Friday, February 7, 2020

Fearless Oscar picks and predictions 2020

I'd say 2019 was a slightly below-average movie year. I saw three I'd deem excellent, another handful of bordering-on-great ones and then a bunch of merely goods. Drops off pretty hard after that.

We entered the awards season with no clear front-runners, though a consensus has definitely emerged, especially in the acting a categories. "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," "1917" and "Parasite" appear to be the major contenders to take the biggest prizes.

The usual yipping about diversity, but as I've always said the Oscars are a reflection of the filmmaking business. What goes in the front is what you get out the back. So the movies that get made are too white and male, resulting in a slate of nominees that follow.

Trying to pump up decent but hardly outstanding fare like "The Farewell" doesn't help the case.

The biggest area of complaint is five men nominated for director, with Greta Gerwig held up as the woman who got screwed. I do think several of those nominees don't deserve a nod, but Gerwig's utterly safe, conventional "Little Women" -- after the ravishingly original and bravura "Ladybird" -- just doesn't rate.

So here are my picks and predictions for this year's Academy Awards. As always I pick the film I think will win, and the one I think should win (of those nominated). And I cross off some unwarranted nominees in favor of some more deserving ones: the dreaded-but-delicious Chris Cross.

Best Picture

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

The Chatter: As soon as I saw "1917" in late November I said it would be a serious Best Picture Contender. It has all the classic "Oscar pedigree" ingredients: period picture, antiwar, British, great costumes and production design, made by people who previously had Oscar wins or nods. The Producer's Guild gave it its award, which is usually a good predictor.

"Parasite" is the main stalker, as it would be the first foreign language film to ever win the top award. ("The Artist" from 2011 is not counted, even though it was French, because it was an ersatz silent picture.) In the end, I think the voters will feel winning the foreign award will be enough. After all, there aren't any American films winning Korea's top film award, are there?

Hollywood loves movies about itself, and OUaTiH has been much stronger than anyone expected. But "Parasite" won the Screen Actors Guild Award and they're the largest voting bloc, so I'm guessing the voting will be split and leave enough room for "1917" to narrowly win.

A few months ago everyone thought Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" would be an awards juggernaut, then it came out (barely) in theaters and most people recognized it as an overlong buffet of warmed-over gangster tropes. "Jojo Rabbit" and "Joker" are a little too weird/dark for Oscar voters.

I'm happy that "Ford v Ferrari" got a nod. It's the best sports flick in awhile, and they tend not to get much Oscar love. My two favorite movies were "Late Night" and "Harriet," though I recognize I'm an outlier on those.

Prediction: "1917"

Pick: "Ford v Ferrari"

Chris Cross: Out go "Little Women," "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" and "Parasite." All fine films but not without obvious failings or flaws. In go "Late Night," "Harriet" and "The Last Black Man in San Francisco."

Best Director

The Nominees: 
Bong Joon Ho, "Parasite"
Martin Scorsese, "The Irishman"
Todd Phillips, "Joker"
Sam Mendes, "1917"
Quentin Tarantino, "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"

The Chatter: Despite the outcry over all men getting nominated, director has actually been the most diverse award in terms of recent winners. Nine of the last 10 who took the prize were people of color, women or non-Americans. Being a white Yank dude may help get you nominated, but not take home the prize.

This one's a tough call. Sam Mendes won the Director's Guild Award, which historically has been the most predictive prize for the Oscars. But I think Bong Joon Ho has got a lot of juice. Plus, concerns about diversity may prompt voters to go for the one non-Caucasian nominee.

Usually when I make daring picks I get burned. Let's go the safer route with Mendes.

Personally, I'll throw out the entire lot except Mendes. People tend to downplay the "one shot" aspect of "1917," but it's hard to pull that off logistically and still have it work artistically. And it does.

I did not see a better-directed film last year than "Portrait of Lady on Fire," so Céline Sciamma would be my pick if she were nominated. And let's get the people in the chair for "Marriage Story," "Harriet" and "Ford v Ferrari," too.

Prediction: Sam Mendes

Pick: Sam Mendes

Chris Cross: Noah Baumbach, Kasi Lemmons, James Mangold and Céline Sciamma replace Bong Joon Ho, Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips and Quentin Tarantino. If I could add a sixth, it would be Jordan Peele for "Us."

