2021 Academy Awards: Best Picture Nominees Lineup


Courtesy of Vulture

Minari is now available on Amazon Prime.

Joe Adams, Staff Writer

The 93rd Annual Academy Awards are set for Sunday, Apr. 25, and I could not be more excited. After the pandemic, many questioned whether the Oscars would even occur this year, or if there would be enough movies to create a list of nominees. Luckily, the cinema industry survived, and although most movies may have been available for rental or purchase at home only, we still got them. 

This year, I continued my annual tradition of watching each best picture nominee to decide for myself which one was the best. There were eight nominees for this year’s Oscars, and I watched them all: some with curiosity, some with happiness and others with boredom. From worst to best, here are my opinions on the Best Picture nominees:

8) “Mank”: “Mank” centers around unique screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz as he writes “Citizen Kane” (1941). Personally, this film didn’t do it for me. It was boring, confusing and completely in black and white. The plot seemed dated, and it simply didn’t keep me interested. I would not recommend watching this, unless you’re a die-hard fan of “Citizen Kane.”

7) “Nomadland”: This film is the favorite to win the Best Picture award, but I don’t see why. It follows a woman living as a nomad in the American West after losing her job to the Great Recession. While I enjoyed the cinematography, the plot was generally uninteresting and there was not a lot of action. Movies don’t need action to be good, but this storyline was not intriguing whatsoever, so I don’t get the hype.

6) “Sound of Metal”: Initially, this movie seemed like it would be at the top of my list. It was not awful to watch. There were good performances, and the storyline kept me engaged and made sense. However, the ending to this film did not feel complete. Viewers get a glimpse into a drummer’s life as he begins to lose his hearing, but at times, the plot simply doesn’t seem to fit. Overall, it’s worth the watch, but I would not expect this to win at the Oscars.

5) “Judas and the Black Messiah”: This film was one that I enjoyed, not only because of its important historical context, but also because it kept me watching. Viewers learn about how the Black Panther Party’s Illinois leader, Fred Hampton, was followed by the FBI, and how this played out over time. In a time of racial unrest in our country, this movie sadly reminded me that what we see today isn’t much different from what happened only decades ago. 

4) “The Trial of the Chicago 7”: This is another great film centering around the true story of the 1969 trial regarding seven men charged with conspiracy during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. This movie kept me interested all the way through, and it also dealt with race relations in the United States during a time of civil unrest. Each of the actors portraying the Chicago 7 did a great job, and overall, the movie appeals to a wide audience. I would definitely recommend checking this one out. 

And now, the top three. These films are the real deal. One must watch these movies if given the chance. They are all spectacular.

3) “Promising Young Woman”: This movie truly blew me away. From start to finish, I didn’t know what to expect. The plot was spectacular, the characters were unique, and the message was so relevant. It’s best going into this movie without knowing too much, but it follows a young woman, Cassie, as she reflects on her past and tries to bring justice to past issues. Again, it’s a rollercoaster from start to finish, so go watch this.

2) “The Father”: “The Father” was a more serious film about a woman dealing with her father’s dementia and what they both go through as his conditions worsen throughout the movie. The way that the movie is created and edited, along with the message behind the film, is what makes it so great. It is especially emotional if you know someone in your family who has or had dementia like I did. It does a great job at depicting what it’s like to go through this. 

1) “Minari”: Last, but certainly not least, is “Minari.” I didn’t know a lot about this going in, but it was better that way. The film follows a Korean family who moves to Arkansas and how this plays out for them. Honestly, it was a breath of fresh air–– an interesting, compelling film that kept me thinking a lot about the meaning of life afterwards. Those are my favorite kinds of movies. The film is mostly in Korean, but you can watch with subtitles to fully understand the genius of this film. This one belongs in the GOATs of Oscar nominees.