Musings on 2021 Oscars Nominations – Snubs + Surprises

I was reading some articles about the Oscars and I just realized that last year’s telecast, which aired on February 9, was one of the earliest dates in the show’s history. Covid-19 wasn’t exactly on most people’s radar at the time yet, at least not in North America… I mean, I was still in a packed DisneyWorld in early March! Who knew that weeks later, practically the entire world was in lockdown mode.

Well, so the 93rd Oscar nominations are now here!

Click here to jump to the full list below. And here are my thoughts on the nominations:

Firstly…

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

Finally the Academy seems to be catching up to the call for diversity! About damn time! After the social media hashtag #OscarSoWhite circulating the past couple of years, it’s nice to see a more diverse list of nominees including female directors AND talents of color!

Congrats Emerald Fennell + Chloé Zhao!! Glad to see their names amongst the nominees… and Lee Isaac Chung too! Two filmmakers of Asian-descent in Best Director category is historic… not to mention the fact that Zhao is the first woman of Asian descent to ever pick up a directing nom. I haven’t seen Minari yet, but based on the rapturous response from critics and audiences alike, I have no doubt his nomination is well-deserved!!

Best Actress

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Heck yeah Viola Davis!! I have plenty of films to catch up on but as a longtime fan hers, I’m always thrilled to see her get recognized. I was hoping to see The United States vs. Billie Holiday but didn’t get a chance to, I read everywhere she’s truly the reason to see that film!

The two performances I have seen, McDormand’s and Mulligan’s, are both astounding, so yeah!!

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

The posthumous nomination for Chadwick Boseman is a shoo-in this year and I’m happy for that! Another shoo-in is Anthony Hopkins is absolutely amazing in The Father (which I just reviewed).

Thrilled to see Ahmed got in, I think his performance in Sound of Metal is his best work yet. Jumping for joy seeing Steven Yeun‘s name as well… I mean, as a blogger of Southeast Asian descent, obviously I’m delighted to see an Asian-American actor FINALLY getting some recognition!!

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

In the Supporting Actress/Actor category, I’m soooo happy to see Olivia Colman AND Paul Raci got in!! LOVED both performances, and I was afraid they’d nominate Jodie Foster over Colman and Raci would also be overlooked.

I’m kicking myself that I still haven’t seen Minari yet, but ‘ve been hearing great things about Yuh-Jung Youn’s performance. How awesome it is to see not just one but TWO Asian talents getting nominated for the same film!!

Interesting to see two extremely talented black actors Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield vying for Oscar in the same category AND from the same movie. I’m happy for them as they’re really two of the best actors of this generation, but if they’re both in the supporting category, the biggest question in my mind is…

Just WHO is the lead of Judas and the Black Messiah??

Best Adapted Screenplay

Sacha Baron Cohen and Co-Writers (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)
Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton (The Father)
Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)
Kemp Powers (One Night in Miami)
Ramin Bahrani (The White Tiger)

What a year for Chloe Zhao!! Not only did she become the first female filmmaker of Asian descent ever shortlisted in the directing, she also picked up a nominated for her screenwriting work!

I’m very impressed with Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton‘s script in The Father. I know their play won a bunch of awards and considered the most acclaimed new play of the last decade. It’s still rare to see the film version of a play garnering similar acclaim all the way to Oscar glory, but hey I think it’s well-deserved!

Best Original Screenplay

Will Berson, Shaka King, Keith Lucas, and Kenny Lucas (Judas and the Black Messiah)
Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)
Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
Derek Cianfrance, Abraham Marder, Darius Marder (Sound of Metal)
Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)

So Lee Isaac Chung also picked up another nomination in the Best Screenplay Category!! Man, imagine if him AND Chloe Zhao walk away with Oscars this year… what a sight that would be for so many Asian filmmakers who have been overlooked for way too long!

Best Animated Feature

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Ok, so Disney + Pixar are dominating the Best Animated Feature category… surprise, surprise! But I’m rooting for WOLFWALKERS!!! It’s such a beautiful movie and it’s got a wonderfully-moving story as well, can’t recommend it enough.

Now, on to the snubs + surprises…

It wouldn’t be the Oscars morning after without reading the word ‘snub’ all over social media and film sites. I’m generally pretty cool with this year’s nominations, but still I think a few people were overlooked.

  • Wow, no love for Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods? I saw the #JusticeForDelroyLindo hashtag the past few days, surely lots of people are going to be upset about that. I know my pal Ted rated Delroy Lindo‘s performance highly in his review.
  • I was also expecting to see Regina King‘s name in Best Director list… I’d think at the very least, One Night In Miami… would be shortlisted in the Best Picture category.
  • I’m surprised to see Thomas Vinterberg amongst the Directors nominee, but then again last year Pawel Pawlikowski was nominated for Cold War and the film was nominated in Best Foreign Language category. I haven’t seen Another Round yet but Vinterberg has made some great films with Mads Mikkelsen before, i.e. The Hunt.Speaking of Mads, some people might say he’s overlooked for Best Actor in Another Round.
  • Ok so I’m really not that interested in seeing The Hillbilly Elegy, it just doesn’t appeal to me and based on the reception, it’s best to avoid that one. So I’m surprised to see Glenn Close making the cut, but no Amy Adams? I feel like Adams is overdue for an Oscar, but surely there’ll be better roles for her in the future!
    Given their wardrobe epitomizes the cozy, work-from-home attire we’re all sporting, shouldn’t they be nominated for Best Costume Design? 🤣
  • I know many people did not like Close making the cut, I personally would’ve loved to see Sophia Loren in the Best Actress category. It was quite a comeback for her in a beautiful performance in The Life Ahead. I wish the uplifting drama got more love but I don’t think many people have even seen that one.
  • No love for News of the World? Yes I know it’s more conventional and not as edgy as some films that got nominated, but it’s a terrific film with wonderful performances by Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel.
  • Now, in the Best Actor category, I think one of the biggest snubs is Tahar Rahim in The Mauritanian. Rahim’s sensitive performance never descends to over-sentimentality and is genuinely moving, he truly gave the film its best moments. Oh well, glad the BAFTA did recognize Rahim’s performance as well as Mads Mikkelsen’s!
  • Lastly, I know TENET didn’t exactly wow critics nor audiences alike, I was kind of lukewarm about the film too, but what I did like is the synth score by Ludwig Göransson. The song called The Plan by Travis Scott is sooo good!! Probably one of my faves of the year! Too bad neither made the cut this year 😦


