Best Adapted Screenplay:
Compared to Best Original Screenplay, both this and last year’s nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay have been dominated by films not nominated for Best Picture. Last year, the only nominee (and the eventual winner for Best Adapted Screenplay) up for both was Call Me By Your Name. This year, two Best Picture nominees appear in this category with BlacKkKlansman and A Star is Born both earning nominations. In the case of the former, it represents the first writing nomination for Spike Lee in his acclaimed career. Another pair of first-time nominees join Lee with Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty both nominated for their work on Can You Ever Forgive Me?.
Beyond these newcomers, this category features a trio of former winners. One of which is Eric Roth who co-wrote A Star is Born and previously won for Forrest Gump. However, the category also features the Coen Brothers who have now been nominated in this category for fourth time, having won previously for No Country for Old Men. Joining these two is a more recent winner in Barry Jenkins who previously won for Moonlight and is now nominated for his work on If Beale Street Could Talk. This a really strong group of nominees and the screenplay categories tend to be challenging to predict beforehand with all five this year being incredibly worthy winners.
Prediction: If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Animated Feature Film:
Since the inaugural Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001, this category has seen Pixar films dominate it with nine wins from twelve nominations over the last eighteen years. Once again Pixar is among the nominees with Incredibles 2 though in the last five years Disney has taken the award home three times making it the only other animation studio to take it home more than once. They hope to beat Pixar to its tenth victory with another sequel in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2. Beyond the dominance of Pixar and Disney, the Best Animated Feature has only ever gone to two films that were not animated using computer-generated imagery, one for stop-motion animation and another for a traditionally animated film. This year, we have nominees for both of these mediums as well. Wes Anderson scores his fifth nomination and second in this category with Isle of Dogs and Mirai becomes the sixth animated film to be nominated from Japan and first not produced by Studio Ghibli. However, the front runner this year comes from Sony who received their only other nomination in this category back in 2007. Their Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse gave a fresh take on the iconic character and superhero genre, and if it were to be victorious it would be only the fifth film not produced by either Pixar or Disney to win.
Prediction: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best Animated Short Film:
Though the Best Animated Short category can be overlooked the nominations here can indicate who are the rising stars within animation. The titan of this category, Pixar, returns with Bao to earn its fifteenth nomination in this category. Directed by Domee Shi, it tells the story of a Canadian-Chinese woman who has empty nest syndrome but becomes a mother to one of her handmade dumplings when it comes alive. Shi’s success from Bao has resulted in her being handed the directors chair for one of Pixar’s upcoming features. Another woman spearheading one of the nominated shorts is Louise Bagnall who produced her short Late Afternoon with the renowned studio Cartoon Saloon. The film itself is as affecting as Bao and explores dementia. One Small Step comes from the newly formed Chinese-American TAIKO Studios and tells the story of Luna, a young girl dreaming of becoming an astronaut. Trevor Jimenez has worked in the art department for Disney and Pixar, and now has made his second short Weekends reflecting on his own upbringing. Lastly, the co-directors behind Animal Behaviour, a story of animals in a therapy session, have previously worked as writers on the Shaun the Sheep series. It may very well be that all of these directors are going places in the field of animation, but whoever takes home the Oscar may springboard quickly to further success.