Oscar nominations range the gamut
By Ellie Lande, Managing and Copy Editor
It’s 2020, and by (debatable) popular demand, I have returned to write my predictions for the top four Oscar Categories. I did decently well last year, coming away with 60 percent accuracy — a D- for those of you playing at home. I’m not necessarily aiming for a higher grade this year, but I’m just as eager to see how it all plays out.
I think I can pretty quickly give this one to Quentin Tarantino for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” but not necessarily because he did the best job. In fact, I’d argue that Todd Phillips rivals with “Joker,” Bong Joon-ho created a masterpiece with “Parasite,” and Sam Mendes should actually be winning this category with “1917.” The edge goes to QT for the subject matter. It’s a love letter to Golden Age Hollywood, and while it might not have been 2019’s best directing, Tarantino made us remember why it was golden.
Oh, and as for Scorcese, he’s done a lot better than “The Irishman.” Period.
Antonio Banderas’s performance in “Pain and Glory” is extremely underrated. Unfortunately, this rather depletes his chances. Jonathan Pryce isn’t a household name either, unless you actively read the “Pirates of the Carribean” movie credits. His Benedict XVI in “The Two Popes” was compelling, but he lacks notoriety.
Leonardo DiCaprio, however, is well known, and his role in “Once Upon a Time” ect. is his seventh best actor nomination. Unfortunately for Leo fans, I doubt it’ll be his second win. He just didn’t stand out like Adam Driver and Joaquin Phoenix, who proved they’re nothing short of acting geniuses. They demonstrated a sweeping range of emotions, with Driver showing poignancy and humor in “Marriage Story,” and Phoenix convincing us of his spectrum of insanity in “Joker.” My bet goes with the latter.
Biographic roles like Renee Zellweger’s as Judy Garland in “Judy” are exhaustingly overdone. However, Zellweger won a Golden Globe so she’ll probably win the Oscar, too. I don’t think her win is unwarranted though, as I have some critiques about the other four nominees.
Charlize Theron was, at least to me, the only great thing about “Bombshell,” which meant that she didn’t have a great platform to work from. Cynthia Erivo snagged a nomination for her powerful portrayal of Harriet Tubman in “Harriet,” but she wasn’t as strong as Saoirse Ronan for “Little Women” and Scarlett Johansson for “Marriage Story.”
Ronan is a delight to watch, but “Little Women” has been remade so many times that her performance isn’t exactly original. As for Johannsson, she almost over-acted. The degree of emotion certainly shows her talent, but that can get old, which leaves the Oscar with Zellweger.
I’ll get a few out of the way quickly. You know my feelings on “The Irishman,” “Parasite” just doesn’t have the acknowledgement, “Jojo Rabbit” didn’t live up to its hype, and I’m surprised “Ford v Ferrari” even got nominated — sorry, car geeks.
The next five are a bit trickier. “Joker” is kind of intimidating, and I genuinely think people are scared of it. “Little Women” is the opposite; it follows a lovely storyline and is almost a neatly wrapped present, but it doesn’t go the extra mile.
“Once Upon a Time” is a teacher’s pet of a film. It’s good in its own right, of course, with a complex, dramatic, and sometimes comedic story. It entertained, but it falls short for the same reason as “Little Women.”
At this point in the article, I’ve developed a prejudice against “Marriage Story,” and I’m not really sure why. It’s a darn good film with a small story that somehow grows to encompass so much more. I appreciate that it took on such a commonplace topic that is still so powerful. Honestly, the reason I want it to lose is because I really want “1917” to win, which it likely will.
“1917” is quietly magnificent. The sweeping scale manages to tell an intimate narrative. It doesn’t spare us the realities and consequences of its world. In essence, it effortlessly captures everything a film hopes to achieve.
Despite all my guesses and critiques, it’s been a fabulous year in film. I’m constantly amazed at what those in front of and behind the camera create, so much so that I don’t think I’d mind getting 100 percent of my guesses wrong.