Full List of Oscar Nominees

In case you missed the live telecast of the nominees announced by Priyanka Chopra + Nick Jonas (it’s too early for me to wake up for, ahah), here’s the video:

Best Picture

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

Best Actress

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Best Original Song

“Husavik (My Hometown),” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
“Io Se (Seen),” The Life Ahead
“Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
“Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Original Score

Da 5 Bloods
Mank
Minari
News of the World
Soul

Best Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
News of the World
Nomadland
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
The Father
Nomadland
One Night in Miami…
The White Tiger

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah
Minari
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Animated Feature

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Best Documentary Short Subject

Colette
A Concerto is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song For Latasha

Best Documentary Feature

Collective
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
Time

Best International Feature

Another Round
Better Days
Collective
The Man Who Sold His Skin
Quo Vadis, Aida?

Best Film Editing

The Father
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Costume Design

Emma
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Mulan
Pinocchio

Best Hair and Makeup

Emma
Hillbilly Elegy 
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 
Mank
Pinocchio 

Best Production Design

The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
News of the World
Tenet 

Best Visual Effects

Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
The One and Only Ivan
Tenet

Best Sound

Greyhound
Mank
News of the World
Soul
Sound of Metal

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow”
“Genius Loci”
“If Anything Happens I Love You”
“Opera”
“Yes People”

Best Live Action Short Film

“Feeling Through”
“The Letter Room”
“The Present”
“Two Distant Strangers”
“White Eye”


Well, 2021 Oscars ceremony was originally scheduled for February 28, but it’s been pushed to April 25. 


Well, what are YOUR thoughts about the Oscars noms + snubs this year?

FlixChatter Review – Judas and The Black Messiah (2021)

The script of the life of Fred Hampton has been floating around Hollywood for many years but it never got made into a film until now. Hampton was one of the leaders of the Black Panthers movement and the youngest of the group back in the 60s and his assassination by the FBI is well known and that’s probably the reason the film of his life has had trouble making it to the screen. Maybe, because of our current political climate we’re living in now, his life story is finally being told, and I think it’s more relevant than ever.

The film starts out with an interview footage of the real Bill O’Neil in 1989 and then flashes back to 1968 when the young O’Neil (LaKeith Standfield) poses as an FBI agent to steal cars from locals in Chicago. One night, his antics got him arrested and while being held in the interrogation room, an actual FBI agent named Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) showed up and offered a chance to turn his life around. Since O’Neil likes to pretend to be someone he’s not, Michell offers him to be a mole for the FBI.

He tells O’Neil that the Black Panthers are terrorist groups, and he’s needs an inside man to be his eyes and ears in order to bring them down. Of course, O’Neil doesn’t have a choice, if he doesn’t take the deal then he goes to prison. He reluctantly accepts the offer and goes undercover and meets Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), a young charismatic leader of the Chicago Black Panthers division. Once O’Neil became part of Hampton’s group, he realized that the Black Panthers aren’t the people that Michell told him about. They’re a group that tries to give a better life to the black community in the rough part of Chicago. But because O’Neil doesn’t want to go to prison, he keeps feeding the FBI information about the Panthers’ activities that eventually led to Hampton’s assassination.

I actually watched a documentary about Hampton’s life a couple of years ago, so I knew the story and while I’m sure some of the events has been alter for dramatic purposes for this film, it’s still pretty accurate account of what happened. The screenplay is written by Will Berson and Shaka King, the latter directed the picture. It’ a well written story and I wish the actual film is longer. At only 2 hours long, I feel there’s so much we don’t know about Hampton and O’Neil and I would have liked to see more of their lives explored in the film. I’ve never seen any of King’s work but I’m very impressed with what he did with this film. The only negative thing I see here is how he depicted the FBI director Hoover (Martin Sheen in poorly prostatic makeup), he’s like a cartoonish Bond villain and I don’t think that’s very accurate.

Performances were excellent. Standfield, who I think looks a lot like a young Dave Chapelle, is very good as the conflicted person who sees the Panthers as a group of peaceful activists who wants to better the lives of black people. But he knows that he can’t back out of a deal he’d made with the FBI. Kaluuya is excellent as Hampton, a passionate man who sees himself as peacemaker but knows what the authority sees him as a threat. Dominique Fishback (who was terrific in Project Power) continues to impress me with her performance, here she plays Hampton’s lover. As mentioned earlier, I wish the film were longer, so we get to see more of their relationship. Plemons is always good, and he’s great here as the father figure to O’Neil. He uses O’Neil to impress his bosses at the FBI and also advances his career. At first, he acted like a friend to O’Neil but when he didn’t get what he wanted, he became a very nasty person who holds a lot of power.

This is probably one of the better films I’ve seen in the early part of 2021, I just wanted it to be a bit longer. I feel it’s too condensed, but it’s very well made with great performances by the lead actors.

TedS_post


So have you seen Judas and the Black Messiah? Well, what did you think?