This year the Oscars Awards ceremony promises to be one for the history books! Despite a mentally exhausting pandemic ridden year, the 93rd Academy Awards surprises us with of the most diverse years for nominations yet. Eight exceptional films stand out for the highly coveted Best Picture award this Sunday.
While the Best Actor category brought forward the first-ever Muslim nominee, Riz Ahmed, for his moving performance in Sound of Metal and one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation, Frances McDormand, for her portrayal of one of the most talked about films of 2021 – Nomadland – let’s take a look at what the best picture category brought to the table.
Director Chloe Zhao’s drama ‘Nomadland’ has dominated the category so far during award season. The film earned best film at the BAFTA Awards, best picture drama at the Golden Globes, best picture at the Critics Choice Awards and best film at the Producers Guild Awards.
The film follows Fern (Frances McDormand) who takes short seasonal jobs to makes ends meet as she travels across the country after her husband dies. After losing everything in the Great Recession, Fern embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
‘Nomadland’ is available for streaming on Hulu and rental on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.
Minari is an American film following a Korean-American family that moves to Arkansas in search of their own American dream. The film is a semi-autobiographical take on Chung’s upbringing including the funny foul mouthed grandmother and the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.
Minari had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2020, winning both the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award. It earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Actor (Yeun), and Best Supporting Actress (Youn). It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, and earned six nominations at the 74th British Academy Film Awards, including Best Film Not in the English Language.
“Minari” is available for rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.
Promising Young Woman
Carey Mulligan plays Cassie, a woman who lives a secret double life and is out to get revenge for her best friend, Nina, who was raped when they were in medical school. In Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell triggers a sensitive topic of sexual assault and displays of violence towards women as it portrays the lack of understanding of consent of men. Cassie has an unusual routine in which she pretends to be drunk in order to sass out men who attempt to take advantage of her in her inebriated state, then all of a sudden they realise the situation they find themselves in.
The film earned five nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress for Mulligan. It was named one of the ten best films of 2020 by the National Board of Review, with Mulligan also winning Best Actress, received four nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, and six nominations at the 74th British Academy Film Awards, where it won Outstanding British Film and Best Original Screenplay.
‘Promising Young Woman’ is available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.
Sound of Metal
Sound of Metal follows a punk-metal drummer named Ruben (Riz Ahmed) who loses his hearing taking us through a journey of self-discovery as Ruben thinks his music career along with his life is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a sober house for the deaf and here he faces the reality where he has to choose between finding his balance or fighting for a life he may have outgrown.
The film was critically acclaimed and was listed on 52 film critics’ top-ten lists for 2020. It was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, and four BAFTAs, winning in the categories of Best Editing and Best Sound. It was also nominated for and won numerous other awards, particularly for Ahmed and Raci’s performances.
‘Sound of Metal’ is an Amazon original production and available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
Mank is a story told through the eyes of the bedridden alcoholic screenwriter, Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), about the making of ‘Citizen Kane’.
Directed by David Fincher, based on a screenplay by his late father Jack Fincher, the film was produced by Ceán Chaffin, Douglas Urbanski, and Eric Roth. It stars Gary Oldman in the title role, alongside Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Arliss Howard, Tom Pelphrey, Sam Troughton, Ferdinand Kingsley, Tuppence Middleton, Tom Burke, Joseph Cross, Jamie McShane, Toby Leonard Moore, Monika Gossmann, and Charles Dance.
The film earned a leading-ten nomination at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Oldman and Best Supporting Actress for Seyfried, and also received leading-six nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama.
‘Mank’ is a Netflix original production and available for streaming on Netflix.
The now 83-year-old actor plays a character also named Anthony who is at war with his own deteriorating mind. Anthony is a mischievous man who is living defiantly alone and rejecting the carers that his daughter, Anne encouragingly introduces. Anthon’s condition slowly deteriorates as he constantly forgets important life events and where things are around his flat, including his watch, despite the fact that he places it in the same place every day. Yet help is also becoming a necessity for Anne; she can’t make daily visits anymore and Anthony’s grip on reality is unravelling.
The Father is a 2020 drama film co-written and directed by Florian Zeller, in his directorial debut, based on his 2012 play Le Père.
The film earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hopkins), and Best Supporting Actress (Colman). At the 78th Golden Globe Awards, the film received four nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, and at the 74th British Academy Film Awards received six nominations, winning Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for Hopkins. In addition, Hopkins and Colman were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress at the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards.
‘The Father’ can be rented on Amazon Prime
Judas and the Black Messiah
The American biographical drama Judas And The Black Messiah, tells the story of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in late 1960s in Chicago and the FBI informant, William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), who played a key role in the activist’s eventual assassination by the Chicago police during a raid in 1969.
The film is directed and produced by Shaka King, who wrote the screenplay with Will Berson, based on a story by the pair and Kenny and Keith Lucas.
The film earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, with Stanfield and Kaluuya both being nominated for Best Supporting Actor. For his performance, Kaluuya also won Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Award, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and BAFTA Awards.
‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ is available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 focuses on the five-month trial of seven anti-war protesters: Jerry Rubin, John Froine, David Dellinger, Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis and Lee Weiner. The anti-Vietnam War protesters were charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
The film earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Baron Cohen. It also received five nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards (winning for Best Screenplay), three at the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards (winning Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture), and three at the 74th British Academy Film Awards.
‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ is a Netflix original production and available for streaming on Netflix.