We all had a hunch it would do well, right? Picture, probably; actor, for sure; maybe writing and maybe directing and probably a handful of craft nominations. But if you told most Oscar watchers that, with the announcement of nominees for the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, this morning's big winner would be the super-villain origin story Joker, they'd likely reply with one of Joaquin Phoenix's most memorable lines from that film: “Hahahahahahaha!!!

Although many audiences would disagree, not all movies need to be fun, and Sam Mendes' 1917 is the perfect example of a film that's not only more fun than it needs to be, but more fun than it should be.

Taking place as part of St. Ambrose University's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the acclaimed documentary Hesburgh will enjoy two screenings in the Galvin Fine Arts Center on January 18 and 19, the film detailing more than 50 years in the life of Father Ted Hesburgh (1915-2015), America's most well-known Catholic priest and a prominent figure in America's Civil Rights movement.

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My favorites of 2019, you ask? Oh, gosh, I have so many: the second season of Amazon Prime's Fleabag, with the divine Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the imploding of the fourth wall and Andrew Scott shaking things up as the definitive Hot Priest; HBO's Chernobyl, with its docudrama delivered as the most enraging of fright films; Netflix's John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch, with its insanely catchy songs and simultaneous salute to and parody of cherished children's programs … .

Oh, wait – we're talking movie favorites? Cool. 'Cause I can talk about those, too.

What are the criteria for movies that you consider your all-time favorites? Themes that continue to engage and affect you, sometimes in profoundly different ways, every time you return to them? Scenarios and jokes that still make you laugh after dozens of viewings? Über-familiarity, allowing you to vacuum your living room while a film is playing and not miss a thing because you have the dialogue committed to memory?

Marking the end of the first two decades of the 2000s, 2019 offered a number of perfect springboards for discussion about the state of moving pictures – all of them touched by the massive Disney empire.

In an experiment designed to combat awards-show fatigue and bolster sagging ratings for the telecast (and good luck with both those goals), the 92nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony will be held earlier than usual, with the 2020 Oscars airing the night of Sunday, February 9. That means that Oscar nominations will also be announced earlier than usual – at roughly 7:20 a.m. on the morning of Monday, January 13. And you know what that means: In making my annual nomination predictions, yours truly doesn't have to wait nearly as long into the new year to look foolish!

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