2020 Oscar Locks

If you’ve spent any amount of time in Feelin’ Film circles, whether it be the Facebook group or our active Twitter community, you’ve likely heard the following phrase: Jeremy is always right. Listen, I don’t know who came up with it and it’s really flattering, but for a guy like myself who just oozes humility, it’s a bit embarrassing. It also happens to be completely true. It’s a pretty heavy cross to carry that would crush most men, but it’s one that I am glad to bear. As everyone’s favorite Uncle Ben said, with great power comes great responsibility. With this in mind, given that it’s Oscar season and knowing that some people like to make Oscar season a little more interesting, I thought I would give back to you, the normies, and provide you with the stone-cold locks to win the major Academy Awards in 2020. So without further ado, for the second year in a row, here are Jeremy’s Oscar locks! You’re welcome.


Best Supporting Actor

Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes; Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood; Joe Pesci, The Irishman; Al Pacino, The Irishman; Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Should’ve been nominated: Christian Bale, Ford vs. Ferrari

I want to win: Full disclosure, I haven’t seen The Two Popes or A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood so I cannot speak to the work done by Hopkins or Hanks, but I absolutely adored all of the work that the other nominees did this year. The Irishman was stellar across the board thanks in part to Al Pacino’s stunning performance as Jimmy Hoffa and Joe Pesci’s wonderfully understated Russell Buffalino. But Brad Pitt gave my favorite performance in what was (spoilers for later) my favorite movie of the year and so he is my personal pick to go home with the statue.

Will win: Ultimately it looks like this is a two-horse race between Pesci and Pitt that will be won by the man who should be People’s Sexiest Man Alive until he dies, Brad Pitt, as Pesci loses a few votes to Al Pacino from those wanting to reward The Irishman.


Supporting Actress

Laura Dern, Marriage Story; Margot Robbie, Bombshell; Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit; Florence Pugh, Little Women; Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell

Should’ve been nominated: Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers; Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

I want to win: In my opinion, and I know this is controversial, Margot Robbie gave the best performance of those nominated this year. Her portrayal of the fictional amalgamation of real victims, Kayla Popsil, was absolutely dynamite and made me want to go punch everyone who has ever responded to a woman who has alleged sexual abuse with anything other than love and compassion straight in the throat.

Will win: Laura Dern. The odds are completely in her favor. And she was great in Marriage Story. Of course, she was. She’s Laura Effing Dern. But she was better in Little Women.


Best Actor

Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes; Adam Driver, Marriage Story; Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory; Joaquin Phoenix, Joker; Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

Should’ve been nominated: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems; Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

I want to win: If you would’ve told my 17-year-old self in December of 1997 as I watched the girl I was in love with look up at the screen and drool all over Jack Dawson that I’d ever be on Team DiCaprio, I’d have told you to pound sand. But here we are. 

Will win: Look, Joaquin Phoenix is going to go home with the statuette. Whether you liked Todd Phillips’ Joker or not, there’s no denying that Phoenix gave an absolute powerhouse performance as the Clown Prince of Crime. Plus he lost weight, and you know the Academy can’t resist an actor who went on a diet for a role.


Best Actress

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

Should’ve been nominated: Lupita Nyong’o, Us; Awkwafina, The Farewell

I want to win: I’m going to be honest, until I read this list, I thought Megyn Kelly played herself in Bombshell, so I’m going to go with Charlize Theron. I do reserve the right to change this to Cynthia Erivo after I watch Harriet with my daughter tonight. 

Will win: All signs are pointing to Renee Zellweger at this point. By all accounts, it’s the one really bright spot in what was otherwise a bland, formulaic biopic.


Best Director

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood; Todd Phillips, Joker; Bong Joon-ho, Parasite; Martin Scorcese, The Irishman; Sam Mendes, 1917

Should’ve been nominated: Greta Gerwig, Little Women; James Mangold, Ford vs. Ferrari

I want to win: Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is my favorite movie that I saw in 2020. Parasite is the best movie that I saw in 2020. A movie that is equal parts family drama, horror, dark comedy, and social commentary should collapse under the weight of its own ambition, but it’s never less than perfect. I’m not into foreign film because I don’t like to read, but I’ll never miss another Joon-ho project. 

Will win: At this point, I think it’s a toss-up between Joon-ho and Mendes and I wouldn’t be upset with either of them. I’ve already praised Parasite and 1917 is an absolute masterwork in warfare storytelling. I think Joon-ho walks away with it.


Best Picture

1917; Parasite; Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood; Joker; The Irishman; Jojo Rabbit; Little Women; Marriage Story; Ford vs. Ferrari

Should’ve been nominated: Uncut Gems; Avengers: Endgame

I want to win: Here’s the thing, I really liked all nine of these movies. All of them were in my Top 25 of 2020 and all but Marriage Story were in my Top 15. But my favorite was Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood. Quentin Tarantino’s patience in telling the story along with his always great writing and some dynamic performances make it a movie I’ll revisit over and over and I’d love to see it win.

