Quick Indie Spirit* Nominated Reviews

Every year when the Independent Spirit Awards are announced I make it a point to drop as many of the nominees as I can into both of my Netflix queues to see what I've missed. Lucky for me, there were a few nominees readily available for me to check out. Here are a few quick reviews. A couple of these are not Spirit Award nominees, but they were in the current conversation so I put them here too. I meant to have this post up before the actual Spirit Awards aired, but time got away from me. 

The Mustang 

Nominations: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best First Feature
Matthias Schoenaerts was indeed very good and a wild Jason Mitchell appeared for a few minutes which was a nice surprise, but I found this to be unbearably boring. I just can't do horse movies. I felt similar to Lean on Pete last year. Something about horses just puts me to sleep. C-

Atlantics


Nominations: None
While this one technically didn't get any Spirit nominations, I added it to my queue at the same time because it was getting other festival buzz and let me tell you, this movie was not what I expected. I didn't watch the trailer and only read the IMDb synopsis that talks about the love story between the two leads, but it takes an interesting supernatural turn that I didn't see coming at all. I'm really impressed with this movie, it captivated me. B

High Flying Bird

Nominations: Best Screenplay
This was great. I think it also should've been up for the cast award. Andre Holland is such a wonderful actor and Sonja Sohn, Jeryl Prescott and Zazie Beetz are always actresses I'm happy to see. At first glance, a movie about an NBA lockout might not have caught my attention, but I'm glad this one did. B+

Burning Cane

Nominations: Best Supporting Actor, and the John Cassavetes Award for cast.
I need to think of a better word to describe films like this other than "art house." I can see why Wendell Pierce got a supporting actor nomination. His character is despicable but it's quite different from what I'm used to seeing him play and the cast did a good job. It reminds me of movies like A Ghost Story or All My Friends are Funeral Singers. It feels more like a string of thoughts and moments than a movie. That's not a bad thing, it's a perfectly fine way to spend a little over an hour. Plus the director is a 19 year old, and that's impressive. C+

See You Yesterday


Nominations: Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay
The lead actors in this, Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow are absolutely delightful together. I loved their chemistry. This film is both exciting and heartbreaking as we follow two teenagers who invent time travel with drastic consequences. This was easily of my favorite of the films I watched. I didn't want it to end. A

The Souvenir

Nominations: None
It turns out Tilda Swinton's daughter has some acting chops as well. I had a bit of trouble understanding why her character, Julie would be drawn to someone like Anthony because he's kind of a twat the entire movie, but I found the film interesting. The biggest hurdle for me, which unfortunately affected my score a bit was how much the DVD I got of this skipped. It took me over two hours to finish it because I had to work through it. Not the film's fault, but I probably would've enjoyed this more had I saw it in theaters. B-

Thursday Movie Picks: Love in the Tech Age

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is about love in the tech age. I stretched this theme a bit. My favorite techy movies have love in them, but only one pick has it as a main focal point. Here are three movies where technology played into love.

1) Her

I think this movie will be popular. Theo falls in love with his operating system, Samantha. It's one of my favorite movies and so beautiful.

2) Chatroom

This film is about teens in a chatroom, and it's staged in a way where it looks like they are sitting in a hotel room talking to each other. There isn't a central romance between characters, but one of the teens, Emily feels unloved by her parents. It's a very clever film with an amazing cast.

3) Searching

This film is shot entirely on computer screens, tablets and phones. While the plot is about a father looking for his missing daughter - why did that daughter go missing? Because a boy fell in love with her and catfished her. 

Review: Horse Girl

Sometimes that awkwardness never leaves you.

Sarah (Alison Brie) is a socially awkward woman working at an arts and craft store. She spends time binge watching her favorite supernatural crime show over and over, visiting the horse she used to ride as a child much to the owner's chagrin, but more recently she's been having strange dreams and nose bleeds. She eventually starts to question her reality.

This film reminded me a lot of Safety Not Guaranteed. It's a quirky story that eventually gets weird. Very weird. In fact, I'm not sure what exactly the writers were going for by the end if it. I want to assume they knew exactly what they wanted their movie to be, but the way it translated on screen felt aloof and kind of messy.

