When you come to the end of the line with a pundit buddy who is more than a brother, and a little less than a wife, getting blind drunk together is really the only way to say farewell.

Allen Kincade: Hello, everybody. This is Allen Kincade on the set of the exciting hit NBC and Screen Gems television series, Guest House. Now, if you think you’re seeing double, don’t adjust your television sets because, well, in a way, you are.

On our right we have Pundit 1, who’s been chasing the Film Fun Awards trail ever since ’97, when Scream took home the top prize. On our left is Pundit 2, a little newer to the game, but we’ll never forget their notorious call in ’05, correctly predicting a triumph of The Passion of the Christ over Shrek 2, Before Sunset and Mean Girls.

So, what’s happening this year?

Pundit 1: Everyone’s happy.

AK: How’s that?

Pundit 1: We’ve never seen the Academy so thrilled by their choices, all up and down the ballot. Some might call the gender dynamics a little regressive; it’s the Boys vs. the Girls this year, and in a big way. But in those two categories you’ve got a lot to go around: in one ring, there’s Ford v Ferrari, Avengers: Endgame and, more or less, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And on the other side you’ve got Hustlers and Little Women. There really are multiple movies Academy members can feel equally good about getting behind. This year really feels special in that way.

Pundit 2: I think this year also feels special and urgent in that, in closing out 2019, we’re experiencing multiple endings, whether we’re conscious of them or not. The decade ended, that’s for certain. Hustlers reminded us of that by taking us back to where it all began, with Usher and the financial crisis of 2008. But there’s also the slow retreat of the Blockbuster, an era that Film Fun is singling out for Best Lifetime award, interestingly enough. You could even argue that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood celebrates the end of the era that preceded the Blockbuster, while Avengers: Endgame looks cathartically ahead.

Pundit 1: Right. Whatever happens, we can tell the Academy’s going to be voting from a deeply personal place, now more than ever.

AK: How do you think that’ll affect the narrative of the night?

Both Pundits take a long swig from their martinis.

Pundit 2: It feels weird saying it out loud, honestly.

Pundit 2’s hand trembles around the flute of the martini glass. Pundit 1 notices and holds their tongue.

Pundit 2: I had a dream the other night. I was wandering on some abandoned lot that in some way resembled Spahn Ranch. But in a couple of other ways, it didn’t. For one, it wasn’t surrounded by dry Californian desert, but by thick autumnal foliage. Secondly, it wasn’t scary. Instead, there was this positive energy that lured me further onto the property, all the way to the foot of a decrepit shack, exactly resembling the one in the movie. The energy was still positive, I could almost touch it, like dust, so I went in. At the very back of the house, there was a bedroom door slightly ajar. I opened it, expecting to find a forgotten Bruce Dern. Instead, there was an old man sitting up at the edge of the bed. The late afternoon rays of light obscured his face at first, but as I approached the bed I could finally make him out. It was Roger Ebert. I sat next to him, nervously. “Who are you,” he asked, though I could sense in his voice that he already knew the answer. “I’m just a pundit,” I told him. He smiled and replied. “Yes. Yes, you are. But you were a movie lover first. At the end of an era—and at the end of every movie, in fact—it’s important to remember that.” I nodded. “Now I’ve got to take a nap,” he continued. “Chaz wants to watch Hustlers tonight and I don’t want to disappoint her.” As much as I wanted to stay around for the movie later, I let him sleep and woke up.

AK: Well, I—could you, uh—

Pundit 1, casting a warm, brotherly smile over Pundit 2, finishes their martini and changes the subject.

Pundit 1: Now how ‘bout these new categories? Best Dance, and Bangs. Those might be some of the tightest dang races in known memory.

Pundit 2: Yeah, I… you know in my mind, Bangs really comes down to…

The camera pulls back. It’s time to leave them to their own small devices, the intimacies known only by the pundits. And just like that, they continue talking.

And the nominees… are

“Avengers: Endgame”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Alexandra Aja, “Crawl”
Greta Gerwig, “Little Women”
Laszlo Nemes, “Sunset”
Lorene Scafaria, “Hustlers”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

SNUB: “Richard Jewell”

Clint Eastwood is a longtime favorite of this group, having last scored a directing nomination for Sully; even The Mule and The 15:17 to Paris picked up cursory nods last year. And when it became known that his new film would center on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, one of the defining events of Mike and Keaton’s early lives, it seemed like a shoo-in for top nods. But not even Olivia Wilde could claw her way into a tight Best Supporting Actress race. The movie will have to settle for a nomination in Best Dance, where it was recognized for its haunting Macarena sequence.

SURPRISE: “Ford v Ferrari”

Back in November, Film Fun awards commentator Frontrow Pundit went on record saying that Film Fun would never touch James Mangold’s racecar epic with a ten-foot pole. But here we are, 355 laps and 7000 RPMs later, humming right out front of Best Picture. The movie’s overperformance may have to do with its Fast & Furious-style buddy dynamic, or perhaps even likelier with the father/son relationship at its emotional center; both father (Christian Bale) and son (Noah Jupe) scored nominations for their acting. Is this the year dads give moms a run for their money?

