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Sunday, February 9, 2020

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards: Results and Reactions

Did a Parasite Make a Joker of 1917? 

By Chris Sabga

Another year, another Oscars...

Before the Show 

No Host (Again)

For the second year in a row, there will be no one hosting the Academy Awards. Last year's ceremony moved at a much quicker pace because of it. Let's hope that holds true this year too.

Any Potential Surprises?

"1917" seems like the safe bet to win Best Picture, but last-minute buzz is pegging a historic upset victory for "Parasite," which would make it the first foreign language film ever to emerge victorious in the top category. We'll see...

The Wall Street Journal is betting big on Scarlett Johansson to win Best Actress for "Marriage Story," but very few people are buying any stock in "ScarJo" – every other pundit considers Renée Zellweger a lock for "Judy."

Full results are listed at the end.  

The Oscar Ceremony

Best Oscar Speeches: Taika Waititi's tribute to his mother after winning Best Adapted Screenplay for "Jojo Rabbit" was sincere, heartfelt, and funny.

I loved the speech for "Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)." It started with Frank Capra and ended with words of encouragement.

Laura Dern: "They say never meet your heroes, but if you're blessed, you get them as your parents." Beautifully stated! (Her mom and dad are, famously, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.)

Best Presenters: It was nice to see Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen from the wonderful – and snubbed – "The Peanut Butter Falcon" presenting the award for Best Live Action Short.

Best Moments: Give Steve Martin and Chris Rock their own comedy special! They landed some great but acidic jokes about Jeff Bezos' wealth and (the lack of) black nominees.

It was awesome to see Chrissy Metz – Kate from "This Is Us" – performing "I’m Standing With You" from her powerful film "Breakthrough." Toby was obviously too busy doing CrossFit to be there!

Best Dressed: Rebel Wilson and James Corden stole the show dressed as cats from – what else? – the notorious cinematic flop "Cats."

Biggest Surprise: According to my Oscar pool, "Ford v Ferrari" racing past "1917" in the Sound Editing category was a surprise – to me.

But "Parasite's" Bong Joo Ho upsetting "1917's" Sam Mendes for Best Director was the biggest surprise of the night...

...until "Parasite" won for Best Picture.

Overall: "1917" was considered the favorite, but in a truly stunning turn of events, "Parasite" scored massive upsets in the Best Director and Best Picture categories. It now stands as the first foreign language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Full Results

Best Picture: Parasite

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Renée Zellweger, Judy

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Best Director: Bong Joo Ho, Parasite

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 4

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jojo Rabbit

Best Original Screenplay: Parasite

Best Foreign Language Film: Parasite (South Korea)

Best Documentary Feature: American Factory

Best Original Song: "(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again," Rocketman

Best Original Score: Joker

Best Cinematography: 1917

Film Editing: Ford v Ferrari

Costume Design: Little Women

Makeup and Hairstyling: Bombshell

Production Design: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Sound Editing: Ford v Ferrari

Sound Mixing: 1917

Visual Effects: 1917

Best Documentary Short: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

Best Animated Short: Hair Love

Best Live Action Short: The Neighbors’ Window

Monday, January 13, 2020

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards: Nominations, Surprises, Snubs

Joker's (Not So) Wild as #OscarsSoStale

By Chris Sabga

As I've done for the past seven years, I will list the nominations, snubs, and "Silver Screen Surprises" for all of the major categories.

And the Oscar goes to...

Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Surprises: I'm both surprised and not surprised that Netflix's "Two Popes" – a Golden Globes nominee – was snubbed by Oscar. It is represented in both male acting categories and for Best Adapted Screenplay though.

Globes nominees "Knives Out," "Rocketman," and "Dolemite Is My Name" being snubbed here in favor of "Little Women" might be considered mildly surprising, but I can't say I'm exactly shocked by any of it.

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

Surprises: There was talk of Eddie Murphy getting an Oscar nomination for "Dolemite Is His Name," but that obviously didn't happen. It's no surprise that #OscarsSoWhite is trending again on Twitter as I write this. As others have no doubt already pointed out, the only black acting nominee this year – Cynthia Erivo for "Harriet" – played a slave.

Lead Actress

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

Surprises: The only surprise would be if someone other than Renée Zellweger wins.

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

Surprises: I guess poor Robert De Niro being shut out of the "Irishman" party in this category qualifies as a mild surprise.

Supporting Actress

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

Surprises: Am I the only one who wishes Florence Pugh had been nominated for "Fighting with My Family" instead? Yeah, probably. But the movie was great, and she was great in it!


Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Phillips, Joker
Sam Mendes, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Bong Joo Ho, Parasite

Surprises: Another Globes repeat in what is shaping up to be one of the least surprising Oscar races ever.

Anyone expecting Greta Gerwig to get nominated for "Little Women" after being snubbed for "Lady Bird" two years ago clearly no longer pays attention to the Oscars or how they work. In other words, most of the world. Every year, I tell myself I'm going to stop writing about the boring, stale, stuck in the past Academy Awards. And yet – here we are. Maybe I'll stick to that New Year's Resolution next year.

Animated Feature

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

Surprises: Finally, a genuine surprise! "Klaus" was unfairly snubbed by the Golden Globes but rightfully represented here. It's a delightful movie, and artistically beautiful. The same can be said for shocking Globes winner "Missing Link." Can that repeat its success here? I am expecting both to lose to "Toy Story 4," but this race is far from a sure thing.

Original Screenplay

Knives Out
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
The Two Popes

Surprises: I guess I'm surprised to see "Joker" recognized in a writing category. Comic book fans finally have their day in the sun, as they've insisted for years that comic books have stories just as rich and layered as anything in literature. Oh, who am I kidding? No comic book fan is actually watching this show – "Joker" or not.

Other thoughts: A dear friend of mine summed it up perfectly: "BLERG!"

I had another paragraph or two written, but I just erased all of it. "BLERG!" really is the best way to describe this geriatric snoozefest. 

The rest of the categories and nominees are: 

Best Documentary Feature

American Factory
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama

Animated Short

Dcera (Daughter)
Hair Love


The Irishman
The Lighthouse
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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

Best Live Action Short Film

Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window
A Sister

Best Foreign Language Film

Corpus Christi (Poland)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Les Misérables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea)

Film Editing

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit

Sound Editing

Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Sound Mixing

Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Production Design

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Original Score

Little Women
Marriage Story
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Original Song

"I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away," Toy Story 4
"(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again," Rocketman
"I’m Standing With You," Breakthrough
"Into the Unknown," Frozen 2
"Stand Up," Harriet

Makeup and Hair

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Costume Design

Jojo Rabbit
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
The Irishman
Little Women

Visual Effects

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