That's not to say it's bad, in fact, I liked a lot of Horse Girl. It really didn't start feeling jumbled until the ending. I expected something a little closer to the horse girl stereotype I'm familiar with but that's only a small part of Sarah. It's also the most interesting part, like her brief flashback of an accident that permanently injured her friend. Sarah is an interesting character and I enjoyed the glimpses we got into her life. I just wish everything had been a bit more cohesive. 

Alison Brie is very good in this. I think it might be her best performance. She's also a co-writer and you can tell she cared a lot about Sarah and put everything into her performance.  I liked the supporting cast as well, especially Molly Shannon and Matthew Gray Gubler. This is a bit of a nitpick, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how Sarah and Nikki (Debby Ryan) became roommates. I kept waiting for them to address it because Nikki is clearly at least a decade younger and they don't appear to like each other that much at all. It's a nitpick, but it's something I thought about the entire time.

This film is currently streaming on Netflix and I think it's definitely worth the watch, it's just a bit messy.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "It's okay, I'm making an anklet." - Sarah (Alison Brie)

2020 Blind Spot Series: Malcolm X


What I knew going in: I had seen parts of it on TV before.

Spike Lee's sprawling epic follows the legendary activist Malcolm Little (Denzel Washington) from his gangster days, his prison sentence, and his eventual rebirth in the Nation of Islam before becoming what we know him as now - Malcolm X. 

I realize now why I probably never saw this all in one sitting. This movie is three and a half hours long. I must have known that at some point but when I went to start this film on Netflix it came as quite a surprise. 

To tell Malcolm X's entire story, I think the length is justified. There's just so much and you really can't leave out certain parts of it if you want the big picture. I think Spike Lee did a great job of containing everything and an amazing performance by Denzel Washington helped as well.

One of the things I always want from a biopic is a teaching moment. I liked that this film gave me a better understanding of his journey. In history, especially for me growing up in a small, predominantly white town, I feel like we were wrongly given broad strokes about various points during the Civil Rights movement, and Malcolm X fell into that category. 

I'm glad I finally sat down and finished this. I realized that I never saw any part of this film before he got out of prison. It was always afterwards that I'd catch it somewhere. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I have to stand here today as what I was when I was born: a black man." - Malcolm X (Denzel Washington)

Thursday Movie Picks: Meet Cute

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves follows the "meet cute" trope. I'm not going to lie, I had to look this up. I've never heard this term before. It seems obvious in hindsight but Meet Cute is "characters that meet under cute circumstances." So here are a few films I enjoy where that happens.

1) La La Land


Mia and Sebastian have a bad run in at the club, but their official meeting at a garden party where Mia makes his band play I Ran is about as cute as it gets.

2) 5 to 7

Brian and Arielle have an adorably awkward first meeting while smoking cigarettes and begin an affair that can only last between 5 and 7 pm.  Did I mention Arielle's husband has a mistress too? This is a great film, and I highly recommend. Especially if you're an Anton Yelchin fan. 

3) (500) Days of Summer

This isn't about how Tom meets Summer, but how he meets his likely eventual girlfriend. In the lobby at a job interview that they're both competing for, and she has the ironic name of Autumn.

What I watched on TV in January

I almost forgot to post this! I felt like I was on fire blogging in December and January and then I just crashed and burned. Anyways, here's what I was watching on the small screen last month.

The Crown

I did it! I finally finished season 3! To be fair, as dull as the season was at the beginning, I thought the last three episodes were very strong. I'm looking forward to all the drama S4 should bring.

