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Here's what made the Oscars shortlists in 10 categories

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the shortlists in 10 categories for the upcoming 94th Oscars ceremony.
Oscars statuettes are on display backstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 9, 2020, in Hollywood, Calif.
Oscars statuettes are on display backstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 9, 2020, in Hollywood, Calif.Matt Petit / A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images file

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced the shortlists in 10 categories for the upcoming 94th Oscars ceremony.

The shortlist voting concluded on Dec. 15, and the remaining ones will move on to the official phase one voting. Nominations voting begins on Thursday, Jan. 27, and ends on Tuesday, Feb. 1. The official credits and nominees for all the films will be announced, with the rest of the Oscar nominations on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

Check out the list of the films and categories below:

Original Song

  • “So May We Start?” from “Annette” (Amazon Studios) Ron Mael, Russell Mael (Sparks)
  • “Down To Joy” from “Belfast” (Focus Features) Van Morrison
  • “Right Where I Belong” from “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road” (Screen Media Films) Brian Wilson, Jim James
  • “Automatic Woman” from “Bruised” (Netflix) H.E.R. (other songwriters to be added)
  • “Dream Girl” from “Cinderella” (Amazon Studios) Idina Menzel, Laura Veltz
  • “Beyond The Shore” from “CODA” (Apple Original Films) Nicholai Baxter, Matt Dahan, Sian Heder, Marius de Vries
  • “The Anonymous Ones” from “Dear Evan Hansen” (Universal Pictures) Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Amandla Stenberg
  • “Just Look Up” from “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix) Nicholas Britell, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi, Tara Stinson
  • “Dos Oruguitas” from “Encanto” (Walt Disney Pictures) Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • “Somehow You Do” from “Four Good Days” (Vertical Entertainment) Diane Warren
  • “Guns Go Bang” from “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) Jeymes Samuel, Scott Mescudi, Shawn Carter
  • “Be Alive” from “King Richard” (Warner Bros) Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Dixson
  • “No Time To Die” from “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell
  • “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” from “Respect” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) Jamie Alexander Hartman, Jennifer Hudson, Carole King
  • “Your Song Saved My Life” from “Sing 2” (Illumination/Universal Pictures) Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr.

This race should bring the newly minted Academy Awards producer Will Packer and the leadership joy and promise for high ratings. However, there is something for everyone on the 15 songs that remain.

We’re one step closer to seeing history being made with husband and wife Jay-Z and Beyoncé both making it for their two numbers on “The Harder They Fall” and “King Richard.” If both are nominated, it will be the first time in Oscar history that a husband and wife competed against one another in the same category.

The biggest pop stars in the world are among the list, including Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi, who are co-writers on the song from “Don’t Look Up,” Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas on their already Grammy-winning number from “No Time to Die” and Jennifer Hudson, who is looking for a double Oscar nom in actress and original song with “Respect.”

Last year’s surprise winner H.E.R. is back with the track from Halle Berry’s directorial debut, “Bruised,” while Sparks and Van Morrison are eyeing the older demographic of the Academy with the songs from “Annette” and “Belfast.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda represents his historic year with his song “Dos Oruguitas” from “Encanto,” which could make him an EGOT winner if it breaks his way.

We also have the obligatory mention for another Diane Warren song from the drama “Four Good Days.” With 12 nominations and still no win, could this be the year she finally captures the gold?

Members of the Music Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.

Documentary Feature

  • “Ascension” (MTV Documentary Films) — dir. Jessica Kingdon
  • “Attica” (Showtime) — dir. Stanley Nelson
  • “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry” (Apple Original Films) — dir. RJ Cutler
  • “Faya Dayi” (Janus Films) — dir. Jessica Beshir
  • “The First Wave” (National Geographic) — dir. Matthew Heineman
  • “Flee” (Neon) — dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen
  • “In the Same Breath” (HBO Documentary Films) — dir. Nanfu Wang
  • “Julia” (Sony Pictures Classics) — dir. Julie Cohen, Betsy West
  • “President” (Greenwich Entertainment) — dir. Camilla Nielsson
  • “Procession” (Netflix) — dir. Robert Greene
  • “The Rescue” (National Geographic) — dir. Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
  • “Simple as Water” (HBO Documentary Films) — dir. Megan Mylan
  • “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (Searchlight Pictures) — dir. Quest Love
  • “The Velvet Underground” (Apple Original Films) — dir. Todd Haynes
  • “Writing with Fire” (Music Box Films) — dir. Rintu Thomas

With 138 features submitted for recognition, there aren’t as many “shockers” as we thought there would be. Apple Original Films managed two entries for music docs — “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry” and “The Velvet Underground.” Also landing two films each was HBO with Nanfu Wang’s “In The Same Breath” (who missed out for her film “One Child Nation”) and Megan Mylan’s “Simple as Water” (who won the Oscar for documentary short for 2008’s “Smile Pinki”). Eight of the shortlisted films are helmed by women, which is notable.

