With the Oscars in the Books, I share my order of how I ranked the 2021 Best Picture Nominees.
DISCLAIMER: Each of the eight were given a score of 85 or higher, meaning that I thoroughly enjoyed each film on this list.
There’s just something about the topic of Citizen Kane that leaves me bored. Mank is a boring film that is supported by good aspects. Amanda Seyfried is a star in this film, bringing light to a rather dark and drab backdrop. Stories about Hollywood excite me and there was plenty of Hollywood to go around in this film. What it really comes down to is how uninventive and boring the film actually is. It has moments of shine and good qualities throughout, but just falls at the bottom of the list.
This one pains me due to the fact that there is so much to love from this film. The entire ensemble is fantastic, that is the true standout of the film. It goes beyond that though. The story is hopeful, tragic and heartbreaking all at the same time and is able to push between different themes and emotions with ease. The direction from Lee Issac Chung is fantastic, the cinematography is beautiful and the score is spot on. However, there are moments of struggle in the writing. Some conversations did not feel authentic and some decisions that were made left me scratching my head. This film is stunning, but with problems nonetheless.
6. The Trial of the Chicago 7
Sorkin does what Sorkin wants to do. Usually that turns out to be a lot more good than bad. It doesn’t hurt that he has an all star cast and a very intriguing story to play with. The editing is quick and impactful and the performances standout. In the end, the film is just not as creative or inventive as the others at the top. It has an interesting message and handles some tough topics well, but it never did anything to truly push the limits and wow the audience.
5. Sound of Metal
The most creative and inventive of all of the films on this list. Riz Ahmed gives a heart shattering performance and the sound and editing are Oscar worthy in themselves. The thing this film does so well is fully immersing the audience in what is happening, not just with their eyes, but with their ears. This was by far one of the most incredibly eye opening experiences I’ve had watching and most importantly, listening to a film. The writing is airtight, the performances across the board are impactful and I left this film with a newfound appreciation for the medium of film and how creatives are continuing to push the boundaries of that platform.
4. The Father
The final film that I needed to watch in order to finish this list left me in absolute shambles. Anthony Hopkins gives a career best performance that might end up being the shock of the night if he can upset Chadwick Boseman for Best Actor. The film can get a little confusing and convoluted at times, but there is no doubt that The Father is a technical marvel, the editing is brilliant, the cinematography is astounding and the story is raw, emotional and so real. I left this experience truly changed and left with tears in my eyes.
3. Judas and the Black Messiah
A powerful film from Shaka King with dynamite performances from Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield. A story that needs to be told and one that was done so brilliantly when it comes to all of the technical aspects. But it all comes back to the performances. Kaluuya is going to win Best Supporting Actor and Stanfield was also nominated. It speaks for itself. The film is absolutely fantastic.
2. Promising Young Woman
Now this is a film. One that takes the audience on a journey of emotions and themes that resonate and need to be talked about in today’s society. Carey Mulligan is a star and commands the screen with a nice balance of both drama and comedy and the supporting performances also carry some nice weight. The best part of the film is Emerald Fennell. Both her script and direction are spot on and compliment the performances from Mulligan so well. This is one of the most shocking and important films of 2020.
The clear favorite for Best Picture and my favorite of the nominees. Chloe Zhao is the star with some excellent direction and the most beautiful cinematography of the year. At the heart of this film though is a story about loss, grief and how we look at life. The use of real nomads as actors in the film was a fantastic choice to make it feel more authentic, and the script from Zhao is incredible. This was one of my favorite films to come out of the past year and my clear favorite to take home the big prize tonight.