2021 Best Picture Nominees

I’ve always wanted to watch all of the best picture nominees, but in past years I’ve never been able to make it through the whole list. Thanks to the pandemic, I was finally able to achieve my goal this year. All of the films were easily streamable, and staying home and watching movies all the time was much more socially acceptable for some reason. Since no one asked, here are some quick thoughts on the films:

The Sound of Metal - not just my favorite film this year, probably one of my favorite movies in years. The sound design is incredible, but the story it tells about recovery is even better.

The Father - My second favorite on this list. A creative and well executed depiction of dementia. In another year I think Anthony Hopkins would have had a strong shot at winning best actor for this.

Judas and the Black Messiah - entertaining, but left me with a lot of questions about how much this story reflected reality. Great performance from Daniel Kaluuya. Also interesting to watch this after Trial of the Chicago 7 given some of the overlap between these movies.

Mank - given all the shit talking about this movie, I liked it a lot more than I expected. Well shot and well crafted, and strange enough to keep me interested.

Minari - wasn’t quite ready for how much of a downer this was. The film overall didn’t completely click for me, but Yuh-Jung Youn’s performance really stuck with me. Hoping she wins for best supporting.

Nomadland - feel like the odd man out given all the praise, but this didn’t really do much for me. Still stunningly beautiful and worth watching for that alone.

Promising Young Woman - a super entertaining but flawed film. Carey Mulligan is my favorite of the lead actress performances I saw. Had some real issues with the ending, but on the other hand the movie deserves some kind of ‘best needle drop’ award for its use of a cover of Toxic.

Trial of the Chicago 7 - I get the shit talking about this one a little more than I did Mank. Felt more like a TV movie, but an admittedly entertaining one. And I found Sacha Baron Cohen’s accent to be distractingly awful.

Other nominated films I’ve seen:

  • Time - the juxtaposition of modern and archival footage was really haunting, but I ended up a little confused about the message I was supposed to be taking away. Maybe that was the point?
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom - finishing this one up, so not sure on my thoughts on the movie as a whole. Chadwick Boseman’s performance really is incredible. Viola Davis’ performance is a little to showy for me, but sure is Oscary.
  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm - give Maria Bakalova the Oscar you cowards!
  • Soul - I think watching this in two parts tanked the emotional effectiveness. Whoops.

Films I still want to see: One Night in Miami, Another Round, Collective, If Anything Happens I Love You.

I feel like I don’t watch many tv shows or movies anymore, but that sure is a lot of movies up above. I hope all the Oscar films continue to be this easily available in the future.