2020 Oscar Picks Reflection

oscar winners

The 92nd Academy Awards were held last week. There were a lot of big surprises, like an Eminem performance and Rebel Wilson and James Cordon presenting as their Cats characters in full costume. History was made when Parasite became the first film to ever win for both Best International Feature Film and Best Picture. Emotions flowed from every acceptance speech. It was an exciting night to say the least.

Before the big show, I listed my Oscar predictions here: https://nonstopnerd.com/2020/02/02/nonstop-nerds-2020-oscar-picks/. Now, I want to reflect on how I feel about the winners of each category and how my predictions did.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

My Choice: Joaquin Phoenix

Winner: Joaquin Phoenix

There was no surprise here. I’m sure most people expected Joaquin Phoenix to take home the win. His performance as Arthur Fleck in Joker is instantly iconic and will be remembered as a Hollywood highlight for years to come.

phoenix

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

My Choice: Tom Hanks

Winner: Brad Pitt

I’m a little surprised by this one. If it wasn’t going to Tom Hanks, I was expecting the win to go to Al Pacino for his role in The Irishman. Brad Pitt was great in Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, but it felt like he was more or less just acting as himself for much of it. Congratulations to Pitt, though. He was still entertaining in the film, so I suppose I can see why he won.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

My Choice: Saoirse Ronan

Winner: Renée Zellweger

I still definitely think that Saoirse Ronan deserved the win for her emotional performance as Jo in Little Women, but I can’t say that Renée Zelweger’s performance as the legendary Judy Garland in Judy was not Oscar-worthy. Her talent and portrayal as Garland is what holds the whole movie together. I personally think Saoirse Ronan deserved the award just a little bit more, but I’m not bothered by Zelweger winning whatsoever.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

My Choice: Florence Pugh

Winner: Laura Dern

This was an odd one for me. Laura Dern is an excellent actress with plenty of outstanding roles on her resume. However, I wouldn’t have thought her role in Marriage Story would be the one to get her an Oscar win. I’m not saying her performance was bad by any means. I personally feel that her character in this film isn’t particularly memorable compared to the main cast, and gets drowned out by the likes of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. I was confident that either Florence Pugh or Scarlett Johansson would take home the Oscar here, so I’m a little thrown off by the actual winner. Again, Laura Dern is amazing and deserves an Oscar. I just feel like she’s overshadowed by the other actors in Marriage Story.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

My Choice: Klaus

Winner: Toy Story 4

I’m not too surprised by this. Toy Story 4 has an incredible attention to detail, including the peeling stickers on Buzz Lightyear and the fuzzy hairs on Ducky and Bunny, and had the most impressive 3D animation I’ve ever seen in a film. However, there are times where it feels like a Disney movie wins based on the fact that it’s a Disney movie. Klaus is a breath of fresh air and uses wonderful 2D animation that I wish Disney would return to. If Toy Story 4 hadn’t come out this year, the award would have probably gone to Klaus.

ts4

CINEMATOGRAPHY

My Choice: Joker

Winner: 1917

I’m still a little baffled by this one. 1917 is an absolutely terrific film, especially from a production standpoint. It’s a must-see for everyone. However, the cinematography didn’t stand out as much as the production design or directing. Joker’s cinematography stood out as one of the key elements of the film. Because of that, I stand with my original choice for this category.

COSTUME DESIGN

My Choice: Jojo Rabbit

Winner: Little Women

I may have been wrong, but I’m not shocked whatsoever. The costume design in Jojo Rabbit and Little Women are equally outstanding. This one could have gone either way. I’m happy a film as great as Little Women got the win, especially since it didn’t get a lot of love elsewhere. The costumes in Little Women are so real they add to the immersion into the 1860s, which is no small feat. I can definitely see why Little Women won over Jojo Rabbit.

