Steven Yeun stars in 'Minari.'
Photo: Gage Skidmore
For years, I’ve been analyzing Academy Award nominated movies because I think movies are too often violent, ageist, and sexist. I usually watch about 30 movies, going to movie theaters, watching On Demand movies, and renting from Red Box.
During the pandemic, I’m not going to theaters. So, I’ve been figuring out how to watch movies this year. It’s been a challenging and expensive endeavor.
I signed up for Amazon Prime last year because I thought it would be helpful in my movie watching marathon. However, Amazon Prime only has a few of the Academy Award nominated movies and it charges for many of them. As much as $19.95 for many of them. I’m really disappointed.
After watching as movies as I could for $5 on Comcast, I signed up for Netflix. I chose the $6 monthly plan. It was easy. I was able to watch several movies.
Hulu was a different story. It took me three hours to figure out how to get signed up through Comcast. The sign up page wanted my email, name, and a password. The remote only had numbers, so I couldn’t figure how to enter the information.
After an hour and working with a second Comcast representative, I figured out that instead trying to enter numbers you had to hit enter to get the keyboard to come up, then you could enter the information using the remote.
Here are my choices to win the Academy Awards:
“Minari.” I also liked “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Mank,” and “Nomadland.” I chose “Minari” because in addition to being a compelling story, it’s cleverly written.
David Fincher for “Mank.” The complicated movie about the writing of “Citizen Kane” is well done.
Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal.” Ahmed gives an outstanding performance as a drummer who deals with hearing loss.
Andra Day for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” and Frances McDormand for “Nomadland.” Day gives an outstanding performance to tell Billie Holiday’s story. McDormand portrays a senior living in her van doing odd jobs as she travels throughout the country, reluctant to make permanent connections.
Best supporting actress
Maria Bakalova for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Bakalova gives a strong performance in this surprise of a movie.
Best supporting actor
Sacha Barton Cohen for “Trial of the Chicago 7.” “Trial” is an excellent movie.
Best documentary feature
“My Octopus Teacher” and “Time.” Both well done, unique, and inspiring. I also liked “Crip Camp” and “Collective.”
Best documentary short
“Collette.” Excellent short film about a member of the French resistance of World War II visiting the concentration camp where her brother died. I didn’t see the others.
International feature film
None. I didn’t like “Another Round,” about excessive drinking at a Swedish school. I tried to watch “Better Days,” a Hong Kong murder mystery, but it didn’t have English subtitles.
Best animated feature film
“Soul.” A well-done movie with a message. I didn’t see “Over the Moon” or “Wolfwalkers.”
Best animated short
“If Anything Happens, I Love You.” I didn’t see the others.
Best short film live action
I didn’t see any of these.
Best original song
“Hear My Voice.” Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite – “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”
Best original score
“Soul.” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste.
“News of the World.” Lots of beautiful scenery of the rural West, expertly filmed.
“Mank.” Great costuming for the period that looked good in black and white. I didn’t watch “Emma.” I didn’t want to pay $14.95 after paying $60 to watch three movies nominated for best picture.
“Sound of Metal.” Making the sound like what Ruben hears as he is experiences hearing loss helps the viewer know what he’s experiencing.
Makeup and hairstyling
“Mank.” A great job on the recreating the styles of the era. I didn’t see “Emma.”
“Tenent.” The time-traveling science fiction movie needed good production design to show this theme.
“Sound of Metal.”
“Love and Monsters.” Well, if you’re going to have monsters that drive the people of earth underground, they need to be pretty good.
Writing – Adapted Screenplay
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and “One Night in Miami.” What can you say about “Borat 2?” Whacky, crazy with a cameo appearance from Rudy Giuliani. It’s amazing that people sign releases before being filmed. An influencer who was filmed said she didn’t read the fine print. For “One Night in Miami,” I thought it was well written and to imagine conversations among these four famous men produced a great movie.
Writing – Original Screenplay
“Minari.” It’s an amazing movie, well-written and clever.
For years I’ve complained about how violent, repetitive, sexist, ageist, and shallow movies are. I’ve said they should be stories about things that happen in people’s lives. Hollywood has so many coming of age stories about young men that it's a tiring theme.
There were a lot of movies like I’ve been asking for released in 2020: “The Father,” “Minari,” “Nomadland,” “Promising Young Woman,” and “Sound of Metal,” all nominated for best picture.
Also tremendously moving and emotional are “Pieces of a Woman,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “One Night in Miami,” “News of the World,” and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”
Let’s hope this movie-making trend continues.
Update: The big studios are holding their blockbuster movies until more people are allowed in theaters, an article in The Washington Post said. Maybe that’s why there were so many great movies this year: smaller productions are able to produce more quality work.