Tuesday, January 21, 2020

AFT Awards: Best Foreign Film


This is the nineteenth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category. For this category, I consider eligible only films that were released in their native countries within the past year.

Honorable mentions:
Shooting Life (Israel), A Faithful Man (France), Pain and Glory (Spain)

The winner:
Parasite (South Korea) was a marvelous look at competing classes and the secrets people keep buried and others don’t even think to look for in plain sight.

Other nominees:
The Unorthodox (Israel)
Red Cow (Israel)
Redemption (Israel)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France)

AFT Awards: Best Documentary


This is the eighteenth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Runners-up:
The Apollo, The Biggest Little Farm, The Cave, For Sama

Finalists:
Running with Beto
The Edge of Democracy
Ask Dr. Ruth
The Great Hack
For They Know Now What They Do


The winner:
The Silence of Others unwaveringly probed at deep wounds within a society whose victims have not forgotten the horrors visited upon them.

Other nominees:
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
American Factory
At the Heart of Gold
MERATA: How Mum Decolonised the Screen

AFT Awards: Best Animated Feature


This is the seventeenth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order in which I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

*One of the best animated films I saw this year, which was eligible for the Oscar, was “Weathering with You,” which I’ll include in my 2020 nominees due to its January release date.

The winner:
I Lost My Body presented an unusual premise and wove a wonderful, immensely watchable and endearing story around it.

Other nominees:
Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles 
Missing Link
Abominable
Frozen II

Monday, January 20, 2020

AFT Awards: Best Visual Effects


This is the sixteenth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions:
Alita: Battle Angel

The winner:
Avengers: Endgame assembled so many superheroes and incredible odds against them, and every magnificently-created scene was stunningly watchable and exhilarating.

Other nominees:
The Lion King
1917
The Irishman
The Aeronauts

AFT Awards: Best Sound Editing


This is the fifteenth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions:
None

The winner:
1917 kept audiences on the edge of their seats not only through what they saw on screen but also through the often treacherous and devastating sounds coming at them.

Other nominees:
Ford v Ferrari
Avengers: Endgame
The Aeronauts
Joker

AFT Awards: Best Sound


This is the fourteenth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions:
None

The winner:
Avengers: Endgame masterfully combined so many superheroes and epic action sequences to create one unforgettable auditory experience.

Other nominees:
1917
Ford v Ferrari
Dolemite Is My Name
Wild Rose

Sunday, January 19, 2020

AFT Awards: Best Makeup and Hairstyling


This is the thirteenth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions:
None

The winner:
Bombshell transformed the many actors in its ensemble into the real people they were meant to portray.

Other nominees:
Downton Abbey
Judy
Joker
The Irishman

AFT Awards: Best Original Song

This is the twelfth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards; to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. I’ve embedded the nominated songs below. Click here to see previous years of this category. I’ve decided again to include nominees from movies I didn’t see since I’ve spent so much time listening to them.

Runners-up:
Invisible (Klaus), I'm Standing with You (Breakthrough)

The winner:


Other nominees:








AFT Awards: Best Original Score

This is the eleventh category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. I’ve embedded a sample track from each finalist and nominee for your listening pleasure. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Runners-up: The Irishman, Judy and Punch, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, The Unorthodox

Finalists:












The winner:



Other nominees:









Saturday, January 18, 2020

AFT Awards: Best Film Editing


This is the tenth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Runners-up:
Honey Boy, Joker, Judy and Punch, Olympic Dreams, Richard Jewell

The winner:
Parasite was expertly constructed, traversing genres and utterly enthralling its viewers with each and every scene.

Other nominees:
Pink Wall
Avengers: Endgame
Knives Out
The Last Black Man in San Francisco

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture


The competition: Bombshell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite

For your information: Four films with no individual actors nominated have won – “The Full Monty” in 1997, “The Return of the King” in 2003, “Hidden Figures” in 2016, and “Black Panther” last year. That bodes well for “Parasite,” which is also only the second-ever foreign language nominee in this race. “Bombshell” has three individual performers nominated, though one of them also stars in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which has two. “The Irishman” has two, while “Jojo Rabbit” has just one. From this list, only “Bombshell” is not nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture. The winner of this award has gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar eleven times since its inception in 1995.

