With the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the entertainment industry, it only made sense when it was announced this year’s Oscars ceremony would be postponed. It was the latest in a seemingly never-ending disappointing delay of Hollywood itself, but at least the 93rd Academy Awards were still set to happen.
With the postponement also came an increase in the eligibility window for best picture consideration in order to allow films that were put on hold due to theater shutdowns to be considered. And with the nominations announced back in mid-March, the best picture category this year ending up totaling eight very diverse and well-rounded films.
It felt right, then, to go ahead and rank them in order from best of the best to at least worthy of an Oscar nod.
Sound of Metal
This is essentially my personal pick to win best picture. Not only does the film serve as a fantastic representation of the Deaf community, but it’s an incredibly intricate and well-put together movie as a whole. Riz Ahmed puts on a stunning performance along with the rest of the cast. And when it comes to the film’s sound design, which so carefully puts the viewer in the shoes of someone losing their hearing, a win for best sound at the very least seems imminent.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
While Sound of Metal hooked my heart, The Trial of the Chicago 7 would have to be my prediction for best picture. It’s got an absolute all-star cast. It’s a plot that juggles a whole lot but gives everything ample time to breathe and flow. And, to top it all off, the timeliness of this film cannot be understated. Put it all together, and The Trial of the Chicago 7 might just be walking away with the biggest award of the night.
In every essence of the word, this is a comfort film. Not in the sense that the story is bright and cozy, but in that there was clearly so much heart and passion poured into every aspect of this project. From a beautiful soundtrack that could easily secure a best original score win to the equally stunning and poignant plot, Minari is a pure representation of how to craft a film. Not to mention, if the leading actor category wasn’t so stacked this year, Steven Yeun’s performance is more than worthy of a win. And don’t be surprised at all if Youn Yuh-jung is up accepting the award for best actress in a supporting role.
Judas and the Black Messiah
Right up there with The Trial of the Chicago 7 in terms of timeliness, this film is unflinching in its depiction of its often violent events. The intricate plot is conveyed well, structured in a fantastic way through the performances. And while Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya both deserve the win for actor in a supporting role, I would have to lean more heavily toward the latter of the two.
Promising Young Woman
In no way was this film anything like what I thought it was going to be. Promising Young Woman has a lot to say in ways that end up becoming anything but conventional. The cast is great, but the plot — and, really, the premise — hook onto you and refuse to let go until its breathtaking ending. It’s not your average revenge tale, and it is certainly a contender for winning original screenplay.
The Father is perhaps the most unique psychological thriller to ever be made. It’s sharp, simplistic style is a fantastic juxtaposition to its elegant representation of an unreliable protagonist. In similar fashion to Sound of Metal, this film puts the audience right into the mind of someone suffering from dementia and old age. It far exceeded my expectations, and it’s looking like Anthony Hopkins might find himself winning best actor in a leading role, though it’s also very likely we’ll see a posthumous win for the late Chadwick Boseman.
Playing almost like a documentary, Nomadland is filled to the brim with great performances and direction even with not too much happening on screen. The simple beauty of the visuals paired with a superb score carries so much emotional weight throughout the film that cinematography and direction Oscar nods only feel right. Frances McDormand’s nuanced performance might also very well be enough to win for actress in a leading role.
Last, but certainly not least, Mank absolutely nails that old school aesthetic. Films about making films often feel tiresome, but this one has so much sincerity. While not my personal favorite as a film, it’s one that can be appreciated simply for its production. With stellar performances from Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, any number of wins from costume or production design to directing or makeup and hairstyling seem fitting.
In no way can any of these films be classified as bad. In fact, this year feels distinctly like one of those Oscar years in which one will inevitably win best picture while the rest of the coveted awards are split among the other nominees. It just doesn’t really seem right if there was one specific film that sweeps all the categories.
Only time will tell, though, as the 93rd Academy Awards get ready to finally happen this coming Sunday, April 25 on ABC.
Jackson Horvat is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Jackson by tweeting him at @horvatjackson.