Trophy Talk

Trophy Talk: Avengers: Endgame, Parasite, and Rocketman Lead Potential Nominees on Oscar Shortlists

Get the jump on Oscar nominations with our predictions for who will be nominated and why.

by | December 18, 2019 | Comments

Avengers Endgame

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

During Awards Season, Rotten Tomatoes editor Jacqueline Coley will be reporting on the big contenders, the most important ceremonies, and surprise shifts in the race towards Oscar gold.

For reasons yet to be understood, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have opted to condense this year’s awards season by two weeks, as the Oscars, which are typically held the last week of February, have been moved up to the first week of the month. This has put the entire industry into a scramble with what is already a brutal grind of events, screenings, and glad-handing — that is, “the season.” Despite this, the usual players are working the right rooms and meeting voters in the hopes of snagging one of those elusive golden statuettes. Most of the Oscar categories are nominated by their various branches; directors nominate directors, actors nominate actors, and all the branches vote for Best Picture. However, many branches have a preliminary sub-committee made up of members and professionals who help whittle down the potential noms to a workable list called the “shortlist,” and the various branches vote off of that. This year, the Academy released the names of the selected films from nines categories. In this, our first installment of Trophy Talk for the 2019 season, we break down the feature-length categories, single out our favorites, and place early odds on the eventual nominees and winners.

Best Visual Effects

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) 61%
Avengers: Endgame (2019) 94%
Captain Marvel (2019) 79%
Marriage Story (2019) 94%
Breakthrough (2019) 63%
Gemini Man (2019) 26%
The Irishman (2019) 95%
The Lion King (2019) 52%
1917 (2020) 89%
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) 51%
1917 (2020) 89%

Early responses to the trailer for Cats and early screening reactions to the film have been none too kind, particularly on the visual effects side. Still, the VFX shorts committee saw enough to include it here. It’s puzzling, as James Gray’s Ad Astra, a brilliant film with jaw-dropping visuals, was regrettably omitted. In the end, The Lion King, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Avengers Endgame will likely make it to Oscar night to duke it out amongst themselves.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Bombshell (2019) 68%
Dolemite Is My Name (2019) 97%
Rocketman (2019) 89%
Joker (2019) 68%
Judy (2019) 81%
Little Women (2019) 95%
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) 39%
1917 (2020) 89%
Joker (2019) 68%
Judy (2019) 81%

Our pick for the Best Makeup and Hairstyling in 2020 has been locked since we saw the first trailer for Bombshell. Charlize Theron’s eerie transformation into Fox News anchor Meghan Kelly was achieved primarily through the aid of makeup, but it is John Lithgow’s near unrecognizable turn as Fox News founder Roger Ailes that clinched this one for us. Dolemite is My Name and Rocketman are our picks to join Bombshell with a nomination, but there’s no question who’s winning.

Best Documentary Feature

Advocate (2020) 100%
American Factory (2019) 96%
Apollo 11 (2019) 99%
The Apollo (2019) 95%
The Biggest Little Farm (2019) 91%
Aquarela (2019) 86%
The Cave (2019) 97%
The Edge of Democracy (2019) 97%
For Sama (2019) 99%
The Great Hack (2019) 87%
Honeyland (2019) 100%
Maiden (2019) 98%
Midnight Traveler (2019) 100%
One Child Nation (2019) 98%

This category is always precarious. Last year what we all assumed to be the odds-on favorite, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, failed to make it off the shortlist, and IMAX thrill ride Free Solo took home the top prize. This year, the competition is currently wide open with For Sama, The Biggest Little Farm, and Apollo 11 all marked as strong contenders. Adding in Honeyland, which competes here and in the Best International Film Category, it’s anyone’s guess who makes it off the shortlist, but one thing we know for sure: It has been an outstanting year for Documentary features.

