Awards Watch With MathTeacherMovies – April 12th, 2021: The Case For Each Best Picture

Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.

Eight movies were selected for the top honor of Best Picture this year. All of them have their flaws and their strengths and in the column before my official predictions, I will take a look at the good and bad of each nomination while exploring their chances of winning. 

The Father 

This is one of the several movies based off of a play this year but the only one that scored a Best Picture nomination. This movie, like the other play adaptations this year, barely felt like a play and The Father packed a great punch of emotion through its presentation and unforgettable performances. 

The Father suffers greatest from its very late release this season. It was hardly seen by anyone until recently being just only in theaters and made available as a VOD rental while many of the competitors are on streaming services. While it’s later release gave the chance for The Father to catch some momentum at the right time, it won’t be enough to grab the win.

Judas and the Black Messiah

There are many stories of social justice that are told in original and creative fashions, but Judas and the Black Messiah told a complicated story about race in a classic Hollywood format which made for effective emotion and engrossing entertainment. 

This movie also suffered from a very late release, however it managed to catch quite a bit of momentum to receive this and many other nominations. Some of the issues others have had with the film is the lack of a specific main character, the simplicity of the film, and the story not written perfectly. These criticisms will probably affect its chances of winning. However, there’s no denial of a wide audience and wide voter appeal that garnered quite a bit of attention. 

Mank

A movie about Hollywood? I’ll take a Best Picture nomination, please! This movie highlights a story of old Hollywood about the making of a beloved film while also talking about the politics of Hollywood and delivering all of it in a classic film style with modern flourishes.

However, this film is not for everyone. In fact, it’s really only for the most ardent of film fans. Also, in a year of many problems and issues that plagued the nation and the world, this movie just seemed much less important. This film never scooped up a lot of buzz in its release and its momentum seems to just lay stagnant, leading to the  probable win of just a few well deserved technical awards. 

Minari

This has the mark of the perfect Best Picture winner. It’s the story of the American dream from a different lens and perspective with performances that work beautifully together and direction that is pure art creating the environment and mood needed for every story point. 

It is difficult to categorize this movie and it’s rather improper comparisons to Parasite are hurting its winning chances on a few levels. This is another movie that would have done much better with a streaming release as this is also a VOD rental, and so while it’s loved by many it has been seen by quite few. 

Nomadland

This is a remarkably made film on every level. It talks about issues of our economy without lecturing and shows a different world with little exposition. The film is drenched in realism from start to finish guided by an immersive central performance. 

While this movie is a spectacular art piece that is a brilliant creation. It lacks quite a bit in a straightforward plot and not much actually happens. It’s surprising that this is the front runner for Best Picture as it’s not the type of movie with mass appeal, regardless this is the proper movie to receive such an honor.

Promising Young Woman

Probably one of the more unconventional movies of the year and on this list, this nominee is shedding light on an important topic without being ham handed but instead telling a story.  The film also handles these issues with great complication through the main character.  

As unconventional as this movie is, it is also just as divisive. In its handling of such sensitive topics, it remains inconsistent in its story and may not be as clear in its unexpected ending. This will probably turn off many voters but it’s originality will probably give it a few above the line wins. 

Sound of Metal 

The “little movie that could” ended up being a true Film Twitter favorite and a personal favorite of the year for  this math teacher. This movie works with a common premise and a simple three act structure, but opens up an entire world through the eyes of an emotional character and fascinating performance. 

While this group has tremendous online support, this often doesn’t translate into real world support and even more importantly the Academy voters. The fact that this movie has gotten as many nominations as it did is a great accomplishment even if it won’t win any awards above the line. 

Trial of the Chicago 7

This movie was once the front runner for the Best Picture award and it’s easy to see why. It is incredibly rewatchable with fun dialogue and magnetic performances with great chemistry, while covering some important issues that are still relevant today.

This film has begun to lose steam for the same reasons that it is loved. It is a fun movie about a serious issue and sometimes the humor tends to water down the important problems, while other movies on this list are taking on the issues in a more genuine fashion. 

We’re getting closer and closer to the big night and these eight films will be battling it out for the top prize and while only some of them are closer to winning then others, all of them are deserving of the nomination and the win. 

Follow Sean on Instagram at @MathTeacherMovies

What Do You Think?

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