthy of your consideration. Original stories to biopics, comedy to gangster, war to WTF?! (Yes, Jojo Rabbit that was for you.)
Each of these films were fantastic to watch providing singular reasons why it could be “the best 2019 has to offer.” But, Oscar does have his favorites — and original juggernauts are among his favorites. There are few more original, more darling, and more daring than Quentin Tarantino. And his ninth film was arguably his best, which is saying something. Enjoy the off-the-wall acceptance speech.
Quick Note: It’s “up to 10.” So, why the hell isn’t Knives Out here, for at least a nod of excellent work? (Yet, another awful snub.)
Winner: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Sometimes, Oscar can surprise us all. Nominations that leave our mouths agape and our thought bubbles empty. It happens, but usually, there is a catch, a hook, or even a glaring WTF moment. This year is no different.
It seems we have a found a darling for BAFTAs, SAGs, Globes, and even Oscars. Todd Phillips’ surprising and successful Joker nabs 11 nominations. While Joaquin Phoenix may have stifled the ‘Heath Ledger is GOAT Joker’ conversation, was this film that good? There are many DC homers among us (present company included), but if we are honest, was this movie so overwhelming?
Here’s a theory: Oscar hates bad PR. When #OscarsSoWhite happened, they jumped all over creating a more diverse array of nominees. Bad hosting problems? No problem. They got rid of the host and won over the media. Sure, they need to do something about Grandpa Oscar putting women in the kitchen, but for years, nerds have been on their case. They finally threw us a bone with The Dark Knight.
They could not ignore major nominations any longer with Black Panther, but Joker allows them to honor an unconventional CBM with a proven Oscar winner that celebrates the role instead of the spandex. Enjoy it, geeks. This won’t happen again for a while.
It’s time people get over subtitles in a major motion picture. Supreme films like Parasite and The Two Popes are getting a cold shoulder because people on AMPAS’ board apparently don’t enjoy reading. (Maybe that’s why The Farewell got very little respect?)
At the Golden Globes, Parasite director and writer Bong Joon-ho said something that needs to be embossed on fancy cards and sent to every single voter for all film shows: “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
To use a church term, “That’ll preach!” In any language. Time for people to get over it and appreciate moviemaking for what it is.