Best Actress

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

The Chatter: I'm not really sure what happened with this year's acting categories. A couple of months ago it looked absolutely wide open in all four races. Now the same quartet has run the table at every single major award leading up to the Academy Awards.

Historically, that means one of them is going to be a surprise. But since I can't fathom which one it will be, I'm going with the safe predictions.

Lead actress was a very competitive category this year. Hard to strike any of the women here as they are all well-deserving of the nominations.

One of the biggest perceived snubs was Lupita Nyong'o for "Us." I get why it happened: horror is not a genre that gets attention from Oscar voters. And some found her strange, eerie voice used for the dual character funny (or offensive, bizarrely). But I thought it was next-level work for her.

The one that really kills me was Emma Thompson not getting nominated for "Late Night." Again, I get it -- it's from a streaming studio, it got little media buzz, it's a comedy, albeit a dark one. But it was a fierce and uncompromising portrayal of a complex older woman, which is not something we see a lot at the movies.

Of those nominated I'll take Erivo with Theron as a close second. I loved "Harriet;" I think it's a lot more nuanced and interesting than people give it credit for. Theron's transformation into Megyn Kelly was so convincing it was almost unsettling. 

Zellweger has this thing locked up. Hollywood loves movies about itself, and it loves comeback stories, and "Judy" has both.

Prediction: Zellweger

Pick: Erivo

Chris Cross: I want Thompson and Nyong'o in badly, tough call on who to knock out; I'll go with Ronan and Zellweger.

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: 

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

The Chatter: As strong as Best Actress was, the supporting category was a little limp this year. I liked all the nominees, though for me Johansson was the standout. It's the perfect sort of supporting role: distinctive, memorable, yet utterly in service to the story and the journey of the main character. 

Being a double nominee is not really a good thing, as no one's ever won both awards and usually they end up losing both as perhaps a backlash against their good fortune. 

People are complaining this is a lifetime achievement award for Laura Dern, and I'm actually fine with that. It's long been a tradition in the men's categories to honor an outstanding body of work by giving them an award for something other than their finest performance -- see Newman, Paul, for "The Color of Money" -- so I don't see any reason against doing it for the women. 

Dern is only 52 years old but has been around seemingly forever doing consistently fine work. And she's Hollywood royalty, daughter of Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. Between the three of them they have eight Oscar nominations, and this would be the first win for the clan.

Not a lot of standout contenders to knock any of these ladies out. They're calling Noémie Merlant a supporting actress for the wonderful "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," though really it's a co-lead. 

Kathy Bates is another pro who always shows up and does great work, but her nomination for "Richard Jewell" was really based on just one or two substantive scenes. Aka the Ruby Dee Effect.

Prediction: Dern

Pick: Johansson

Chris Cross: Merlant for Bates

Best Actor

The Nominees: 
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"

The Chatter: Usually this is a busy category, but I thought it not so competitive this year. I was very happy to see Banderas get in for the underrated "Pain and Glory." His career has been so marked by machismo and a vibrant masculinity, so I loved seeing him play a rather passive character, wounded both physically and emotionally.

Phoenix is a shoe-in to win in the sort of big, showy, dark performance that tends to do very well in this category. This is his fourth nomination without winning and he's probably had at least a couple other times he should have been.

Like Matthew McConaughey, there's very much a sense that "it's his time."

It's telling as the comic book genre reaches middle age that no one's ever been nominated for playing a hero but two people will have now won for playing villains -- and the same one, at that.

Adam Driver was terrific, and has grown so much as an actor. I remember first seeing him as the lunkhead boyfriend in an early episode of "Girls" and didn't think too much. A very layered, authentic performance in "Marriage Story." Speaking of time: His will come.

Pryce was terrific, despite using another actor for the flashback sequence and somebody else's voice for the Spanish lines. "Just Mercy" may just be the most overlooked movie of the season, so let's get some love for Michael B. Jordan. I didn't really see DiCaprio having to work very hard in that role, other than that one acting-within-acting scene.

Prediction: Phoenix

Pick: Driver

Chris Cross: Michael B. Jordan replaces DiCaprio.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: 
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”

The Chatter: This is historically one of the toughest categories to break into with many worthy nominees, and this year is no exception.

