The Alternative Oscars – Selecting 2020’s Best Non-Nominees

Actress In A Supporting Role

Julia Fox (Uncut Gems)
Adèle Haenel (Portrait of a Lady on Fire)
Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)
Julie Walters (Wild Rose)
Shuzhen Zhao (The Farewell)

The breakout performance of Julie Fox in Uncut Gems was a remarkable big screen debut performed with every bit of the maturity of her fellow nominees in this category, while Julie Walters’ vast experience brought a tough but loving aura to her supporting role in Wild Rose, the actress hitting a dramatic height we haven’t seen from her in a number of years. Shuzhen Zhao of The Farewell was a standout of a very strong film and such a loveable presence to see on the screen, meanwhile Adèle Haenel offered such a distinct mix of fragility, innocence and, oppositionally, strength, as Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s most watchable screen presence (in a film with much competition).

The big Official Oscars mishap of 2020 is the Academy seemingly missing Jennifer Lopez’s performance in Hustlers, because there is simply no other explanation as to why she wasn’t nominated. While the Oscars’ category is pretty strong, Lopez’s omission is one of the biggest losses of the awards show overall, her work even standing out in a group of alternative nominees as strong as this.

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Actor In A Supporting Role

Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari)
Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse)
Song Kang Ho (Parasite)
Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy)
Jonathan Pryce (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote)

2020 was a big year for supporting actor roles, but Christian Bale’s in Ford v Ferrari was arguably better than the roles he’d been nominated for in previous years, while Willem Dafoe was at a decade-topping best for The Lighthouse, each offering vastly different but equally as powerful portrayals in their respective films.

Song Kang Ho is perhaps the biggest outliar from the Official Oscars‘ selections given his truly exceptional performance in Bong Joon Ho’s 6-time nominee Parasite, the actor fostering the audience as the father figure not only of the film’s central group but also each of us, while Shia LaBeouf’s performance in Honey Boy was not only exceptionally well crafted but one that held such a resonance for LaBeouf himself and those familiar with his life struggles. As regards Jonathan Pryce… he was nominated at the Official Oscars for the wrong film.

Original Score

James Newton Howard (A Hidden Life)
Mica Levi (Monos)
Mike Korven (The Lighthouse)
Bobby Krlic (Midsommar)
Daniel Lopatin (Uncut Gems)

This year’s Official Oscars Original Score nominees are all remarkably strong but arguably very much in the traditional mould of the orchestral powerhouses of cinema throughout history, whereas our selection is much more modern, and certainly much more challenging.

The traditional score of the group is that of James Newton Howard’s for the grossly underrepresented A Hidden Life, the timeless feel to his orchestral combinations being of the highest order for a film with real awards season potential, while Mica Levi and Mike Korven share similar deep drones and booming horns in their scores – Levi’s in particular being as close to perfect as the rest of her cinematic output has been in her relatively short career. Bobby Krlic and Daniel Lopatin challenged the conventions of movie scoring more abruptly in their work elevating Midsommar and Uncut Gems respectively, and while that may be hard to stomach for some academy members, we consider pushing the envelope to be a quality of artistic choice, not something to be dismissed.

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