Who should win? I can appreciate the talent in “Bombshell,” even though most of the people who made the movie aren’t recognized. I’m not sold on “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and I don’t think it should be here. “The Irishman” is a formidable feat of acting talent, while “Jojo Rabbit” has a silly but fun group. My clear choice is the incomparable “Parasite.”
Who will win? I would jump for joy if “Parasite” won, but I’ll go ahead and predict Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to take it instead.

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role


The competition: Laura Dern’s divorce lawyer (Marriage Story), Scarlett Johansson’s free-spirited mother (Jojo Rabbit), Nicole Kidman’s embattled journalist (Bombshell), Jennifer Lopez’s high-rolling stripper (Hustlers), and Margot Robbie’s aspiring producer (Bombshell).

For your information: Dern was nominated in 2008 for “Recount” and in 2017 for “Big Little Lies,” and contends as part of the latter’s cast this year. Double nominee Johansson earns her first bids this year, for this film and for “Marriage Story.” Kidman was nominated in 2002 for “The Hours,” in 2004 for “Hemingway and Gellhorn,” in 2010 for “Rabbit Hole,” in 2015 for “Grace of Monaco,” and in 2016 for “Lion,” with three additional ensemble bids. She won in 2007 for “Big Little Lies,” for which she contends as part of the ensemble this year along with Dern. This is Robbie’s third consecutive nomination after bids for “I, Tonya” and “Mary, Queen of Scots,” and she also contends this year as part of the “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” ensemble. Johansson, Kidman, and Robbie are nominated as part of their casts. Dern won the Globe and Critics’ Choice Award. Lopez and Kidman aren’t nominated for Oscars. All but seven times since the SAG Awards’ inception in 1994, the winner of this award has gone on to win the corresponding Oscar. This category has featured double nominees from one film ten times, leading to victories for one of them three times.

Who should win? I wouldn’t vote for Kidman since it’s not her best work, but I’d be fine with any of the other four.
Who will win? This might be a chance to reward Lopez since Oscar didn’t opt to include her, but I think Dern will still win.

Friday, January 17, 2020

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role


The competition: Jamie Foxx’s death row inmate (Just Mercy), Tom Hanks’ beloved television icon (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Al Pacino’s Jimmy Hoffa (The Irishman), Joe Pesci’s mob boss (The Irishman), and Brad Pitt’s stunt double (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).

For your information: Foxx won in 2004 for “Ray” and was also nominated that year for “Collateral” and “Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story.” He contended twice for his ensemble work. Hanks won in 1994 for “Forrest Gump” was nominated again in 1998 for “Saving Private Ryan,” in 2000 for “Cast Away,” and in 2013 for “Captain Phillips.” He won in 1995 as part of the “Apollo 13” cast and was nominated two more times in that field. Pacino won two of his three TV bids, in 2003 for “Angels in America” and in 2010 for “You Don’t Know Jack,” receiving a nomination in 2013 for “Phil Spector.” Pitt was nominated in 2008 for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and in 2011 for “Moneyball.” He won as part of the “Inglourious Basterds” ensemble in 2009, receiving four other bids in that category. This is Pesci’s first nomination. Pacino, Pesci, and Pitt are all nominated as part of their ensembles, and Pacino also scored a bid for being in Pitt’s film. Pitt won the Globe and Critics’ Choice Award. Foxx is the only one not nominated for an Oscar. All but seven times since the SAG Awards’ inception in 1994, the winner of this award has gone on to win the corresponding Oscar. This category has featured double nominees from one film five times, leading to victories for one of them twice.

Who should win? From this list, I’d choose Pesci.

Who will win? I’d say this goes to Pitt.

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Leading Role


The competition: Cynthia Erivo’s Harriet Tubman (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson’s divorcing actress (Marriage Story), Lupita Nyong’o’s two versions of herself (Us), Charlize Theron’s conflicted journalist (Bombshell), and Renee Zellweger’s Judy Garland (Judy).

