By Bradley Lane
Best Animated Feature Film
The nominees for Best Animated Feature Film are How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, I Lost My Body, Klaus, Missing Link and Toy Story 4. I can certainly admit the technical prowess and impressive visuals of the DreamWorks and Disney nominees, however, the brazen creativity of Jérémy Clapin’s I Lost My Body is too impressive to ignore. The way in which the relationship between memory and touch was represented is intrinsic to animation and absolutely could not exist outside the medium of animation. It is the film’s beautiful melding of form and function that makes it my choice for the best animated film of the year.
Best Original Screenplay
The nominees for Best Original Screenplay are Knives Out, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and Parasite. While I enjoyed all these movies in some form or another, Marriage Story and Parasite stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won’s script for Parasite is electrifying and full of intricate details to further the themes of the story, but Noah Baumbach’s screenplay for Marriage Story is implemented in such a way that audiences are confronted immediately by the film’s themes. By laying the groundwork for each and every conflict the semi-autobiographical couple has to face in the first five minutes, the film sets up a domino chain that ends in a way that might seem overly simplistic initially, until you recontextualize the ending by revisiting the beginning. It’s genius, and that why Marriage Story is my pick for the best screenplay of the year.
The nominees for Best Director are Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Sam Mendes for 1917, Todd Phillips for Joker, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and Bong Joon Ho for Parasite. My pick for best director is Bong Joon Ho. No film this year better utilized visual storytelling more effectively than Parasite, and honestly, no one else was even close (besides maybe Greta Gerwig, who was inexplicably snubbed from this category).
The nominees for Best Picture are Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and Parasite. I have yet to see Ford v Ferrari, so it will not be under consideration for my pick. Additionally, I had significant issues with Jojo Rabbit, Joker, 1917 and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood so those films were the first films to be eliminated. Despite The Irishman being Scorsese’s most thematically rich film, I do think it is far from his most well-made film. In any other year either Little Women or Marriage Story could have easily been my pick for best film of the year. However, they just happened to release the same year as Bong Joon Ho’s timely, poignant, important masterwork, Parasite. It is incredibly rare for the Academy to recognize world cinema outside of the foreign film category, so for the Academy to nominate not only a South Korean film but also my favorite film of the year, I cannot help but root for Parasite this year to win Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards.