OSCARS 2020: A Year of Asterisks and Exceptions: Battle for Pandemic Big Screen Time

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
OSCARS 2020:  A Year of Asterisks and  Exceptions: Battle for Pandemic Big Screen Time

Sunday's Oscar ceremony will resemble a movie. It's also trying to re-invent itself in the restrictions of COVID and the Golden Globes multi-location flop.

Features have been a combination of traditional Hollywood releases and those "streamed" often in concurrence with the film's big screen release or rushed into a few cinemas after streaming accolades to qualify for Academy Award consideration. 

Although "Nomadland" is the favorite, "Mank," the  biography adaptation of the life of Herman J. Mankiewicz (from Netflix) has prompted another look at what has been often described as the greatest (or second best) film ever made, "Citizen Kane," by producer/director Orson Welles. He originally claimed the sole writing credit, but he actually colaborrated with Mankiewicz (or vice versa).

"Mank" relieves the glitz, glamor and sins of Hollywood's Golden Age.

OSCARS 2020:  A Year of Asterisks and  Exceptions: Battle for Pandemic Big Screen Time

Marquee's Flashback series has "Citizen Kane" on the big silver screen revealing once again how prophetic and provocative the film remains. For those unfamiliar with the plot:

"In a mansion called Xanadu, part of a vast palatial estate in Florida, the elderly Charles Foster Kane is on his deathbed. Holding a snow globe, he utters a word, "Rosebud", and dies. A newsreel obituary tells the life story of Kane, an enormously wealthy newspaper publisher and industrial magnate. Kane's death becomes sensational news around the world, and the newsreel's producer tasks reporter Jerry Thompson with discovering the meaning of "Rosebud".

Kane's political nature  assures its continued acclaim and in many ways illustrates how history comes closely to repeating itself.

Kane was believed to be an unfavorable depiction of William Randolph Hearst, then, a leading newspaper publisher and industrialist. Welles said Kane is a synthesis of numerous publishers  (Pulitzer, Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, and editor Herbert Swope) and two Chicago business tycoons.  Hearst unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the film's release through his newspaper chain carrying out a strong boycott of the film.

Interestingly, while Hearst controlled print media, President Franklin Roosevelt's "Fireside Chats" dominated radio. Both could and did influence public opinion through their media influences. At the time of Kane's release Hitler's tyranny in Germany brought anti fascist themes to the frontline as it swayed intervention versus isolation. 

Here are this year's best picture nominees: 

 

BEST PICTURE

NOMINEES

THE FATHER

David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers  

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers  

MANK

Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers  

MINARI

Christina Oh, Producer  

NOMADLAND

Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers  

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers  

SOUND OF METAL

Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers  

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES

RIZ AHMED

Sound of Metal  

CHADWICK BOSEMAN

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom  

ANTHONY HOPKINS

The Father  

GARY OLDMAN

Mank  

STEVEN YEUN

Minari  

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES

SACHA BARON COHEN

The Trial of the Chicago 7  

DANIEL KALUUYA

Judas and the Black Messiah  

LESLIE ODOM, JR.

One Night in Miami...  