I hate that Brad Pitt is going to win for playing himself. Stroll in, take your shirt off, be the coolest motherf*cker in the room. And that horseshit scene with Bruce Lee still rankles.

Similarly, Tom Hanks didn't play Fred Rogers; he played Tom Hanks playing Fred Rogers. Like David Oyelowo in "Selma," Hanks makes the odd choice of playing a historical figure whose iconography is closely related to their voice/speech, and not sounding anything like them. 

Pacino gets nominated for playing the blustery firecracker and Pesci gets nominated for playing the close-to-the-vest chessmaster, in basically a trade of their signature styles. Pacino was a hoot but I'm bewildered by the praise for Pesci, who I thought was very flat.

Hopkins is the best of the lot here, but in all honesty I can easily come up with five better. Christian Bale getting snubbed for "Ford v Ferrari" feels like highway robbery.

Prediction: Pitt

Pick: Hopkins

Chris Cross: Bale, Jamie Foxx, Shia LaBeouf ("Honey Boy"), Rob Morgan and Tim Blake Nelson replaces the entire board. Yes, I'm aware that's three from one film, "Just Mercy." Kills me that even with a five-swap I can't make room for Marc Maron ("Sword of Trust") or Jon Lithgow ("Bombshell").

Animated Feature

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

The Chatter: Terribly weak category again this year. I can't even remember the last time I thought there was more than a couple of deserving nominees. "How to Train Your Dragon" concluded a decade-long run with three feature films, a handful of shorts and eight seasons of a TV show. The GOAT animation franchise.

But "Toy Story 4" will win, because the Disney/Pixar film always wins.

Even Laika, the stop-motion studio that's made fantastic films like "Kubo and the Two Strings," had a substandard entry with the listless "Missing Link." Even "Frozen 2" didn't get nominated.

I like the idea of "Klaus," an old-school hand-drawn feature, more than the movie they actually made. "I Lost My Body" went over my head.

Prediction: "Toy Story 4"

Pick: "Dragon"

Chris Cross: I'll throw out "Missing Link," "Toy Story 4" and "I Lost My Body," but I don't have anything to replace them with. They just don't deserve to be here.

Best International Feature Film

The Nominees: 
“Corpus Christi”
“Les Miserables”
“Pain and Glory”

The Chatter: "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" is my pick, but it wasn't even eligible under the Academy's arcane rules for International Feature, as the former Foreign Language Feature is now called.

Every year I lament that I didn't get to see enough foreign movies, though I did better this year. The only one I'd knock off is "Honeyland," for categorical reasons rather than artistic merit. I think it's weird to be nominated as both best documentary and alongside fictional features. 

"Parasite" has a mortal lock on this category, and while I liked it I don't see it as the dazzlingly brilliant and original tale others do. Superficially and thematically it's very similar to the previous year's "Shoplifters," which I thought much more emotionally gripping, along with shades of Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low."

I saw "Corpus Christi" very late in the season and was dazzled by it. "Pain and Glory" would be second; it isn't among Pedro Almodovar's best, but it's autobiographical and touching.

Prediction: "Parasite"

Pick: "Corpus Chisti"

Chris Cross: "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" for "Honeyland"

Best Documentary Feature

The Nominees: 
"American Factory"
"The Cave"
"The Edge of Democracy"
"For Sama"

The Chatter: I saw a lot of great docs in 2019, none better than "One Child Nation." It took a subject you though you already knew, China's prohibition against multiple children, and dove deep into a much richer and darker story. 

It's interesting that "The Cave" and "For Sama" look at the same plight in Syria with slightly different angles. I liked "Sama" but in the end it's more difficult to do journalistic reportage on a bunch of people than just turn the camera on yourself.

I am outwardly suspicious of the veracity of "Honeyland." I won't belabor the subject here but it seems like they went well beyond recreation of events -- a commonly used tactic in documentary filmmaking, though most people don't know it -- to outright scripting of a narrative. It's pretty rare that real events play out like a three-act William Faulkner novel. 

"American Factory" will probably win because it has the Obamas' name attached to it. Though their involvement was more tertiary than is generally perceived; their production company didn't even form until a couple of years after the footage was shot.