DIRECTING

My Choice: Sam Mendes (1917)

Winner: Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite)

On one hand, I’m shocked that a movie that was filmed in a way to appear as one single shot didn’t win for directing. On the other hand, Parasite is SO good! Have you seen it yet?! Anyway, even though Parasite is an absolutely brilliant film, the directing of 1917 impressed me a little more. Bong Joon-Ho did a fantastic job, but Sam Mendes did something you’ll only see happen on a very rare occasion. Parasite impressed me more in other aspects, but when talking about directing specifically, I feel the winner maybe should have been Sam Mendes for his work on 1917.

parasite poster

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

My Choice: Honeyland

Winner: American Factory

This one bothers me a bit. American Factory is a great showcase of working-class America. It tells us a lot that most people watching it already know. Plus, it’s a bit of a snooze-fest. The differences seen between Chinese and American lifestyles is a much more interesting theme in the film, but it doesn’t focus on it as much as it should. Honeyland is more entertaining and informative. Plus, it touches on several powerful themes. Honeyland was the clear winner in my mind, so this one caught me off guard.

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

My Choice: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

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

There were quite a few great candidates nominated for Documentary (Short Subject) this year, but I felt Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) was the clear frontrunner. I’m a little shocked that I was right despite the impressive list of nominees. This film perfectly balances information, emotion, and entertainment. It has a powerful theme and is impressively shot. It’s everything a good documentary should be. Most people probably saw this one coming, making the bigger surprise Tony Hawk appearing in the audience in support of this film.

FILM EDITING

My Choice: Joker

Winner: Ford V Ferrari

Ford V Ferrari used fast-paced editing to match the tone of the film, so I can see why it would win for this category. This was a tough choice for me this year, as Joker’s editing was also phenomenal, and Ford v Ferrari was one of the few nominees I did not get a chance to see yet. Either way, congratulations to the editors of Ford V Ferrari for this prestigious accomplishment. I’ll be sure to pay close attention to the editing when I do finally see the film.

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

My Choice: Parasite

Winner: Parasite

This one was obvious. Parasite is essentially a perfect film, and is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a theater in a while. It being nominated for a total of six Oscar categories and being the first International Feature Film to take home the award for Best Picture is enough to speak to how great this movie is. The other nominees may be good, but Parasite still manages to blow the rest out of the water. I’m not surprised at all that Parasite would win for this category.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

My Choice: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Winner: Bombshell

I still say Maleficent: Mistress of Evil used the more impressive makeup and hairstyling out of the nominees, but I can see why Bombshell was the one to take home the prize. Not only is it a big focus for most of the characters’ designs, but it adds to how much they look like the real people they are portraying. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’s makeup and hairstyling was enough to immerse audiences in a fantasy realm, so I think it should have won, but I understand why the outcome had Bombshell win instead.

bombshell

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

My Choice: Little Women

Winner: Joker

Both Little Women and Joker, and even the rest of the nominees on the list for this category, have scores that will be considered iconic. I personally think it should have gone to Little Women due to the amount of variety in the score, but I can see why Joker’s score was chosen. It matches the tone of the film perfectly. It makes the audience feel exactly how Arthur does, and it’s overall dark and demented. This gives the score a pretty unique feel to it, so I get it.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

My Choice: “Stand Up” from Harriet

Winner: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman is probably the nominee that I will go out of my way to listen to in the future, and it’s an important song about self love, so I can’t say I’m exactly upset about this choice. That being said, I was a little surprised when I saw this happen in the award show as I personally feel that “Stand Up” is a more powerful song.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

My Choice: Jojo Rabbit

Winner: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with the storytelling of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood so it deterred me from thinking it would have much luck with other categories. However, I’ll admit the production design of the film is pretty on point. After looking back at it, it is one of the more impressive aspects of the movie. This was one of the categories that felt like it could have gone to any of the nominees this year, but there was more in the production design of Jojo Rabbit that grabbed my attention. However, I can totally see why Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood would win here.

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

My Choice: Kitbull

Winner: Hair Love

I was pretty surprised when the winner was announced during the Academy Awards. Kitbull blew me away more than the other nominees. That being said, after having some time to think about it, Hair Love is extremely emotional, very well animated, and features important representation. I certainly see why it ended up winning over Kitbull.