For your information: Zellweger won back-to-back prizes in 2002 and 2003, for “Chicago” and “Cold Mountain,” and was also nominated for “Jerry Maguire” in 1996 and “Bridget Jones’ Diary” in 2001. She won as part of the “Chicago” cast in 2002. Theron won in 2003 for “Monster” and was nominated in 2004 for “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” and in 2005 for “North Country,” in addition to an ensemble bid for “The Cider House Rules” in 1999. Nyong’o won in 2013 for “12 Years a Slave,” was nominated as part of its cast, and won last year as part of the “Black Panther” ensemble. Double nominee Johansson earns her first bids this year, for this film and for “Jojo Rabbit,” for which she also contends as part of the ensemble. This is Erivo’s first nomination. Only Theron is nominated as part of her ensemble. Zellweger has won the Globe and the Critics’ Choice Award. Nyong’o is the only one not nominated for an Oscar. All but seven times since the SAG Awards’ inception in 1994, the winner of this award has gone on to win the corresponding Oscar.

Who should win? Zellweger and Johansson are definitely my picks from this bunch.

Who will win? There’s no reason to think this would be anyone else but Zellweger.

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Leading Role


The competition: Christian Bale’s race car driver (Ford v Ferrari), Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting actor (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver’s divorcing theater director (Marriage Story), Taron Egerton’s Elton John (Rocketman), and Joaquin Phoenix’s lonely clown (Joker).

For your information: Bale was also nominated last year for “Vice.” He won for “The Fighter” in 2010 and was nominated for “The Big Short” in 2015, picking up ensemble nominations for both films, “3:10 to Yuma” in 2007, and a win for “American Hustle” in 2013. DiCaprio won in 2015 for “The Revenant” and was nominated in 2004 for “The Aviator,” in 2006 for “Blood Diamond” and “The Departed,” and in 2011 for “J. Edgar.” He has four additional ensemble nominations. Driver was nominated last year both individually and as part of his cast for “BlacKkKlansman.” Phoenix was nominated in 2000 for “Gladiator” and in 2005 for “Walk the Line,” with two other ensemble bids. This is Egerton’s first nomination. DiCaprio is the only actor also nominated this year as part of his ensemble. Phoenix picked up a Globe and the Critics’ Choice Award, while Egerton also won a Globe. Bale and Egerton are not nominated at the Oscars. All but five times since the SAG Awards’ inception in 1994, the winner of this award has gone on to win the corresponding Oscar.

Who should win? I wasn’t as taken with DiCaprio or Egerton’s performances as everyone else seems to be, and Bale was good but not at the top of my list. I’d probably pick Phoenix over Driver, but they were both great.

Who will win? It would be strange if this went to someone aside from Phoenix.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

AFT Awards: Best Costume Design


This is the ninth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Runners-up:
Bombshell, HustlersThe Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Judy

The winner:
Dolemite Is My Name was a wondrous celebration of period outfits and signature spectacular style.

Other nominees:
Downton Abbey
Little Women
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Paradise Hills

AFT Awards: Best Art Direction


This is the eighth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Runners-up:
1917, Jojo Rabbit, Judy and Punch, The Irishman, The Last Black Man in San Francisco

The winner:
Ms. Purple was a gorgeously-colored look at Los Angeles that framed its main character’s isolation in a mesmerizing way.

Other nominees:
The Beach Bum
Joker
Invisible Life
Parasite

AFT Awards: Best Cinematography


This is the seventh category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Runners-up:
Joker, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

The winner:
1917 was a completely visceral experience, one that demanded the fierce attention of the viewer because of its camera’s sharp and unyielding focus.

Other nominees:
Ms. Purple
A Hidden Life
The Beach Bum
The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

AFT Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay


This is the sixth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order):
None

Runners-up:
Joker
I Lost My Body
Official Secrets
Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles
Come As You Are


The winner:
Jojo Rabbit was an eccentric, creative take on a deadly serious situation turned into endearing satire with a proper approach.

Other nominees:
Richard Jewell
Downton Abbey
The Two Popes
Little Women

AFT Awards: Best Original Screenplay


This is the fifth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order):
Honey Boy, Marriage Story, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, The Short History of the Long Road

Runners-up:
Animals
The Farewell
Dolemite Is My Name
Good Boys
Yes, God, Yes


The winner:
Parasite was a superbly poignant and riveting exploration of class and culture, stunningly expressed as much through unspoken sentiments and purposeful dialogue.

