However, I did my job as a movie geek, and saw all 8 of the Best Picture nominees. I was able to go to the movies (I have 5 local theaters, all closed, so I had to go out to Lowell to see a few of these movies) and others were seen on streaming services. I was not "wowed" by any of these 8 movies. In fact, not a single one of them got a full 4-stars from me. Two managed to get up to 3 1/2 star status. The wow factor is in seeing a movie at a movie theater. Where, I have been wowed with "Nobody" and "Raya and the Last Dragon", but maybe those movies will be written about next year. Anyway, here's how it will go, I'll say an Oscar category, who's nominated, how many of the films I saw, then, who I think SHOULD win, and who I think WILL win.
Of the 23 different Oscar categories (it used to be 24, but they combined Sound Editing and Sound Mixing to just Best Sound), I only deal with the serious 8 categories (4 acting, 2 writing, best director, best picture). But I'll also throw in a couple guesses for fun. I always keep the best picture pick and wish for the very end. So, lets knock this out.
Best Actor in a Leading Role:
Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”)
Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)
Gary Oldman (“Mank”)
Steven Yeun (“Minari”)
Saw all five films.
Should Win--Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”)
Will Win--Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Chadwick Boseman died young, and posthumously he has been winner this award in all the award shows. This is the biggest lock of the night. It will get a standing ovation and his wife will accept on his behalf. But, Boseman's performance was ok, not GREAT. Riz Ahmed and Anthony Hopkins had much better performances. Hopkins already won an Oscar, and Ahmed is too new for his great performance of a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing and how to deal with the next step in his life. For those who have Amazon Prime, do yourself a favor and watch "Sound of Metal".
Best Actress in a Leading Role:
Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Andra Day (“The United States v. Billie Holiday”)
Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”)
Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)
Did not see “The United States v. Billie Holiday” or "Pieces of a Woman".
Should Win--Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)
Will Win--Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Perhaps an overcorrection on the whole "Oscars So White" that they might go out of there way to not give out Oscars to the white people. Look, Carey Mulligan was really great in "Promising Young Woman" and she should have won an Oscar a long time ago for "An Education". In this film, she likes to be at bars and night clubs, pretends she is really drunk, and allow men to bring her home, to see if they pass the test of being a nice guy or not. It's strange and twisted, and a dark ending I saw only half of happening, but not the other half. Where as Viola Davis, I don't even know if that is her really singing. She just sweats a lot and is mean to white guys who just want to record her song.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)
Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”)
Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”)
Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)
Should Win--Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”)
Will Win--Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”)
I should begin to say, I have no clue who will win this Oscar. You can make the argument for everyone BUT Sacha Baron Cohen. I just think that because he did his own singing, Odom can win. In a fictionalized movie about what if Muhammed Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke all hung out in the same hotel room and just talked about life. "One Night in Miami" felt like a play, because it was based on a stage play. But the Sam Cooke character has the best role in the film, Odom outshines the rest of the cast. And at the end, when he sings, goddamn, that is a special movie moment. Paul Raci, who I've never heard of, is the one who runs the institute that deals with def and mute people who are also addicts in "Sound of Metal". He is great in his simple, guiding ways, and in real life, he does speak in American Sign Language. This movie is nothing without this crucial, perfect role meant for Raci. I hope he wins.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
Maria Bakalova (‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Olivia Colman (“The Father”)
Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”)
Yuh-jung Youn (“Minari”)
Still never got around to seeing "Hillbilly Elegy"
Should Win--Yuh-jung Youn (“Minari”)
Will Win--Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
The only thing I know is that Colman won't win, because she won the Oscar a couple of years back for "The Favourite". I just think this might be a life time achievement award situation and they give it to Glenn Close as none of these other roles were that great. You can make the argument that the girl is Borat was amazing to keep up with that much improv that actually works and sells the movie. I think the grandma character in "Minari" was solid too. I don't know, I got dueling grandmas. This is like when every team needs to send a player to the all-star team, and one team sucks, and this is a list of the best mid-relievers.
Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)
David Fincher (“Mank”)
Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”)
Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)
Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”)
Saw them all
Should Win--Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)
Will Win--Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)
I really did enjoy the movie "Another Round", which I believe you can watch on Hulu. It's about this group of teachers at this Swedish prep school who try out this psychological theory that humans are at their ideal best when they are a little bit drunk. Watching these guys experiment with drinking while at work, and how it affects their home lives are great. Well acted, nicely paced, I enjoyed it a lot. But "Nomadland" might be the big movie for this year. It's essentially a documentary about people who just live in their vans, and move from city to city across the USA to find work and live these weird van life. They hire a couple of real actors (Frances McDormand) and everyone else are real van people. Semi-homeless people that agreed to be on film, using their real names.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Nina Pedrad
“The Father,” Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller
“Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao
“One Night in Miami,” Kemp Powers
“The White Tiger,” Ramin Bahrani
Never got around to seeing "The White Tiger", but I might tonight, it's on Netflix.
Should Win--“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”
Will Win--“One Night in Miami"
"Borat", even thought it's essentially a documentary of real people being setup by the writers, actors, and producers of the film, is also one of the best written things to set up the jokes. A simple scene at a bakery leads to the funniest scene ever at a planned parenthood office. That takes some special writing. However, I think "One Night in Miami" will get proper recognition for taking that play and putting it on the screen.
Best Original Screenplay:
“Judas and the Black Messiah.” Screenplay by Will Berson, Shaka King; Story by Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas
“Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung
“Promising Young Woman,” Emerald Fennell
“Sound of Metal.” Screenplay by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance
“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Aaron Sorkin
Saw them all
Should Win--“Sound of Metal"
Will Win--“Judas and the Black Messiah"
This is a very tough one, and I have no clue what will win. I just like "Sound of Metal" a whole lot. There is not a single movie choice here that will have me shocked or mad that it won. Good luck and congrats to whatever the winner is, but I still hope it's "Sound of Metal".
Normally, after going through 7 of the 8 categories, I like to write up different locks in different categories. Just some wild card options that I think might win. But with 2020 being the year I saw the least amount of movies ever in my past 25 years, this is much more difficult. So, give me a moment to look through some movies nominated for other stuff...
Best Original Song--“Speak Now,” (“One Night in Miami”). Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth
Best Sound--"Sound of Metal"
Best Animated Short Film--“If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix)
Best Cinematography--“Nomadland,” Joshua James Richards
Best Visual Effects--“Tenet"
Best International Feature Film--“Another Round” (Denmark)
Keep in mind, these are wild guesses, I have no clue for this years Oscars. But, enough bullshit, here is the category I always get wrong.
“The Father” (David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, producers)
“Judas and the Black Messiah” (Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, producers)
“Mank” (Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, producers)
“Minari” (Christina Oh, producer)
“Nomadland” (Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, producers)
“Promising Young Woman” (Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, producers)
“Sound of Metal” (Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, producers)
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, producers)
Yes, I did see them all. I was not a fan of "The Father", it should not have been nominated.
Should Win--“Sound of Metal”
I usually write a whole lot more about the Best Picture category, and really let people know where I stand on these films. But I loved "Sound of Metal" the most, well, of these movies nominated. I'm still blown away that "Tenet" didn't get the proper love it deserves. I've read a thing or two and people seem to think "Nomadland" will win the big one. Who am I to argue with that. I just didn't see enough movies. No one did. Which is probably why way too many "critic's darlings" are being nominated for major awards.
"The Father", lets watch an old man go through dementia over the course of the movie. "Mank", black and white movie about the writing of the script for "Citizen Kane". Just watch "Kane" instead. "Judas and the Black Messiah" and "The Trial of the Chicago 7" both include the death of the former head of the Chicago Black Panthers.
Now, for some lighter fare movies. "Minari", Korean family moves from California to Arkansas, try to be farmers, tragedy happens when grandma arrives. "Promising Young Woman" is about a woman who is motivated because her best friend in college had her life ruined due to being too drunk to stopped getting raped. "Sound of Metal", former heroine addict who plays drums goes deaf. "Nomadland", lets watch a woman shit in a bucket because she lives in a van.
2020 was a shit year, and these are some depressing movies to watch. The ratings will have to go up next year by default. I'm not sure what to expect, but these are my picks and wishes.
Until next year when I'll be wrong about other movies.