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!!!

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!

There's so much to talk about regarding last night's host-less Oscars ceremony – Green Book's Best Picture win! Spike's speech! Olivia freakin' Colman! – that I feel both silly and a little embarrassed to open with an admission: I didn't watch it.

Or rather, I couldn't watch it. Or rather, I could, but it wasn't worth the hassle.

This year's Academy Awards telecast is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CST on Sunday, February 24, with no one serving as the ABC broadcast's host for the first time since the largely disastrous 1989 ceremony that opened with a musical duet for Rob Lowe and Snow White. The mind boggles at what we might be in store for this time around.

Among the front-runners for this year's Best Picture Oscar are a previous Academy Award winner's loving salute to his childhood nanny; a period bio-pic about revered music icons; a feel-good dramedy in the vein of Driving Miss Daisy; and Spike Lee's cinematic confrontation with the Ku Klux Klan that ends with searing indictments of the 2017 rally/riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, and, by extension, the president of the United States.

Guess which of these films, at present, is the least controversial.

It's easy, on Oscar-nomination morning, to be surprised and/or upset about names and titles not cited, and this morning, when the nominees for the 91st Annual Academy Awards were read by Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross, there were certainly omissions that some might find surprising and/or upsetting. (Okay, that I might find surprising and/or upsetting: No mention of the Mr. Rogers doc Won't You Be My Neighbor?!? Come on!) But before diving too deeply into who's not there, let's take a paragraph-long moment to appreciate who is – more specifically, who finally is.

Will a comic-book movie finally be nominated for Best Picture? (Probably!) Will a Grammy-winning pop star be nominated for Best Actress? (Almost certainly!) Will the ceremony ever find a host? (At this point, I couldn't care less!)

Regardless, it's prediction time, Oscar hounds! Nominations for the 91st Annual Academy Awards are scheduled to be announced at 7:22 a.m. CST on Tuesday, January 22, with me no doubt burying my face in prognostic embarrassment at roughly 7:40. The boldface names and titles below are my predicted nominees, non-boldface denotes runners-up, and predictions are in order of probability.

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