It was on January 13 when John Cho and Issa Rae announced the 2020 Oscar nominations. Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of surprises, shocks, and snubs, as the case so often is with Oscar awards. Perhaps, one surprise you would not expect to see is that a very prominent movie as ‘Dolemite Is My Name’ did not have any Oscar nomination. And most surprisingly, ‘Joker’ got the most nomination this year with 11 in total. While, there are a lot more Oscar surprises this year and some unprecedented and unpredictable snubs, here are the ones that caught our attention.
Joker Wins Big With Shocking 11 Nominations
If there is any such thing as winners and losers of the nomination process, then the movie, ‘Joker’ is undoubtedly the winner of the 2020 Oscar nominations. No one will really be surprised if it earned nominations for just best picture and best actor categories. But it went way beyond those expectations to amass an unprecedented 11 nominations which is the most by any film in the Academy Awards. It thumped ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’ by Quentin Tarantino, ‘1917’ by Sam Mendes, and ‘The Irishman’ by Martin Scorsese with each of them having 10. Funnily enough, ‘Joker’ had half of its nominations in categories where you would think it has a small chance of winning, and not in categories you would think it will lock down, such as The Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, Best Director, Best Costume Design, And Best Sound Editing. We are up for how many awards it will bag on the award night.
Adam Sandler Loses Big
Adam is one actor you could bet is on the way to first Oscar nomination this year with the ‘Uncut Gems’ movie. But it looks like he has to continue the wait. Sorry Adams! Just weeks back, the actor won an award from critics groups, and you would have thought that was setting a good precedence for the Oscar nominations’ Best Actor Category, but it did not happen for him. In the end, Jonathan Pryce of ‘The Two Popes’ beat him to the last slot with the first four slots are rightly considered to have been locked down by the nominations for Antonio Banderas, Joaquin Phoenix, Leonardo DiCaprio And Adam Driver.
Two Nominations for Two Popes
This one is no doubt a big surprise. With Taron Egerton in the running for best actor for his role as Elton john, and Adam Sandler for his role in ‘Uncut Gem’, or Robert De Niro for his role as Frank Sheeran in ‘The Irish Man’, they all lost out on that final best actor nomination slot to Jonathan Pryce for his role as Pope Francis in ‘Two Popes’. Co-starring in the movie is Anthony Hopkins, who starred as the second pope. Who would have guessed that two popes will be nominated for Oscar award?
Lupita Nyong’o and Awkwafina Overlooked
These are probably the biggest snub of the 2020 Oscar nomination. With Lupita Nyong’o having won the best actress award from many critic groups and Awkwafina also getting a lot of critic groups’ nominations. It is therefore a big surprise and shocking that both actresses were snubbed by the Oscar. Lupita was nominated for the SAG award for her dual role in Us by Jordan Peele. Awkwafina also came into limelight and was even recognized by the golden globes for her work in The Farewell, acting the role of a granddaughter struggling with terminal illness of her grandmother in the movie by Lulu Wang. However, they were not considered as good enough for the 2020 Oscars.
Cynthia Erivo Nominated
What is surprising about Erivo’s nomination is not the nomination itself, it is more hinged on Awkwafina and The Farewell being snubbed. Erivo, for the most part, played her role well in Harriet. But many pundits had predicted that the last slot for her category would go to Awkwafina. That is what makes it surprising. Movies such as ‘Bad Times At The El Royale’ And ‘Widows’ have earned Erivo some deserved recognition and praise in last few years and Harriet surely did not disappoint her on that front as well. This Oscar nomination now places Erivo one step away from achieving the EGOT status, having previously won Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards. She needs just the Oscar to complete the trick. While many would bet that this is not her year to win the Oscar, well, Oscar always springs up surprises. So, it will be nice to watch what happens.