The Outsider


I started this limited series on HBO and I'm booked. Ben Mendelsohn is fantastic as is Cynthia Erivo and Jason Bateman is turning out to be a hell of a director. I can't wait to see where this goes. I've never read the book and have been avoiding all spoilers, shockingly.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Is it bad that at one point in this doc I was like "less football more murder trial?" The saga of former Patriots player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez is certainly something. Even though this was only three episodes, I felt like it could've been trimmed a bit but it was clearly very well researched and informative. One thing I'm not crazy about is how they talked about his sexual relationships. I don't care for people using bisexuality as a "but wait...there's more!" moment and I felt like that's what they did here. 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

There were so many hilarious parts this season like Midge teaching Susie to swim, the orgy comment, and really so many wonderful one liners. Alex Borstein was on fire and seeing Sterling K. Brown was a nice surprise. I'm sure I knew he was going to be in this season but I had momentarily forgotten until I saw him again. I hope the way this season ended marks a huge change for Midge, because right now I feel like she's has the least amount of growth. This season focused a lot on her tardiness and privilege and I'm ready for that to hopefully be over. It's kind of awkward when Joel, the man who cheated on Midge and left her in the pilot episode actually comes off looking better at times. And I hope this isn't the last we see of Shy, though I think it might be. I'd like to see Midge apologize and explain herself in person. The biggest weakness were Midge's parents, especially her father. I found their story grating. Hopefully there's less of that next season.

Review: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Not the only dames in Gotham looking for emancipation.

Notorious Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) got dumped by The Joker and when she impulsively broadcasts that message all over Gotham, she realizes very quickly that many people want to kill her now that Joker doesn't have her back. Mainly Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) but not before he agrees to let her track down a priceless diamond that was stolen by a pick pocket, Cassandra (Ella Jay Basco) Roman's singer/driver, Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) a jaded police officer, Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) and the mysterious Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) also get in on the action and these women find themselves having to work together to defeat a common enemy.

After the colossal mess that was Suicide Squad, It's nice to see its one shining star in Harley Quinn gets another go at the big screen. Yes, Quinn is not part of the original Birds of Prey. And yes, she does take over this movie, but that doesn't mean the rest of the women are constantly pushed to the back. In fact, each gets a fair amount of screen time. 

Birds of Prey is here to embraces its campiness and show powerful women kicking ass, and I'm here for it. I appreciate director Cathy Yan's lens, especially during some of the more uncomfortable scenes with Sionis. A lesser director could've done some seriously exploitative things here but she films it in a way that gets its point across without that extra baggage. The fight choreography is extraordinary. Especially during the final battle which takes place in a fun house.

Margot is amazing again as Harley, as are the rest of the cast. Smollett-Bell as Black Canary was my favorite of the bunch, she's bad ass and vulnerable and seeing the Canary scream was a great moment. Ewan McGregor you can tell was having so much fun with this.

Birds of Prey had all the cards stacked against it because of Suicide Squad and everyone involved came out swinging. Now, Birds of Prey is one of DCEU's best films. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "It's a cross bow, it's not a bow and arrow I'm not fucking 12." - Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)

2020 Academy Award Winners



We made it! I know I sound like a broken record with how disappointed I am with the garbage nominations this year, and how it's the least amount of fun I've had in my entire decade of Oscar blogging, but tonight was actually...mostly fun. We saw history made with Parasite becoming the first foreign language film to win an Oscar. Taika Waititi won for screen writing, and Kelly Marie Tran was given more screen time here than the entirety of Rise of Skywalker. Here are a list of the winners, plus my thoughts after an entire bottle of wine.

A few quick thoughts: Janelle Monae's opening number had me questioning my sexuality. A lot of the presenters  called out the academy's abysmal lack of nominations for women and people of color. Ball's in your court, Academy. Stop voting the way you do.

Eminem performed Lose Yourself for some reason. I have no idea why but I still love that song and he didn't perform it when he actually won for it, and I was happy to see it here. It was much better than some of the other segments (like that awful Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig bit that went on way too long)

Drink, King.
Best Picture
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite
I thought for sure 1917 was going to win until Bong won Best Director. Then I knew it had a change. I cheered and am SO happy the right film won. 


Best Director
Martin Scorsese - The Irishman
Todd Phillips - Joker
Sam Mendes - 1917
Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho - Parasite
I screamed. I thought Mendes had this in the bag, what a lovely surprise.


Best Actor
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 best part about this category was when Olivia Colman got up on stage and said last year was the "best night of her husband's life." And then she pointed out she had three children. Hilarous, and amazing. I love Olivia. For the actual win, my face matches Billie's.



