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Predictions are in boldface, followed by those which I personally would nominate in italics. As with previous years' lists, for several categories I have NOT provided my own nominations, since frankly I know jack about costumes, sound and so forth, though more and more I try to pay attention to sound in particular. Films that I have listed as my own personal nominations yet which will definitely not be nominated -- either because they are ultimately ineligible in those categories or simply not shortlisted -- are marked with an asterisk.

BEST PICTURE

1. 1917
2. Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
3. The Irishman
4. Marriage Story
5. Ford v Ferrari
6. Little Women
7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
8. Joker
9. Parasite
10. The Farewell


1. Parasite
2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
3. Marriage Story
4. Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
5. Her Smell
6. I Lost My Body
7. Uncut Gems
8. Ash Is Purest White
9. Little Women
10. The Farewell


ACTOR

Christian Bale - Ford v Ferrari
Antonio Banderas - Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio - Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Adam Driver - Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix - Joker


Leonardo DiCaprio - Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Noah Jupe - Honey Boy
Eddie Murphy - Dolemite Is My Name
Joaquin Phoenix - Joker
Adam Sandler - Uncut Gems


ACTRESS

Cynthia Erivo - Harriet
Scarlett Johansson - Marriage Story 
Saoirse Ronan - Little Women
Charlize Theron - Bombshell
Renee Zellweger - Judy


Annette Bening - The Report
Scarlett Johansson - Marriage Story
Elisabeth Moss - Her Smell
Saoirse Ronan - Little Women
Alfre Woodard - Clemency


SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Alda - Marriage Story 
Tom Hanks - A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Al Pacino - The Irishman
Joe Pesci - The Irishman
Brad Pitt - Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood


Alan Alda - Marriage Story 
Tom Hanks - A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Rory Kinnear - Peterloo
Tim Blake Nelson - Just Mercy
Joe Pesci - The Irishman


SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Laura Dern - Marriage Story 
Jennifer Lopez - Hustlers
Florence Pugh - Little Women
Meryl Streep - Little Women
Shuzhen Zhao - The Farewell


Julia Butters - Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Laura Dern - Marriage Story 
Julianne Nicholson - Monos
Florence Pugh - Little Women
Shuzhen Zhao - The Farewell


DIRECTING

Pedro Almodovar - Pain and Glory 
Bong Joon-Ho - Parasite
Sam Mendes - 1917
Martin Scorsese - The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood


Noah Baumbach - Marriage Story 
Bong Joon-Ho - Parasite
Sam Mendes - 1917
Alex Ross Perry - Her Smell
Celine Sciamma - Portrait of a Lady on Fire


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Farewell
Knives Out
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Parasite


The Farewell
Knives Out
Marriage Story
Parasite
Uncut Gems


ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
The Two Popes


Dolemite Is My Name
I Lost My Body
Just Mercy
Little Women
The Report


CINEMATOGRAPHY

Ford v Ferrari
Joker
Little Women
1917
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood


Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari
The Lighthouse

1917
Shadow


PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Irishman
Little Women
1917
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
The Two Popes


A Hidden Life
The Lighthouse
1917
Parasite
Shadow


COSTUME DESIGN

Dolemite Is My Name
Judy
Little Women
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Rocketman


FILM EDITING

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Joker
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Parasite


Ford v Ferrari
Mike Wallace Is Here*
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Parasite
Uncut Gems


SOUND EDITING

Ford v Ferrari
Joker
1917
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


SOUND MIXING

Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
1917
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


ORIGINAL SONG

"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" - Toy Story 4
"(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" - Rocketman
"Into the Unknown" - Frozen II
"Spirit" - The Lion King
"Stand Up" - Harriet


"High Above the Water" - Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
"Into the Unknown" - Frozen II
"La Jeune Fille En Feu" - Portrait of a Lady on Fire*
"Not Evil" - The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part*
"Stand Up" - Harriet


ORIGINAL SCORE

Joker - Hildur Guonadottir
Little Women - Alexandre Desplat
Marriage Story - Randy Newman
1917 - Thomas Newman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - John Williams


The Last Black Man in San Francisco - Emile Mosseri*
Little Women - Alexandre Desplat
Marriage Story - Randy Newman
Motherless Brooklyn - Daniel Pemberton
The Song of Names - Howard Shore*


VISUAL EFFECTS

Alita: Battle Angel
Avengers: Endgame
The Lion King
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


Ad Astra*
Alita: Battle Angel
The Lion King
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Bombshell
Dolemite Is My Name
Judy
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Rocketman


Bombshell
Just Mercy*
Loro*
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Yesterday*


