Random Thoughts – The 2020 Oscar Nominations


And here we are again. Another year gone and another fresh batch of Oscar nominations to talk about, stew on, and grumble over for the next several weeks. The Academy is notorious for giving us a handful of surprises, even more frustrations, and some picks that simply defy reason. The Golden Globes did a superb job with the nominations (and eventual winners). Will the Oscars follow suit? As I’m prone to do, here are a few random thoughts on this morning’s Academy Award nominations. 

  • Overall 2020’s Oscar nominations were really exciting. Unlike in recent years I can honestly say nearly every major nominee deserves its spot.
  • That doesn’t mean there weren’t disappointments. “The Farewell” was completely shut out. Nothing for Lulu Wang. Nothing for Awkwafina. Not even a Best International Film nod. The movie didn’t crack my Top 10, but I do wish it had gotten something.
  • Who had the biggest morning of all? Netflix! Get this, the streaming services had a grand total of 24 nominations! 24! Sorry Mr. Spielberg.
  • For me the most egregious omission all awards season has been “A Hidden Life”. I didn’t expect the Academy to right these wrongs, but it would have been a nice surprise. Unfortunately it got nothing.
  • “Joker” led the way with a total of 11 Oscar nominations. It was great to see. I don’t see it winning even half of those, but the recognition itself was exciting to see and well-deserved.


  • “Ford v Ferrari” gets a Best Picture nomination? Not sure anyone really saw that one sneaking in. Good film, but Best Picture? I can think of several better choices.
  • The Best Actress category is a weird one. Cynthia Erivo was a surprise and I liked Charlize Theron’s performance (didn’t love it). Personally I would put Lupita N’yongo, Alfre Woodard, or Awkwafina ahead of both.
  • So what about “Us”? Remember us? I certainly remember “Us”. Apparently the Academy forgot all about “Us”.
  • No nominations for Dick Poop.
  • The Best Director category is absolutely stacked. Five superb choices from a wide variety of movies and all of them REALLY good. Fine job Academy.
  • Many are already venting about the lack of women among in this year’s group of directors. I wouldn’t at all be upset to see Greta Gerwig nominated. But good arguments could be made for every single director the Academy chose. It ends up being another case of the Academy taking heat that the studios should be getting.
  • Speaking of venting, I know a lot of people are saying Jennifer Lopez was the biggest snub of the morning. She gave a good performance in a very mediocre movie and I would personally have her ahead of Margot Robbie. But for me Thomasin McKenzie,  Zhao Shuzhen, and Rebecca Ferguson are much bigger misses.
  • Florence Pugh does get nominated for Best Supporting Actress as she should. Without question Pugh is one the most talented young actresses working today and this should be the first of many Oscar nods.
  • What a fantastic showing for “Parasite”. This stellar film breaks through the Foreign Language barriers with a whopping six nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. Bravo.
  • As alluded to early, the Foreign Language category is now called International Feature Film and it has several good picks. Les Miserables, Honeyland, and (of course) “Parasite” are good movies. Haven’t seen “Corpus Christi” but again, no “The Farewell” kinda stinks.


  • Greta Gerwig getting nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay was good to see. With only two films under her belt she has already shown herself to be a terrific filmmaker and storyteller.
  • And “Little Women” getting a Best Picture nomination – fantastic! Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress – delightful!
  • Loved seeing “Honeyland” nominated for Best Documentary. But no “Apollo 11”? Seriously? Wow! That may be the biggest snub of the entire morning.
  • Six nominations for “Jojo Rabbit”! It was great to see. For some reason I thought it might be one to fall between the cracks. I truly love the movie and it’s great seeing it get so much recognition.
  • What a morning for Scarlett Johansson. TWO nominations: Best Actress for “Marriage Story” and Supporting Actress for “Jojo Rabbit”. Some people may complain but she was great in both.
  • Many people feel Adam Sandler was snubbed for “Uncut Gems”. I don’t agree. This was a good Sandler performance but basically a more serious version of his usual man-baby role. And when put up against several better performances, his absence makes sense.
  • Actually “Uncut Gems” was shut out entirely. Again, I respect the many who love the movie, but I think the Academy got this right.
  • I’m not well versed on this year’s batch of Animated features, but isn’t “Frozen 2” being left out a surprise?
  • No Best Actor nod for Taron Egerton. Following his Golden Globe win I felt he was assured at least a nomination. Hate to sound like a broken record, but once again the Academy got this right.
  • If I counted right “Rocketman” only managed one lone nomination.
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” racked up 10 Oscar nominations this morning. And following big Best Picture wins at the Golden Globes and last night’s Critic’s Choice Awards, I think it is safe to say this is the Best Picture frontrunner to beat.
  • Speaking of “Once Upon a Time” and frontrunners, can anyone beat Brad Pitt in the Best Supporting Actor category? I hope not. He was fantastic in what was a great year for the 56-year-old ageless star.