Best Actress
Cynthia Erivo - Harriet
Scarlett Johansson - Marriage Story
Saorise Ronan - Little Women
Charlize Theron - Bombshell
Renee Zellweger - Judy
Renee's speech felt like it lasted 20 minutes. This was a boring win, but an expected one.


Supporting Actor
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
Pitt's speech was really emotional and he talked about enjoying the view of riding DiCaprio's coat tales. Can't complain.


Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates - Richard Jewel
Laura Dern - Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson  - Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh - Little Women
Margot Robbie - Bombshell
I can't believe Laura Dern chose THAT dress to win in. I'm struggling to say anything about the acting categories because they were so predictable. 


Adapted Screenplay
Taika Waititi - Jojo Rabbit
Steve Zaillian - The Irishman
Anthony McCarten - The Two Popes
Greta Gerwig - Little Women
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver - Joker
TAIKA TAIKA TAIKA! He looked so overwhelmed. I'm so happy with this win. I can't wait to purchase Jojo Rabbit the minute it comes out on blu ray.


Best Original Screenplay
Rian Johnson - Knives Out
Noah Baumbach - Marriage Story
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns - 1917
Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won - Parasite
#BONGHIVE The first big win for Bong started here.


Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Klaus
Missing Link
Toy Story 4
I changed my pick last minute from Toy Story to Klaus. Ugh. This was the most vanilla one they could've chosen. I'm sorry, HTTYD series. You deserved better.


International Feature Film
Corpus Christi
Honeyland
Les Miserables
Pain and Glory
Parasite
This was a given. Bong said he was going to have a drink after this, then he won two more Oscars. He's going to be drinking all night.

Best Documentary
American Factory
The Cave
Edge of Democracy
For Sama
Honeyland
I feel bad, but I didn't like American Factory. The only other nominee I saw was For Sama and I preferred that.

Best Cinematography
The Irishman
Joker
The Lighthouse
1917
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
I'm so happy to see Roger Deakins picking up back to back Oscars after being robbed for so many years. 


Best Costume Design
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
This was another one I switched last minute. I had Little Women, then changed to Jojo. I'm happy with this win. Greta Gerwig was too as she cried during it. 


Film Editing
Ford vs. Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Parasite
I got this right too! I wanted Parasite to win though.



Makeup and Hairstyling
Bombshell
Joker
Judy
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
1917
Another one I guessed correctly. I'm happy for the Bombshell team, who deserved it after having to do those terrible things to Charlize Theron's face.


Original Score
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
I loved the way they presented the scores this year. They had a female conductor and the orchestra actually played snippets of each nominated film. Hildur Guðnadóttir said the composer is "only as talented as the director" and honey do NOT sell your self short like that. You are so much better than Todd Phillips could ever dream of being.


Original Song
"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
No EGOT for Cynthia Erivo. That's disappointing (almost as disappointing as Glasgow not being nominated lol you thought I'd drop it) but I can't argue Elton's win. I liked that song too. The performance of Into The Unknown blew me away tonight. It wasn't my favorite song from Frozen 2 but having all the different Elsa's singing in multiple languages was beautiful.


Production Design
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite
A given, though I was hoping for Jojo or Parasite. OUATIH may not have been my favorite but it did look great.


Sound Editing
Ford v Ferrari
Joker”
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
I thought 1917 was going to win this. I have to laugh at myself because I saw a tweet go by as soon as this lost saying something like "there go its Best Picture chances." Guess they were right.



Sound Mixing
Ad Astra
Ford vs. Ferrari
Joker
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Visual Effects
Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
UGHHHHHH Why doesn't Marvel EVER win this. I can't imagine what it must be like to look at something like Thanos, for example and say "Nah, not voting for that."


Documentary Short Subject
In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone If You’re a Girl
Life Overtakes Me
St. Louis Superman
Walk Run Cha-Cha
I thought Walk, Run, Cha-cha would win. Skateboard was good, but I hated the way I had to watch it on AE's website. In The Absence was my favorite, I'm bummed that didn't win.


