The Academy Awards 2021 are upon us, finally. While there were a million films to watch this year, these few set themselves apart with their powerful performances, strong messages and just how beautiful the films were to watch.
Before the awards set the stage, reviewing all the Oscars 2021 nominated films.
(Here’s my predictions for Oscars 2021 here)
– Judas and the Black Messiah
Powerful – that’s the right word to describe this film! There’s so much history behind this film and Shaka King & Will Berson have done a brilliant job showcasing it.
No right words to describe that extraordinary performance from Daniel Kaluuya, who’s already the front-runner for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role awards for Oscars 2021. Lakeith Stanfield’s performance makes the film equally interesting, without him this filn would’ve held no ground.
The film has history, the film is educative on cultural grounds, it’s powerful and one to watch!
Mank is based on the 1930s, through the eyes of Herman J. Mankiewicz experiencing the life and struggles of Hollywood at the time, and more importantly, the story behind his writing of Citizen Kane.
The film seems to be quite long, even though its not in duration, seems stretched at times. While its interesting to get the lens of 1930s Hollywood and what transpired back then, the film doesn’t hold you as it should have.
Sure, if you have watched Citizen Kane, or are a fan of Gary Oldman, you’ll end up watching this, and so did I, but don’t hold your expectations too high.
– Pieces of a Woman
Vanessa Kirby is the spotlight in this heart-breaking, emotional roller-coaster of a film. Her performance is so emotional and intense and authentic, she is single-handedly the backbone of this film.
The film revolves around a woman whose life and marriage are upended by the death of her child, the impact it leaves upon her as well the people around her, how life progresses beyond such a moment. While the film skips through time, every now and then, they do try to highlight key moments in the character’s life, her journey of emotions, through all of this and that part is touching.
Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf were excellent in their roles, and drive the movie forward for what it is. Watch it for the story.
A film so authentic and inspiring, it just warms your heart while watching it, and definitely stays with you as well.
Where there’s hope, there’s pain as well. Where there’s promise, there’s disaster as well. That is depicted remarkably well in Minari.
Mix that with those emotional and realistic performances from Steven Yeun, Youn Yuh-jung, Alan S Kim, Han Ye-ri, and Noel Cho, and you’ve got a film so good, you can feel it, you can relate with it, and you definitely have to watch it.
– Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Applause worthy and intrinsic performances from Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman, make the film what it is.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a fine adaptation of an August Wilson play, with hard truths at the core of the film. It definitely is thought-provoking and touching.
Knowing this was Chadwick’s last film made this watch even more emotional, but beyond that both of Viola’s and his performances were filled with passion and this film is a definite watch just to watch that.
– Hillbilly Elegy
I’m not sure why not film missed any hype around this awards season, you’ve got a Ron Howard directorial, Hans Zimmer music and starring Amy Adams.
The film revolves around this dysfunctional family of three generations, their struggles and how life moves ahead. Sure, there are flaws in the storyline, it skips a few beats here and there, and the film could’ve covered more aspects, but at the same time, I really enjoyed watching the depth in the relationships of the characters. Glenn Close has a line in the film which says, you always help family no matter what and it summarizes the film quite well.
Glenn Close is one to watch here, her character just melts your heart away, and she’s just so good in the film. If someday you’re looking for a random watch, this one can be your choice.
– Promising Young Woman
Promising Young Woman is dark, intense, and thought provoking. Emerald Fennell has done quite a clever job with its story and direction.
There’s a lot to grasp in this film, and at times, it gives you a good punch as well.
Carey Mulligan is the heartbeat of the film, everything you experience and are told is through her lens, and all the emotions felt is because of her magnificent acting for which she totally deserves that Oscar nomination.
This one is a must-watch and may surprise with a win, never say never.
– The United States vs Billie Holiday
The film revolves around the life of Billie Holiday, and her battle with drugs, racism, and the government.
While the film deeply moves something within you, it is also one which feels quite stretched and hectic to watch, most of the times. From what I’ve read, the filmmakers did touch upon a lot of issues and struggles with her life, but they didn’t quite execute all of it well enough.
All in all, Andra Day’s performance is what this film stands out for, that’s it, the range of emotions and feelings depicting every phase of her character’s life was just phenomenal.
– News of the World
A good Western film and a Tom Hanks film, both together, and the film already had me interested.
An average but gripping film, that phases slowly, where you need to be patient with the story that delivers with the performances of Tom Hanks and Helena Zengal, and the relationship that builds between their characters is one to watch in this one.
In all, it’s a feel-good film that you should watch for Tom Hanks.
– Another Round
Another Round is not too serious, but not too fun either, it holds the ground perfectly in the middle. An interesting concept executed perfectly by Thomas Vinterberg, one that surely is captivating.
What deserves a definite mention is the strong, authentic acting of all the four main actors around whom the film revolves, with a spotlight on Mads Mikkelsen who is brilliant and charismatic in the film.
The film is pure joy and leaves you satisfied at the end of it, also packing with it a message of alcoholism’s role in people’s lives. Definitely don’t miss this one.
– The Father
This one was emotional, heart-touching, and at the same time, sad. Touching upon the topic of dementia and expressing what the individual with it feels, the storyline does just that, and goes even beyond when you yourself feel lost at times watching the film, not knowing what’s exactly happening.
That I felt was such an expressive aspect of this film. And making it more remarkable was this powerhouse of a performance from Anthony Hopkins, watching him just melts your heart. What a portrayal of his character!
This film is sure-shot recommended to watch, don’t miss it.
– The Trial of the Chicago 7
Keeps you at the edge of your seats, is what this film is. Based on a true story, Aaron Sorkin has done a brilliant job at conveying the story, the emotions behind that story, and the emotions that the characters are going through.
As the film progresses, it’s such a fast paced one that you are hooked to the screen, you can’t take your eyes off it. There are moments you get goosebumps with what’s going on and that is how much you’re involved with the film.
Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne and the rest of the cast too, all of them have done such a brilliant job. Its a gripping one, and easily one of my top films of 2020. Absolutely recommended.
– Sound of Metal
Before we proceed to the storyline of this film, let me start by saying, Riz Ahmed was absolutely fantastic in this film. What a stunning, remarkable performance, one to remember for sure!
Riz’s character is central to the film, and the entire storyline is revolved around his journey, with what’s he going through.
And that journey, without spoiling anything, is a sight to watch, it’s mesmerizing, it gives you the feels, you can feel the struggles, you can feel the pain, his acting is authentic and that makes the film so much more powerful.
You always know the before, you know the after in such moments, but the process is what we don’t understand and what it feels like, that’s is strikingly conveyed in this film.
Even the takeaway from it is something we can all learn from. Riz Ahmed is a top contender for that Best Actor award, and absolutely deserves that nomination.
Nomadland’s storyline is one, the essence of which can be applied to all cultures and all people.
But speaking of the film, the life of nomads, their joys, their struggles, their problems, their emotions, all of which is successfully portrayed by Frances McDormand. Frances’ wide set of emotions and acting is brilliantly shown in the character, and she is definitely the Best Actress frontrunner for Oscars 2021.
Include it with the amazing direction and cinematography of Chloé Zhao, and you’ve got a winner here. This one is a watch.