Indie Outlook Picks the 2020 Nominees

Charlie Kaufman’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” courtesy of Netflix; Steve McQueen’s “Lovers Rock,” courtesy of Amazon Studios; Kantemir Balagov’s “Beanpole,” courtesy of Kino Lorber.

Though many awards season hopefuls have pushed their release dates to February, in light of the Oscars supposedly being held in-person on April 25th, Indie Outlook is still releasing its annual list of the films and artists it would like to see nominated in each major category. After all, the Emmys proved that virtual ceremonies can be just as satisfying as awkward taped events at the Dolby Theatre, so there’s no reason why the Oscars can’t be held during their usual week in February. Such a delay will likely cause many worthy contenders to fade from voters’ memories, so this wish list will hopefully serve as a useful reminder.

Leading the nominees is Steve McQueen’s astonishing “Small Axe” film anthology, which garnered a total of 15 nods, eight of which went to its finest installment, “Lovers Rock.” Charlie Kaufman’s mind-bending masterwork, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” scored 12 nominations, while Russian director Kantemir Balagov’s galvanizing postwar drama, “Beanpole,” received 10 nods. Kitty Green’s meticulously nuanced #MeToo thriller, “The Assistant,” Chloé Zhao’s deeply moving ode to “houseless” lifestyles, “Nomadland,” and Florian Zeller’s extraordinarily visceral portrait of dementia, “The Father,” each earned five nominations apiece. 

Only two categories—Best Breakthrough Actor and Best Short Film—have each been expanded to include six contenders simply because I couldn’t bring myself to eliminate any of them. Be sure to stay tuned after these categories for my list of Fifteen Special Mentions, many of which honor cinematic achievements on television. 

And the nominees are…

BEST PICTURE

The Assistant

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Lovers Rock

Mangrove

Nomadland

BEST FOREIGN FILM

And Then We Danced

Antigone

Beanpole

Cuties

Widow of Silence

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Athlete A

Beyond the Visible – Hilma af Klint

Crip Camp

Finding Yingying

Rewind

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Onward

Soul

Traces

The Wolf House

Wolfwalkers

BEST DIRECTOR

Kantemir Balagov, “Beanpole”

Kitty Green, “The Assistant”

Charlie Kaufman, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Steve McQueen, “Lovers Rock”

Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

BEST ACTOR

Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”

Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

John Boyega, “Red, White and Blue”

Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”

Hugh Jackman, “Bad Education”

BEST ACTRESS

Jessie Buckley, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Julia Garner, “The Assistant”

Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

Aubrey Plaza, “Black Bear”

Nahéma Ricci, “Antigone”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Kingsley Ben-Adir, “One Night in Miami”

Frank Langella, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Matthew Macfadyen, “The Assistant”

Bill Murray, “On the Rocks”

Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Toni Collette, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Debbie Honeywood, “Sorry We Missed You”

Sydney Sweeney, “Clementine”

Letitia Wright, “Mangrove”

BEST BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR

Kiera Allen, “Run”

Sidney Flanigan, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

Levan Gelbakhiani, “And Then We Danced”

Viktoria Miroshnichenko, “Beanpole”

Vasilisa Perelygina, “Beanpole”

Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn, “Lovers Rock”

BEST ACTOR UNDER 18

Millie Bobby Brown, “Enola Holmes”

Lia McHugh, “The Lodge”

Kenyah Sandy, “Education”

Charlie Shotwell, “Troop Zero”

Fathia Youssouf, “Cuties”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Kantemir Balagov & Aleksandr Terekhov, “Beanpole”

Kitty Green, “The Assistant”

Steve McQueen and Alastair Siddons, “Mangrove”

Matthew Rankin, “The Twentieth Century”

Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, “The Father”

Charlie Kaufman, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Mike Makowsky, “Bad Education”

Ruben Santiago-Hudson, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Shabier Kirchner, “Lovers Rock”

M.I. Littin-Menz, “The Vast of Night”

Benjamin Loeb, “Pieces of a Woman”

Kseniya Sereda, “Beanpole”

Lukasz Zal, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

BEST EDITING

Chris Dickens and Steve McQueen, “Lovers Rock”

Robert Frazen, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Avela Grenier, “Rewind”

Yorgos Lamprinos, “The Father”

Igor Litoninskiy, “Beanpole”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Lisa Duncan & Jacqueline Durran, “Lovers Rock”

Jennifer Johnson, “Kajillionaire”

Ann Roth, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Olga Smirnova, “Beanpole”

Melissa Toth, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Dany Boivin, “The Twentieth Century”

Peter Francis, “The Father”

Molly Hughes & Melissa Lombardo, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Sergey Ivanov, “Beanpole”

Helen Scott, “Mangrove”

BEST SCORE

Ludovico Einaudi, “Nomadland”

Evgueni Galperine, “Beanpole”

Mica Levi, “Lovers Rock”

Phoenix, “On the Rocks”

Jay Wadley, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

BEST SOUND

The Father

The Invisible Man

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Mangrove

Sound of Metal

BEST MAKEUP

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Color Out of Space

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

The Twentieth Century

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Color Out of Space

The Invisible Man

The Midnight Sky

The Vast of Night

The Wolf House

BEST SHORT FILM

Bess

Candyman  (Manual Cinema teaser)

Curiouser & Curiouser

Liv

The Speech

White Eye

Fifteen Special Mentions

BEST SONG

“Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

BEST SONG PERFORMANCE

“Silly Games” from “Lovers Rock”

BEST WAKE-UP CALL

“David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet”

BEST FINAL PRE-PANDEMIC THEATER EXPERIENCE

“The Invisible Man”

BEST LIVE THEATRE RECORDING

“Hamilton”

BEST MINISERIES

“I Know This Much is True”

BEST DOCUSERIES

“City So Real”

BEST ODE TO GREATNESS

“The Last Dance”

BEST USE OF ZOOM

“Host”

BEST SELF-CONTAINED SEASON

“We Are Who We Are: Right Here Right Now” 

BEST TWO-HANDER

“Euphoria: Trouble Don’t Last Always”

BEST FUTURE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

Steven Garza and René Otero in “Boys State”

BEST SCENE-STEALERS WHO SHOULD TOTALLY DATE

Brandon Daley in “I Used to Go Here” and Pam Harper in “Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets”

WORST REMAKE OF A REVERED CLASSIC

“Rebecca”

WORST FILM OF THE YEAR

“Dolittle”

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