2020 Oscars Shortlist Analysis

Taylor Swift will not be performing an Oscar nominated track at this April’s ceremony. Sonic the Hedgehog will not be the Oscar nominated Sonic the Hedgehog. Sacha Baron Cohen’s makeup team from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm who transformed him into former President Donald Trump will not see their work recognized.

These are some of the headlines from today’s unveiling of shortlists in six categories covering feature films from the Academy. On the positive side for its respective studios, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey could contend in at least three races. A documentary about refugees from Chechnya is a Visual Effects hopeful. And Borat is still on the board for his song “Wuhan Flu”. There were mixed results from the announcements for features such as Hillbilly Elegy, The Invisible Man, and The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

Let’s break this all down and what it means for my weekly predictions, shall we?

Best Documentary Feature

Fifteen films were shortlisted today as follows:

76 Days

All In: The Fight for Democracy

Boys State


Crip Camp

Dick Johnson Is Dead



The Mole Agent

My Octopus Teacher


The Painter and the Thief


The Truffle Hunters

Welcome to Chechnya


There are two docs I had in my top ten that missed the cut: The Dissident, which I had ranked all the way up in second and Totally Under Control, which I had sixth. This is a pretty open race in 2020 and I had Time in first position two days ago. All In and Dick Johnson are sturdy contenders as well.

Best International Feature Film

Fifteen films were shortlisted today as follows:

Another Round

Better Days



Dear Comrades!


I’m No Longer Here

La Llorona

The Man Who Sold His Skin

The Mole Agent

Night of the Kings

Quo Vadis, Aida?

A Sun

Sun Children

Two of Us


My only top ten hopeful falling out was my #10 Notturno (which made the Documentary list). No real surprises with Another Round as a soft frontrunner to win.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Ten films were shortlisted as follows:

Birds of Prey


The Glorias

Hillbilly Elegy

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

The Little Things

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


One Night in Miami



Two of my predicted nominees from my last round had their possibilities cease today: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and The United States vs. Billie Holiday (ranked fourth and fifth respectively). Also dropped: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (#7), News of the World (#8), and Mulan (#9). Ma Rainey will probably remain in my #1 spot with Hillbilly and Mank following.

Best Original Score

Fifteen films were shortlisted as follows:


Blizzard of Souls

Da 5 Bloods

The Invisible Man

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

The Life Ahead

The Little Things


The Midnight Sky



News of the World



The Trial of the Chicago 7


My #6 entry Hillbilly Elegy was a rather notable miss here while my other nine entries are still in the mix. This race could come down to Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor competing against themselves with Soul and Mank.

Best Original Song

Fifteen films were shortlisted as follows:

“Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy

“See What You’ve Done” from Belly of the Beast

“Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

“Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

“Never Break” from Giving Voice

“Make It Work” from Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

“Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah

“Seen” from The Life Ahead

“Rain Song” from Minari

“Show Me Your Soul” from Mr. Soul!

“Loyal Brave True” from Mulan

“Free” from The One and Only Ivan

“Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

“Green” from Sound of Metal

“Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7


As mentioned, no Taylor Swift for her track “Only the Young” from Miss Americana. Yet a larger omission was “Over the Moon” from the animated Rocket to the Moon, which I had ranked at #4. Another to miss the cut: “Tigress & Tweed” from The United States vs. Billie Holiday, which achieved a Golden Globes nod. “Speak Now” might have an edge, but I wouldn’t count out “Seen”.

Best Visual Effects

Ten films were shortlisted as follows:

Birds of Prey


Love and Monsters


The Midnight Sky


The One and Only Ivan



Welcome to Chechnya 


Some genuine shockers in VE with my #3 The Invisible Man and #4 Greyhound out of contention. Also missing: Wonder Woman 1984 (#7), Sonic the Hedgehog (#8), and The Call of the Wild (#10). In their places are pics I didn’t have on my radar like Bloodshot and Love and Monsters (the Chechnya nod was at least spoken of in recent days). Soul getting in certainly gives it a solid shot at inclusion, but Tenet and The Midnight Sky still appear to be the heavyweights.

Today’s news will certainly alter what you see when I update my estimates this weekend! Stay tuned…

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