SURPRISE: Laszlo Nemes

One thing the Oscars had in common with the Film Fun Awards was a whole lot of speculation over who would score the coveted “fifth spot” in the directing race, with most pundits betting correctly on the first four. If there was a name on everybody’s lips, it certainly wasn’t “Laszlo Nemes”. At least not this year.

Elisabeth Moss, “Her Smell”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Kaya Scoledario, “Crawl”
Octavia Spencer, “Ma”
Naomi Watts, “Luce”

Christian Bale, “Ford v Ferrari”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Kelvin Harrison, Jr., “Luce”
Andre Holland, “High Flying Bird”
Keanu Reeves, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”

SNUB: The cast (and script) of “Avengers: Endgame”

Back in May, word was that the alternately raucous and funereal Avengers: Endgame went down like gangbusters with Film Fun when they screened it at the same AMC Lincoln Square 13 auditorium where Mike saw Crazy Rich Asians in 2018. Even the Russo brothers, with their deadly boring name, looked to be surefire contenders for Best Director. But it suffered largely the same fate as its predecessor, Infinity War, relying on down-ballot tech support in categories like Best Leadup to bolster its case for Best Picture. Twenty-two movies and a whole lotta dough in the making, can the MCU finally seize a win?

SNUB: Cole Sprouse and Hayley Lu Richardson

Let’s say a prayer for the Lovers: none of the actors nominated this year were in onscreen romances with each other, and it shows. This group has looked kindly on Love in the past, particularly of the YA variety—remember when both leads from Endless Love competed against both leads from The Fault in Our Stars? However, this year’s lead races proved too competitive for the star-crossed duo of Sprouse and Richardson, whose great Five Feet Apart could rest easy in its long future as a Pre-Viewed DVD at Blockbuster if only, you know.

Halle Berry, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”
Julia Butters, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers”
Margot Robbie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Alanna Ubach, “Bombshell”

Timothee Chalamet, “Little Women”
Tyrese Gibson, “Black and Blue”
Noah Jupe, “Ford v Ferrari”
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Usher, “Hustlers”

SURPRISE: Usher + Tyrese

Despite his pivotal role in the second half of the Fast & Furious saga, things have been quiet on the Tyrese front since Baby Boy. And the last Film Fun heard of Usher was at some Rochester gay club right around the time the events of Hustlers actually took place. But these two R&B stars-cum-actors made a triumphant one-two comeback: Usher for his cameo in, you guessed it, Hustlers, and Tyrese for his majestically haunted role in the crime drama Black and Blue. Call him Film Fun’s Joe Pesci.

SNUB: Sistine Stallone in “47 Meters Down: Uncaged”

After her father ran away with the Best Supporting Actor trophy for Creed four years back, there were signs that Sistine Stallone would earn a legacy nomination for her searing performance in this year’s shark movie, the sequel to 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. For once, the Film Fun boys had more than sharks on the brain, though…

SNUB: Judi Dench, “Cats”

…and it wasn’t cats, either. Cats are a lot like supporting actresses; there’s just too goddamned many to choose from. Still, after Jim Broadbent’s nomination for Brooklyn in 2016, we thought for sure that Judi Dench, another Iris alum, would make the cut here. She’ll have to settle for a song—and a dish of warm milk.

“Five Feet Apart”
“Her Smell”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Nebraska Jim”
“The Lighthouse”

SNUB: “Ma” in Best Script

The last century of Movies is filled with unforgettable lines: “Here’s looking at you, kid”; “You talking to me?”; “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”; etc. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but we don’t think it’s too early to lump Ma right into that hall of fame. Ma’s infamous warning “Don’t let me drink alone” will echo in our heads for generations to come and yet, Film Fun found a way to leave it out of Best Script contention. Fortunately, Tate Taylor had a writing partner on this one, so he’ll have a drinking buddy to commiserate with come Film Fun Awards night. Unfortunately, he won’t be drinking at the ceremony.

“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Ford v Ferrari”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Under the Silver Lake”

SNUB: “Marriage Story” and the Netflix mafia

Much has been made of the inroads Netflix has made into the Academy Awards, but they seem to be having a harder time with Film Fun. Roma went down like ipecac syrup last year, and Netflix’s big 2019 contenders—Marriage Story, The Irishman and The Two Popes—were mostly ignored, despite the fact that Mike’s parents are divorced, and both he and Keaton are Irish Catholics. What gives?

“Avengers: Endgame”
“Good Boys”
“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”

“Avengers: Endgame”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“A Rainy Day in New York”

SURPRISE: “A Rainy Day in New York”

Film Fun loves to throw a curveball in the Best Leadup to a Movie category—see last year’s Under the Silver Lake, which also scored a surprise nomination this year for Best Sounds—and they’re showing no signs of stopping with this mysterious allusion to Amazon’s long-shelved Woody Allen movie, starring Timothée Chalamet and Selena Gomez. They can’t still be downloading torrents, can they?