"The Edge of Democracy" is actually the most traditional and best documentary here, exploring a complex foreign subject in a way understandable to American lunkheads like me.

Prediction: "American Factory"

Pick: "The Edge of Democracy"

Chris Cross: "One Child Nation" replaces "Honeyland"

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees: 
“The Irishman,” Steven Zaillian
“Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi
“Joker,” Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
“Little Women,” Greta Gerwig
“The Two Popes,” Anthony McCarten

The Chatter: I'll take "Jojo Rabbit" as the clear best in a weak field. It also won the Writers Guild Award, though that's not a terribly accurate indicator of the winner. I'd say Gerwig has a good chance at an upset here, buoyed in part by the perceived snub of her in the directing category.

The Academy has a long history of using the screenplay awards as a consolation prize, so picking "Jojo" to win is a bit risky.

Personally, I think the script for "Little Women" is the weakest piece in its puzzle. The parallel timelines, which pretty well represent the only divergence from seven (!) previous film adaptations, tended to leave people feeling confused or, in my case, distracted.

"Just Mercy" again deserves some love.

Prediction: "Jojo Rabbit"

Pick: "Jojo Rabbit"

Chris Cross: "Just Mercy" replaces "Little Women."

Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees: 
“Knives Out,” Rian Johnson
“Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach
“1917,” Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
“Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino
“Parasite,” Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won Han

The Chatter: Other than "Marriage Story," the Academy got a lot wrong here. 

I liked "1917" a lot but the direction, cinematography and music are what carried it, not the story. It seems like you could write out everything that "happens" in the movie in a couple dozen pages.

Also liked "Knives Out" but I guess to me it seems overly obvious in what it's doing -- mocking the conventions of the mystery whodunit genre while indulging in every last one of its tropes. A fun but forgettable movie.

I would guess that workaday screenwriters (who don't direct or produce) seethe whenever Tarantino gets lauded for his scripts. He has a great nose for individual scenes but little ability at connecting them into lucid, satisfying narrative arcs. OUaTiH is borderline incoherent, and might still win if "Parasite" doesn't.

One of my complaints about "Parasite" is it didn't have one single likable, or at least identifiable character in the movie. They all felt like constructs to me. 

"Marriage Story" is very much an "actors' movie" with a lot of long dialogue scenes. But the characters are also very well-realized on the page, and in all that dialogue there's not one false moment.

I'm fine with booting the rest of the nominees in exchange for films from my top 10 list.

Prediction: "Parasite"

Pick: "Marriage Story"

Chris Cross: "Late Night," "Harriet," "Ford v Ferrari" and "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" replace "Knives Out," "1917," "OUaTiH" and "Parasite."


The Nominees: 
“The Irishman,” Rodrigo Prieto
“Joker,” Lawrence Sher
“The Lighthouse,” Jarin Blaschke
“1917,” Roger Deakins
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robert Richardson

The Chatter: The most important aspect of a film's success after the direction, writing and acting is usually how it was shot. This is especially true with "1917" and its highly touted, or disregarded, "one single shot" aesthetic. 

Say what you will, this was an incredibly difficult undertaking, and Roger Deakins is liable to win his second Oscar in three years after being overlooked for a half-century or so. The only thing I can even compare it to is "Days of Heaven," which was shot entirely in the "golden hour" before sunset. 

The other nominees are solid, but I have to find a spot for the most beautiful-looking film of the year.

Prediction: 1917

Pick: 1917

Chris Cross: "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" for "The Irishman."

Best Film Editing

The Nominees: 
“Ford v Ferrari,” Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland
“The Irishman,” Thelma Schoonmaker
“Jojo Rabbit,” Tom Eagles
“Joker,” Jeff Groth
“Parasite,” Jinmo Yang

The Chatter: I'm hoping "Ford v Ferrari" will do well in the other "technical" awards, since it is a work of tremendous craftsmanship. It's hard to tell the story of a car race in a way that translates both logistically and emotionally, and certain that was the case here.

Normally the Best Picture favorite is heavily favored to run these categories, but it's hard to argue "1917" had the best editing since there hardly is any. (For the record, I counted 10 hidden edits.)