Best International Film


(Photo by Courtesy Cannes Film Festival)

The Painted Bird (2020) 82%
Truth and Justice (Tõde ja õigus) (2019)
Les Misérables (2020) 88%
Marriage Story (2019) 94%
Honeyland (2019) 100%
Corpus Christi (Boze cialo) (2020) 98%
Beanpole (Dylda) (2020) 92%
Atlantics (2019) 96%
Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) 98%
Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) 96%

This one is not even a question. Parasite is getting the nomination, and it’s winning. Nothing will stop it now. The only uncertainty is who will join the Cannes Palme d’Or winner when nominations are announced. We’re looking at Atlantics, Honeyland, Pain & Glory, and Les Miserables, but each one would join with full knowledge there is no chance they can win.

Best Song


(Photo by Neon)

“Speechless” from Aladdin
“Letter To My Godfather” from The Black Godfather
“I’m Standing With You” from Breakthrough
“Da Bronx” from The Bronx USA
“Into The Unknown” from Frozen II
“Stand Up” from Harriet
“Catchy Song” from The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
“Never Too Late” from The Lion King
“Spirit” from The Lion King
“Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn
“A Glass of Soju” from Parasite
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman
“High Above The Water” from Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4
“Glasgow” from Wild Rose

Taylor Swift fans were more than a little upset she failed to make it to the Oscars shortlist for her new song for the musical Cats, but Beyoncé fans have more than enough to cheer about. As with Lady Gaga in 2019, many will vote for “Spirit” from The Lion King just for a chance to see Beyoncé perform in the flesh, but we think that is where the comparison ends, as Frozen II‘s “Into the Unknown” is the clear front-runner.

Best Score

Avengers Endgame

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Avengers: Endgame (2019) 94%
Bombshell (2019) 68%
The Farewell (2019) 98%
Ford v Ferrari (2019) 92%
Frozen II (2019) 78%
Jojo Rabbit (2019) 80%
Joker (2019) 68%
The King (2019) 71%
Little Women (2019) 95%
Marriage Story (2019) 94%
Motherless Brooklyn (2019) 63%
1917 (2020) 89%
Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) 96%
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) 51%
Us (2019) 93%

Based on the buzz and our Awards Leaderboard, Joker, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Little Women, 1917, and Marriage Story are pretty much locks for us, but keep an eye out for US, The King, or Avengers: Endgame to pull a last-minute upset for a nomination. Also, please allow us just a moment to lament the fact that the pulse-pounding score for Uncut Gems failed to make the list.

Nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards will be announced on Monday, January 13 at 5am PST / 8am EST. Check back at Rotten Tomatoes to see who gets a nod! 

Are you as obsessed with awards as we are? Check out our Awards Leaderboard for 2019/2020.