  • Rian Johnson being nominated for Best Original Screenplay was one of those announcements that just naturally makes you smile. “Knives Out” is such a fun and entertaining ride. Great to see the Academy recognizing it.
  • Speaking of Netflix, “The Irishman” earned a total of 10 nominations despite Robert De Niro still being left out of the Best Actor race. The Martin Scorsese gangster epic didn’t do well at the Golden Globes. Will Oscar be any different?
  • “Ad Astra” gets one lone nomination completing its dry run this awards season. I think it has been one of the biggest misses of the season. But again, no “A Hidden Life” so….
  • The cinematography category is also stacked. Loved Lawrence Sher’s work on “Joker” but the always superb Roger Deakins is going to be really hard to beat. Anyone who has seen “1917” knows why.
  • Great to see a Best Score nomination for 87-year-old John Williams (“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”). The man’s consistent brilliance is astonishing and here he is still doing award-worthy work.
  • Speaking of Best Score, the frontrunner has to be Hildur Gudnadottir. Her amazing work in “Joker” is so pivotal to the film’s tone and atmosphere. I’m rooting for her all the way.
  • “1917” will be a force to reckon with. It also raked in 10 nominations and is coming off Best Picture – Drama and Best Director wins at the Golden Globes. Sam Mendes also won Best Director (in a tie) at the Critics Choice Awards.
  • I don’t know ANY of the tunes nominated for Original Song, and yes I am ashamed.
  • Some nice tips of the hat to “The Two Popes”. It won’t win any of its nominations but it’s a good film driven by two terrific central performances.

And there are a few Random Thoughts on this morning’s Academy Awards nominations. What did you think of this year’s crop. Let me know in the comments section below. And in case you missed it, here is the full list of the big announcements.

Best Picture


  • “Ford v. Ferrari”
  • “The Irishman”
  • “Jojo Rabbit”
  • “Joker”
  • “Little Women”
  • “Marriage Story”
  • “1917”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Parasite”

Actress in a Leading Role


  • Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
  • Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
  • Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
  • Renee Zellweger, “Judy”


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”


Best Director


  • Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
  • Todd Phillips, “Joker”
  • Sam Mendes, “1917”
  • Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”

Actor in a Supporting Role


  • Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
  • Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
  • Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
  • Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
  • Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”


Actress in a Supporting Role


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

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”

Original Screenplay

  • “Knives Out”
  • “Marriage Story”
  • “1917”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Parasite”


  • “The Irishman”
  • “Joker”
  • “The Lighthouse”
  • “1917”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”


Costume Design


  • “The Irishman”
  • “Jojo Rabbit”
  • “Joker”
  • “Little Women”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”


Film Editing


  • “Ford V. Ferrari”
  • “The Irishman”
  • “Jojo Rabbit”
  • “Joker”
  • “Parasite”


Original Score


  • “Joker”
  • “Little Women”
  • “Marriage Story”
  • “1917”
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”


Animated Short Film


  • “Dcera (Daughter)”
  • “Hair Love”
  • “Kitbull”
  • “Memorable”
  • “Sister”


Live Action Short Film


  • “Brotherhood”
  • “Nefta Football Club”
  • “The Neighbor’s Window”
  • “Saria”
  • “A Sister”


Sound Mixing


  • “Ad Astra”
  • “Ford v Ferrari”
  • “Joker”
  • “1917”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”


Sound Editing


  • “Ford v Ferrari”
  • “Joker”
  • “1917”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”


