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Oscars 2021: Did the Best Films Win?

by John Thacker 5 months ago in list

A rundown of the winners and losers from the 93rd Academy Awards.

'Nomadland' was a big winner.

The cinemas may have been closed for the most part of the past twelve months, but that hasn’t stopped filmmakers as the 93rd Academy Awards had one of the strongest line ups arguably of all time.

There’s still magic at the Oscars. Applauding the hard work that goes off and on camera, opening discussions on performances and films that made the most impact, it’s one of the only celebrations that we truly appreciate an art medium. And that excites me!

It was clear from the offset that Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland was the frontrunner to sweep the awards, but with such a strong set of films up for Best Picture from the groundbreakingly shocking Promising Young Woman, to the stellar Minari, it really felt like anyone’s game.

Best Picture

Winner: “Nomadland”

Was it the right decision?

In a break from tradition, the Best Picture was announced earlier in the show, rather than its standard conclusion to the evening. It would have been surprising if Nomadland didn’t take home the big prize after sweeping the majority of the proceeding ceremonies. The film utterly was a revelation. There’s no clear narrative, it doesn’t try to impose anything, as the audience you can only observe. At times it’s almost like you are watching a documentary, Frances McDormand is stripped completely raw, and the film uses members of the Nomadland community as the supporting actors in the picture.

Nomadland deserved this year’s title as Best Picture. Personally, I would have been equally as happy to see Promising Young Woman, Minari, or even Sound of Metal take the big one, but there was something about Nomadland’s storytelling that felt like nothing I’ve ever seen before it. A film the celebrates stillness and reflection in a year that has been so chaotic seems incredibly fitting.

Nominations:

“The Father”

“Judas and the Black Messiah”

“Mank”

“Minari”

“Promising Young Woman”

“Sound of Metal”

“The Trial of the Chicago 7

"Nomadland"

Best Actress:

Winner: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

Was it the right decision?

Early on in the year, it seemed like this was Vanessa Kirby’s year for her portrayal of grief following a miscarriage in Pieces of a Woman, yet by the time the ceremony came around, it was truly anybody’s game. Each award leading up to the Oscar’s saw different winners which made this one of the most unpredictable in years. Any one of the outstanding performances would have been met with pure joy for their win, and that’s no different for Frances McDormand. Her performance was so incredibly authentic that at times you forget you are watching a performance, and that’s something special. There’s no big Oscar moment in the film, it’s a complete performance, a soul searching depth that is well worth this win.

Nominations:

Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”

Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”

Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

Best Actor

Winner: Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”

Was it the right decision?

The most controversial win of the night went to Anthony Hopkins as it seemed set that Chadwick Boseman would posthumously get the award for Best Actor. I have to state that for me Riz Ahmed’s performance in Sound of Metal has been overlooked here, and on a personal note for a performance that blew me away and left me weeping, Riz Ahmed would have been my pick. But in no way does this mean that Antony Hopkins, one of the greatest actors, was unworthy of this award. His portrayal in The Father ticked all the boxes for this award into another tight category.

Nominations:

Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”

Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Gary Oldman, “Mank”

Steven Yeun, “Minari”

Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”

Best Director

Winner: Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

Was it the right decision?

Chloe Zhao winning for Best Director means she is the second female ever to win the award (second to Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker), and the first woman of colour to win the award. This win was the most deserving of the evening for me. Zhao directed real-life nomads in the picture in the supporting roles, and this authenticity is why Nomadland is so special. There’s no point in the picture where anything feels manufactured or placed to create a response, Zhao invites us to be onlookers into this world, and for me, that’s what great filmmaking is about.

Nominations:

Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”

Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”

David Fincher, “Mank”

Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round”

Best Animated Feature

Winner: “Soul”

Was it the right decision?

Soul was the best-animated film in the past twelve months and therefore deserved the title. Wolf Walkers was incredibly beautiful and perhaps would have taken the award otherwise, but Soul is a high tier Pixar that takes a complicated concept of the afterlife and instead makes it universally simple by reinforcing we are not what we achieve, but simply what we are.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress

Winners: Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”, Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Was it the right decision?

Both of the supporting roles were clear winners before the awards Daniel Kaluuya was unlikely to be beaten for this role in “Judas and the Black Messiah”, his performance was incredibly well deserved. Yuh-Jung Youn’s win for Minari also sits incredibly well as Minari certainly deserved to have a win in the main categories.

Best Documentary Feature

Winner: “My Octopus Teacher”

Was it the right decision?

Again, another award that was unlikely to go to the other nominations for Best Documentary Feature. I don’t about you, but I sobbed when the octopus grabbed onto Craig for the last time. A remarkable look into life beyond the eye. A well-deserved winner, and despite a strong category, I wouldn’t have liked to have seen anything else take this award.

Best Sound

Winner: “Sound of Metal”

Was it the right decision?

Yes. Boldly, yes. In this incredible picture that represents the deaf community, the sound in the film flickers suddenly between what the lead character Ruben hears as he adjusts to life as a deaf man to the sound of cars, trees, tapping, eating. In the closing sequence of the film, Ruben starts life with a hearing aid which many members of the community do not seek as a quote from the film states 'we don't try to fix this'.

For full wins and nominations see:

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/25/oscars-2021-live-updates-award-winners.html

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John Thacker

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I am a writer, actor, and singer/songwriter from Manchester, UK.

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