No other big blockbusters like "Star Wars" or superheroes contending here, so the only real competition is probably Schoonmaker, a master of the trade who's been around forever.

Prediction: "Ford v Ferrari"

Pick: "Ford v Ferrari"

Chris Cross: "Avengers: Endgame" for "Parasite"

Best Sound Editing

The Nominees: 
“Ford v Ferrari,” Don Sylvester
“Joker,” Alan Robert Murray
“1917,” Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Wylie Stateman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Matthew Wood, David Acord

The Chatter: Time for my annual primer on the difference between sounding editing and mixing, which not even most Academy voters seem to really understand.

Despite the name, sound editing involves the actual production or recording of a sound on set or on location. Sound mixing is a post-production process by which those sounds are brought together, modified and blended to create the non-music soundscape.

There's actually a movement afoot to combine these two categories, which seems insane since they are done at completely different times and often by different teams. It's not like hair and makeup, which are generally performed simultaneously by a contiguous team of people.

Tough call here, but the sound in "1917" was pivotal as there were long sequences with no dialogue and often not even music.

Prediction: "1917"

Pick: "Ford v Ferrari"

Chris Cross: I'll stand pat with this list.

Sound Mixing

The Nominees: 
“Ad Astra”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Prediction: "1917"
Pick: "Ford v Ferrari"
Chris Cross: Ditto, standing pat.

Production Design

The Nominees: 
“The Irishman,” Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
“Jojo Rabbit,” Ra Vincent and Nora Sopkova
“1917,” Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
“Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood,” Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh
“Parasite,” Lee Ha-Jun and Cho Won Woo, Han Ga Ram, and Cho Hee

The Chatter: I feel like the nerd standing in the back of the room spouting, "Akshually, production design is critical to the final result of a motion picture" when it comes to these down-ticket categories. But it's true! Production design encompasses the sets, backgrounds, vehicles, props -- basically, everything you see onscreen that's not an actor or creature.

A lot of great work here among these nominees, all of which are period pieces except "Parasite." One area where that film genuinely succeeded was in the labyrinthine sense of nightmarish space in the two houses.

I think OUaTiH will prevail because it was a bright, colorful depiction of a dark era in American and showbiz history. And Hollywood loves seeing itself looking good.

I'll take "1917" as my take. In a bit of a flier I'll take the little-seen "The Last Black Man in San Francisco," which probably had a teeny fraction of the production design budget of these other films but reflected a very specific place, both physically and spiritually.

Prediction: "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"

Pick: "1917"

Chris Cross: "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" replaces "The Irishman."

Original Score

The Nominees: 
“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir
“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat
“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman
“1917,” Thomas Newman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

The Chatter: I seem to be outside the mainstream in believing that the best musical scores are often the ones you don't even notice. With rare exception, if you're sitting in a movie theater thinking, "Wow, that's great music!", then the composer has failed.

For instance, Hildur Guðnadóttir's excellent score for "Joker" doesn't really have a distinct melody you can put your finger on -- it's a somber tone poem of mood and layers of disquiet.

"1917" appears to be the favorite here, and it's a terrific score that largely drives the action in a film with little dialogue for long stretches.

I love John Williams but I'm not sure how he keeps getting nominations for doing variations on the same score he wrote more than 40 years ago.

In case you're wondering, yes, Thomas Newman and Randy Newman are related; they're cousins.

In general I've loved Alexandre Desplat's scores, but I found his one for "Little Women" overly cloying and distracting. Once again, please go rent "The Last Black Man in San Francisco."

Prediction: "1917"

Pick: "1917"

Chris Cross: "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" replaces "Little Women."

Original Song

The Nominees: 
“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”

The Chatter: Elton John seems to have this locked up. I think if his song from "Rocketman" came out back in his heyday, it'd be a B-sider that no one would even remember.

To me it's crazy that Cynthia Erivo's song from "Harriet" isn't the runaway favorite.

I didn't think "Wild Rose" was a better than good movie, but Jessie Buckley's singing of "Glasgow" was rapturous. 

Prediction: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again”

Pick: "Stand Up"

Chris Cross: "Glasgow (No Place Like Home)," "Wild Rose" for "I'm Gonna Love Me Again."

