What If Lisa Picked The Oscar Nominees: 2020 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are listed in bold.

I should also point out that I’ve only nominated films that were actually released in 2020.  Undoubtedly, Nomadland, Minari, Judas and the Black Messiah, and The Father will do very well with the Academy tomorrow but, as far as I’m concerned, they’re 2021 films and not eligible for my nominations.  They will be eligible next year, when I do my 2021 edition of What If Lisa Had All The Power.

It should also go without saying that I’ve nominated films that I’ve actually seen.

You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.

Click on the links to see my nominations for 2019, 20182017201620152014201320122011, and 2010!)

Best Picture

The Assistant
Bad Education
First Cow
The Girl With A Bracelet
i’m thinking of ending things
Lovers Rock
Palm Springs
Promising Young Woman
Soul
The Vast of Night

Best Director

Stéphane Demoustier for The Girl With A Bracelet
Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman
Charlie Kaufman for i’m thinking of ending things
Steve McQueen for Lovers Rock
Andrew Patterson for The Vast of Night
Kelly Reichardt for First Cow

Best Actor

Ben Affleck in The Way Back
Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
John Boyega in Red, White, and Blue
Hugh Jackman in Bad Education
Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Best Actress

Alison Brie in Horse Girl
Sidney Flanigan in Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Julia Garner in The Assistant
Melissa Guers in The Girl With A Bracelet
Sophia Loren in The Life Ahead
Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor

Brian Dennehy in Driveways
Aldis Hodge in One Night In Miami
Orion Lee in First Cow
Clarke Peters in Da 5 Blood
Paul Raci in The Sound of Metal
J.K. Simmons in Palm Springs

Best Supporting Actress

Jane Adams in She Dies Tomorrow
Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Cooke in Sound of Metal
Allison Janney in Bad Education
Chiara Mastroianni in The Girl With A Bracelet
Talia Ryder in Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Best Voice Over Performance

Jack Cruz in What Did Jack Do?
Bruce Davis in The Vast of Night
Tina Fey in Soul
Jamie Foxx in Soul
Nick Offerman in Frances Ferguson
Chris Pratt in Onward

Best Original Screenplay

The Assistant
Palm Springs
Possessor
Promising Young Woman
Soul
The Vast of Night

Bad Education

Best Adapted Screenplay

Bad Education
Emma
First Cow
The Girl With A Bracelet
i’m thinking of ending things
The Outpost

Best Animated Feature Film

A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Onward
Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs
Soul

Best Documentary Feature Film

Alabama Snake
Athlete A
The Mystery of D.B. Cooper
Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind
The Social Dilemma
Tread

Best International Feature Film

Figurant
The Girl With A Bracelet
Gunpowder Heart
The Hater
The Life Ahead
The Shock of the Future

Best Live Action Short Film

Basic
Figurant
Host
Run/On
Waffle
What Did Jack Do?

Best Documentary Short Film

Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business
John Was Trying To Contact Aliens
Lions in the Corner
Quilt Fever

Best Animated Short Film

Canvas

If Anything Happens I Love You

Best Original Score

Call of the Wild
First Cow
Mangrove
Possessor
She Dies Tomorrow
The Shock of The Future

Best Original Song

“Boss Bitch” from Birds of Prey
“Diamonds” from Birds of Prey
“Everybody Dies” from The Outpost
“Future Shock Work in Progress” from The Shock of the Future
“Gratia Plena” from Fatima
“Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Jah Jah Ding Dong” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Metamorph” from Gunpowder Heart
“The Spirit of Christmas” from The Christmas Chronicles 2
“True Love’s Flame” from What Did Jack Do?

Best Overall Use of Music

Bill & Ted Face The Music
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Lovers Rock
Proising Young Woman
The Shock of the Future
Soul

Best Sound

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Lovers Rock
The Outpost
Possessor
The Shock of the Future
Sound of Metal

Best Production Design

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Emma
First Cow
i’m thinking of ending things
Possessor
The Shock of the Future

Best Casting

The Assistant
First Cow
Lovers Rock
Palm Springs
Promising Young Woman
The Vast of Night

Best Cinematography

First Cow
i’m thinking of ending things
Lovers Rock
Mank
She Dies Tomorrow
The Vast of Night

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Bill & Ted Face The Music
i’m thinking of ending things
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Hillbilly Elegy
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Promising Young Woman

Best Costume Design

Emma
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Fatima
First Cow
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Tesla

Best Film Editing

Extraction
i’m thinking of ending things
The Outpost
Palm Springs
Promising Young Woman
The Way Back

Best Stuntwork

Bad Boys For Life
Birds of Prey
Bloodshot
Extraction
The Hunt
The Outpost

Best Visual Effects

The Christmas Chronicles 2
The Midnight Sky
The Outpost
Possessor
Radioactive
Tesla

Films By Number of Nominations

8 Nominations — First Cow, Promising Young Woman

7 Nominations — Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, i’m thinking of ending things

6 Nominations — The Girl With A Bracelet, Lovers Rock, The Outpost, Shock of the Future, Soul, The Vast of Night

5 Nominations — Palm Springs, Possessor

4 Nominations — The Assistant, Bad Education, Sound of Metal

3 Nominations — Birds of Prey, Emma, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, She Dies Tomorrow, What Did Jack Do?