SURPRISE: “Aladdin” and “Endgame” in Box Office

Rumors persist that, depending on the year, Disney movies are unofficially banned from Film Fun’s Best Box Office distinction; that might explain the exclusion of past megahits like Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War from a category ostensibly designed to honor special achievements in cashflow. Endgame’s box office was, indeed, one of those foregone conclusions that the Mouse House has lately tended to specialize in, but Aladdin seems to be being recognized for what a surprise its money really was. Who, last spring, could have predicted it would make more than Pet Sematary?

“Frozen II”
“It: Chapter Two”
“The Lion King”
“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

“The Aeronauts”
“Fighting with My Family”
“Frozen II”
“The Good Liar”
“Toy Story 4”
“Zombieland 2: Double Tap”

“Avengers: Endgame”
“E.T. The Extra Terrestrial”
“Jurassic Park”
“Star Wars”
“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace”

“The Irishman”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Knives Out”
“The Lighthouse”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

SNUB: “Uncut Gems” in Best Brilliance and Worst Talking
SNUB: “Joker” in Best Box Office and Best Leadup

Listen. We all make mistakes. By the time Mike and Keaton had figured out that Uncut Gems was the R-rated wide-release comedy that seemed to be missing from multiplexes around Christmas, they’d already finalized their ballots. The less said about Joker the better, although in some ways it plays more like Uncut Gems’ dark twin than Bruce Wayne’s. Welcome to “New York”.

182 minutes of “Avengers: Endgame”
87 minutes of “Crawl”
209 minutes of “The Irishman”
38 minutes of “Jesus Is King”
161 minutes of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Good Boys”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Wine Country”

SURPRISE: Best Runtime goes long

Film Fun is famously averse to minutes; in fact, they haven’t nominated a movie clocking in over three hours in this category since the days of two-cassette wonders like Titanic and Meet Joe Black. This year we’ve got two movies running over three hours, and another that, to the hippies in the audience, probably felt even longer than that. Are long movies chiller than classics? Is The Irishman still The Irishman if you don’t pause it five times to take a piss and microwave a fresh bag of popcorn for your dad? We suppose it’s not overstaying your welcome so long as you’re… still welcome.

SURPRISE: “Good Boys” x 2

That’ll do, Tremblay. That’ll do.

The Aeronauts, “The Aeronauts”
“The Angry Birds Movie 2”
Cats, “Cats”
Heaviside balloon, “Cats”
Mice, “Cats”
Roaches, “Cats”
Goldfinch, “The Goldfinch”
Demolished Seagull, “The Lighthouse”
Falcon?, “The Peanut Butter Falcon”
The parrot next door, “Under the Silver Lake”

“The Current War”
“Downton Abbey”
“The Sun is Also a Star”
“Uncut Gems”

SNUB: The crashing plane from “1917” in Birds

If there was anything birdlike in movies this year, it was the crashing German plane featured in 1917’s marquee action sequence. You know, the one from the trailer. And if its omission proved anything, it’s that some things are simply too close to openly fellating Christopher Nolan for comfort. 1917 will have to be content with its 6 awards elsewhere.

Captain America & Peggy, “Avengers: Endgame”
“Criminal” striptease, “Hustlers”
Jo & Laurie on the porch, “Little Women”
Ma does the robot, “Ma”
The theater troupe shakes it out, “Marriage Story”
The Macarena, “Richard Jewell”
Sharon Tate at the Playboy Mansion, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Annabelle, “Annabelle Comes Home”
The cast of “Big Little Lies”
Dora, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”
Octavia Spencer, “Ma”
Constance Wu, “Hustlers”

SURPRISE: Three new categories

At the risk of adding overtime to their Peerspace bill, Film Fun couldn’t help themselves but bulk up the ceremony with three new categories: Bangs, Best Dance and Words. To avoid an overlong telecast and risk losing precious viewers, they may announce Best Oscar and Worst Talking during a commercial break.

SURPRISE: “Big Little Lies” snags a nom for Bangs

Just like art is said to trump politics, bangs seem to transcend medium. Film Fun proved this to be true by nominating a television series for the first time in their awards history, in this brand new category. We can only hope that Shailene Woodley remembers to wear her iconic Big Little bangs out on the campaign trail for Bernie later this year.

“Motherless Brooklyn”

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For the 2020 recipient of Best Lifetime, Film Fun is breaking with tradition to give the award to The Movies themselves, specifically to The Blockbuster (1975-2019), whose era has faded but whose memory will live on in dusty downstairs media cabinets. Honoring that theme, we gathered some of the key Blockbusters of the era for one last ride in the category of Best Movie Not from 2015. Contenders include three Spielberg vehicles (Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic Park), two Star Wars movies (A New Hope and The Phantom Menace), and two by James Cameron (you know their names).

The winners will be announced on February 8, 2020, in Los Angeles, California, once Little Women passes Shakespeare in Love‘s total domestic haul. A ceremony will be televised and will include many guests and celebrities.

Voting in the nomination round is closed to Film Fun and is based on the thirty point system™. Ballots were submitted on Sunday, January 12, and the nominations were announced on Monday, January 13 by PricewaterhouseRoberts.

In choosing the winners, voting will be opened up to our own academy members. Members must have seen each film’s BoxOfficeMojo page to vote in any given category, with the exception of Best Other Language Film, Best Theatre and Words.