Makeup and Hair

The Nominees: 
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

The Chatter: "Bombshell" would seemingly have to win, right? It transformed Charlize Theron, who doesn't even really look much like Megyn Kelly, into an unnerving carbon copy. And Nicole Kidman into a very good fasciilimle of Gretchen Carlson.

OK, Jon Lithgow didn't look very much like Roger Stone. But he looked very different from Jon Lithgow.

Zellweger is actually older than Judy Garland was when she died, but they had to age her up considerably to play the part. I guess the latest version of the Joker makeup was fine. "Maleficent" would be the only real competition here.

I'm not even sure what "1917" is doing on this list, as there didn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary, other than that one scene where a soldier turns frighteningly pale in moments.

Prediction: "Bombshell"

Pick: "Bombshell"

Chris Cross: "Just Mercy" replaces "1917."

Costume Design

The Nominees: 
"The Irishman," Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson
"Jojo Rabbit," Mayes C. Rubeo
"Joker,” Mark Bridges
"Little Women,” Jacqueline Durran
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," Arianne Phillips

The Chatter: "Little Women" appears to be the strong favorite here, and indeed the March women had fantastic, beautiful clothes in every scene. Those poor, utterly destitute March women in their sprawling home with tables piled high with food prepared by their live-in maid. So wretched, they were.

Brad Pitt's spark-plug-T-and-Hawaiian-shirt combo became an instant classic in OUaTiH, but is that enough for an Oscar? And I've seen Scorsese's "murderous goombahs in killer suits" shtick before.

I'd actually argue that of the five nominees, costumes were must central to the storytelling in "Jojo Rabbit." The mother's shoes become a totem of the boy's lost innocence.

Ridiculous that "Dolemite Is My Name" isn't on this last -- and the favorite to win.

Prediction: "Little Women"

Pick: "Jojo Rabbit"

Chris Cross: "Dolemite Is My Name" for "The Irishman."

Visual Effects

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

The Chatter: I'm throwing a dart on this one. I'm not sure how "Avengers: Endgame" is not the favorite here; people complain the superhero movies are all special effects and then don't want to reward them for that work.

It's not actually all that common for the Best Picture winner/favorite to be nominated in this category, so I'll take a guess that "1917" wins in the wake of its other awards.

I guess the animal CGI in "The Lion King" was very good, but the whole thing was such a cynical enterprise that I struggle to grant it credit.

I'm astonished "The Irishman" made this list since virtually no one thought the de-aging effects were very good. Whereas everyone thought the racing in "Ford v Ferrari" was very authentic.

Prediction: "1917"

Pick: "Avengers: Endgame"

Chris Cross: "Ford v Ferrari" knocks out "The Irishman."

Best Documentary Short Subject

The Nominees: 
“In the Absence,” Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone,” Carol Dysinger
“Life Overtakes Me,” Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas
“St. Louis Superman,” Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
“Walk Run Cha-Cha,” Laura Nix

The Chatter: Always a tough category to predict. I still haven't seen all of them so I'll hold off on a pick for now and update when I do.

Prediction: “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)”

Pick: *

Best Live Action Short Film

The Nominees: 
“Brotherhood,” Meryam Joobeur
“Nefta Football Club,” Yves Piat
“The Neighbors’ Window,” Marshall Curry
“Saria,” Bryan Buckley
“A Sister,” Delphine Girard

The Chatter: Very strong slate of nominees this year. If it were possible for actors to get nominations for short films, Maria Dizzia deserves one for "The Neighbors' Window."

Prediction: "The Neighbors' Window"

Pick: "The Neighbors' Window"

Animated Short

The Nominees: 
“Dcera,” Daria Kashcheeva
“Hair Love,” Matthew A. Cherry
“Kitbull,” Rosana Sullivan
“Memorable,” Bruno Collet
“Sister,” Siqi Song

The Chatter: A Disney/Pixar film always wins this category. Always.

"Kitbull" is nine minutes of perfection. All the feelz.

Technically, both it and "Hair Love" are products of the Pixar machine, but only the latter played in front of an animated feature film.

Prediction: "Hair Love"

Pick: "Kitbull"

1 comment:

  1. There are many games that are geared towards the younger age group. If you want to get more interesting details about racing, visit this site right here.