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”


International Feature Film


  • “Corpus Christi”
  • “Honeyland”
  • “Les Miserables”
  • “Pain and Glory”
  • “Parasite”


Documentary Short


  • “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”


Documentary Feature


  • “American Factory”
  • “The Cave”
  • “The Edge of Democracy”
  • “For Sama”
  • “Honeyland”


Production Design


  • “The Irishman”
  • “Jojo Rabbit”
  • “1917”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Parasite”



Visual Effects


  • “Avengers: Endgame”
  • “The Irishman”
  • “The Lion King”
  • “1917”
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”


Animated Feature Film


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


Makeup and Hairstyling


  • “Bombshell”
  • “Joker”
  • “Judy”
  • “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
  • “1917”





38 thoughts on “Random Thoughts – The 2020 Oscar Nominations

  1. 2 acting noms for bombshell? lol
    i should’ve never moved to LA. the respect and admiration i used to have for the, in my mind enlightened, artists behind these decisions has all but vanished during my time here.

    • The Bombshell nominations make me roll my eyes a bit (aside from makeup). Theron looked the part but other elements of the performance I found to be pretty uneven. Nonetheless…

      • academy is shallow. cannot look beyond the surface. that’s why everyone who plays a real life person always gets nominated.
        “oh, she/he looks so much like whoever. lets nominate them!”
        awkwafina deserved it. and she doesn’t even wear makeup once during the film.
        she doesn’t wear makeup once during the movie.

      • I’m with you although I must admit to being pretty happy with their overall nominations this year. I have so many movies and performances I will be rooting for. But you’re right, Awkwafina absolutely deserved a nomination.

    • Oh Deakins is nominated and probably the frontrunner. He will be tough to beat. As for De Niro, The reception for him has been weird all the awards season. To my knowledge he hasn’t picked up any significant nominations. I can’t really make sense of it.

  2. Thanks for the random thoughts Keith! I have taken a short hiatus from writing and therefore am glad to see that we share many thoughts on the snubs and surprises from this year’s awards nominations. My biggest snub was Lupita N’yongo…Us was one of my personal favorites from 2019, and she was fantastic. But still, it was quite a year for film and in my opinion the list of Best Picture nominees is seriously one of the strongest in many years. Cheers!
    Follow me @RedBeardMovieReviews on Facebook

    • You’re right on N’yongo. She has been all but forgotten this awards season. It’s hard to understand. I’m with you, I thought she was amazing. And nothing for “Us” at all! I wasn’t expecting much but still that was a surprise.

  3. If you want to laugh at the nominations, check out the visual fog that is “The Lighthouse “, nearly impossible to see anything half the time. Best Cinematography, you have to be kidding.

  4. Overall, I’m content with these. At some point, you simultaneously acknowledge awards season but you don’t put much stock into it anymore. After souring a brief bit on Uncut Gems unanimously in my top 5, I fell in love with it again. Think Sandler should have been recognized but I also know it was an unbelievably stacked year on both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Could have easily went 10 deep. Jamie Foxx was spectacular in Just Mercy.

    Ad Astra along with Waves remain high in my mind of 2019 best pics, but I could see the momentum dead before the new year. Surprised that Ford V Ferrari got a Best Pic nod but I’m actually really high on it so this is cool. Poor The Farewell though.

    • You said it, it’s such a stacked year. They way you feel about “Uncut Gems” is how I feel about “A Hidden Life”. It’s my favorite film of 2019 by a mile but I accepted it wasn’t getting ANYTHING ANYWHERE! The lone exception is the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

      We are together on Ad Astra. As for Foxx and Waves, more on then later this week when I finish my look back at 2019. It starts tomorrow (shameless plug, I know).

  5. Since I still haven’t seen A Hidden Life , I cant say anything about it but on the list as is , 1917 gets my nod by a mile. Then it would be JOJO Rabbit , but beyond that not one really resonated with me at all . Plus what I find frustrating with the academy when it comes to wardrobe and make up categories , rarely do genre films ever get in . I was glad to see Maleficent: Mistress of Evil get a nod . Genre films make up and wardrobe is so much more involving than real world “movies” . I know a person who works locally in make up effects and hair and he has always been miffed at the awards shows and I’m with him . Plus to be honest I thought Robert Downey Jr. might get a nod for more or less a collective work as Iron Man but nope .Plus zero love for Ad Astra , which baffles me .

