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Arts Culture The Oscars 2020: Quick Movie Reviews of All the Best Picture Nominees This Year

The Oscars 2020: Quick Movie Reviews of All the Best Picture Nominees This Year

The Oscars 2020: Quick Movie Reviews of All the Best Picture Nominees This Year
By Dorynna Untivero
By Dorynna Untivero
January 20, 2020
Excited for the Academy Awards this 2020? Get started on the binge-watching as we bring you the low-down on all the best picture nominees and why you should (or shouldn't) catch them in theatres! Scroll through to learn more:

Little Women

This film found itself in a quagmire of controversy as female director Greta Gerwig was snubbed under the Best Director category. Many fans, including the Little Women cast themselves, voiced out their disappointment with the lack of recognition. However, the film itself proves to be a strong contender this year. Its star-studded cast includes Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, rising Midsommar actress Florence Pugh, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk, Timothee Chalamet, among others. Both Ronan and Pugh are nominated Best Actress and Best Supporting actress for this film, respectively. This powerhouse cast is more than enough reason to rush to the theatres, topped off with the well-loved classic story written by Louisa May Alcott in 1868. 


This film gathered Oscar buzz early on. With director Sam Mendez's ambitious 'one-take' treatment, fans of the director were excited to catch 1917 in theatres. Following two young British soldiers in the brink of battle during World War I, the film centres on the human aspect of war and destruction. Critics applaud this film for its technical prowess and elaborate storytelling. Many war movies have taken home the sought-after Best Picture prize. Will 1917 join the ranks of The Hurt Locker (2009) or The English Patient (1996)? 

Ford v Ferrari

This drama film carries with it exceptional writing and stunning performances by lead actors Christian Bale and Matt Damon. Although it tackles dramatised historical accounts of the famous 1960s rivalry between car companies Ford and Ferrari, it is yet another vehicle (pun intended) for Bale's talent as a character actor. Any car fanatic will certainly enjoy this film; however, is it daring enough to win Best Picture? 


The 2019 film featuring Joaquin Phoenix enjoyed stellar box-office success. Its nomination for this category is a historical feat which shows a change of atittude towards comic-book films in the Oscars. The dark dramatic treatment of the well-loved comedic character was welcomed by audiences the world-over. The movie criticises the fictional city of Gotham and its inherent disgust and disregard of oddity and mental incapacity. Joker is no doubt the world's most beloved anti-hero movie to date. This nomination follows Black Panther's 2019 Best Picture bid.

Read More: 5 Marvelous Facts on Marvel Cinematic Universe You Might Want To Know


Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

This just might be Quentin Tarantino's most conceited love letter to Hollywood yet. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt who are respectively nominated Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for this film. Many see this revisiting of one of Hollywood's darkest times a tad distasteful or perhaps, unnecessary. However, the movie serves as the perfect channel for creativity for Tarantino and both leading men. A bit comedic, strange, and 'arthouse', this movie symbolises Hollywood's obsession with itself. Its warm colour palette and incredibly dragging pace makes this film a slow-yet-satisfactory-burn. All in all, it is wish-fulfilment in its most daring. 

See Also: Hollywood’s Leading Men—Then and Now

Marriage Story

This heart-wrenching drama translates like a stage-play --dialougue heavy and strongly reliant on character sketches. Here, it's as if Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are in a battle to show who has the best acting chops (they are nominated for Best Actress and Actor for this film). In every sequence, they deliver performances you can't help but be in awe of. The iconic long-take argument scene between the two is as raw as it is tragic. Director Noah Baumbach offers audiences a love story that is closer to real life than any rom-com out there. The incredible screenplay is matched by poignant cinematography and direction. For Marriage Story, it's easy to say it lives up to the hype. However, is Hollywood ready to award this movie Best Picture for its untethered display of emotion? 


This nomination proves just how much the Academy wants to be part of the 2020 zeitgeist. This cult favourite found worldwide acclaim since it was released early last year. This Best Picture nom cements foreign films and Bong Joon-ho's place in Hollywood. There's no doubting Parasite is an incredible piece of filmmaking. Although, many doubt if it will win at all. No matter the outcome, its recognition alone represents a change in the tide as Hollywood struggles to become more inclusive and appreciative of different storytelling across the years. Parasite is the 12th foreign language film to be nominated Best Picture since 1938. 

See Also: Why Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019) Is A True Cinematic Masterpiece, Non-English Films From The 2010s You Should Watch ASAP

Jojo Rabbit

This Nazi comedy — yes, you read that right—follows Hitler-loving 10 year old, Jojo Betzler. Director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) brings his unique style of comedy to this historical satire. The movie follows Jojo as he navigates Nazi Germany as a young patriotic boy. Many critics however fault the film for treating a truly horrific time in history as a joke. Its controversial storytelling no doubt helped its nomination along, however, is it enough to bring it to the top of this prestigious list? 

The Irishman

The Irishman, running 209 minutes, seems like a well-deserved vanity project for Martin Scorsese. The ensemble, rounded out by Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, graces the silverscreen with predictably amazing performances. Following the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa and the Bufalino crime family, it's easy to see this film as just another mafia movie. However, whatever the lengthly plot may take away from one's viewing experience, the powerhouse cast makes up for by reminding us of each actor's undeniable brilliance. 


More about the Oscars: 5 Men's Wardrobe Updates Inspired By Oscar 2020-Nominated Movies, 9 Of The Best Red Carpet Looks At The Oscars 2019, Beauty Looks From The Oscars: Throughout The Ages


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