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

My Choice: NEFTA Football Club

Winner: The Neighbors’ Window

I was torn between a few of the nominees for this category, with The Neighbors’ Window being one of them. It’s a fantastic short film with an interesting message that maybe the grass isn’t always as green on the other side and that perhaps we should appreciate what we have more. It’s fun, creative, and emotional. I may have had a little more fun with NEFTA Football Club, but I absolutely see all the reasons why The Neighbor’s Window won instead.

SOUND EDITING

My Choice: 1917

Winner: Ford V Ferrari

1917 winning for Sound Mixing makes me feel better about getting this one wrong because it shows how great the sounds work is in the film. That being said, the sound capturing for the driving scenes in Ford V Ferrari is just as impressive. It’s not that much of a surprising win. It’ll be another thing for me to pay attention to when I do get around to seeing the movie.

Film Title: 1917

SOUND MIXING

My Choice: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Winner: 1917

I knew 1917 would win for one of the sound categories! I just predicted the wrong one. Those who worked on the film’s sound should pat themselves on the back for their impressive achievement. I do feel that the sound mixing in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is just as impressive, but I’m happy 1917 won. Each explosion, plane engine, and gunshot is mixed well with the characters’ panting and footsteps. It’s certainly an element of the movie that stands out.

VISUAL EFFECTS

My Choice: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Winner: 1917

There has been a rather shocking trend the past few years with Star Wars movies not winning for visual effects. Whether you like Star Wars movies or not, it’s hard not to admit they use the best visual effects around, blending together CGI and traditional effects. I have no idea why they keep losing for this category. That being said, 1917 did contain some impressive effects. The plane crash scene looks completely real. Because of this, I get why 1917 would win this award. I just really want to know why Star Wars wouldn’t at least sometimes win for its always-impressive visual effects.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

My Choice: Little Women

Winner: Jojo Rabbit

There’s a weird story for this one. I somehow forgot I wrote Little Women as my prediction and somehow tricked my brain into thinking I put down Jojo Rabbit. Come time of the Oscars, I was excited I had correctly guessed Jojo Rabbit winning for Best Adapted Screenplay. I was rather shocked and confused to see that I had previously predicted that Little Women would win. Little Women is absolutely fantastic, and Greta Gerwig made the classic novel her own. However, Jojo Rabbit’s writing is a little more unique. Taika Waititi is an eccentric guy, so I figured his writing would be just as eccentric and stand out more. Plus, Jojo Rabbit has quickly become one of my favorite movies. This was a deserved win for either Little Women or Jojo Rabbit. I’m pretty happy with the outcome for this category.

taika

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

My Choice: Parasite

Winner: Parasite

Parasite was definitely the clear choice for Writing (Original Screenplay). Bong Joon-Ho created such a unique, humorous, and suspenseful story. He uses a funny (and then very serious) scenario to showcase social class struggles. It’s also one of the most unpredictable stories I’ve ever seen on the big screen. I would have been more surprised if Parasite didn’t win for Best Original Screenplay.

BEST PICTURE

My Choice: Little Women

Winner: Parasite

I honestly didn’t think that the Academy would be willing to vote for a foreign-language film to be Best Picture whether it deserved it or not, so it wasn’t my prediction to win. However, I’m so happy I was wrong. Parasite is an absolutely outstanding film. As stated above, it’s funny, exciting, unpredictable, suspenseful, and perfectly captures very real social class struggles. It’s both powerful and entertaining. It’s difficult not to be glued to the screen while this film is playing. Parasite is the first ever film to win for both Best International Feature Film and Best Picture, and it absolutely deserved it.

92nd Academy Awards - Governors Ball, Los Angeles, USA - 09 Feb 2020

The Academy Awards were full of surprises once again, making for a fantastic show this year. Unfortunately, I was only able to correctly predict 4 out of 24 winners, but I hope to do a better job next year. Going forward, I plan on doing more research into each individual category than just watching each of the movies, like reading the scripts and studying the sound editing of the nominees. Hopefully that will prove to be at least somewhat helpful. Let me know how your predictions did and how you feel about each of the winners.

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