Like the show itself, we’ve saved the big names for last: Best picture, acting, and directing.
Ford v Ferrari; The Irishman; Jojo Rabbit; Joker; Little Women; Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Marriage Story; Parasite; 1917
John: This is a weird year. Ford V Ferrari has no acting nominations, Jojo and Little Women apparently directed themselves, and does The Irishman REALLY need to be up here? Regardless, I only have one clear winner in my book. Parasite is an example of near-perfect filmmaking all around. The performances, direction, editing, cinematography, music, and script are all put together to make an incredible work of art. Not only that but it also perfectly represents the current state of our culture in a sobering way. That being said, I have to celebrate Jojo and Little Women for their contributions this year. I’m really hoping that the Academy doesn’t reward the same people again, or toss an award to Joker. I always feel that the most deserving films either push the art form or show the height of it. Parasite is that film.
Kelly: If we’re talking about the movies that stuck with me, I’m going to have to throw this to either Little Women or 1917, the former being so strong in its character development and the latter having visuals just seared into my brain. Realistically, I see this going to the works of Once Upon a Time, The Irishman, or Joker. They’re all in that class of “It’s a call back to Hollywood’s finest days!” and reek of narcissistic nostalgia. Honestly, 1917 and Jojo Rabbit are the only ones that strike me as the original. I wish Knives Out and Rocketman had made their way in here.
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman; Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Bong Joon-ho, Parasite; Sam Mendes, 1917; Todd Phillips, Joker
John: Taika Waititi, Jordan Peele, and Greta Gerwig deserve to be up here. I see two names here that don’t need the acclaim and one who straight up got here as a fluke. That being said Bong Joon-ho is the most deserving of this award. His film is the most well made film of the year and if that doesn’t win direction then this award is nonsense. I’d be ok with Sam Mendes taking it for 1917’s technical ambition.
Kelly: Names not here: Greta Gerwig for Little Women, Lulu Wong for The Farewell, Rian Johnson for Knives Out, Jordan Peele for Us– listen, if Todd Phillips can skate on in here on the shoulders of his cinematographer and if Quentin Tarantino can be awarded for Hollywood’s Greatest Circle Jerk, then one of those just mentioned names is more than deserving to be in the conversation. I’ll be fine if Mendes or Bong Joon-ho walks away with this one. Not ecstatic, but at the very least not disheartened.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
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
John: Joaquin is gonna take this one. That’s pretty much a guarantee at this point. Which I think would be well deserved. Pheonix does some incredible physical acting with Arthur Fleck. However, I don’t think the MOST acting necessarily equates to best. While I’m here, I can’t help but acknowledge how Taron Edgerton wasn’t even considered for Rocketman. He does so much physically and subtle emotional acting as the legendary rock star. Edgerton could have easily had DiCaprio’s spot, but we all know how Hollywood loves actors playing actors.
Kelly: Joaquin Phoenix is long overdue and I think it genuinely is one of the best acting performances of the year, so it’s not undeserved. But I do think that there were major performances overlooked, number one being Taron Egerton for Rocketman, who was most likely left off the ballot since Rami Malek took this home for another musician biopic, last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I think Rocketman is stronger on all fronts- including acting. It shows me that the Academy isn’t really paying attention to nominees- Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody are two different movies but claims could be made that they are similar.
I haven’t seen Parasite, but it is confusing that such a highly praised film that’s not a spectacle isn’t represented at all in the acting categories. It’s definite elitism- we’re inviting you to the party, but not the popular table.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet; Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story; Saoirse Ronan, Little Women; Renée Zellweger, Judy; Charlize Theron, Bombshell
John: Lupita Nyong’o was robbed. Who the hell thought Judy was a good anything? Nonsense. Who even saw Bombshell??? This category is nonsense. I’m hoping Ronan or Erivo takes it.
Kelly: None of the above. Imma keep this short because at least two of the above shouldn’t be here. It should be Awkwafina in The Farewell, Florence Pugh in Midsommar, Constance Wu in Hustlers, Ana De Armas in Knives Out, or Lupita freakin’ Nyong’o in Us. There. Those are what your five nominees should be and you have yet to even nominate one. Academy- there is absolutely no excuse to not nominate one of these complex, varied performances and cry that women need to be treated equally, when you can’t even recognize when they were given better material and acting better than all of the male nominees combined.
Sigh. I want Ronan or Erivo to take this. In all reality, it will most likely go to Zellweger, who disappeared off the scene for personal reasons and I guess made a big return..? Also, did ANYONE see Bombshell?
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell; Laura Dern, Marriage Story; Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit; Florence Pugh, Little Women; Margot Robbie, Bombshell
John: I am hearing a lot of buzz around Florence Pugh’s work in Little Women so I hope she takes it. That film deserves as many wins as it can get.
I’ll say it again, DID ANYONE EVEN WATCH BOMBSHELL???
Kelly: This will go to Laura Dern for Marriage Story. She’s having a bit of a career renaissance at the moment and I don’t mind at all. I also think Florence Pugh is highly deserving of an award. Maybe not this specific one, cough cough, but certainly worthy. (I’m glad Meryl Streep wasn’t nominated for her five minutes of Little Women. That would have set me off.)
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
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
John: Did Brad Pitt really do anything particularly challenging in Once Upon a Time? Did playing a reserved quiet badass really push the art of acting in some way? Another nonsense category. Personally, being nominated for Ad Astra would have made a bit more sense. I like the rest of the noms so I’d be fine if any of them one, but most likely it’ll go to Pitt.
If anyone should have taken Pitt’s place it should have been Kang-ho Song in Parasite. His performance is both heartwarming and emotionally devasting all at once. That look he gives at the climax of the film is unforgettable.
Kelly: This will most likely go to Brad Pitt because they are welcoming him back into the Hollywood fold, aka more politics. I’m more miffed that there was no room made for Willem Dafoe in the Lighthouse or Sterling K. Brown for Waves, in favor of some old dudes that have been invited to the show with nothing to really do for the past few years.