    • You make a great point about genre pictures and the Academy’s weird relationship to them (or lack thereof). I like all kinds of films which is why I like so many mentioned. But you’re right, it’s so difficult for genre films or franchise pictures to get a nod with the Academy.

      At least “Joker” had a good showing, right? (just kidding, couldn’t resist 😉)

  6. I wrote my thoughts while I was watching the announcement video:
    -FORD V FERRARI?! I thought it was out of the Best Picture race! What a nice surprise! I also felt doubts about JOKER, since it hadn’t gotten that many nominations in this category throughout the season. I remember THE FAREWELL and KNIVES OUT being considered long shots, so I’m not surprised they’re not nominated, but I thought they were better than some of the actual nominees.
    -Best Directing was very competitive and the choices were never going to satisfy everyone. I personally felt Greta Gerwig did a better job than Martin, Todd and Quentin, but they’re not bad choices. And no, don’t make this a sexism issue.
    -Saoirse! Awesome! I feared that she might have lost a little steam recently. I haven’t seen HARRIET, but I thought Lupita Nyong’o had more chances than Cynthia based on how many awards she’s been winning. I personally thought Awkwafina was more deserving than Scarlett, but not a bad choice.
    -Best Actor was the most competitive category of the entire year. There were arguably 10 frontrunners. The choices were also never going to satisfy everyone. Am I satisfied? Yes.
    -The writing nominations are all good choices, though I’m surprised 1917 made it over THE FAREWELL.
    -I like the Best Song line-up. Not just because they’re good songs, but also because THE LION KING isn’t nominated here.
    -Yes! I love I LOST MY BODY! Wow, no FROZEN PART II here. I thought it was better than HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON PART 3. Even KLAUS (which I liked) is a surprise.
    -I haven’t seen MALEFICENT PART 2 yet, but I assumed that ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD and especially ROCKETMAN were locks for Makeup/Hairstyling. Hell, even DOLEMITE IS MY NAME had bigger chances.
    -Wow! I assumed THE LIGHTHOUSE had lost its chances of a nomination. I wasn’t a big fan of THE IRISHMAN’s cinematography. I would’ve nominated LITTLE WOMEN or PARASITE instead.
    -I haven’t seen 1917, but I know that they make it look like it’s one shot. Does that mean it deserved a Best Editing nomination? Either way, I’m happy with these choices.
    -Yes! PARASITE for Production Design! I loved LITTLE WOMEN, but it’s not fair for period pieces to always get nominated here. I assumed JOKER could get a chance here.
    -I thought ATLANTICS was a lock for an International Film nomination, even though I personally wasn’t a big fan of it.
    -APOLLO 11 isn’t nominated?! I didn’t see any documentary last year, but I thought this one was the frontrunner to win!
    -I can’t say I’m surprised Willem Dafoe and Song Kang-ho aren’t nominated. Again, the competition was too strong this year.
    -Yes! THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW was one of my favorite shorts last year!
    -JOKER and LITTLE WOMEN for Score! Yay! THE RISE OF SKYWALKER? But the score was mostly re-using the old themes (even more than EPISODES VII & VIII). I thought US had a bigger chance here.
    -I’m surpised JOKER is nominated for the Sound awards but AVENGERS PART 4 isn’t.
    -Good choices for Supporting Actress, though I’m surprised to see Kathy Bates instead of Jennifer Lopez and Zhao Shuzhen.

    “The Farewell” was completely shut out. Not even a Best International Film nod.”
    It wasn’t eligible in that category.

    “No nominations for Dick Poop.”
    Oh, I still remember that!

    “can anyone beat Brad Pitt in the Best Supporting Actor category?
    He has won most of them throughout the season. If he were to lose, it’d be to either of the IRISHMAN actors (they’ve won a couple of awards so).

    “The Martin Scorsese gangster epic didn’t do well at the Golden Globes. Will Oscar be any different?”
    Probably, since the Oscars have more categories.