Tag Cloud

New York Comic Con die hard television TCM Superheroes Brie Larson Pride Month indie Holidays latino PaleyFest jurassic park Animation Hallmark Pixar doctor who Disney SDCC crime thriller blaxploitation Pirates DGA Hear Us Out sequel Epix batman documentaries IFC Films comic books revenge DC streaming service Sony Pictures miniseries Comic Book Emmys NYCC blockbuster GoT Winter TV Hulu Ghostbusters Academy Awards cinemax 4/20 breaking bad 2015 Star Wars scary movies obituary talk show documentary Syfy Comics on TV Elton John The Walt Disney Company halloween Watching Series E3 Writers Guild of America aliens richard e. Grant Mudbound Sundance TNT Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt The Arrangement cancelled TV shows renewed TV shows Cartoon Network Polls and Games Comedy Central halloween tv true crime Pet Sematary Disney Plus spanish Martial Arts 45 LGBT Masterpiece news twilight Holiday Columbia Pictures movies NBC mockumentary worst movies E! Opinion comics MSNBC children's TV Britbox Marvel Trophy Talk cats 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Hallmark Christmas movies a nightmare on elm street singing competition Shondaland Sundance Now independent Western nature biography war DirecTV vampires Podcast south america Fox Searchlight Mary Tyler Moore American Society of Cinematographers Adult Swim Calendar stop motion National Geographic Mystery foreign Toys Pop TV TCA Awards Nat Geo History Reality psycho quibi canceled TV shows Tubi political drama concert A24 worst what to watch Turner Classic Movies franchise Mary Poppins Returns Marathons Netflix Christmas movies VOD Disney+ Disney Plus Song of Ice and Fire crossover First Look medical drama stoner Freeform Horror 72 Emmy Awards Turner superhero tv talk Musicals spy thriller Lifetime Christmas movies scorecard discovery adaptation Set visit 20th Century Fox Cannes golden globe awards Biopics MTV strong female leads romantic comedy ghosts remakes 2020 WarnerMedia Amazon Superheroe Drama politics boxoffice golden globes Women's History Month game of thrones Disney Channel universal monsters DC Universe OneApp FOX WGN Interview The Academy ESPN GIFs Spike animated classics 007 Nickelodeon toronto period drama pirates of the caribbean The CW Tomatazos anime science fiction HBO Go comedies BET The Purge Spring TV MCU Showtime football critics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Action elevated horror Amazon Prime teaser unscripted Grammys Kids & Family AMC Winners Avengers Election adventure award winner DC Comics werewolf Ellie Kemper The Walking Dead emmy awards sports zombie theme song YouTube Premium Amazon Prime Video spanish language hist comiccon Amazon Studios asian-american Heroines TIFF Fox News diversity San Diego Comic-Con disaster toy story sag awards justice league nbcuniversal Binge Guide supernatural Logo Food Network spider-man game show Chernobyl cops Super Bowl Ovation SundanceTV video Oscars TruTV TBS Paramount Network Rocky Rocketman indiana jones Acorn TV CNN Infographic BET Awards TV USA TV Land Lionsgate Lucasfilm parents 2019 24 frames spinoff natural history dogs HBO Arrowverse Christmas 2017 Pop streaming Country series rotten SXSW IFC Crackle Television Academy cars Comedy Travel Channel El Rey TV One Starz witnail Fantasy Funimation sitcom The Witch YouTube Red fast and furious comic Awards Tour travel Sci-Fi slashers joker CW Seed Disney streaming service dramedy rt archives free movies book Anna Paquin binge Walt Disney Pictures Quiz Musical spain reviews chucky HBO Max based on movie social media See It Skip It TCA Winter 2020 cooking BBC Box Office Rock christmas movies Warner Bros. FX fresh Fall TV Photos Film jamie lee curtis Black History Month cancelled TV series Star Trek Thanksgiving Lifetime Teen Reality Competition australia dceu TCA YA Crunchyroll movie Apple TV Plus child's play Netflix directors TLC Television Critics Association Tarantino rotten movies we love facebook Emmy Nominations Trailer black cults crime drama Premiere Dates Awards casting Countdown X-Men Paramount stand-up comedy ABC Signature VH1 YouTube dc festival Stephen King name the review cancelled First Reviews Black Mirror Baby Yoda venice criterion USA Network Extras space ABC Family Endgame Schedule mutant japanese Alien Classic Film TV renewals Certified Fresh best Shudder Discovery Channel Year in Review zero dark thirty TCA 2017 Dark Horse Comics police drama BAFTA ID canceled RT21 kids Apple TV+ Apple anthology robots Creative Arts Emmys hollywood RT History video on demand 71st Emmy Awards Marvel Studios mission: impossible A&E french Best and Worst ratings cartoon festivals archives crime 2016 Vudu Bravo ITV rom-coms harry potter VICE screenings italian CMT zombies psychological thriller Sundance TV PBS dark sequels reboot Summer Film Festival Marvel Television versus Family finale nfl Tumblr Mary poppins FX on Hulu Video Games FXX Captain marvel technology Universal satire BBC America green book GLAAD deadpool Peacock Sneak Peek romance docudrama Red Carpet composers james bond OWN cancelled television trailers Rom-Com APB laika boxing Nominations Spectrum Originals CBS films thriller screen actors guild 2018 Valentine's Day Mindy Kaling dragons Esquire Character Guide 99% Trivia BBC One Music historical drama LGBTQ serial killer Cosplay ABC PlayStation CBS All Access hispanic President all-time transformers 21st Century Fox