The snubs include Discovery Plus’ “Francesco” and “Introducing, Selma Blair,” both powerful portraits, along with Edgar Wright’s love letter to the band Sparks, “The Sparks Brothers.” Also missing out was Netflix’s “Pray Away” and, most egregious, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.”

Members of the Documentary Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.

International Feature

  • “Great Freedom” (Austria) — dir. Sebastian Meise
  • “Playground” (Belgium) — dir. Laura Wandel
  • “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” (Bhutan) — dir. Pawo Choyning Dorji
  • “Flee” (Denmark) — dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen
  • “Compartment No. 6” (Finland) — dir. Juho Kuosmanen
  • “I’m Your Man” (Germany) — dir. Maria Schrader
  • “Lamb” (Iceland) — dir. Valdimar Jóhannsson
  • “A Hero” (Iran) — dir. Asghar Farhadi
  • “The Hand of God” (Italy) — dir. Paolo Sorrentino
  • “Drive My Car” (Japan) — dir. Ryusuke Hamaguchi
  • “Hive” (Kosovo) — dir. Blerta Basholli
  • “Prayers for the Stolen” (Mexico) — dir. Tatiana Huezo
  • “The Worst Person in the World” (Norway) — dir. Joachim Trier
  • “Plaza Catedral” (Panama) — dir. Abner Benaim
  • “The Good Boss” (Spain) — dir. Fernando León de Aranoa

The glaring snub of the day is France’s “Titane” from Julia Ducournau, who became the second woman ever to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. It was a divisive film among many, and it was assumed that the film would be a difficult sell to Academy members but was expected to make the shortlist. Four of the films on the shortlist are helmed by women (“Playground,” “I’m Your Man,” “Hive” and “Prayers for the Stolen”). In addition, there are three countries making entry onto the shortlist for the first time — Bhutan, Kosovo and Panama. The latter was the big surprise on the list with “Plaza Catedral.”

The list included the usual suspects among pundits and analysts, which had “Flee,” the only crossover from the documentary race, and the first film in history to be eligible in animated, doc and international (“Waltz With Bashir” was disqualified from documentary in its respective year). It’s widely expected that the Norway entry will be nominated in all three while also making a play for best picture with the help of Neon that got “Parasite” its historic win.

Other notable omissions include Colombia’s “Memoria,” Russia’s “Unclenching the Fists” and Czech Republic’s “Zátopek.”

Academy members from all branches were invited to participate in the preliminary round of voting. However, they must have met a minimum viewing requirement to vote in the category. The same will apply for the nominations round, with participants opting-in and must view all 15 shortlisted films to vote.

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Coming 2 America” (Amazon Studios)
  • “Cruella” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • “Cyrano” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros)
  • “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “House of Gucci” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “The Suicide Squad” (Warner Bros)
  • “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)

It’s a fantastic showing for MGM/United Artists Releasing, which landed three spots in the field of 10 — “Cyrano,” “House of Gucci” and surprisingly, “No Time to Die.” In addition, the expected frontrunner “Dune” made the cut, along with its Warner Bros counterpart “The Suicide Squad,” Whose original predecessor, which was helmed by David Ayer, won this category.

Unanticipated entries include Amazon Studios’ “Coming 2 America,” which could be a good signal for Ruth E. Carter in costume design.

The hair and makeup artisans always leave off some expected frontrunners and contenders. This year that seems to be Amazon Studios’ “Being the Ricardos” and the work done on Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem. In contrast, Searchlight Pictures’ “The French Dispatch” was left off, which is unexpected considering their previous love for Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It also seems that the transformation of Kristen Stewart into Princess Diana didn’t impress the branch, as the film was also overlooked.

All members of the Academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch will be invited to view seven-minute excerpts and interviews with the artists from each shortlisted film on Sunday, Jan. 30. In addition, branch members will vote to nominate five films.


  • “Belfast” (Focus Features)
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros)
  • “Last Night in Soho” (Focus Features)
  • “The Matrix Resurrections” (Warner Bros)
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
  • “A Quiet Place Part II” (Paramount Pictures)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Sony Pictures)
  • “Tick, Tick … Boom!” (Netflix)
  • “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)

The first year that the Oscars have presented a shortlist for sound, just two years after merging the awards for sound mixing and sound editing. It seems not to be raising any glaring issues thus far as the 10 features to make the cut are all respected entries and worthy of a nomination.

Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho,” the most surprising entry, could bode well for a showing in other artisan categories like production and costumes.

It was a massive year for musicals, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Tick, Tick … Boom!” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” will represent the genre. Both stand an excellent chance to make the final cut. But, unfortunately, Joe Wright’s “Cyrano” and Jon M. Chu’s “In the Heights” were passed over for their achievements.

