I’ve been maintaining a tradition for a couple of years now to watch all the nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars and kept myself busy lately catching up on those movies that I hadn’t seen yet. Honouring the 2021 movie releases, the 94th Acadamy Awards will be broadcasted tonight on the 27th of March 2022 and I thought it would be fun to gather all my sweet and short thoughts on these movies as well as my prediction for Best Picture.
Without further ado, you’ll find the nominees in alphabetical order with the director’s name in the title, followed by a summary (courtesy of IMDb), my personal rating (5-star system), and my thoughts on the movie.
Belfast (2021) by Kenneth Branagh.
A young boy and his working-class Belfast family experience the tumultuous late 1960s.
A superficial and hazy exploration of a child’s upbringing during a societal turmoil born from a civil war that alters his maintenance of innocence, his pursuit of happiness and love, and his sense of belonging and home.
Coda (2021) by Siân Heder.
As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music by wanting to go to Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
An enjoyable yet predictable story of passion, sacrifice, and family, explored through an endearing coming-of-age story of a child of deaf parents.
Dont’ Look Up (2021) by Adam McKay.
Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.
An overstretched satire serving as an analogy to ongoing human negligence regarding climate change that never takes the time to whisper a proper message that may allow viewers to assimilate its empty comical wisdom.
Drive My Car (2021) by Ryusuke Hamaguchi.
A renowned stage actor and director learns to cope with his wife’s unexpected passing when he receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima.
An introspective journey into an emotionally-broken man as he reflects on the past and the emotional turmoil he’s internalized and how one can break free from eternal grief, regret, and romantic misery.
Dune (2021) by Denis Villeneuve.
A noble family becomes embroiled in a war for control over the galaxy’s most valuable asset while its scion becomes troubled by visions of a dark future.
An unequivocally heartfelt epic with an unprecedented ambition in scope and execution, delving deep and graciously into the source material to deliver a young boy’s journey spiced in fear and growth amidst a terrifying chosen one prophecy.
King Richard (2021) by Reinaldo Marcus Green.
A look at how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams.
An empowering rags-to-riches tale centered around a patriarchal model of children’s upbringing and the pursuit of dreams, family, respect, and success.
Licorice Pizza (2021) by Paul Thomas Anderson.
The story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and going through the treacherous navigation of first love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973.
A mesmerizing examination of an awkwardly innocent yet hypnotically energic relationship as the story depicts two peculiar individuals’ quest for self-discovery, romantic emancipation, and purpose.
Nightmare Alley (2021) by Guillermo del Toro.
A grifter working his way up from low-ranking carnival worker to lauded psychic medium matches wits with a psychiatrist bent on exposing him.
A tedious, visually captivating, and fascinating foray into the perverse and malevolent nature of humankind through one man’s rise and fall as he succumbs to vices and embraces his lies.
The Power of the Dog (2021) by Jane Campion.
Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.
A thought-provoking foray into toxic masculinity in the midst of early civilization through an obstinate and illusioned rancher and his unresolved and conflicted sexuality.
West Side Story (2021) by Steven Spielberg.
An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
A staggeringly delivered musical choreography with powerful voices and a visually-breathtaking setting and costume that is ultimately dragged through the mud and dirt by an incomprehensible love story at the heart of a tale of belonging, acceptance, and integration.
AND MY PICK FOR BEST PICTURE GOES TO…
In all honesty, this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. I am a huge fan of Denis Villeneuve’s directorial projects and Dune was his latest masterpiece. I was also shocked and disappointed that they didn’t even give him a Best Director nomination for this and that just gives me a bit of hope that he’ll at least get “compensated” by taking home Best Picture and coming back soon with an even greater movie once Dune Part Two comes out. I’ll also be the first to admit that I found this year’s nominees generally weak but that might be just me. I look forward to seeing who will take home the Oscars for this beloved category, who will get robbed, and who will win the other categories.