Probably will win: This is a tough one. 1917 has a lot of momentum, but so does Parasite. And we all know that the Academy loves a story about its golden age, so I think Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood has a great shot as well. Currently, the odds are on 1917 bit it’s a pretty close race. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood takes home the industry’s most coveted prize on Sunday, February 9th. 

There you have it. Those are my picks. You can trust me or you can look at the odds. But remember, I’m always right.


Jeremy Calcara is a contributing member of the Feelin’ Film team. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.

 

MOVIE REVIEW: Richard Jewell

“Richard Jewell” tells a story that needed to be brought to the silver screen. Based on true events, this film follows one man as he goes from a national hero to a potential suspect overnight. Clint Eastwood returns to solid form as the man behind the camera after leaving little to be desired with his last two projects, “The 15:17 to Paris” and “The Mule”, in this stark retelling of the infamous 1996 Centennial Park Bombing that killed 2 individuals, injured over 100 others, and mentally scarred the nation and prestige of the Summer Olympics. Outside of the bombing, Eastwood focuses on the role of the mass media and federal government agencies, such as the FBI, who attempted to railroad one man’s life and perception to the greater society just for doing his job.

Paul Walter Hauser gives a heavyweight performance as the titular character that will impress many unknowing eyes who have not had the chance to see him do magic as a supporting character in films such as “I, Tonya” and “BlacKkKlansman”. He hits every mark necessary to carry the film while making the viewer sympathetic to the hellish plight he endures. An everyday man who is so passionate about becoming a part of law enforcement that he studies the penal code every night, Jewell shows ambition by taking on any kind of security job that could potentially get him recognized by a police agency. It’s all the more tragic once he is stamped as the main suspect in the eyes of the same federal agency he dreamed about joining. The stress and pain he goes through is not just endured by him but also by his strong mother Bobi (Kathy Bates). Bates is powerful in depicting the collateral damage that a mother deals with when it comes to their child being seen as a monster instead of the sweet and caring person she has seen all her life. She delivers a powerful monologue in the final act that drives home her heartache of seeing what society has done in painting Richard as a “frustrated white man prone to carrying out a bomb threat”. Sam Rockwell finally breaks the pattern of being in a film where he comes across as a flaming racist or Nazi by giving a commendable performance as lawyer and friend to Jewell, Watson Bryant, who keeps him from falling victim to the deception and mind games of the FBI’s investigation and his circle of family and friends.

For all of its great performances, there is one character depiction that does not sit well with me. Olivia Wilde’s role as reporter Kathy Scruggs, shown as willing to be somewhat “sensual and promiscuous” in order to gain information about who the FBI is targeting in the bombing case, is not what I have an issue with. The issue lies in that the character was not written or portrayed accurately to the real-life Kathy. I have a big problem when filmmakers take liberty in defaming people while retelling historical events. There is a difference between a director leaning into an alternate history for the sake of entertainment and wrongly depicting a real-life person to make a statement about the scandalous nature of the media. It is not fair to that person (especially one like Kathy who is deceased and cannot defend herself) or their loved ones and serves as an elephant in the room that cheapens the realism of this compelling narrative.

The role of the media and the FBI in the witch hunt and railroading of Jewell is thoroughly examined. Throughout history, there have been cases of innocent people who fall victim to being unfairly accused and sentenced to prison for crimes they did not commit. In the last decade, a big movement has started in opening up old cases files, retrying court cases, and using DNA evidence to free many people who have been locked away under the jurisdiction of correctional facilities and the federal government. The importance of a dramatic film like this is that it provides a way to look back on a dark time in society and encourage us to work towards not letting events like this happen again. A man’s life was forever changed by an act of good faith, instead of being lauded as a hero he was questioned and scrutinized by the media looking for a headline and the FBI looking for a scapegoat. At times, Eastwood drills this message in so hard that it could be considered “preaching”. The media and the FBI seem to have no redeemable traits and are painted as straight villains. Both are certainly guilty in this case, but every scene seems to take a thinly veiled shot at the government and the media, looking to undermine their integrity at every corner.

“Richard Jewell” is an important and sobering look into how mass media and the federal government’s need for a villain affected the life of a man who should have been immediately recognized as a national hero to admire. The film moves at a brisk pace and is always engaging, with the exception of some time confusion in the middle act. Supported by strong performances, this mostly accurate retelling of the 1996 Centennial Park bombing is a drama that will open a lot of eyes to an area of American history that needs to be shown to the world.

Rating:


Caless Davis is a Seattle-based film critic and contributor to the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He loves any discussion of film and meeting new people to engage in film discussions on any subject. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Highwaymen

 


 

Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on the emotional experience he has with a film. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.

Episode 145: Titanic

So, it’s week 3 of our James Cameron Director Month series, and with it comes a film of unsinkable size. Coming in at 3 hours and 15 minutes, and with a $200 million dollar budget, Titanic  set out to tell the story of one of the biggest tragic events in history. We welcome Seattle-based blogger, writer, and film critic, Erynne Hundley to the show for this discussion where we find out if this epic historical romance really does make our hearts go on, or if our opinion of the film sunk over the years.

Titanic Review – 0:01:50

The Connecting Point – 1:17:31

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