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Academy Award nominated movies for 2019 still largely violent

It makes me so happy when the Academy Awards are over. Then, I can stop watching violent movies.

So this year, although there were some great movies, the majority still were overly violent and largely male oriented.

Here are my picks for the best movies made in 2019:

Best picture

I liked “1917” best, a tale of two British World War I soldiers sent on a critical, stressful mission. Although it was violent, it was about a war. It wasn’t gratuitous violence. I thought it was a well written, engaging story.

I also liked “Marriage Story.” The writing was good, and it was about something that happens to ordinary people, a bitter divorce, although the two main characters were an actor and a director.

“Once Upon a Hollywood” didn’t catch my fancy. Spoiler alert. About an egotistical actor and his stunt man side kick, it ends up with a different twist about the Charles Manson murders. To me, it didn’t seem like an important “story” to tell.

As for “Little Women,” I’ve never liked the story. Having grown up with two sisters, I don’t find the story of sibling rivalry among sisters that engaging. However, I did enjoy the costuming with 2020 being the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and revisiting an era when suffrage leaders were doing their work.

“Ford v. Ferrari” was very good, but “1917” was better. However, it was another buddy movie like “Once Upon a Hollywood.” It was discouraging to see the leaders of Ford Motor Co., in the 1960s, all white men. Not a woman or minority in sight. Not even as a secretary.

When I watched “Parasite,” I was glad when it was over. It’s a dark comedy set in Korea in which members of an unemployed family target a wealthy household. I was extremely anxious that the poor family would get caught, but disgusted at the rich family, some who could tell the smell of poor people who rode the subway.

I didn’t like “Jojo Rabbit,” a Hitler youth comedy, at all. With the rise of Nazism around the world, even in the United States, I don’t think a 10-year-old brown shirt having Hitler as an imaginary friend is funny.

I didn’t see “Joker” by choice. I just couldn’t stand the idea of watching the development of a psychopathic killer, who I’d seen in terrible, awful Batman movies.

I also didn’t see “The Irishman.”

Actor in a leading role

Adam Driver in “Marriage Story” and Jonathan Pryce in “The Two Popes.”

“The Two Popes” surprised me as a very good movie. I wasn’t expecting much, but the movie was well written and engaging. It’s about discussions between Pope Benedict XVI, before his resignation, and Cardinal Jore Mario Bergoglio, his successor, who becomes Pope Francis in 2013.

Antonio Banderas in the Spanish movie "Pain and Glory" is O.K. It's about Salvador Mallo, a film director, in his physical decline.

Actress in a leading role

Renee Zellweger in “Judy” and Cynthia Erivo in “Harriett”

Zellweger does an outstanding job playing Judy Garland, but the movie is so sad. I wished that someone had helped Garland at the end of her life. That she had no money for a home for her and her children was shocking after she made so much money for the Hollywood elites.

“Harriett” is a fantastic movie. I wish it would have been nominated for best picture. Erivo does a phenomenal job playing Harriet Tubman. It’s important that Tubman’s story is being made known to millions of people. She guided more than 300 people, including her parents and several siblings, from slavery to freedom, earning the nickname “Moses” for her leadership.

Actor in a supporting role

Tom Hanks in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” It’s a great performance in a great movie. It’s about a cynical journalist who is helped by Mr. Rogers.

Actress in a supporting role

Laura Dern in “Marriage Story.” She does a good job playing a high-powered divorce attorney for Nicole.

Animated feature film

“Toy Story 4”

It’s the “best” in a category that often discourages me. I don’t like the Hollywood-style kids movie that has a bad guy who needs to be overcome with lots of violence.



It uses the technique of the camera as an observer.

“The Lighthouse” is a terrible movie. A psychological horror movie, it’s about two lighthouse keepers who start to lose their sanity when a storm strands them on the remote island where they're stationed in the late 19th century. I would have skipped it if I’d known it was a horror movie.

Costume design

“Little Women”



Documentary feature


It’s about the life of Hatidže Muratova, one of the last wild beekeeper, who lives in the remote mountainous village of Bekirlija, North Macedonia. It follows her lifestyle and changes after a nomad family comes to live in the neighboring house.

Documentary short subject

I didn’t see any of these.

Film editing

“Ford v. Ferrari”

International feature film

I only saw “Parasite,” which I thought was O.K.

Makeup and hairstyling


I didn’t see “Bombshell” or “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” the latter because I couldn't stomach another violent kids movie and I didn't want to waste my time on it. I did watch the trailer, however.

Original score

“1917” by Thomas Newman

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is mostly violence. It’s the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, which follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron as they lead the Resistance's final stand against Kylo Ren and the First Order.

Original song

“I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough” and “Stand Up” from “Harriett

“Breakthrough” is about John Smith, a 14-year-old boy who falls through the ice on a frozen lake, and how his mother, father, and pastor pray for a miracle.

Production design


Costume design

“Little Women”

Sound mixing


Sound editing


Animated short

I didn’t see any of these.

Live action short

“The Neighbors’ Window”

I read the short story, so it was great to see it made into a movie. It’s about a couple with two, then three children, who get caught up in the lives of a young couple in an apartment across from them who they can see having sex through a window.

I also thought “Saria,” about an orphanage in Guatemala where abuse took place including a fire that killed 41 children, is important and well done.

Sound editing


Visual effects


“Avengers: Endgame” is just so much violence.

“The Lion King” is a good story, but it’s a kids movie, with again, as always, a bad guy. It this case it’s the Lion King’s brother who kills him and it’s up to his son to vanquish his uncle and take back the “throne.”

Adapted screenplay

“The Two Popes”

Original screenplay

“Marriage Story” by Noah Baumbach

I was surprised by “Knives Out,” a murder mystery by Rian Johnson. It's really good. When a famous crime novelist dies of what looks like a suicide, his dysfunctional family gathers to see who actually murdered him.


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I wanted Harriet to win Best Picture. It was wonderful and what a story.

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