by Camden Ferrell
Best Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
This category was a particularly strong one this year, but it was always clear that this was an award that Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had secured. This film about an actor, his stunt man, and life in Hollywood is a joyful experience that definitely deserved the award. It beat out the hilarious murder mystery Knives Out, the playful anti-hate satire Jojo Rabbit, the dazzling Elton John biopic Rocketman, and the Eddie Murphy led Dolemite is my Name.
Best Motion Picture -- Drama
In one of the bigger surprises of the night, Sam Mendes’s World War I film 1917 won the award for best drama. This was an unpredictable category that featured some strong competitors. Both The Irishman and Joker were wildly popular films that fared a strong chance at the prize. In addition to those, Marriage Story and The Two Popes were other critical gems that were competing. Even though I have yet to see 1917, I believe that this is a choice that was ultimately refreshing and unexpected.
Best Director -- Motion Picture
Sam Mendes -- 1917
Another unpredictable category, Sam Mendes took home the award for 1917. His competition was extremely tough this year. He beat out Bong Joon-Ho, Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips, and Quentin Tarantino for the award. All of these men garnered a lot of critical buzz, but it was surprising to see Mendes win. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan, I believed the award would have certainly gone to Scorsese due to the amount of buzz he was getting for The Irishman, but I can’t wait to see how Sam Mendes did when 1917 has its wide release this week.
Best Screenplay -- Motion Picture
Quentin Tarantino -- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
While Tarantino’s script for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was solid and brought a lot of life to the heart of the film, its win is a bittersweet one. Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story) and Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite) wrote some of the most brilliant screenplays of the year but unfortunately lost to Tarantino. The film also beat out The Two Popes and The Irishman.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
Taron Egerton -- Rocketman
Taron Egerton’s role as Elton John in Rocketman was one of the best performances this year, and it deserved this award. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and 12-year-old Roman Griffin Davis both did stellar jobs as well this year, but not as well as Egerton. He also beat out Eddie Murphy and Daniel Craig who also delivered some really great performances this year as well.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture -- Drama
Joaquin Phoenix -- Joker
It was inevitable, and nobody was surprised that Joaquin Phoenix took home the prize for Joker. It’s easily one of the most criminally over-hyped films in recent memory, and it didn’t deserve too much recognition. Although Phoenix wasn’t bad as an actor in the film, both Adam Driver (Marriage Story) and Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) were far more deserving of the award. It’s a disappointment, but not a surprising one.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
Awkwafina -- The Farewell
In another no-brainer choice, Awkwafina took home the award for her performance in The Farewell. She gave a subtle and deeply resonant performance that definitely deserved this award. Emma Thompson (Late Night) and Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) both gave phenomenal performances, but this award was always going to be Awkwafina’s. She also beat out Ana de Armas (Knives Out) and Cate Blanchett (Where’d You Go, Bernadette?).
Best Actress in a Motion Picture -- Drama
Renée Zellweger -- Judy
It appears the critical buzz around Renée Zellwegger for Judy didn’t subside as much as we thought. While she was fantastic in that movie, it seemed almost certain that the award would go to either Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story or even Saoirse Ronan for Little Women. Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) and Charlize Theron (Bombshell) were both also up for the award.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Brad Pitt -- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
While not a complete surprise, Brad Pitt’s win was a well-deserved one. His role as Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was one of the most enjoyable performances of the year and deserved this award. He faced some strong competition from Joe Pesci and Al Pacino (who most likely split their votes) as well as Tom Hanks for his empathetic portrayal of Mister Rogers. Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes) also competed for the award.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Laura Dern -- Marriage Story
Laura Dern’s performance in Marriage Story was very well-done, but it didn’t deserve the award in this category. Jennifer Lopez’s performance in Hustlers was truly amazing, and it’s one of the best performances by an actress this year that deserved the award, and while Kathy Bates and Annette Bening gave some strong performances this year, they were probably less deserving than both Dern and Lopez. Dern also beat Margot Robbie who was nominated for Bombshell.
Best Motion Picture -- Foreign Language
Arguably the least surprising win was Parasite winning best foreign language film. This film has been riding an immense wave of critical and commercial acclaim since its premiere at Cannes. This darkly funny satire about class was a shoo-in for the award. Other competitors like Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The Farewell and Pain and Glory were phenomenal films that had the misfortune of competing against a movie as huge as Parasite.
Best Motion Picture -- Animated
Easily the biggest surprise of the night, Missing Link beat out some strong competition. Laika has historically been overshadowed by Disney and their films. It seemed very plausible that Toy Story 4 would take the prize or even Dreamworks’s How to Train Your Dragon sequel. However, it’s a highly pleasant surprise for this delightful stop-motion animated film to win the award.
Best Original Score -- Motion Picture
Hildur Guðnadóttir -- Joker
Admittedly, one of the few virtuous aspects of Joker is its very competent score. However, Randy Newman’s score for Marriage Story was heartachingly beautiful from start to finish and definitely deserved the award. Alexandre Desplat also delivered a sweet and poignant score for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. Hildur Guðnadóttir’s score also beat out the scores for 1917 and Motherless Brooklyn.
Best Original Song -- Motion Picture
(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again -- Rocketman
Elton John’s song (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again definitely deserved this award, but it had some competition. Into the Unknown from Frozen II was my prediction due to how popular the film is and the previous success of its writers. The song from Rocketman also beat out some fairly strong songs from Cats, The Lion King, and Harriet.
Dedicated to unique and diverse perspectives on cinema!