ANIMATED FEATURE

Frozen II
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
Toy Story 4


Frozen II
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
Toy Story 4


As usual, I am not offering predictions for these next two categories, but I've seen enough of the eligibile films this year that I at least feel qualified to list what I would nominate:

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM (previously known as Foreign Language Film)

And Then We Danced*
Monos*
Pain and Glory
Parasite
Queen of Hearts*


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Apollo 11
Cunningham*
Mike Wallace Is Here*
63 Up*
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am*

And, as always, here are my nominations for a category which doesn't actually exist but damn it, it ought to:
  
TITLE DESIGN

Captain Marvel
Earthquake Bird
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Pain and Glory
Spies in Disguise

MY FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2019

Ad Astra
Avengers: Endgame
Dragged Across Concrete
I Lost My Body
Knives Out
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
Parasite
Spider-Man: Far from Home
THE WORST MOVIES OF 2019

Cats
Countdown
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
King of Thieves
A Million Little Pieces
Rambo: Last Blood
Replicas
Serenity
6 Underground
Under the Silver Lake
MY FAVORITE THINGS FROM THE MOVIES OF 2019

The action scenes in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, particularly what is probably the greatest knife fight ever filmed.

Ad Astra. Far from perfect (that third act is especially slow going on a second viewing), but I'm a sucker for "serious" science-fiction cinema, and this was an honorable and often gorgeous attempt with some stunning setpieces.

Alan Alda in Marriage Story. ("If I was your lawyer..."/"You are my lawyer!") Noah Baumbach is my favorite current filmmaker and though I prefer his friendship movies (Kicking and Screaming, Frances Ha, While We're Young, Mistress America) to his marriage/divorce films, this is a typically excellent work from the director, and I'm thrilled by all the awards attention it's getting.

The amazing dialogue writer-director Peter Strickland provided for Fatma Mohamed as the sinister saleswoman Miss Luckmore in In Fabric. "The hesitation in your voice, soon to be an echo in the recess of the spheres of retail" being just one minor example.

Annette Bening as Dianne Feinstein in The Report. It would be nice if they would give her an Oscar someday, but since she didn't even get nominated for her wonderful performance in 20th Century Women a few years ago, all bets are off.

Another visually staggering collaboration between cinematographer Roger Deakins and production designer Dennis Gassner -- 1917. Their earlier films together include Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Skyfall and Blade Runner 2049, and it's hard to think of another contemporary team that consistently makes such amazing looking movies. (Yes, I know, having directors like Mendes, Villeneuve and the Coens helps too).

Clive Owen's entrance in The Song of Names.

Diane. A moving and unusual movie overall, but especially notable for its cast, with a rare lead role for Mary Kay Place and a supporting cast full of actresses one sees all too seldom, including Andrea Martin, Glynnis O'Connor, Estelle Parsons and Joyce Van Patten. 

Doctor Sleep. Not nearly as intense or emotional as director Mike Flanagan's series The Haunting of Hill House, and I liked it least when it was playing fan service to The Shining, but when it wasn't The Shining II it was a surprisingly effective horror film and for me much more satisfying than the Its.

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name.

Elisabeth Moss in Her Smell. Not an easy performance to watch, but a remarkable one.

I Lost My Body. Probably the best animated film I saw in 2019, and possibly the most emotionally stirring film, animated or otherwise.

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. I don't believe the filmmakers really have anything more to say than that they've seen some of the same Scorsese films that I've seen, but as always this extraordinary actor elevates everything around him.

Joe Pesci in The Irishman.

Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein in Booksmart. There's an early scene of them just dancing in front of an apartment building, and I could have watched them do that for the entire movie.

Knives Out, especially its screenplay (by Rian Johnson)

Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse in The Current War.

Michelle Yeoh in Last Christmas. Because every film is better with Michelle Yeoh, and it's an unexpected treat to see her play the cranky boss in an otherwise forgettable romcom.

Parasite. An excellent and wildly original movie. One should expect no less from Director Bong.

Rory Kinnear as Henry Hunt in Peterloo. Normally I'm a huge fan of Mike Leigh's history/biography based films (Topsy-Turvy, Mr. Turner) while his present-day, fictional-character-based stories leave me cold, but this historical drama about an infamous UK massacre of peaceful protesters, though beautifully mounted, was tiresome and endless, with skimpy character development that showed none of Leigh's usual strengths. However, Kinnear was spectacularly good as a real-life orator, making me wish I'd had the chance to see him on the stage (he was reportedly a superb Iago, but I tend to know him for less classical roles like the Frankenstein monster and Bill Tanner in the 007 films).

Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda in Richard Jewell. One of the happiest things about the last few years of movies has been the satisfaction of seeing Rockwell get the attention he's so long deserved. And any movie where Arianda gets to do an accent is well worth watching for me.

The scene in Official Secrets where Keira Knightley's character confesses to her bosses that she is the whistleblower. A much better film than the reviews suggested, and in some ways the film The Post wanted to be but wasn't.

The sense of time and place in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood.

The sound mix and cinematography of Aquarela.

The supporting cast of Bombshell. The leads are all first-rate, but the film is also amazingly full of welcome familiar faces in supporting roles, including, but not limited to, Connie Britton, Alice Eve, Allison Janney, Richard Kind (as Giuliani!), Malcolm McDowell, Kate McKinnon, Anne Ramsay, Stephen Root, Brooke Smith, Holland Taylor, Alanna Ubach and Robin Weigert.

The 3D cinematography (by Mko Malkhasyan) for the dance documentary Cunningham.

The use of real locations (hotels, shopping centers) to portray the interior of a massive spaceship in Aniara. One of the most haunting films of the year, and I have no idea why this got so much less attention than the predictable and oddly overrated Little Joe (though I must admit that despite its award from Cannes and largely excellent reviews, Little Joe ultimately came and went with little fanfare)

The visuals of Zhang Yimou's Shadow, the most stunning looking martial arts film since Hero (also a Zhang Yimou film)

There's an oft-quoted running joke in Mean Girls, where Lacey Chabert's character [not Amanda Seyfried's character, as I'd originally written -- thanks to SBD for the correction] keeps trying to introduce "fetch" as a slang expression, until an exasperated Rachel McAdams tells her "Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen. It's not going to happen." There's a group of young actors -- including Garrett Hedlund, Charlie Hunnam, Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson -- whom I (and, I think, others on the Internet -- I don't believe I came up with this idea myself) tend to think of as "fetch actors," since talented as they may be, photogenic as they definitely are, they are probably not going to become box-office stars, despite the industry's attempt to convince us otherwise (This is hardly a new phenomenon, or limited to men. Remember Gretchen Mol on the cover of Vanity Fair? Remember Gretchen Mol? She was terrific in The Notorious Bettie Page, so I mean no insult to her talents). So it amused me no end that in films of 2019, Charlie Hunnam played both the brother of Hedlund (in Triple Frontier) and Taylor-Johnson (in A Million Little Pieces). It was like a fetch family reunion.
MY TEN FAVORITE SOUNDTRACK RELEASES OF 2019

Archer/Warning Shot (La-La Land)
Dial M for Murder (Intrada)
The Disaster Movie Soundtrack Collection (La-La Land)
Dracula/The Curse of Frankenstein (Tadlow)
Howard the Duck (Intrada)
Mission: Impossible (La-La Land)
Minority Report (La-La Land)
Planet of the Apes: Original Film Series Soundtrack Collection (La-La Land)
The Quinn Martin Collection Vol. 1: Cop and Detective Series (La-La Land)
The Quinn Martin Collection Vol. 2: The Invaders (La-La Land)
THE BEST SCORES OF 2019 COMMERCIALLY UNRELEASED ON CD

Captain Marvel - Pinar Toprak
Dolemite Is My Name - Scott Bomar
Frozen II - Christophe Beck*
Jumanji: The Next Level - Henry Jackman
Knives Out - Nathan Johnson
The Last Black Man in San Francisco - Emile Mosseri
Motherless Brooklyn - Daniel Pemberton
Peterloo - Gary Yershon
Spies in Disguise - Theodore Shapiro
21 Bridges - Henry Jackman, Alex Belcher

*There are rumors of a Japanese 3-disc set of Frozen II which features Beck's music, but if it does exist it's not exactly easy to track down.
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*There are rumors of a Japanese 3-disc set of Frozen II which features Beck's music, but if it does exist it's not exactly easy to track down.
Ark square has it listed for purchase on their site: https://arksquare.net/detail.php?cdno=UWCD-9011

I don't understand why OFFICIAL SECRETS (and for that matter THE REPORT) were greeted with such indifference, not to say hostility. There seems to be what some anti-intellectualism at play in the reviewing community, whereby worthy politically minded films are suddenly unfashionable.

I also don't understand why you wouldn't nominate 1917, one of your favorites of the year, for Best Picture.

This year...After going through most of the original scores...I gotta say that I'd give the oscar to John Williams.
First because its the best one this year...second it might be his last..third...its one ( just like Jackson got the Best Picture Oscar for the really cheesy and mediocre RETURN OF THE KING) to appreciate the whole ouvre for the series .