Apollo 11 Mission Fails At the Academy Awards
The category for best documentary is not one that would probably interest people a lot, but if there is one popular film that everyone would expect not to only make the nominations, but also win it by a landslide margin that’s Apollo 11. Well, this mission failed to launch at the Oscars as it was snubbed from nomination. This will probably go down as a big surprise and one of the biggest snubs of the Academy Awards this year with many movie critics being wowed by this archival footage documentary, also getting a rating of 99% on Rotten Tomato’s Tomatometer and picking up several awards from the biggest critics organizations. But all of this did not matter to the academy, choosing to settle for other options in the best documentary category. It is more shocking when you realize that The Edge of Democracy, a Netflix documentary, made it to the top 5 for this category without any previous nominations or recognition from other bodies.
History Season for Honeyland
You can only expect wonderful results from a movie that was shot for three years, and Honeyland did not disappoint. When the announcement for the Oscar nominations 2020 was made, the north Macedonian movie became the first movie to receive nominations for Best International Feature Film category and also the Best Documentary category which is one of the surprises for this year’s Academy Awards. As though that was not enough, it also became the second movie from North Macedonia to be nominated in the international category (the first being Before the Rain, in 1994). The movie is built around a woman in the mountains of Macedonia, using old beekeeping traditions and techniques for honey production. Tensions soon started to flare after another nomadic family settles in the mountain and started interfering with her source of livelihood.
Beyoncé Loses Oscar Nomination Spot to Randy Newman’s Song in Toy Story 4
Toy Story 4 can be remembered for many things but definitely not for its song. As a matter of fact, not many people remember or even know that Randy Newman had a song in the movie. It is a long forgotten song, even till the morning of the nominations, nobody thought of it. But Randy Newman did have a song on the movie titled “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away”, and it just got an Oscar nomination for the best original song category. What is more surprising is that it denied Beyoncé’s Spirit, a song from her widely celebrated album ‘The Lion King’, an Oscar nomination. How surprising is that? The song will probably be the most literal song of all the songs that were nominated this year. It was always played in the movie over numerous occasions where Forky tries so hard in throwing himself away but Woody wouldn’t just let him do it. It also makes it the 21st Oscar nomination for Randy Newman and a fourth nomination for Toy Story in The Best Original Song category.
Nothing for the Farewell
This is still one surprise that I am yet to get over. You would expect that Awkwafina be nominated for the Best Actress Category, but she missed out. You will also expect that Shuzhen Zhao be nominated for the Best Supporting Actress category, but she also missed out. While it’s easier to get over the two actresses losing out on nominations, how do you deal with such a master piece of a movie as The Farewell completely missing out on all possible categories? If you could believe that the categories for the actresses had a lot of eligible and prospective nominees, you would at least expect that the writer/director Lulu Wang is nominated for the category of Best Original Screenplay. But that also did not happen, as she was beaten to it by writers of 1917 (also nominated for Writers Guild Award) with indeed an incredible film writing. In previous year, Wang would probably have earned that nomination, but as good as her work was, it did not happen. It is unfortunate that the farewell did not earn any nomination, but it does not remove a bit from its awesomeness.
Dolemite, No One Cares About the Name
Dolemite Is My Name is a comedy movie that was highly reviews last year, and it would not have been surprising to see Eddie Murphy earn an Oscar nomination for the best actor category for his role in the movie, but surprisingly, he did not. The bigger surprise is that, the movie as a whole did not manage to get a single Oscar nomination this year. Perhaps that biggest of the surprises is that, the movie was snubbed for the category of Costume Design. This is one category that pundits thought it would be getting a nomination, with Ruth E. Carter (the winner of last year’s award for the same category for Black Panther) considered a huge favorite for the category, but there was not even a nomination at all. Dolemite was beaten to the Best Costume Design category by the Joker, with Biopic Rocketman (which many thought would be in contention) also losing out. You can say “Dolemite Is My Name’ for so long, but as far as Oscar 2020 nominations is concerned, it appears nobody cares.
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