Animated Short Film 
Daughter
Hair Love
Kitbull
Memorable
Sister
I am SO SO SO SO happy for this win and if you have not seen Hair Love yet, please spare 6 minutes and 47 seconds and watch it HERE.

Live Action Short Film 
Brotherhood
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbor’s Window
Saria

A Sister
I'm so psyched about this win too. This short absolutely broke me. I would've been fine if A Sister won, but Neighbor's Window was my favorite. 

A few memorable red carpet moments:

How pure are they?

Rian Johnson wearing porg cuff links is everything.

Review: For Sama

You needed to know.

Journalist Waad Al-Kateab chronicles her life in Aleppo, Syria from when she goes to university, falls in love, has a child, all while war rages on around her. This is a love letter to her daughter, Sama. Explaining why she had her and why she stayed.

I've been trying to make my way through the Oscar nominated documentary features. So far I've only seen this and American Factory. Unlike the latter, For Sama actually moved me enough to write about.  

There have been a few interesting documentaries about what's going on in Syria lately. The White Helmets and Last Men In Aleppo among them, but For Sama sets itself apart from having a very female voice, and one that is much needed.

The amount of footage Waad captured is amazing and her pleas for her young daughter to understand her decisions are raw and heartfelt. Since she speaks in past tense, I was so worried all of the people she was featuring would pass. Some do, some don't. There are some deeply uncomfortable things she shows us. Many dead bodies including children. There's a scene where they revive a young child that was going on for so long I found it torturous until he finally took that breath.

This is streaming on Amazon Prime right now if you have it and it's definitely worth the watch.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "I know you understand what's going on, Sama" - Waad Al-Kateab

Thursday Movie Picks: Seven Deadly Sins: Lust

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves will be ongoing all year. She's asking us to look at films that fall under the category of each deadly sin. We're starting off with lust. Some of these were tricky but here's what I came up with

1) American Beauty

Lester Burnham lusts over his teenage daughter's friend. I refuse to let Kevin Spacey ruin this movie for me. I love it and it's still my favorite.

2) Shame

Brandon is addicted to sex, so much so he can't go a day without watching porn, even on the job. The lust is dialed to 11 in this.

3) Secretary

Mr. Grey lusts over his new secretary Lee and they end up in a BDSM relationship. I just had to laugh to myself because I forgot Spader's character's last name is Grey. This is superior to 50 shades in case you were wondering.

2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films

Last year I found almost all of the Oscar nominated short films to watch before the ceremony. As my local theater isn't participating in the Oscar Short showcase this year, I decided to hunt around the internet and see what I could find. Here are my quick thoughts. I was able to watch 14 of the 15 shorts.




Documentary Shorts

In the Absence - This doc is about the sinking of Sewol, a ferry in South Korea and the inept response by the Government when distress calls were made. Because of the poor handling, 304 people died. 250 of which were children. This was very harrowing for its brisk pace. They had phone recordings, showed news and cell phone footage and interviewed parents, survivors, and the brave civilian divers who assisted with the recovery. They covered a lot of ground in 28 minutes. A

Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone If You’re a Girl - Because AETV.com forces you to watch ads (and they stop playing if you click out of the tab so you HAVE to watch them) this felt like I saw a feature length film. They stuck 10 damn ads in a 40 minute movie. Young girls in Afghanistan find solace in Skateistan, a place they can learn to read, write, and yes..skateboard. It's a very moving story. It's sad seeing young girls being barred from doing so much just because of their gender. I'm glad Skateistan is still going strong. B-

Life Overtakes Me - This was bleak. It followed three families of refugees that fled to Sweden who have a child affected by Resignation Syndrome. Where children that suffered trauma inexplicably fall into a coma.  It currently happens in Sweden more than any other country. I wish they had dived more into the disease and how widespread it is. Maybe they don't have all of that information yet, but I felt for a documentary covering it I only learned the bare minimum of why it's happening. B

Walk, Run, Cha-Cha - This was a sweet story about a married couple who left Vietnam and now dance in California, something they would've loved to have done in their youth, but the aftermath of the Vietnam War took that from them. Their dance at the end of the film really elevates this. It was beautiful. B

St. Louis Superman - This unfortunately was the elusive short I could not find anywhere.