The biggest omission is Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley,” which missed in two critical races that were announced — unsure if we can chalk it up to not seeing the film in time (which is hard to argue considering “Spider-Man: No Way Home” made it) or if the film’s divisive nature is having trouble with members. Other notable rebuffs were Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” and Marvel’s “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

Members of the Sound Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees. All members of the Sound Branch will be invited to view eight-minute excerpts and interviews with the artists from each of the shortlisted films beginning Friday, Jan. 28. Branch members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

Visual Effects

  • “Black Widow” (Marvel Studios)
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros)
  • “Eternals” (Marvel Studios)
  • “Free Guy” (20th Century Studios)
  • “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Sony Pictures)
  • “Godzilla vs. Kong” (Warner Bros)
  • “The Matrix Resurrections” (Warner Bros)
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (Marvel Studios)
  • “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Sony Pictures)

Marvel Studios owned the Visual Effects Branch this year, with “Black Widow,” “Eternals,” and “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” all making appearances. However, Scarlett Johansson’s last entry as the Natasha Romanoff may face the biggest hurdle of the three due to the early release.

Marvel can also own half of Sony Pictures’ success with getting the box-office juggernaut “Spider-Man: No Way Home” into the lineup. The Tom Holland and Zendaya vehicle dominated the box office, scoring the third highest-grossing opening of all time. That’s going to help for awards campaigning in January.

Taking cues from “Kong: Skull Island” that was nominated here, Warner Bros’ “Godzilla vs. Kong” mustered its way in, alongside the sequel “The Matrix: Resurrections” and the category frontrunner “Dune.”

Kudos to the Academy for not forgetting “Free Guy,” which deserves a nom.

All members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts and interviews with the artists from each of the shortlisted films on Saturday, Jan. 29. Then, branch members will vote to nominate five films.

Original Score

  • “Being the Ricardos” (Amazon Studios) — Daniel Pemberton
  • “Candyman” (Universal Pictures) — Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
  • “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix) — Nicholas Britell
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros) — Hans Zimmer
  • “Encanto” (Walt Disney Pictures) — Germaine Franco
  • “The French Dispatch” (Searchlight Pictures) — Alexandre Desplat
  • “The Green Knight” (A24) — Daniel Hart
  • “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) — Jeymes Samuel
  • “King Richard” (Warner Bros) — Kris Bowers
  • “The Last Duel” (20th Century Studios) — Harry Gregson-Williams
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) — Hans Zimmer
  • “Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Classics) — Alberto Iglesias
  • “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix) — Jonny Greenwood
  • “Spencer” (Neon/Topic Studios) — Jonny Greenwood
  • “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple Original Films/A24) — Carter Burwell

This year, there are two possibilities for double nominations in the original score category. Oscar winner Hans Zimmer (“The Lion King”) nabbed two of the 15 spots with “Dune” and “No Time to Die” while the still unrewarded Jonny Greenwood was shortlisted for “The Power of the Dog” and “Spencer.”

Germaine Franco, who became the first Latina to ever join the Music Branch in 2019, is the only woman represented among the shortlisted for the animated musical “Encanto.” Fresh off her Golden Globe nom, she could become one of the favorites if the film continues to gain traction in other races like animated feature and original song.

The most shocking (but welcoming) inclusion on the list is the horror film “Candyman” by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, who is one of three Black composers to make the shortlist, including Kris Bowers for “King Richard” and Jeymes Samuel for “The Harder They Fall.”

The most shocking exclusion came from Nathan Johnson’s beautiful work on “Nightmare Alley” failing to cut. At the same time, the branch also passed on another Disney feature, “Raya and the Last Dragon,” from nine-time Oscar-nominee James Newton Howard.

Despite three scores submitted this year, the Grammy-winning The National failed to make a list with “C’mon C’mon,” “Cyrano” and “Jockey.”

Animated Short Film

  • “Affairs of the Art”
  • “Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice”
  • “Bad Seeds”
  • “Bestia”
  • “Boxballet”
  • “Flowing Home”
  • “Mum Is Pouring Rain”
  • “The Musician”
  • “Namoo”
  • “Only a Child”
  • “Robin Robin”
  • “Souvenir Souvenir”
  • “Step into the River”
  • “Us Again”
  • “The Windshield Wiper”

Documentary Short Subject

  • “Águilas”
  • “Audible”
  • “A Broken House”
  • “Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis”
  • “Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker”
  • “Day of Rage”
  • “The Facility”
  • “Lead Me Home”
  • “Lynching Postcards: “Token of a Great Day”
  • “The Queen of Basketball”
  • “Sophie & the Baron”
  • “Takeover”
  • “Terror Contagion”
  • “Three Songs for Benazir”
  • “When We Were Bullies”

Live Action Short

  • “Ala Kachuu — Take and Run”
  • “Censor of Dreams”
  • “The Criminals”
  • “Distances”
  • “The Dress”
  • “Frimas”
  • “Les Grandes Claques”
  • “The Long Goodbye”
  • “On My Mind”
  • “Please Hold”
  • “Stenofonen”
  • “Tala’vision”
  • “Under the Heavens”
  • “When the Sun Sets”

“You’re Dead Helen”