Other nominees:
Booksmart
Late Night
Knives Out
The Unorthodox

AFT Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role


This is the fourth category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them and drawn from a pool of approximately 233 films. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions:
Alia Shawkat (Animals), Isla Fisher (The Beach Bum), Julia Fox (Uncut Gems), Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Margot Robbie (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Moran Rosenblatt (Red Cow)

Runners-up:
Lily-Rose Depp (A Faithful Man)
Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit)
Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)
Kate Berlant (After Class)

The winner:
Yeo-jeong Jo (Parasite) crafted a marvelously textured portrait of a naïve housewife whose readiness to accept the tall tales of others was central to her film’s emphatic nature.

Other nominees:
Sydney Sweeney (Big Time Adolescence)
Michaela Watkins (Sword of Trust)
Margot Robbie (Bombshell)
Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

AFT Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role


This is the third category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them and drawn from a pool of approximately 233 films. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions:
Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Mark Ruffalo (Avengers: Endgame), Paul Rudd (Avengers: Endgame)

Runners-up:
Samuel L. Jackson (The Banker)
Sam Rockwell (Richard Jewell)
Steven Ogg (The Short History of the Long Road)
Billy Crystal (Standing Up, Falling Down)
Bokeem Woodbine (Queen and Slim)

The winner:
Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco) approached his character with such precision and magnetic wonder, conveying his unique vision of the world in mesmerizing fashion.

Other nominees:
Aldis Hodge (Clemency)
Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
James Badge Dale (Mickey and the Bear)
Noah Jupe (Honey Boy)

AFT Awards: Best Actress in a Leading Role


This is the second category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them and drawn from a pool of approximately 233 films. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions:
Adèle Haenel (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Alexi Pappas (Olympic Dreams), Avigail Kovari (Red Cow), Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Carol Duarte (Invisible Life), Julia Stockler (Invisible Life), Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart), Mia Wasikowska (Judy and Punch), Natalia Dyer (Yes, God, Yes), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), Tiffany Chu (Ms. Purple)

Runners-up:
Anna Margaret Hollyman (Sister Aimee)
Tatiana Maslany (Pink Wall)
Emma Thompson (Late Night)
Stav Strashko (Flawless)
Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

The winner:
Holliday Grainger (Animals) delivered a fully unhinged and then appropriately retrospective performance as a partier who never gave being serious a second thought.

Other nominees:
Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose)
Maya Erskine (Plus One)
Renee Zellweger (Judy)
Awkwafina (The Farewell)

AFT Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role


This is the first category of the 13th Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them and drawn from a pool of approximately 233 films. Click here to see previous years of this category.

Honorable mentions:
Grant Rosenmeyer (Come As You Are), Jay Duplass (Pink Wall), Jimmie Fails (The Last Black Man in San Francisco), Ray Romano (Paddleton)

Runners-up:
Pete Davidson (Big Time Adolescence)
Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy)
Nick Kroll (Olympic Dreams)
Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
Shuli Rand (The Unorthodox)

The winner:
Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell) warmly embodied a truly kind spirit, someone who wanted to be helpful just for the sake of being nice without perceiving all the malice others could concoct.

Other nominees:
Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name)
Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit)

Monday, January 13, 2020

Oscar Nominees: Best Picture


My predictions: 9/9, though I said “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” would also get nominated
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite

What a lackluster way to end a lackluster slate. As I’ve said in most other categories, the nominees aren’t actually bad or even not good, it just would have been nice to see a little creative thinking and some surprises. In a great piece about new Oscar trivia and records, Nathaniel at the Film Experience points out that this is the first time that four films have achieved double digit nominations, which means a less impressive spread and recognition of different projects. Somewhat unexpectedly, Joker rallied to earn the most bids of all, with eleven, while Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 1917, and The Irishman all came in second with ten. Four other films were next with six, including Little Women, which rebounded from a disappointing precursor performance, Marriage Story, which scored only in expected races, Jojo Rabbit, which did better than I thought it would, and Parasite, which underwhelmed given what it could have accomplished, even though six bids for a Korean film is nothing to scoff at. In last place, somewhat fittingly, was Ford v Ferrari, a film that wasn’t included at the Golden Globes in a top race but still pulled off three technical bids in addition to this mention. The tenth PGA nominee, “Knives Out,” didn’t make the cut, and “The Two Popes,” which landed three nominations, was probably next up in terms of votes. It’s a shame that “The Farewell” didn’t earn any love, and I’m sure others are lamenting the failure of “Uncut Gems” to muster any steam to break through. Now, it’s time for a bit of a break from Oscar prognosticating to catch up on the three features and seven shorts I haven’t yet seen, but the award show is less than a month away, so come back soon for winner predictions!

