By Abb Jones
The Reelness

Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled its Oscars shortlists, the narrowed-down lists of potential nominees, in several award categories.

Starting January 2nd, Academy members will have five days to narrow down the lists below to the five nominees in each category that will be announced on Monday, January 13th. For all of you fellow award show nerds, here are the shortlists in six categories, as well as our predictions of which films will likely make the cut (click on the movies highlighted in bold for our reviews):

The documentary Apollo 11 is an immersive experience, offering never before seen footage of the historic 1969  moon landing.

Documentary Feature

American Factory
The Apollo
Apollo 11
The Biggest Little Farm
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama
The Great Hack
Knock Down the House
Midnight Family
One Child Nation

The Reelness predictions: There are two standouts that, in addition to enjoying a national theatrical release, are both up for our soon to be unveiled, 10 Best Movies of 2019:  Apollo 11, an immersive, start-to-finish first person look at the historic 1969 moon walk, featuring never before seen footage, and The Biggest Little Farm, the life affirming tale of a couple creating a self-sustaining, organic farm north of Los Angeles. Others likely to get nominated: American Factory, an eye-opening look at the differences between American and Chinese factory workers when the Americans visit a car glass factory in China; One Child Nation, the brutal look at the personal impacts of China’s one child policy; and The Great Hack, the terrifying look at Cambridge Analytica’s impact on the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

Documentaries about famous individuals were almost universally snubbed this year. Among them: Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, the Imelda Marcos documentary The Elephant Queen, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story, Ron Howard’s Pavarotti, David Crosby – Remember My Name, Oscar-winner Asif Kapadia’s profile of soccer player Diego Maradona, and Where’s My Roy Cohn?

Parasite is the leading contender for the Oscar for Best International Feature Film (formerly Foreign Language Film)

International Feature Film (formerly Foreign Language Film):

Czech Republic, The Painted Bird
Estonia, Truth and Justic
France, Les Misérables
Hungary, Those Who Remained
North Macedonia, Honeyland
Poland, Corpus Christi
Russia, Beanpole
Senegal, Atlantics
South Korea, Parasite
Spain, Pain and Glory

The Reelness predictions: If there is anything as close to a sure thing, it is that Parasite, South Korea’s big prize winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, not only will get nominated but will easily win the Oscar in this category. Spain’s Pain and Glory is also expected to be nominated just because of its wide release and its big name stars Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz. The remainder is more of a toss up, with the next three spots likely to go the Czech Republic’s The Painted Bird, Hungary’s Those Who Remained and North Macedonia’s Honeyland (which is also on the shortlist for Best Documentary). Hey, a possible two-fer for Honeyland.

Lady Mary must be oh so pleased. Downton Abbey made the Oscar shortlist for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

Makeup and Hairstyling

Dolomite Is My Name
Downton Abbey
Little Women
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The Reelness predictions:  Bombshell‘s dramatic, prosthetic-filled transformation of Charlize Theron into Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly makes it the clear frontrunner, with nods also likely for Joker (clown, is in!) and Judy (Renée Zellweger IS Judy). Downton Abbey, with its fabulous period hairstyles, also should easily make the cut, along with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, just because Angelina Jolie looked so devilishly good.

Hildur Gudnadóttir’s score helped make Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker even more wonderfully disturbing.

Music (Original Score)

Avengers: Endgame
The Farewell
Ford v Ferrari
Frozen II
JoJo Rabbit
The King
Little Women
Marriage Story
Motherless Brooklyn
Pain and Glory
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The Reelness predictions: Hildur Guðnadóttir’s creepy cello-laden score in Joker sets such a perfect, dark mood that it is the one to beat, especially after the Icelandic composer recently picked up an Emmy for her score for the HBO series Chernobyl. Also likely to get nominated: Avengers: Endgame (c’mon, it’s the big rousing franchise finale!), JoJo Rabbit (Michael Giacchino’s wonderful score makes a great film even better), Marriage Story (the score from perennial nominee Randy Newman is as much a star as Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver’s performances), and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – this would serve a courtesy nod to FIVE-time winner John Williams – who picked up one of those statues for the original Star Wars film).

Frozen II‘s “Into the Unknown” has its eyes on Oscar for a Best Original Song nomination… and likely win.

Music: Original Song

Aladdin, “Speechless”
The Black Godfather, “Letter to My Godfather”
Breakthrough, “I’m Standing with You”
The Bronx USA, “Da Bronx”
Frozen II, “Into The Unknown”
Harriet, “Stand Up”
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, “Catchy Song”
The Lion King, “Spirit”
The Lion King, “Never Too Late”
Motherless Brooklyn, “Daily Battles”
Parasite, “A Glass of Soju”
Rocketman, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, “High Above the Water”
Toy Story 4, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away”
Wild Rose, “Glasgow”

The Reelness predictions: The Idina Menzel and AURORA duet “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II is a shoo-in to make the five and is heavily favored to win. Beyond that, Beyoncé’s “Spirit” from The Lion King should make the cut, as well as the inspiring Naomi Scott tune “Speechless” from Disney’s Aladdin and Cynthia Erivo’s “Stand Up” from Harriet. The fifth spot is a bit trickier – but based on sheer artistry, the Jessie Buckley tune from Wild Rose, about a Scottish ex-con trying to become a country music star in Nashvillewould be the inspiring choice although the bland Elton John tune “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman will probably sail through due to name recognition.

The big shortlist surprises were the snubs of the Taylor Swift song “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats and several fun Kelly Clarkson and Janelle Monáe tunes that far outshone its animated dud of a film, Ugly Dolls. 

Visual Effects

Alita: Battle Angel
Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel
Gemini Man
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Terminator: Dark Fate

The Reelness predictions: The Lion King, with its ground breaking, freakishly realistic-looking blend of live action and animation, is the one to beat in this category. Other easy picks are The Irishman, with its gimmicky but cool de-aging software, alongside the category’s franchise behemoths Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Avengers: Endgame. The fifth spot is a bit more uncertain, but we will go with the war epic, 1917.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held Sunday, February 9th at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, televised live (on ABC in the United States) and in more than 225 countries and territories around the globe.

Did your favorites make the shortlists? Who do YOU think will get nominated? Add your comments below!


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