First Pass Oscar Predictions, 2020
Posted on January 13, 2020 Posted by John Scalzi 19 Comments
You know what? I genuinely can’t generate any enthusiasm for thinking about the Oscar slate at all this year, so, yeah, I’m gonna take a pass and maybe come back to it in 2021. I feel pretty good about this decision, honestly.
Is your lack of enthusiasm a result of the lack of diversity in the slate? A lot of what I’m seeing around is anger at that lack of diversity and a lot of “meh” at the slate itself.
With the utter hellscape that is our political and social situation right now, I can’t work up any enthusiasm either. Especially since we’re back to a white, man-centric set of nominations. (why Lupita Nyong’o wasn’t nominated for Us is baffling to me!).
Maybe 2021 will be better on all fronts.
It’s been a long time since the Oscar was awarded to a movie, actor or director that is even remotely interesting to me as a consumer.
In recent years I’m hardly motivated to watch the movies that are nominated.
How the heck did that end up as the slate?! Besides the lack of diversity, it’s the most “meh” Oscar slate I’ve ever seen.
Aside from the animated noms, and that Jojo Rabbit is up for anything (though not director, wtf?), pretty much.
It’s a “meh” slate because it’s been a “meh” year for movies. There have been some good ones, but nothing Insanely Great™ and no consensus favorite. I’m finding it hard to predict what will happen.. but because I’m not in love with any of the likely candidates I don’t care all that much either.
I have only one prediction I am confident in: 1917 will win Best Cinematography. That level of camera craft should and will be rewarded.
I’m sad that Frozen II, which I thought was a better movie than the original (and mind you, I’m a huge Frozen fangirl), wasn’t nominated. (I will grant that the songs weren’t as strong, but how often do you hit a game ending grand slam in game 7 of the World Series? Lots of people are sick of Let It Go now, but you have to admit that it’s a powerful song.) But I’ll be honest and admit that I haven’t seen Toy Story 4. When they announced it I thought it was one too many times to the well and TS3 was a perfect ending to the series. The favorable reviews weren’t enough to get me out to a theater to catch it, and I haven’t succumbed to the charms of Disney+ yet so I can’t watch it there.
The compressed schedule also means that there may not be time for the theater companies to hold the Oscar Best Picture showcases they often do. And with TWO Netflix movies on the Best Picture slate it means two movies they will refuse to show. So I probably wouldn’t be going anyway.
Last year both AMC and Regal left out Roma from their events, so I stayed home. If they follow the same practice this year, both The Irishman and Marriage Story will be omitted. I could watch those at home, but I don’t want to be complicit with what I feel is a bad choice by the theater chains. When I asked them about it last year, their response was basically “Netflix wouldn’t let us show those movies so we did not feature them in our Best Picture events.” But that’s a lie. Netflix was happy to let theaters book those films, the theater chains just didn’t like the short period of theater exclusivity. One art house here in Boston continued to show Roma for more than a month AFTER it was available to stream on Netflix, so there was clearly an audience that wanted to see it on the big screen.
It’s been a long time since a racing movie was good enough to be up for a Best Picture Oscar, as Ford vs. Ferarri is. Not sure, but you may have to go all the way back to 1966, and John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix.
Thank you, John. It’s disgusting. The less said about it, the better.
Yeah, gotta agree with you. The Oscars in general have a “who gives a sh!t?” vibe these days. (I mean, GREEN BOOK as Best Picture? WTF?) The world has changed, Hollywood and movies have changed too, and not for the better (IMHO), for the most part. As a geezer, I cared deeply about the Oscars for years. I remember begging my mother to let me stay up and watch around the time of BEN-HUR, for crying out loud! For years, I’d carefully list every category and nominee (before it was available as easily as it is now), and I’d underline the winners on my list as the show gave the awards out. But starting around the time of the appalling AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999) and the inexplicable CRASH (2005), it started going downhill. These years, we can barely force ourselves to watch (and don’t always make it). When I watched I wanted to see the “stars” – when was the last time you saw an Oscar winner from the 1970s unless they were presenting a major award or nominated themselves? – not someone who is making her first movie next year.
And keep the heck off my lawn, whippersnappers!
Two words: Jojo Rabbit.
And Marriage Story is pretty solid. Alan Alda should’ve gotten a nom along with Laura Dern.
Not too many movies I’d want to see except for 1917, Joker, and, maybe, The Two Popes. Then again,the academy usually gives the nods to movies they like and not popular movies.
I just went to see Jojo Rabbit last night.
It was good, but Best Picture good? I am not convinced.
Joker shows us the white man, beat up by blacks and wall street, snubbed for affection by women, and wants us to understand and sympathize with why he turns to violence.
I.E. it’s the sequel to “Birth of a Nation”.
And its up for tons of awards. Yaaaay…..
I’m meh on it because of the way that damn Joker movie is still causing online drama in all the forums I usually inhabit. It has been even more divisive than Star Wars, and the drama around it has infected my enthusiasm for everything associated with it.
I would recommend you try to catch the animated shorts, if you haven’t done so already. They pretty much nailed those this year. I was happily surprised Klaus was nominated.
That’s funny because I am more impressed with this year’s than the last three or so.
At least there seems to be more original IP.
For decades now, I have seen very few movies, especially in theaters. This year was unusual in that I saw four feature films, one full-length animation, and two documentaries,
something like a personal record. I usually recognize almost none of the nominees, except maybe a few actors and directors.
I am absolutely stunned that Apollo 11 was not nominated for Best Documentary. Is it because I’m old enough to remember the actual mission, and the uncertainty, every step of the way? Countdowns? The voice of Walter Cronkite?
My first semi-complicated program was a moon-landing game (in BASIC, on a yellow-paper-roll printing terminal)! I once did contract work for NASA on their Pluto mission!
Are the younger generations that cut off? I’m thinking of the ridiculous review in The New Yorker: is that kind of stupidity the norm?
Best Animated Picture: I’m disappointed Frozen 2 was snubbed – it was a gorgeous film and I thought it had a much, much stronger take on the struggles of maturity, getting older, and moving on to new things than Toy Story 4 did. That’s a clear swap for me. I’m glad to see Klaus show up because of what it’s representing in the world of animation, and because it was a technically sound film and a warm story that I hope transcends into annual Christmastime favorite. Also, long live hand-drawn animation!
I love Laika and even though I missed Missing Link, I’m glad they’ve gotten the nod so they can say that all of their original films have been Academy Award nominated. For now, at least, that distinction should help keep them in the public eye.
I suspect the winner will be Toy Story 4 but I also really hope not. I can’t express how irritating that film was.
Best Original Song: “Show Yourself” was, for me, the “Let It Go” of the film. Give it a few listens and I think you’ll see what I mean. Once again, Toy Story 4’s contribution to the category stuns me in all the worst ways.
Overall: I think this slate, more than any other, puts the Academy’s conservative, aging body on gross display. With the exception of Cynthia Erivo and Adam Driver, the Best Actor/Actress nominees are old hat. Same for Best Supporting Actor/Actress with the exception of Florence Pugh and Margot Robbie.