Animated Shorts

Daughter - Oh boy, this is one of those films where the animation is far better than the story. It took me forever to find this. This is the last one I watched and I was very underwhelmed. It's a very interesting use of stop motion but the story is so bare bones. C-

Hair Love - Oh my God, I LOVED this. This short is 6 minutes long about a father learning how to do his daughter's hair and I laughed and cried. A+

Kitbull - Another cutesy film from Pixar, this one showing the friendship between a stray cat and a lovable pit bull who is being used for dog fights. It was nice, but not nearly as moving as Hair Love. B+

Memorable - The animation in this is stunning. However, the story fell a bit flat. It's about a painter and his wife and how they struggle with this Alzheimer's disease. I don't know if it was the voice actors, but it didn't get as emotional of a reaction from me as some of the others did. C

Sister - This was...fine. The animation of course was different and the story very personal to the director but it didn't stay with me as long. If anything, it made me think of One Child Nation. B

Live Action Shorts

Brotherhood - So this was frustrating. Sometimes a short film comes along and you can tell it deserves a full length feature. This is one of those films, because its short 24 minute run time was not along enough so instead we got a story where all the conflict could've been avoiding by the two main characters actually having a conversation, but since there's no time for anything we get....this. It could've been better. C

Nefta Football Club - This film gets extra points for having a drug trafficker getting annoyed over the fact that his fellow trafficker changed the music on the headphones he put on his donkey. He likes to listen to Adele, damn it! This was cute. B

The Neighbor’s Window - First off, is there anyone more typecast as a crunchy, frustrated stay at home mom than Maria Dizzia? As soon as I hit play and saw her I new exactly what type of character she was playing before I even read the synopsis. That being said, I was not expecting this to take the turn that it did and it was a real gut punch. Short #2 that has made me ugly cry. A

Saria - This was miserable. It follows two young girl who are held at the Virgen de la Asunción Safe Home in Guatemala where they endure rape and abuse before dying in a fire that killed 41 girls total. It felt more like a Wikipedia entry. Like watching a live action article instead of a film. C-

A Sister - This was easily the most tense short I watched. It follows a woman who is in a car with a man holding her against her will as she contacts emergency services and pretends she's talking to her sister. I'm thankful this film is only 16 minutes long. That was enough. B+

2020 Academy Awards Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Win


Best Picture
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite
Who will win: 1917
Who should win: Parasite
I think 1917 is a wonderful film that deserves its Best Picture nomination..but Parasite deserves this win. We're far overdue for a foreign film to take the top price and what better film to win than Parasite? One that absolutely deserves it. 

Best Director
Martin Scorsese - The Irishman
Todd Phillips - Joker
Sam Mendes - 1917
Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho - Parasite
Who will win: Sam Mendes
Who should win: Bong Joon Ho
I won't be mad when Mendes wins, because 1917 is wonderful, but again, I just prefer Bong and Parasite. 

Best Actor
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
Who will win: Joaquin Phoenix
Who shoul win: Adam Driver
I've been over this several times. Joker is trash, Phoenix isn't good in it, but he's somehow winning over this masterclass performance Driver turned in. *heavy sigh*

Best Actress
Cynthia Erivo - Harriet
Scarlett Johansson - Marriage Story
Saorise Ronan - Little Women
Charlize Theron - Bombshell
Renee Zellweger - Judy
Who will win: Renee Zellweger
Who should win: Cynthia Erivo
I'm so bored with the acting categories this year. So many amazing performances were left out. Erivo is the best here but she won't be award for it. 

Supporting Actor
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
Who will and should win: Brad Pitt
I'm fine with this win. To be honest aside from Pitt and Hanks I'm just not interested in this category at all.

Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates - Richard Jewel
Laura Dern - Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson  - Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh - Little Women
Margot Robbie - Bombshell
Who will win: Laura Dern
Who should win: Florence Pugh or Margot Robbie.
Dern is great and I'll be happy for her, but I think Pugh and Robbie's roles were stronger. 