My current bet to win: I’m worried it might be “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” but I’ll stick pick Parasite.

Oscar Nominees: Best Director


My predictions: 4/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Todd Phillips (Joker), Sam Mendes (1917), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)

I was hoping for a surprise of some sort here, but instead we got the exact Golden Globe and BAFTA list. Of course it’s all men, and it’s far from creative, but these are some good working directors. Though I didn’t love the ninth film from Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), he clearly wanted to make a certain kind of movie, which he did. That’s definitely true for Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) as well, who is a former winner in this category along with Sam Mendes (1917). I’m sure that Todd Phillips (Joker) didn’t expect his film to be the nominations leader, while Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) is certainly thrilled to have directed the first Korean movie nominated in this race, for a film that earned six bids. Even if it’s so expected and relatively dull at this point in the race, this list isn’t actually bad.

My current bet to win: I think Bong Joon Ho can pull this off.

Oscar Nominees: Best International Feature


My predictions: 4/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Corpus Christi (Poland), Honeyland (North Macedonia), Les Misérables (France), Pain and Glory (Spain), Parasite (South Korea)

Here is one of my biggest disappointments: the inclusion of Honeyland here in addition to its slot in the Best Documentary race. For it to be the first film to achieve a double nomination like that feels unnecessary since it really isn’t that amazing. I liked “Beanpole” but wasn’t really pushing for any of the other finalists to get in, so it’s not all that crushing. I’m perfectly happy with the other four nominees though, and thrilled that Corpus Christi (Poland) made the cut since it’s the least high-profile of the other three. Les Misérables (France) is also very good, and Pain and Glory (Spain) made the cut along with its star Antonio Banderas after some worried it might be snubbed. And then of course there’s Parasite (South Korea), the deserved default winner in this race that represents South Korea’s first-ever nomination.

My current bet to win: It will be Parasite for sure.

Oscar Nominees: Best Documentary


My predictions: 3/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: American Factory, The Cave, The Edge of Democracy, For Sama, Honeyland

I had a feeling that “One Child Nation” wouldn’t be included, and I also thought “Apollo 11” might not make the cut, but not enough to predict its omission. Those are the two big surprise misses this year, with American Factory fortunately still getting nominated. Both Syrian films, The Cave and For Sama were nominated, which makes sense given past inclusions in this and the documentary short race. Honeyland is honored both here and in the Best International Feature category, which seems excessive. And though I had it low down on my predictions, I’m pleased to see The Edge of Democracy included. It’s a shame that there wasn’t room for “Midnight Family,” especially in a category that features all but one foreign-language production.

My current bet to win: I’ll pick American Factory over “For Sama.”

Oscar Nominees: Best Documentary Short


My predictions: 3/5
The nominees: In the Absence, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), Life Overtakes Me, St. Louis Superman, Walk Run Cha-Cha

I’m very disappointed that the best film on the shortlist, “The Nightcrawlers,” didn’t make the cut here. Fortunately, In the Absence, St. Louis Superman, and Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) did. I shouldn’t be surprised that Life Overtakes Me was included, and I guess there had to be room for something moderately positive like Walk Run Cha-Cha. I’ll analyze the chances for these films in my winner predictions.

My current bet to win: I think this goes to Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl).

Oscar Nominees: Best Live Action Short


My predictions: 3/5
The nominees: Brotherhood, Nefta Football Club, The Neighbors’ Window, Saria, A Sister

I have nothing to report on these at this point since I haven’t seen any of them, but I managed to pick three of the nominees. I’ll have more to add once I’ve watched them.

My current bet to win: I’ll say Nefta Football Club having seen none of them.

Oscar Nominees: Best Animated Short


My predictions: 2/5
The nominees: Daughter, Hair Love, Kitbull, Memorable, Sister

I’ve seen three of these films - Hair Love, which I predicted, Sister, which I can understand why it was included, and Kitbull, a Pixar production that I don’t think needed to be here. I’m sad that the hilarious “Hors Piste” didn’t make the cut, and surprised that “He Can’t Live Without Cosmos” wasn’t included. I still have to watch Daughter and Memorable, so more on those soon!

