Oscars season has arrived early this year, and with it comes one of the most eclectic sets of nominees we’ve seen in quite some time. Big hitters include a long-take (not one-take) WWI film, a serious superhero origin story, a foreign-language ensemble thriller, and a child’s take on Nazi Germany featuring an imaginary best friend Hitler.

Sure, typical (and very good) Oscar fare is in the mix in the form of period adaptation Little Women and Hollywood love letter Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, but we really do have a slate of nominees that are diverse in content, albeit still somewhat monotone in the diversity of the personnel.

So what is left for us here at ORWAV to do? Well, our team always vote with nothing but their hearts and manage to right some of the wrongs of Oscar season. I’m happy to say we’ve done it again.

Best Screenplay

Lulu Wang

Lulu Wang on set of The Farewell; courtesy of: A24

Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won (Parasite)
Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire)
Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, Katie Silberman (Booksmart)
Greta Gerwig (Little Women)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)
Rian Johnson (Knives Out)

These nominations are basically a barometer for the taste of our site’s writers, and I couldn’t be happier with what made it to the shortlist for this category. The best of the actual Oscar nominees survived (Gerwig, Johnson, Bong and Han) and we threw in some more underappreciated gems like Céline Sciamma’s moving Portrait of a Lady on Fire and the team behind crowd-pleasing comedy Booksmart.

Best Cinematography

Portrait Of A Lady Claire Mathon

Portrait of a Lady on Fire; courtesy of: Curzon Artificial Eye

Claire Mathon (Portrait of a Lady on Fire)
Darius Khondji (Uncut Gems)
Hoyte van Hoytema (Ad Astra)
Jarin Blaschke (The Lighthouse)
Jörg Widmer (A Hidden Life)
Lawrence Sher (Joker)
Robert Richardson (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood)
Roger Deakins (1917)

The Academy normally has pretty good taste when it comes to cinematography. I think it somehow feels easier to divorce the quality of individual images from the narrative of which films are generally expected to dominate the ceremony. But no matter how strong their picks were this year, we’ve gone one better.

All the Oscar front-runners (except for The Irishman’s Rodrigo Prieto) remain nominated here, but we’ve added the incredible, vivid work of Claire Mathon; the queasy pallor of Darius Khondji; the natural beauty of Jörg Widmer; and the outer space specialism of Hoyte van Hoytema. This may be one of the strongest years for this category yet.

Best Director

Greta Gerwig Little Women

Saoirse Ronan (L) and Greta Gerwig (R) on the set of Little Women; courtesy of: Columbia Pictures

Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)
Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire)
Greta Gerwig (Little Women)
Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)
Benny & Josh Safdie (Uncut Gems)

It’s a tight five for Best Director, with some of the biggest upsets from the real nominations finally getting the attention they deserve. Gerwig and Sciamma prove – in case the Academy need reminding – that women can direct too, while the hyper-masculine adrenaline rush of Uncut Gems also gets its just rewards with recognition for the Safdie brothers.

Best Actress

Lupita Nyong’o Will Never Return For Jordan Peeles US 2

Lupita Nyong’o in Us; courtesy of: Universal Pictures

Adèle Haenel (Portrait of a Lady on Fire)
Ana de Armas (Knives Out)
Florence Pugh (Little Women)
Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)
Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart)
Lupita Nyong’o (Us)
Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

Hollywood never really changes. White women get nominated for Oscars when they play writers, singers, painters, actresses, or journalists; black women get nominated when they play slaves. Cynthia Erivo deservedly earned a nomination for playing Harriet Tubman, a slave, then an abolitionist and freedom fighter who helped save countless people with the Underground Railroad – but that was the only person of colour on the list out of ten nominees for Lead and Supporting Actress.

Our nominations prove there was no shortage of deserving names, including Ana de Armas, Jennifer Lopez and Lupita Nyong’o. All three are also victims to the genre prejudice in Hollywood. Horrors, thrillers and female-led comedy-thrillers are always going to struggle against ‘worthy’ or ‘important’ dramatic films.

Best Actor

Sandler Uncut Gems

Courtesy of: A24

Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)
Al Pacino (The Irishman)
Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood)
Daniel Craig (Knives Out)
Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
Robert De Niro (The Irishman)
Song Kang-Ho (Parasite)
Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse)

We nominated Adam Driver in 2016, 2017 and 2018, but he didn’t make our cut in 2019 despite the Academy recognising him for BlacKkKlansman. Adam, we’re so sorry. Please come back. We miss you.

If he can find it in himself to forgive us, then Driver, probably the best actor of his generation (fight me) has a nomination ready and waiting for his complex performance in Marriage Story. He’s joined by the triple-threat leads from The Irishman, and Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas, all of whom repeat their Academy success (#JusticeforDeNiro).

Even better, our broad field and shortlist rules (top five including any fifth-place ties) mean plenty of snubbed stars make the cut. Adam Sandler, Song Kang-ho, Daniel Craig; Willem Dafoe – they didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning.

Best Film


Parasite; courtesy of: Neon

Knives Out
Little Women
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
The Irishman
Uncut Gems

Ah, One Room with a View…what fine taste you have. This is the one category where we have fewer nominees than the Academy, but each of ours packs a formidable punch and appeals to a different type of viewer. Each one is a stone-cold classic of its genre. I won’t ramble about them again here, but just click their titles above to read our full reviews.

Check in to oneroomwithaview.com on Sunday evening to see our winners before the Academy announce theirs.