Adapted Screenplay
Taika Waititi - Jojo Rabbit
Steve Zaillian - The Irishman
Anthony McCarten - The Two Popes
Greta Gerwig - Little Women
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver - Joker
Who will win: Little Women
Who should win: Taika Waititi
I think Gerwig has enough support behind her to win this and even though I think she did a great job, I just prefer Waititi's film.

Best Original Screenplay
Rian Johnson - Knives Out
Noah Baumbach - Marriage Story
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns - 1917
Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won - Parasite
Who will win: Quentin Tarantino
Who should win: Bong Joon Ho or Rian Johnson
I'm still a bit unsure of this. I would love if Parasite won here because then it would go towards it being a Best Picture winner but I think Quentin will get it based on name recognition and the fact that his film was about Hollywood.

Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Klaus
Missing Link
Toy Story 4
Who will win:Toy Story 4
Who should win: How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I'm actually very iffy on this. I have no idea who is going to win, I just know the one I want to win the most won't.


International Feature Film
Corpus Christi
Honeyland
Les Miserables
Pain and Glory
Parasite
Who will and should win: Parasite
No competition here. In a perfect world, it would win this AND Best Picture.

Best Documentary
American Factory
The Cave
Edge of Democracy
For Sama
Honeyland
Who will win: American Factory
Who should win: For Sama
As of this writing, I've only seen American Factory which I didn't care for at all. and For Sama, which I really enjoyed but I don't see winning since we've recently had other winners about the war in Syria even though this is a fresh voice.

Best Cinematography
The Irishman
Joker
The Lighthouse
1917
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Who will and should win: 1917

Best Costume Design
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Who will and should win: Jojo Rabbit
Ultimately I think since OUATIH is going to win more than one Oscar it has the edge here but since Jojo Rabbit won the Costume Guild, I'm going to swing for the fences and go with them.

Film Editing
Ford vs. Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Parasite
Who will win: Ford v Ferrari
Who should win: Parasite


Makeup and Hairstyling
Bombshell
Joker
Judy
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
1917
Who will and should win: Bombshell
Just LOOK at Charlize Theron


Original Score
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Who will and should win: 1917.
I'm swinging for the fences here. I know Joker has a lot of momentum but I think 1917 might prevail.

Original Song
"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
Who will win:I'm Gonna Love Me Again
Who should win: Stand Up
I want Erivo to get closer to that EGOT. Truthfully, most of these songs are just fine and none of them are as good as Glasgow from Wild Rose. 

Production Design
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite
Who will win: OUATIH
Who should win: Parasite
God, I hope I'm wrong about all these OUATIH wins. To be fair, the production design was really good but PARASITE. 

Sound Editing
Ford v Ferrari
Joker”
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Who will and should win: 1917


Sound Mixing
Ad Astra
Ford vs. Ferrari
Joker
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Who will and should win: 1917
Until recently I was sure Ford vs Ferrari would get the sound nominations easily but then 1917 turned into such a beast.

Visual Effects
Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Who will and should win: Avengers: Endgame
I refuse to predict anything else, though Scorcese is probably begging voters to go for his movie instead of the "theme park"

Documentary Short Subject
In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone If You’re a Girl
Life Overtakes Me
St. Louis Superman
Walk Run Cha-Cha
Who will win: Walk, Run, Cha-cha
Who should win: In The Absence
I haven't seen St. Louis Superman but In The Absence is the strongest of the other four, but I think Walk, Run Cha-Cha takes it for having a less bleak story. 

Animated Short Film 
Daughter
Hair Love
Kitbull
Memorable
Sister
Who will and should win: Hair Love
I have seen all of these and even though there's some very good stop motion animation here, none felt as perfect as Hair Love.

Live Action Short Film 
Brotherhood
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbor’s Window
Saria
A Sister
Who will and should win: The Neighbor's Window
Saria felt more like a wikipedia entry than movie. Brotherhood was a wasted opportunity. Nefta Football club was cute and A Sister is very tense, but The Neighbor's Window felt like the most well rounded of the four I saw. I cried like a baby.