2 Nominations — Bill & Ted Face the Music, The Christmas Chronicles 2, Da 5 Bloods, Extraction, Fatima, Figurant, Gunpowder Heart, Hillbilly Elegy, The Life Ahead, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Onward, Tesla, The Way Back

1 Nomination — Alabama Snake, Athlete A, Bad Boys For Life, Basic, Bettye Saar: Taking Care of Business, Bloodshot, Call of the Wild, Canvas, Driveways, Frances Ferguson, The Hater, Horse Girl, Host, The Hunt, If Anything Happens I Love You, John Was Trying To Contact Aliens, Lions in the Corner, Mangrove, Mank, Midnight Sky, The Mystery of D.B. Cooper, Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind, One Night in Miami, Quilt Fever, Radioactive, Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs, Red White and Blue, Run/On, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, The Social Dilemma, Tread, Waffle

Films By Number of Oscars Won

3 Oscars — The Girl With A Bracelet, Promising Young Woman

1 Oscar — The Assistant, Bad Education, Driveways, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Figurant, First Cow, Frances Ferguson, If Anything Happens I Love You, i’m thinking of ending things, John Was Trying To Contact Aliens, Lovers Rock, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Outpost, Palm Springs, Possessor, Shock of the Future, The Social Dilemma, Soul, Sound of Metal, The Vast of Night, What Did Jack Do?

Tomorrow, the Oscar nominations will be released and we’ll see if how much or, more likely, how little the Academy and I agree upon!

The Films of 2020: Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind (dir by Laurent Bouzereau)


It’s a bit frustrating that I have to start this review of a documentary about one of my favorite classic film actresses by discussing the gossip and innuendo that has surrounded her death but, unfortunately, that’s the world that we live in nowadays.

It’s been nearly 40 years since the death of Natalie Wood and the circumstances of her drowning are still debated, largely by people who know nothing about the incident beyond what they’ve read online.  In 2011, when an employee of Wood and her husband, Robert Wagner, suddenly changed the story that he had been telling for 30 years, the Los Angeles Police Department reopened the investigation into Wood’s death.  Suddenly, all over twitter, people were accusing Wagner of having killed Wood, either deliberately or accidentally.  Interestingly enough, Christopher Walken was also on the boat on the night that Wood drowned but very few people accused him of having anything to do with it, largely because Walken is better-known to most twitter users than Wagner.  (It’s easier to accuse someone of murder when he’s not a celebrated cultural icon.)  Things were not helped when the LAPD announced that Wagner a “person of interest” in the case.  Of course, “person of interest” is a vague term that can mean anything.

Also not helping matters was that Lana Wood, Natalie’s sister, publicly accused Wagner of having something to do with Natalie’s death.  I can still remember that bloviating gasbag, Dr. Phil, having Lana on his show and asking her if she thought Wagner murdered Natalie.  Footage from that interview appears in the HBO documentary, Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind.

Fortunately, in the documentary, Robert Wagner is also interviewed about the night that Natalie Wood drowned and there’s a marked contrast between the obviously emotional Wagner who appears in the documentary and the monstrous caricature of Wagner that’s been presented by many Wood conspiracy theorists.  If I didn’t already think that Wagner was innocent and that Wood’s death was a tragic and terrible accident, this documentary would have convinced me.

Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind is a documentary about the life and, sadly, the death of Natalie Wood.  It’s hosted by her daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner.  The film is tribute to Wood and her career, featuring interviews with the journalists who wrote about her, the photographers who snapped pictures of her, the stars who co-starred with her, and finally, the members of of her family.  There’s also a good deal of archival footage of Wood talking about her life.  One thing you quickly realize, while listening to Wood, is that she knew how to play the PR game.  In her interviews, Wood always said enough to be interesting while, at the same time, keeping up enough wall that she remained somewhat enigmatic.  Natasha, for her part, describes her mother as being a down-to-Earth person who, when she had to, could play the role of the glamorous film star.

The film examines Natalie’s career, from her time as a child actor to stardom in the 50s and 60s.  As the documentary points out, Wood was an actress who literally grew up on scree.  The film also takes a look at her semi-retirement in the 70s.  (She was making a comeback at the time of her death and Wagner, in fact, admits to getting into a rather loud argument with Christopher Walken about whether or not Wood should have been accepting more film roles.)  The documentary candidly discusses her difficult relationship with her mother, along with her occasionally tumultuous private life.  The film provides a look at both what made Wood a star and why her performances continue to resonate with so many of us.

(For the record, my favorite Natalie Wood performance will always be Splendor in the Grass.)

But, sadly to say, Wood’s death and the rumors surrounding it casts a shadow over almost every minute of the documentary.  Again, that’s the world we live in.  It’s a world dominated not only be innuendo and gossip but also a desire to destroy anyone who has ever led a public life.  As a result, there’s no way to make a documentary about Natalie Wood without discussing the conspiracy theories surrounding her death and it’s tragic that a few publicity hungry individuals continue to attempt to capitalize on the tragedy of Wood’s passing.  The film gives Wagner a chance to tell his story and for that, we should be both thankful.  This is film that will inspire viewers to celebrate Wood’s life and to despise those who have exploited her death.