A Quick Guide to the 2020 Oscar Nominations

2020 Oscar Nominations Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite," nominated for Best Picture and Best Director (two firsts for South Korea).

Who should win, who will win, and who was left out.

Here we are, folks — the Oscar race has begun. Now that the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences has released their picks for the 92nd Academy Awards, it’s time to look back at the 2020 Oscar nominations, celebrate their inclusions and (mostly) shake our fist at what they excluded.

Joker, Todd Phillips’ divisive retelling of the Batman villain’s origin story, scooped up 11 nominations, with Quentin Tarantino’s 8th film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Sam Mendes’ WWI long-shot epic 1917 and Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half-hour mafia drama The Irishman snagging ten apiece.

While some great films are being celebrated, still others are ignored, most notably from women and POC filmmakers: no women were nominated for best director, and there are zero people of color nominated for supporting acting categories. (The lead performer categories have just one: Cynthia Erivo for Best Actress.) But at least they got two people of color to read all the acting nominees who didn’t look like them?

Below you’ll find a full list of the categories, the nominees, and what we think of their choices. Plus, we’ll talk about who we think should be in the running instead.

Best Picture

oscar nominations 2020
“Once pon a Time in Hollywood”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The Irishman

Parasite

1917

Marriage Story

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Ford v Ferrari

Who should win: Parasite

Who will win: Joker

Who was left out: Overall, this is a decent pack of nominees (though we take great umbrage to Joker and Jojo‘s inclusion); we’d have loved some love for Portrait of a Lady on Fire (I know it wasn’t in competition, but let me dream), Ad Astra, Uncut Gems or Knives Out.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

oscar nominations 2020
Renee Zellweger, “Judy”

Renée Zellweger, Judy

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

Who should win: Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Who will win: Renée Zellweger, Judy

Who was left out: I know she’s nominated elsewhere, but I would’ve loved to have seen Florence Pugh here for Midsommar (hey, Scarlett gets to be here twice, why not her Black Widow co-star?). Also, justice for Lupita in Us and Awkwafina in The Farewell. Plus, Mary Kay Place will never get her due for the excellent, criminally underseen Diane, and that seems a real shame.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

oscar nominations 2020
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Who should win: Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Who will win: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Who was left out: Leaving Adam Sandler out of the running for Uncut Gems or Eddie Murphy for Dolemite Is My Name feels like a slap in the face, and I’ve got a real soft spot for Brad Pitt in Ad Astra. Oh, and Bobby De Niro gets snubbed for The Irishman while his supporting players get nods? It is what it is, I guess.

Best Director

oscar nominations 2020
“The Irishman”

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Sam Mendes, 1917

Todd Phillips, Joker

Who should win: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Who will win: Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Who was left out: Where are the women? Marielle Heller, Lorene Scafaria, Greta fucking Gerwig? That Twitter thread about how people don’t respect female directors as much as men because they’re not ‘showy’ enough may have been patronizing and a little sexist (not to mention wrong in the case of Little Women), but maybe they were onto something with Academy voters at least?

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

oscar nominations 2020
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Who should win: Hanks, Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Who will win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who was left out: Once again, a fairly white field for acting this year, which is a pervasive problem that still needs to be fixed. I’d have loved to have seen Wesley Snipes here for Dolemite Is My Name, or (more importantly) Jonathan Majors for his star-making turn in The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

oscar nominations 2020
Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”

Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Florence Pugh, Little Women

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell

Who should win: Florence Pugh, Little Women

Who will win: Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Who was left out: Lotta great folks, including Zhao Shuzhen for The Farewell, Merritt Wever in Marriage Story, Ana de Armas in Knives Out, fucking Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers. Anyone in the Parasite cast.

Best International Feature Film

“Pain and Glory”

South Korea, Parasite

Spain, Pain and Glory

France, Les Misérables

North Macedonia, Honeyland

Poland, Corpus Christi

Who should win: Parasite

Who will win: Parasite (as a consolation prize for not winning Best Picture)

Who was left out: Atlantics, And Then We Danced, Climax, Portrait of a Lady on Fire (though that’s France’s fault), An Elephant Sitting Still, Monos, the list goes on.

Best Adapted Screenplay

oscar nominations 2020
Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson in Greta Gerwig’s LITTLE WOMEN.

The Irishman, Steven Zaillian

Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi

Little Women, Greta Gerwig

The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

Joker, Todd Phillips & Scott Silver

Who should win: Gerwig, Little Women

Who will win: Zaillian, Irishman

Who was left out: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood comes to mind here, for sure.

Best Original Screenplay

oscar nominations 2020
“Marriage Story”

Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino

Parasite, Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won

Knives Out, Rian Johnson

1917, Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Who should win: Marriage Story

Who will win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Who was left out: This one’s largely a solid batch of nominees, but we’re missing Us, The Farewell, Pain & Glory, The Lighthouse, and more.

Best Animated Feature

oscar nominations 2020
“I Lost My Body”

“Toy Story 4”

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”

“Missing Link”

“I Lost My Body”

“Klaus”

Who should win: Missing Link

Who will win: Toy Story 4

Who was left out: This one’s also largely unimpeachable, mostly because there just aren’t that many good animated films out there, and at least my precious Laika is in the running. What are you gonna do, nominate Frozen 2? Don’t make me laugh.

Best Documentary Feature

oscar nominations 2020
“Honeyland”

“American Factory”

“The Edge of Democracy”

“Honeyland”

“For Sama”

“The Cave”

Who should win: For Sama

Who will win: The Edge of Democracy

Who was left out: I was rather sad to see Penny Lane’s brilliant Hail Satan? missing from this, not to mention Apollo 11. Plenty of great docs to choose from, but it was a good year for them.

Best Documentary Short Subject

oscar nominations 2020
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

“In the Absence”

“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”

“Life Overtakes Me”

“St. Louis Superman”

“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

(We’re shamefully skipping predictions for the shorts, because we haven’t gotten to see them yet.)

Best Animated Short Film

oscar nominations 2020
“Hair Love”

“Dcera (Daughter)”

“Hair Love”

“Kitbull”

“Memorable”

“Sister”

(We’re shamefully skipping predictions for the shorts, because we haven’t gotten to see them yet. That said, Hair Love should win this one.)

Best Live-Action Short Film

oscar nominations 2020
“Nefta Football Club”

“Brotherhood”

“Nefta Football Club”

“The Neighbors’ Window”

“Saria”

“A Sister”

(We’re shamefully skipping predictions for the shorts, because we haven’t gotten to see them yet.)

Best Film Editing

oscar nominations 2020
“Parasite”

“The Irishman”

“Ford v Ferrari”

“Parasite”

“Joker”

“Jojo Rabbit”

Who should win: Parasite

Who will win: The Irishman

Who was left out: Plenty of films had killer editing this year — Apollo 11, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Marriage Story. It’s criminal that Little Women‘s bifurcated time structure isn’t getting celebrated, either.

Best Cinematography

oscar nominations 2020
“1917”

“1917,” Roger Deakins

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robert Richardson

“The Irishman,” Rodrigo Prieto

“Joker,” Lawrence Sher

“The Lighthouse,” Jarin Blaschke

Who should win: Deakins, 1917

Who will win: Deakins, 1917

Who was left out: Hustlers‘ cinematography was sorely underappreciated, as was Little Women‘s. The Last Black Man in San Francisco would have had a great shot here too, not to mention the simple, evocative power of Clemency‘s look.

Best Original Song

oscar nominations 2020
“Frozen II”

“I’m Standing With You,” from “Breakthrough”

“Into the Unknown,” from “Frozen II”

“Stand Up,” from “Harriet”

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” from “Rocketman”

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” from “Toy Story 4”

Who should win: “Into the Unknown”

Who will win: “Into the Unknown”

Who was left out: What’s “Glasgow (No Place Like Home)” from Wild Rose not doing here? That’s it, I quit.

Best Visual Effects

oscar nominations 2020
“Avengers: Endgame”

“Avengers: Endgame”

“The Lion King”

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

“The Irishman”

“1917”

Who should win: The Irishman

Who will win: Avengers: Endgame

Who was left out: Leaving Ad Astra and High Life out of this category feels criminal, as does the innovative effects work in Alita: Battle Angel and the intermittent Victorian splendor of The Aeronauts. But at least we didn’t get Cats?

Best Production Design

oscar nominations 2020
Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis in the film JOJO RABBIT. Photo by Kimberley French. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“The Irishman”

“1917”

“Jojo Rabbit”

“Parasite”

Who should win: Parasite

Who will win: Jojo Rabbit

Who was left out: Ad Astra had a killer conception of a sad, industrialized space future, and we can’t forget the meticulous fashioning of Knives Out‘s central Massachusetts mansion.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

oscar nominations 2020
“Bombshell”

“Bombshell”

“Joker”

“Judy”

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

“1917”

Who should win: Judy

Who will win: Joker

Who was left out: What a weird, garbage category? I’d throw in Taron Egerton’s transformation into Elton John in Rocketman, or all the great little hair and makeup decisions that went into Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or Dolemite Is My Name.

Best Costume Design

oscar nominations 2020
“Little Women”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Little Women”

“The Irishman”

“Jojo Rabbit”

“Joker”

Who should win: Little Women

Who will win: Jojo Rabbit

Who was left out: 1917 had a great command of period-appropriate costuming, and I even appreciated a lot of the space-age costuming decisions made in Ad Astra and Rise of Skywalker. Or hell, what about all of the Hustlers‘ outfits?

Best Sound Mixing

oscar nominations 2020
“Ad Astra”

“1917”

“Ford v Ferrari”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Ad Astra”

“Joker”

Who should win: Ad Astra

Who will win: Ford v. Ferrari

Who was left out: Parasite is being notably left out of these sound categories, and I’m watching you closely, Academy voters. But if my baby Ad Astra gets even one Oscar, I’ll be happy.

Best Sound Editing

oscar nominations 2020
“Ford v Ferrari”

“1917”

“Ford v Ferrari”

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Joker”

Who should win: Ford v Ferrari

Who will win: Ford v Ferrari

Who was left out: Once again, where’s Parasite?

Best Original Score

oscar nominations 2020
“Sar Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

“1917,” Thomas Newman

“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir

“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat

“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

Who should win: Newman, 1917

Who will win: Guðnadóttir, Joker

Who was left out: Parasite and Ad Astra‘s scores were sorely underappreciated, as was Apollo 11‘s innovative use of era-specific synthesizers and Dolemite Is My Name‘s groovy ’70s backdrop. But sure, give it to Joker‘s droning violins, or Williams regurgitating old Star Wars cues for two and a half hours.

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