Monday, December 16, 2019

Monday Oscar Odds: Shortlists Edition

Today, the Academy announced shortlists in nine different categories. I haven’t had a chance to do any kind of deep dive into any of the three short film races. I’m now going to spend a lot of my time in the next few weeks listening on repeat. I didn’t predict the Best Original Song lineup because I didn’t feel that tuned into the race, and I’ve actually only seen six of the films nominated, not that it matters as much in that race (and I've already created a YouTube playlist of the nominated songs). Commentary below in six of the categories, with my predictions for nominees in bold!

Best Documentary Feature
American Factory
The Apollo
Apollo 11
The Biggest Little Farm
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama
The Great Hack
Knock Down the House
Midnight Family
One Child Nation

I correctly predicted twelve of these selections, and the only one I included whose omission here is a surprise is “Ask Dr. Ruth,” which I had initially predicted for a nomination. Last year, I had seen only four films on this list when it came out, now, I’ve seen all but four, with “Aquarela,” “Maiden,” “Midnight Family,” and “One Child Nation” still on my list to see. I’m sticking with my original five predictions since they’re all on this list, and I may revise once I’ve seen those other four. If you’re interested in catching up, a number of these films are available for streaming: “American Factory,” “The Edge of Democracy,” “The Great Hack,” and “Knock Down the House” are all on Netflix, “One Child Nation” is on Amazon Prime, and “The Apollo” is on HBO. More soon!

Best International Feature
The Painted Bird (Czech Republic)
Truth and Justice (Estonia)
Les Misérables (France)
Those Who Remained (Hungary)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Beanpole (Russia)
Atlantics (Senegal)
Parasite (South Korea)
Pain and Glory (Spain)

I scored six out of ten here, with relatively unexpected snubs for “Invisible Life” (Brazil), “Monos” (Colombia), “Out Stealing Horses” (Norway), and “And Then We Danced” (Sweden). I’ve seen eight, with just “The Painted Bird” and “Atlantics” (which is on Netflix) left to go. “Honeyland,” which is good if overrated, made both this list and the documentary shortlist, and it’s a shame that “Weathering with You” (Japan), which I’m hoping will earn a bid for Best Animated Feature, isn’t here, even if it never had much of a shot at a nomination. The only real surprise here is “Those Who Remained,” which didn't have a profile anywhere near any of the rest of these films. I’ve reviewed three of these films already and will be posting reviews of the rest within the next two weeks or so. I’m swapping in “Beanpole” to accommodate for “Out Stealing Horses,” the fifth film I had been predicting up until now.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Dolemite Is My Name
Downton Abbey
Little Women
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

I only got half of these, partially because I only predicted seven finalists to ultimately be boiled down to three nominees. I guess I missed the memo. The two films that didn’t make the cut, “Cats” and “The Irishman,” are surprising omissions, though at least they both made the list for visual effects. I’ve seen all but one of these films – “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” – and may not bother since the original was only nominated for Best Costume Design, so I’m not sure it will make the eventual list here. More on this category in my full rundown of the category later this month as we look at the first time this category will ever have five nominees.

Best Original Score
Avengers: Endgame
The Farewell
Ford v Ferrari
Frozen II
Jojo Rabbit
The King
Little Women
Marriage Story
Motherless Brooklyn
Pain and Glory
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I missed four of these finalists, predicting “Harriet,” a surprise snub, “The Report,” “The Two Popes,” and “Waves.” The inclusion of “Pain and Glory” is unexpected, and I didn’t see the enthusiasm here for “The Farewell” and “Frozen II” coming. The other film that I was surprised to see here is Netflix’s “The King,” which I hadn’t planned to watch but may do now. At the very least, I’ll be making a YouTube playlist to listen to some samples from each of these soundtracks. All five Golden Globe nominees are represented, and I’m predicting “Ford v Ferrari” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” to edge out “Joker” and “Motherless Brooklyn.”

Best Original Song
Speechless (Aladdin)
Letter To My Godfather (The Black Godfather)
I’m Standing With You (Breakthrough)
Da Bronx (The Bronx USA)
Into The Unknown (Frozen II)
Stand Up (Harriet)
Catchy Song (The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part)
Never Too Late (The Lion King)
Spirit (The Lion King)
Daily Battles (Motherless Brooklyn)
A Glass of Soju (Parasite)
I’m Gonna Love Me Again (Rocketman)
High Above The Water (Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am)
I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away (Toy Story 4)
Glasgow (Wild Rose)

The only real snub I see here is for the Golden Globe-nominated song from “Cats,” which I actually liked upon listening to when those nominees were unveiled. Perhaps unwisely, I’m predicting the other four to be joined by a tune from “Wild Rose,” which is really great (and a film that should be nominated elsewhere but surely won’t). I need to listen to many of these over and over, including a song I didn’t even know was in Parasite, and you can do that right here with this YouTube playlist I created (currently missed just one song that I’m still seeking out). More thoughts on nominated artists coming in my winner predictions.

Best Visual Effects
Alita: Battle Angel
Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel
Gemini Man
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Terminator: Dark Fate

I missed just three of these films in my predictions, picking “Ad Astra,” “Ford v Ferrari,” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” instead of “Cats,” “Gemini Man,” and “Terminator: Dark Fate.” I’ve seen only four so far, and after I see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” later this week and “The Lion King” at home sometime soon, I’ll have seen all of my predictions for eventual nominations. I’m not sure I’ll make my way through this entire list pre-Oscars, but we’ll see.

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