Oscars 2020 — Snubs?

A big Oscar announcement day for “Joker,” “Jo Jo Rabbit,” Netflix, “1917” and “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.”

Nine best picture nominees meant that at least four best pictures apparently directed themselves.

No nom for Greta Gerwig, in other words. Or James Mangold. Or Noah Baumbach.

A better day for “Joker” than for “Rocketman.” No room for Taron Egerton in that best actor field, or for Christian Bale from “Ford v. Ferrari.”  Jonathan Pryce for “The Two Popes” is not out of left field, Antonio Banderas was terrific in a lesser Almodovar effort. He won’t win Best Actor, but he’s due — decades of sensual and sensational work. That growl!

Almodovar’s “Pain & Glory” is up against “Parasite,” “Corpus Christi,” “Les Miserables” and “Honeyland” in the renamed “Best International (foreign language) Feature” category. “Parasite” is easily the favorite there, as it is also nominated for Best Picture.

Two actresses earned what I call “Cotillard/La Vie en Rose” nominations — performers better than the middling movies they starred in. Renee Zellweger is quite good (somewhat less than great, I thought) in the drab “Judy,” and Cynthia Erivo dazzled, at times, in the desultory and malnourished “Harriet.” Both films earned two nominations, best actress nominations, and one other.

Zellweger might be the favorite, but this strikes me as a category where something more interesting could happen.

awkwafinaAwkwafina’s acting peers didn’t think she was all that in “The Farewell,” which was shut out all up and down the line. I can see it. Lightweight picture, not a “great” performance. But the optics on leaving her out aren’t great.

Leaving out Jennifer Lopez  seems like a bigger deal, to me. Bates over J Lo in the best supporting actress field? Come on, now. Love KBates, but Lopez in “Hustlers” would have done wonders for ratings, for starters.


Adam Sandler’s peers weren’t as impressed with him in “Uncut Gems” as a few critics were. Perhaps the Screen Actor’s Guild’s members remember all the roles he filled with cronies-not-actors in his “comedies” during his heyday, and they harbor a grudge. Or maybe they know a dead-eyed and over-hyped performance when they see one.

I’m disappointed that Eddie Murphy’s “Dolemite is My Name” turn didn’t earn a nomination, but it’s easy to justify. Unless you consider the fact that “The Two Popes” was a lesser movie.

People griping about “Us” being shut out should have been raising hell a month ago. It hasn’t figured in the Oscar discussion all awards season.

Same with “Just Mercy” and Jamie Foxx. I’d thrown in Mark Ruffalo and “Dark Water,” too. But that’s just me.

“The Irishman” pulled in nine nominations, with is about five too many, by my count. But OK.

“Joker” also pulled in 11. But “1917” managed 10. As did “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.” As did “The Irishman.”

So who exactly is the Best Picture favorite, now?

“Jo Jo Rabbit” made quite the show of it — six nominations, including Scarlett’s supporting actress turn.

“Knives Out” got a screenplay nomination, “The Lighthouse” was recognized with a best cinematography one.

I’d say “The Lighthouse” and “Honey Boy,” “The Farewell” and maybe “Peanut Butter Falcon” look like promising Indie Spirit Award competitors. Except that not all of them are.  When you put your Independent Spirit Nominationsup months before the Oscar nominations, you rule out the chance for “make good” awards, which is what they should be.

Alma Harel (“Honey Boy”) should be competing with Lulu Wang for best director. Somewhere. Harel and Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) have Indie Spirit directing nominations.

The usual suspects dominate the supporting actress/ actor Oscar categories.

Front runners Laura Dern and Brad Pitt tucked in with Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”) too many “Irishmen” for that picture to stand a chance (and no Matt Damon for “Ford v Ferrari”), and Kathy Bates and Florence Pugh and ScarJo and Margot Robbie are all chasing Dern.

Was Bates any better than usual in a middling movie, “Richard Jewell?” No? Why burn a nomination on a previous winner, then? Then again, Nicole Kidman (“Bombshell”) is a previous winner, as well. She’s the big name missing from consideration there, along with with Jennifer Lopez.

Netflix had a great day by parking “American Factory” among the best doc nominees The Obamas produced it, so it’s the favorite), and taking two spots in a down year in the best animated feature category “I Lost My Body” and the holiday comedy “Klaus.”

I’d give the Oscar to “I Lost My Body,” seeing as how two of the nominees are sequels. “Missing Link,” the Golden Globe winner, is in the mix. Variety is griping that “Frozen 2” was “snubbed.” No. It sucked. That’s how this is supposed to work.

Scarlett Johansson is up for actress and supporting actress, “Parasite” for best international feature and best picture. If you didn’t see “Honeyland,” the Macedonian beekeeper docu-drama, it’s up for best doc and best international feature. Track it down.

Writer-directors Gerwig and Baumbach will have to be content to compete in the screenplay categories. “Little Women” has six Oscar nominations, “Marriage Story” has six as well. Just to keep the peace in the Gerwig/Baumbach household, I wonder?

No huge surprises, all in all. “Rocketman” peaked with its Golden Globes glory, no Adam Sandler/”Uncut Gems” love outside of New York, and limiting acting and directing to just five nominees meant worthies were going to be left out.

Unless the divisive “Joker” blows up Oscar night, I don’t think we’ll see a “Green Book/Bohemian/Shape of Water/Crash” Oscars that SOME people disavow the morning after.

The motivation for “hate watching the Oscars” this year won’t be as strong.

And Spike Lee isn’t nominated this year, so there aren’t likely to be any tantrums. Even from Tarantino.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Oscars 2020 — Snubs?

  1. Ricardo Zilvety says:

    I thought Ford v Ferrari was going to be nominated only in technical categories, so I was glad to see it nominated for best film.

    I hadn’t heard of Honeyland before, but I went to your review and looked for information about it on Google and it looks promising. Thanks for recommending it.

    By the way, there is an error in the article: Marriage Story has six nominations, not four.

  2. Ricardo Zilvety says:

    No problem.

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