Because every film is better with Michelle Yeoh

She couldn't save The Mummy: The Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor.

I don't understand why OFFICIAL SECRETS (and for that matter THE REPORT) were greeted with such indifference, not to say hostility. There seems to be what some anti-intellectualism at play in the reviewing community, whereby worthy politically minded films are suddenly unfashionable.

I also don't understand why you wouldn't nominate 1917, one of your favorites of the year, for Best Picture.


Going over the list of films I saw last year, I found a lot more films that I felt truly deserved to be considered Best than were really Favorites, so finding ten Favorites was the real challenge and 1917 barely made the cut, much as I enjoyed it.

I keep lists of my top 100 and top 200 all-time favorites, and Once Upon a Time was the only film from last year likely to make those lists, though I also really enjoyed Knives Out when I saw it a second time yesterday.

I don't understand why OFFICIAL SECRETS (and for that matter THE REPORT) were greeted with such indifference, not to say hostility. There seems to be what some anti-intellectualism at play in the reviewing community, whereby worthy politically minded films are suddenly unfashionable.

Because as important and illuminating as these films are, they are being washed out by the tide of bullshit coming from all directions these days. Just as we need something this piercing and illuminating, we're worn down by a political apparatus designed to gaslight us into not caring.

'Best Actor - Eddie Murphy - Dolemite is My Name
Adapated Screenplay - Dolemite is My Name'

We can only hope. Terrific movie.

'Original Song - "Not Evil" - The Lego Movie 2: the Second Part'

Really glad that "Catchy Song" got Oscar-shortlisted, but all the songs in that movie were good.

'The Worst Movies of 2019 - 6 Underground...

I remember you hating Bad Boys II and from everything I've heard about it, 6 Underground struck me as Bad Boys II to the power of 10. No way it wasn't making the list.

...Serenity'

Even before the mind-meltingly dumb plot twist, something was rotten in the state of Denmark. The shot that introduced Anne Hathaway - with the camera zooming around her and an unseen gust blowing her hair back - was goofy enough to come from a parody.

Not sure if anyone around here is familiar with the newest version of "A Christmas Carol", but between this and Serenity, I'd be amazed if, from this point on, anyone paid Steven Knight to write his name in the snow, much less a screenplay.

'Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein in Booksmart'

Marvelous leads in a fantastic movie.

'Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse in The Current War'

You mentioned a while ago in a column how terrific it would be to see Shannon playing various historical figures. This put me in mind of Elvis and Nixon (sadly, also with a now-controversial figure attached to it). Shannon didn't look anything like Presley, but he captured the King's attitude very well.

And a minor correction: Lacey Chabert played Gretchen in Mean Girls.

Thank you for the Mean Girls correction. Since I remember "fetch" more for all the times it's been cited on the Internet than from actually seeing the film 15-plus years ago, I'd mistakenly remembered it as being Seyfried's bit.

Re: Elvis & Nixon. Wonderful as Shannon's acting was, Elvis is one of those people -- like Nixon -- whose image is so iconic that I find it distracting when the actor ISN'T doing more of an impression of them. Because of that, I actually found Spacey to be a more convincing Nixon than some other actors like Anthony Hopkins, because whatever issues Spacey has, he's a really good mimic.

Similarly, Tom Wilkinson is a great actor but I couldn't buy him as LBJ in Selma.

And I've always wondered if one of the reasons Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote won the Oscar over Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash -- both superlative actors in great performances -- was that PSH's Capote was a more skilled impression than Phoenix's Cash.

I almost respect Serenity because the big twist made a lot of the badness in the first half make more sense, but it still meant you were watching a terrible movie for the first half (and an only slightly less bad one for the second half). It's not how I wanted to see the stars of my beloved Interstellar reunited. (and after Serenity and many other recent roles, it was nice to see Jason Clarke play a decent husband in The Aftermath).

Steven Knight has written some fine movies over the years (I even have a fondness for the much maligned Allied), but when I read that the backstory for his Christmas Carol involved Scrooge being raped as a child, I felt that this was one take on Dickens I need never watch, despite the great cast.

In its defense, 6 Underground does have astonishing stunt work. Movies like this and the John Wick series make me wish they actually would give an Oscar for stunt coordination, though I imagine the CGI era has changed that craft enormously.

Scott, as usual, I agree with most of your choices (although I think Knives Out and Parasite are both overrated), but I'm curious why Under the Silver Lake made your ten worst list. I've seen it twice now and it's certainly a movie with plenty of problems, but it's also quite fascinating and imaginative. What about it do you dislike? Thanks!

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