Netflix's "Marriage Story" stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanson

Pre-Oscars 2020: Who’s Up From Our Geekdoms

Geek Gals! It’s the culminating event of awards season–The Academy Awards! I’m here to preview who and what from our geeky worlds made the cut! The awards take place early this year on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020 on ABC. 

Major Victory for Comic Book Movies 

In a stunning move, The Joker, Todd Philip’s gritty reboot, garnered 11 nominations. This film was not only a financial success, but a critical success as well, with nominations for Joaquin Phoenix as Best Leading Actor, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director awards normally reserved for traditional Oscar pictures. And look for Phoenix to nab the Best Leading Actor award as he has won the other heavy hitters (SAG Awards, Critics Choice, Golden Globe) as well. But, as Black Panther’s nomination for Best Picture last year proved, the door is widening for comic book movies to be considered the elite films. 

Fandom Faves Get Nods…

Disney had posited Adam Driver as Best Supporting Actor for The Rise of Skywalker in its Oscar campaign, but disappointing reviews and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 53% killed the buzz for any acting nominations from the last Skywalker saga film. However, Driver and MCU actress Scarlett Johansson both scored nominations in the Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress categories for their work in Marriage Story.

Released in both theaters and on Netflix, director Noah Baumbach’s look at a collapsing marriage is heart-wrenching and funny. Definitely worth a view! And Johansson is a double nominee for her work in Jojo Rabbit, directed by none other than the fabulously talented Taika Waititi! He is up for Best Adapted Screenplay and also Best Picture, as a producer of Jojo Rabbit.  Waititi has directed an episode of The Mandalorian and the feature film, Thor: Ragnarok. Speaking of Thor–Thor’s dad, Anthony Hopkins, is nominated for Best Supporting Actor  in The Two Popes

Apparently, The Oscars Let It Go…

In the Best Animated Film category, perhaps what is most interesting is what’s missing–Frozen 2. The Disney juggernaut, which made over $1.4 billion worldwide, only received a nomination for Best Song, “Into the Unknown.” Reasons could include a strong showing by Netflix’s new animated division, which produced I Lost My Body and Klaus, and possibly some Disney exhaustion. Disney launched massive Oscar consideration campaigns for A Rise of Skywalker, Frozen 2, Avengers; Endgame, The Lion King and Toy Story 4, netting very little results… hmmmm. 

Avengers, Disassemble? 

Disney promoted Avengers: Endgame for 13 nominations, ranging from Best Picture to Film Editing and Sound Mixing… and received a total of… one nomination for Best Visual Effects. A bit underwhelming for the highest grossing movie of all time? Definitely. Unexpected? Not entirely, the Academy notoriously snubs big-budget blockbusters in favor of critically acclaimed, traditional dramas. But with the astonishing number of  nominations for The Joker, comic book movies are still viable.

Don’t Overlook Girl Power…in Some Overlooked Categories…

"Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)" documentary short film
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)” / Credit: A&E Indie Films

In the documentary short subject category, there is a wonderful film about girls in Kabul learning to skateboard and face their fears. Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) features Skateistan, a nonprofit which teaches skateboarding and also prepares girls to re-enter or enter school with necessary skills. It’s sweet and sad and I highly recommend this dose of girl power if you need a lift. You can stream most of the nominees for this category and short film at https://shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/.

Get on the Bong Joon-Ho Bandwagon!

"Parasite" film
“Parasite” / Credit: Barunson E&A

What can I say about this amazing director? If you read my recommendations for spooky season watching in October, I recommended Train to Busan, a zombie thriller, and part of what’s known as Korean New Wave Cinema. Bong is a big part of that new wave and Parasite is truly an amazing film. It featured twists and turns that shifted the film from class conscious drama to nightmare thriller.  It requires repeated viewings to make sure you don’t miss anything! Bong has already collected directing awards, but lost the Directors Guild Award to Sam Mendes for 1917.  And in Bong’s own words at the Golden Globes,  “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Don’t Get Technical with Me…

Much like Avengers: Endgame, Disney heavily pushed The Rise of Skywalker for nominations. But enthusiasm was curtailed by poor reviews and the ever widening chasm of split Star Wars fans over the Disney trilogy. Wars of words on Twitter, Reddit, countless blogs and Youtube waged on over Reylos, the return of Palpatine, the reduced role of Rose, and on and on and on. The last film in the Skywalker Saga received technical nominations for visual effects and sound editing, as well as a nomination for Star Wars icon John Williams…

Take a Bow, Mr. Williams…

Legendary film composer John Williams conducts an orchestra
Legendary film composer John Williams / Image via CinemaFaith.com

John Williams, legendary composer, received a record 52nd Oscar nomination for Best Score, for The Rise of Skywalker. This is the record for a living person and places him second behind Walt Disney, with 59 nomination. At 87, Williams is retiring from scoring Star Wars films as he has scored all nine films. Will he receive his sixth Oscar for the Skywalker saga? Stay tuned.

See you on the Oscars Red Carpet! We will tune in for the red carpet interviews and awards ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 9. Will you?

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Featured image credit: Netflix

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