    ““Ad Astra” gets one lone nomination completing its dry run this awards season.”
    I figured it’d get just 1 nomination, but I thought it had more chances for Best Visual Effects than the Sound categories. Even Best Cinematography seemed like a possibility.

    “I don’t know ANY of the tunes nominated for Original Song, and yes I am ashamed.”
    Why don’t you look them up on YouTube and listen to them? It won’t take that long.

  7. For Best Actress, Renee Z. is a shoe-in, as far as I’m concerned. I think 1917 will sweep it. Who else but Phoenix can win Best Actor? He was too good. Let’s see who wins Best Supporting Actor. That’s up in the air, for me.

      • Welcome! Driver was good, but not transformational. Any number of male actors could have played that role. Phoenix was not himself. He became the character. Because the role was so atypical and bizarre, it left a lasting impression heavier than Driver in a state of divorce.

    • I really think Brad Pitt has Supporting Actor in the bag. Honestly, all the acting categories look pretty set and I would be really happy with that. All give strong performances. 1917 vs Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for Best Picture. That’s going to be fun!

  8. I’ve really tried not caring about this crap because Oscar sucks, but no noms at all for Apollo 11? Get the fuck outta here. That’s ridiculous.

  9. I’m not surprised about the lack of nominations for A Hidden Life but I’m more upset over other things such as Greta Gerwig not getting a Best Director nod, the snubs towards Eddie Murphy, Lupita Nyong’o, Awkwafina, and J-Lo (whom I’m not a fan of but I felt at least deserved something). I’m not really surprised but upset over the lack of love towards Avengers: Endgame as I feel that film did a whole lot more than what it expected to be as it delivered big time to be something far more important.

    I’m happy that Scarlett finally got an Oscar nomination yet to have 2 is just cool. I hope she brings some Scar-Jo-weisers to the ceremony and when she wins one. She better yell BRING ME SOME FUCKING BEERS! and do a Stone Cold Steve Austin on those beers. Now that’s 4 members of my beloved Bullet Club that’s been Oscar nominated (2 of them are Oscar winners in Queen Anne and PO’TMAN MOTHAFUCKA). Now let’s get ERW, Evil Liv, and Cactus Jena their Oscar nods and the Tiny Canadian Destroyer to get win! BULLET CLUB FTW!!!!!

    • Again, I would have no problem with Greta Gerwig being nominated. I love her and that film. But it doesn’t really upset me simply because great cases can be made for those who were nominated. I’m with ya on Lupita and Awkwafina (as you will see later in the week, hint hint). But I wasn’t high on Eddie Murphy and there were so many I would like to see ahead of J-Lo. It would’ve been to see Avengers Endgame get more love. I guess they think they’ve done their part giving a wink to Black Panther

  10. Pingback: Parasite | Thomas J

  11. I still have to watch both Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Hopefully this week sometime, since both got an impressive amount of nominations. I was also very glad to see JoJo pick up a bunch, because that movie was in my top three this year. 1917 too! 🙂

  12. Best Director is the category that frustrates me the most because I’d only keep Mendes and Bong. I still can’t believe how overlooked Marielle Heller was all season.

    I wish Knives Out got more than just one Oscar nom. I think it deserved to be in Best Picture too.

    Sandler was always a long shot, but I was hoping Taran or Eddie would’ve gotten it, it bums me out that they didn’t

    After seeing 1917, damn that score was brilliant. I don’t think it will unseat Joker but it would be a worthy win.

    • I’m guilty of overlooking Heller. I liked that film but it didn’t stick with me. But her direction was strong.

      Great point on Knives Out. They have a 10th spot! I mean c’mon! Couldn’t it fit right there?

      I’m really rooting for Hildur. I loved her score. But don’t count out Newman. You’re right, his 1917 score was fantastic.

  13. I haven’t seen so many of the nominees, but from what I have seen, Joker and Once Upon a Time got the nominations they earned, BUT I think DeCaprio and Pitt need to be flipped. Pitt was the star of the movie and DeCaprio was a supporting actor. On the animated films, Klaus is the only one I saw and think it deserves some kind of award. I’m disappointed the The Farewell didn’t get recognized like it should have.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s