Oscar season is drawing to a close, as the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences announced its full list of 2020 Oscar nominations Jan. 13.
As a self-described film enthusiast (and as someone who enjoys seeing film nerds argue over things that no one is going to remember in a few years) I always look forward to the Oscars. This is the time of year when everyone can unleash their inner film critics and debate about the movies we love.
Here are my thoughts on this year’s Nominations:
(Disclaimer: I have not seen all of the movies that were nominated, so I’ll be leaving them out of the discussion)
Joker tops the list with the most nominations, 11 in total, including Best Picture, Actor, Film Editing, Costume Design, Original Score and, surprisingly, Writing. The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and 1917 are tied for second with 10 nods each.
With four films raking in 41 nods, I can’t help but be a bit disappointed in the variety and number of films nominated this year.
Look, Joker was a great film, but it’s basically just a well-directed superhero movie dressed up as a Scorsese thriller. Did it really deserve 11 nominations? This is not to diminish Joaquin Phoenix’s role as the titular murderous clown however, as he was easily the best and most touching part of the movie. I just wish the writing were better.
Such a small number of films getting so many nods make it even more frustrating that the Academy snubbed an especially high number of movies this season. Jordan Peele’s Us and Greta Gerwig’s Little Women immediately come to mind.
The Academy is notorious for snubbing horror movies, but ignoring Us feels especially out of touch. Us was a brilliantly directed and surprisingly comedic thriller that provided social commentary. It was also directed by one of the best up-and-coming filmmakers of our time.
Little Women, adapted from Louisa May Alcott’s coming of age classic, is a timely film about four sisters dealing with poverty and sexism in Civil War America. The performances are amazing and the themes resonate with today’s tumultuous political climate.
I never thought I would say this, but one of the greatest snubs of the year was the Academy passing up none other than Adam Sandler for his starring role in Uncut Gems. Sandler is truly phenomenal in this movie and the Academy’s refusal to acknowledge him feels grotesquely pretentious.
Despite the snubs, there were a few films that I was actually excited to see get recognized.
It’s great to see Parasite, a Korean film directed by Bong Joon Ho, get the recognition it deserves. The social thriller was nominated for Best Picture and Director.
If any of the aforementioned big winners deserve all of its nominations, it’s The Irishman. The Scorsese directed masterpiece is not only magnificently directed, it also has everything that Joker lacks: good writing with a director talented and experienced enough to communicate the film’s complex themes.
I also loved seeing The Lighthouse receive its nod for Best Cinematography.
Despite the snubs, the 2020 Oscar nominations did come as much of a surprise. As far as which films will actually win big, who is to say?