My current bet to win: I’m going with Hair Love.

Oscar Nominees: Best Animated Feature


My predictions: 4/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, I Lost My Body, Klaus, Missing Link, Toy Story 4

I’m so happy that I Lost My Body made the cut – it’s such a great film. I’m just sad that there wasn’t room for other fantastic picks like “Abominable,” “Weathering with You,” or “Bunuel in the Labyrinth of Turtles.” I’m also sad that How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Toy Story 4 made the cut over a superior sequel, “Frozen II,” that got snubbed. Klaus is another great choice, and I’m also happy about Globe winner Missing Link.

My current bet to win: I think Missing Link will win.

Oscar Nominees: Best Visual Effects


My predictions: 4/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Avengers: Endgame, The Irishman, The Lion King, 1917, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

There aren’t any surprises on this list, and, for the first time, I’ve seen all of the contenders already. I really thought that “Alita: Battle Angel” had a shot, especially after my very enjoyable conversations with the VFX team at the Disney press day, but it couldn’t bump the de-aging of The Irishman. I also called that 1917 would make the cut for its mesmerizing construction of its war zone landscape. I’m relieved that Avengers: Endgame made the cut since it was so well-deserved, and expected that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker would be here. The Lion King is another great choice.

My current bet to win: I’m torn – it’s a very competitive category. I’ll pick The Lion King for now.

Oscar Nominees: Best Makeup and Hairstyling


My predictions: 3/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Bombshell, Joker, Judy, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, 1917

The one film on the finalist list that I haven’t seen, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, got in, earning just one bid like the first film, so that’s next on my list to watch. Nominations leader Joker and runner-up 1917 are both here, the latter being more of a surprise since it wasn’t a given at all. Bombshell earned a deserved bid here, joining its two acting bids, along with Judy, its lone mention aside from its lead actress. I would have enjoyed seeing “Dolemite Is My Name” or “Downton Abbey” here, but neither seemed all that likely.

My current bet to win: I think this goes to Bombshell.

Oscar Nominees: Best Sound Editing


My predictions: 5/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Ford v Ferrari, Joker, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Who would have thought that this would be one of the categories in which I earned a perfect score? Matching up 4/5 with the Best Sound race, this category dropped one sci-fi film, “Ad Astra,” for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, cited only here like “Rogue One” was a few years ago. Best Picture nominees Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood join the more evidently technical 1917 and Ford v Ferrari. I don’t have anything more to say about this list right now, even if it is a bit Best Picture-centric.

My current bet to win: I think Ford v Ferrari takes this over “1917.”

Oscar Nominees: Best Sound


My predictions: 3/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Ad Astra, Ford v Ferrari, Joker, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

I haven’t seen one of these nominees - Ad Astra - which I had discounted after it failed to make the finalist list for Best Visual Effects. I look forward to watching it soon and listening closely. Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are the Best Picture nominees that got in here over other possibilities like “The Irishman” and “Parasite,” joining the other top nominee, 1917, that was expected here. Rounding out the list is another Best Picture nominee, Ford v Ferrari, a perfectly solid choice in my mind. I thought “Rocketman” would be here, but it seriously underperformed today.

My current bet to win: I see this going to 1917.

Oscar Nominees: Best Original Song


My predictions: 3/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: “I’m Standing with You” (Breakthrough), Into the Unknown (Frozen II), Stand Up (Harriet), I’m Gonna Love Me Again (Rocketman), I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away (Toy Story 4)

This category features the saddest omission of today: “Glasgow” from “Wild Rose.” It’s a shame, but I guess this list isn’t all bad since most of these songs have grown on me. I can’t say that for the tune from Toy Story 4, though I should have known that voters would be sentimental and nominate Randy Newman for all four of the series’ films. Another animated feature, Frozen II, is here, even though it got snubbed in that race. Harriet is represented along with its nominated star, and Breakthrough, a film I haven’t yet seen, is here as the lone nomination for its film. That’s also true for Rocketman, something I don’t think many expected after its Globe win in this category and the Best Actor race.

