The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony took place in Los Angeles on 25th April. In spite of the pandemic forced constraints, the carnival of the film industry did take place this year. Although with less aplomb and glitter, and with less number of guests for obvious reasons. Besides all the categories, Oscar nominated movies to take the prime spot for us. From among a list of Oscar nominated movies ‘Nomadland', ‘Another Round' and ‘Soul' stood out. Different categories, different winners. Outstanding performances by veterans Anthony Hopkins and Frances McDormand ensured them with Oscar glory.
From among the several Oscar nominated movies below are seven of them from different categories.
Nomadland (2020, 1h 48m, English)
US Gypsum shut down in 2011 in Nevada due to economic crisis adversely affects many. Fern, an elderly woman, is one of them. She decides to be a nomad. In the opening scene, she is seen setting off on her journey in her van. Her van is loaded with all the necessities and memories. She finds a job at Amazon and also tries to find other jobs in vain. Eventually, she is on the move and comes across many other fellow nomads. Together they share several beautiful moments, experiences and memories. And the journey goes on.
Frances McDormand won the Best Actress award for her performance in the movie and Chloé Zhao won the Best Director award.
Another Round (2020, 1h 57m, Danish)
A group of students goes overboard indulging in a drunken party. And the school decides on a zero-alcohol policy for the upcoming semester. High school teachers Martin and his three friends and colleagues in the same school live an indifferent life. On and off the campus that is. One night, while drinking together they decide to follow the words of Finn Skarderud, “it is sensible to drink”. They have to maintain 0.05% alcohol in the body. And life is no more the same for them. Both on and off the campus that is.
Another Round is the winner in the Best International Feature category from the Oscar nominated movies.
Soul (2020, 1h 40min, English)
Among the Oscar nominated movies, ‘Soul' is a winner in the Best Animated Feature category. Different from many other animation movies Soul has a story with a soul. It tells the story of Joe Gardner, a school music teacher. He is an enthusiastic piano player. He is offered a dream chance at the audition in the band of Dorothea Williams. An accident however dents his chances. He wakes up in a world of “Great Beyond” and “Great Before”. And he has become a soul with many other souls. He has to mend 22, a lost soul and find his own happiness and passion.
The movie also won Best Original Score award.
The Father (2020, 1h 37m, English)
The protagonist of Anthony by Anthony Hopkins won him the Best Actor award. From the first conversation between Anthony and his daughter Ann in the movie, the old man makes his stand clear. Anthony is an old man who thinks he is alright with himself and doesn't want to accept anyone's help. Ann and her husband try to help him. Even bringing in a new aide only seems to aggravate his reaction. A reality Anthony finds agonizingly painful. His agony soon turns confusion. With each passing incident at his place, he is driven crazy and disoriented. Age and dementia play tantrums in his life yet he promises he is alright. How long can he stay ‘sane'?
The movie won Best Adapted Screenplay award.
Better Days (2019, 2h 16m, Mandarin)
Hu Xiaodie commits suicide in the school where she is studying. One of her classmates, Chen Nian, covers the dead body with her jacket. With that act, she attracts unwanted attention too. Like several others, Nian is preparing hard for the national college entrance exam. Although a brilliant student, she has now additional hurdles to cross. One evening, she is encountered by a few rogues and thus she meets Xiao Bei. Bei is a punk and a petty thief. He meets her after the incident and offers to protect her from those bullying her. Soon Nian realizes Bei's help is needed. Did academic pressure push Hu Xiaodie to her death or bullying? The investigation is on.
Mank (2020, 2h 13m, English)
A movie on movies. The fact that the story is based in the 1940s and that it is a black and white movie makes it all the more different. Mankiewicz, after being in a car accident is bedridden in a guest ranch. He is assisted by a nurse, Freda and an expert typewriter Rita Alexander. He has 90 days, no 60 days to complete the first draft of the screenplay. As the story progresses Mank's life and work are brought to light in flashbacks. Beyond the movie side of his life, a humane side is revealed too. Some of the dialogues are superlatively captivating. It is based on the life of American Drama critique and screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz (1897-1953).
The movie won Best Cinematography and Best Production Design awards
Minari (2020, 1h 56m, Korean & English)
Jacob Yi and his family comprising of his wife Monica and two kids relocated to Arkansas from California. Jacob is full of ambition and hope to own and start a 50-acre farm. His wife wants to settle in Rogers where there are other Korean families. She is never impressed by the makeshift house and the location Jacob chose. The dissatisfaction and quarrels among them are not enough, they have issues like finance, weather to deal with. Their son David has a medical condition too to be worried about. “Never pay for anything you can find free” is Jacob's policy. He along with aid, Paul works hard to grow Korean fruits and vegetables. They are joined by Monica's mother from Korea and with her, she brings Minari seeds too. Will that help them finally?
Yuh-Jung Youn (Monica's mother) won best supporting actress award.
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