In a year that saw movie theaters boarded up due to COVID-19, eight new films that did reach our screens impressed Academy voters enough that they are in contention for Hollywood’s biggest award—the Oscar for best picture.
The blockbusters may be absent, but an eclectic array of titles are in the mix, from a lavish Netflix ode to Tinseltown’s Golden Age to a tiny indie drama about Korean immigrants scraping out a living off the land in rural America.
Here are the eight movies battling for the top prize at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony:
Starring Anthony Hopkins and adapted by French playwright Florian Zeller from his own stage production, The Father takes viewers on a terrifying Ívoyage through the onset of dementia.
The film is set in a London apartment where ailing but stubborn father Anthony (Hopkins) has chased off his latest caregiver, forcing daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) to find a replacement before her departure for Paris.
But nothing in Anthony’s life is quite as it seems, with the audience increasingly questioning his perspective, as his faculties rapidly appear to fade.
Widely praised at its Sundance premiere in January 2020, the film has many admirers—particularly for Hopkins’ tour-de-force lead performance—but is a long shot for best picture.
‘Judas and the Black Messiah’
In a year that produced several acclaimed movies led by Black casts and filmmakers, only Judas and the Black Messiah made the Academy’s best picture shortlist.
A twist on the traditional biopic, the movie tells half of the story of slain Black Panther leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) from the perspective of the FBI informant who betrayed him, William O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield).
Produced by Ryan Coogler—director of Marvel superhero film Black Panther —the 1960s Chicago-set movie follows Hampton’s efforts to galvanize activists against police violence, even as the FBI encircled him and his followers.
The latest entrant to the Oscars race, having only premiered to critics this February, has made a splash with six nominations but remains an outside bet.
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