My current bet to win: Even without other support for the film, I think Rocketman wins.

Oscar Nominees: Best Original Score


My predictions: 4/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I’ve spent the past few weeks listening to tracks from the fifteen shortlisted films while in the car, and I got attached to a few of the scores in the process. I was hoping that “Ford v Ferrari” would show up here, and even got enticed by the very unlikely possibility that “Pain and Glory” could place. Instead, we got four of the Globe nominees, with only “Motherless Brooklyn,” my least favorite left off. I’m not convinced that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker needed to be here, but it’s hardly a surprise. Globe winner Joker is here, along with Little Women. Like at the Globes, cousins Randy and Thomas Newman are nominated for Marriage Story and 1917, respectively, facing off for the first time since 2007.

My current bet to win: This will definitely go to Joker.

Oscar Nominees: Best Film Editing


My predictions: 3/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Parasite

I didn’t even notice when nominees were announced that this is one place where “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which I had in the number one slot, missed out. I’m totally fine with that because I wasn’t on board with that film’s pacing or length. The Irishman is certainly long, but there’s a structure there which definitely took some artistry. I’m thrilled that Parasite made the cut since that wasn’t a sure thing and bodes well for its potential victory. Jojo Rabbit is another mild surprise, but a good one, and then we have Joker and an expected entry here that didn’t show up in a lot of other categories, Ford v Ferrari. Too bad for “Knives Out,” but I’m not sure that was ever all that likely.

My current bet to win: That’s a tough call. I’ll pick Parasite.

Oscar Nominees: Best Costume Design


My predictions: 2/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

This represents one of my worst categories this year in terms of accurate predictions. So much for “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Downton Abbey,” and “Hustlers,” three films that I thought would show up here and possibly in another category or two and ended up getting shut out. Instead, we’re left with a list of Best Picture nominees. Little Women makes the most sense as a nominee, and I can understand the appeal of the rest, including the period look of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the many suits and casual outfits of The Irishman, the bright uniforms in Jojo Rabbit, and the muted dark colors of Joker. At least it’s a good list, even if many other films should have made the cut.

My current bet to win: I’ll pick Little Women here even if that might be unwise.

Oscar Nominees: Best Production Design


My predictions: 3/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite

My two alternates were nominated here instead of my fourth and fifth picks. This represents the only category in which “Joker” could have been and was expected by many to be nominated and wasn’t, but it’s a very visually striking set of films that did get nominated. Parasite is a particularly exciting inclusion, joining Jojo Rabbit and the three films tied for the second most nominations: 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and The Irishman.

My current bet to win: I’m not sure. Maybe 1917?

Oscar Nominees: Best Cinematography


My predictions: 4/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: The Irishman, Joker, The Lighthouse, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

I would have earned a perfect score in this race had I not decided to swap out The Irishman for “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which was entirely shut out. This list here is the same as the ASC lineup, with only “Ford v Ferrari” subbed out for The Lighthouse, earning its only bid. At least that’s a small degree of creative thinking. That said, I can appreciate the visual qualities of Joker, 1917, and even a film I continue to find wildly overrated, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

My current bet to win: It’s a competitive category, but I think 1917 is out front.

Oscar Nominees: Best Adapted Screenplay


My predictions: 4/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, The Two Popes

This list is very expected, with the one non-Best Picture nominee I predicted, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” replaced instead with another non-Best Picture nominee, The Two Popes. Both Jojo Rabbit and Little Women made it in here, which is good, along with the nominations leader, Joker, and one of the closest runners-up, The Irishman. While there are indeed more scripts that are deserving out there, this list is strong.

My current bet to win: I think this goes to The Irishman.

Oscar Nominees: Best Original Screenplay


My predictions: 4/5
My ballot: Come back later this week!
The nominees: Knives Out, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite

I can’t help but be disappointed here given the potential for exciting choices like “Booksmart” or “The Farewell,” which both merited mentions from other groups, to be included. I did like 1917 quite a bit, but its script is far from its strongest element. I wouldn’t argue against guaranteed winner Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, even if I’m far from its strongest supporter. The other three are great choices: Marriage Story, the fantastic Parasite, and the only film in this race not nominated for Best Picture: Knives Out, representing its only bid.

My current bet to win: I don’t see how this goes to anything but Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.