PAUL RACI

Sound of Metal  

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Judas and the Black Messiah  

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES

VIOLA DAVIS

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom  

ANDRA DAY

The United States vs. Billie Holiday  

VANESSA KIRBY

Pieces of a Woman  

FRANCES MCDORMAND

Nomadland  

CAREY MULLIGAN

Promising Young Woman  

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES

MARIA BAKALOVA

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan  

GLENN CLOSE

Hillbilly Elegy  

OLIVIA COLMAN

The Father  

AMANDA SEYFRIED

Mank  

YUH-JUNG YOUN

Minari  

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

NOMINEES

ONWARD

Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae  

OVER THE MOON

Glen Keane, Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou  

A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON

Richard Phelan, Will Becher and Paul Kewley  

SOUL

Pete Docter and Dana Murray  

WOLFWALKERS

Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young and Stéphan Roelants  

CINEMATOGRAPHY

NOMINEES

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Sean Bobbitt  

MANK

Erik Messerschmidt  

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Dariusz Wolski  

NOMADLAND

Joshua James Richards  

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Phedon Papamichael  

COSTUME DESIGN

NOMINEES

EMMA

Alexandra Byrne  

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM

Ann Roth  

MANK

Trish Summerville  

MULAN

Bina Daigeler  

PINOCCHIO

Massimo Cantini Parrini  

DIRECTING

NOMINEES

ANOTHER ROUND

Thomas Vinterberg  

MANK

David Fincher  

MINARI

Lee Isaac Chung  

NOMADLAND

Chloé Zhao  

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Emerald Fennell  

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

NOMINEES

COLLECTIVE

Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana  

CRIP CAMP

Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder  

THE MOLE AGENT

Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez  

MY OCTOPUS TEACHER

Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster  

TIME

Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn  

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

NOMINEES

COLETTE

Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard  

A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION

Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers  

DO NOT SPLIT

Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook  

HUNGER WARD

Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman  

A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA

Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan  

FILM EDITING

NOMINEES

THE FATHER

Yorgos Lamprinos  

NOMADLAND

Chloé Zhao  

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Frédéric Thoraval  

SOUND OF METAL

Mikkel E. G. Nielsen  

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Alan Baumgarten  

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

NOMINEES

ANOTHER ROUND

Denmark  

BETTER DAYS

Hong Kong  

COLLECTIVE

Romania  

THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN

Tunisia  

QUO VADIS, AIDA?

Bosnia and Herzegovina  

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

NOMINEES

EMMA

Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze  

HILLBILLY ELEGY

Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney  

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM

Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson  

MANK

Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri and Colleen LaBaff  

PINOCCHIO

Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti  

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

NOMINEES

DA 5 BLOODS

Terence Blanchard  

MANK

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross  

MINARI

Emile Mosseri  

NEWS OF THE WORLD

James Newton Howard  

SOUL

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste  

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

NOMINEES

FIGHT FOR YOU

from Judas and the Black Messiah; Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas  

HEAR MY VOICE

from The Trial of the Chicago 7; Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite  

HUSAVIK

from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga; Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson  

IO SÌ (SEEN)

from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se); Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini  

SPEAK NOW

from One Night in Miami...; Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth    

PRODUCTION DESIGN

NOMINEES

THE FATHER

Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone  

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM

Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara and Diana Stoughton  

MANK

Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale  

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan  

TENET

Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas  

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

NOMINEES

BURROW

Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat  

GENIUS LOCI

Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise  

IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU

Will McCormack and Michael Govier  

OPERA

Erick Oh  

YES-PEOPLE

Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson  

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

NOMINEES

FEELING THROUGH

Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski  

THE LETTER ROOM

Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan  

THE PRESENT

Farah Nabulsi and Ossama Bawardi  

TWO DISTANT STRANGERS

Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe  

WHITE EYE

Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman  

SOUND

NOMINEES

GREYHOUND

Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman  

MANK

Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin  

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett  

SOUL

Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker  

SOUND OF METAL

Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michellee Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh  

VISUAL EFFECTS

NOMINEES

LOVE AND MONSTERS

Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox  

THE MIDNIGHT SKY

Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins  

MULAN

Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram  

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez  

TENET

Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher  

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: DELIVERY OF PRODIGIOUS BRIBE TO AMERICAN REGIME FOR MAKE BENEFIT ONCE GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN

Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad  

THE FATHER

Screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller  

NOMADLAND

Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao  

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI...

Screenplay by Kemp Powers  

THE WHITE TIGER

Written for the screen by Ramin Bahrani  

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas  

MINARI

Written by Lee Isaac Chung  

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Written by Emerald Fennell  

SOUND OF METAL

Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance  

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Written by Aaron Sorkin