It’s that time of the year again when we look at Oscar’s most important nominations to make our predictions. 2019 has marked the strongest year yet for films and the list of nominees for the best picture award is proof to that. Indeed, it was not only the feature films where the past year saw some fabulous performances, however, I am only able to cover a few of them in this article.
Let’s start with the best picture nominations; Sam Mendes’ “1917” and Parasite are ones that will have to face each other. Let’s not forget Noah Baumbach’s powerful “Marriage Story” which, in my opinion, must win. What I’m saying and what the odds are favoring are two different things. While the bets are in favor of 1917 or Parasite, there are other films that must be taken into consideration as well. However, let’s face it, eight out of nine films will have to be satisfied with just the nomination as there is going to be only one winner. But which one will celebrate victory is something we will try to look into shortly but only those films mentioned above have a real chance of winning on the night.
“1917” is an outstanding war-drama filmed, seemingly, in one long shot. From start to end, Sam Mendes’ masterpiece creates an impressive environment where the viewer doesn’t even get a chance to breathe. Whether it’s the cinematography, sound, editing, direction, or all other technicalities, “1917” is a film that can upset all other nominees to end the night with the victory.
Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” is a jewel of modern cinema. Unlike “1917” or all other contenders, “Parasite” can easily smash every single nominee and take the Oscar home. And if you see the film, you won’t be left wondering why. As for the concept, only “Joker”, “Marriage Story” and “Jojo Rabbit” may make a strong statement in terms of the importance of the storyline. However, there is one unique detail only “Parasite” has – characters created in the film are not only real, but they also exist in everyone. They are around us; they are smart, hardworking, and capable. They have skills but no opportunity to shine in our society. This is why what they do in the film is important for them to support themselves. They lie but their lie is white until the moment when it starts getting darker.
“Joker” from Todd Phillips was one of the most shocking films of the year. It explores mental illness through the prism of Joker, a character well-known as a villain. However, this film offers a genesis story to provide an explanation as to why a man who would not hurt a fly suddenly turned to the dark side. The film does not justify Joker’s sudden turn, but it shows the society in its true color, its way of disregarding minorities and initiating violence through silence. But does it deserve to win the best picture because of that? Highly unlikely, but the Academy can yet surprise us.
“Marriage Story”, written and directed by Noah Baumbach, is arguably my favorite film which I expect to win. Everything about it screams an Oscar. Whether it is the superb performances, a subtle screenplay, or the moving storyline, “Marriage Story” brings us closer to the ugly world of divorce, fight for child custody, and its sad implications that could have easily been avoided. More importantly, this film talks about marriage in a way that has no chance to survive if it puts restrictions, limits freedom, and takes choice away.
As for “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”, “Ford vs. Ferrari”, “Jojo Rabbit”, “The Irishman”, and “Little Women” – all these are astounding films in their own way, but can they defeat the aforementioned titles? Odds might support that idea, but based on what I’ve seen, I will be extremely surprised if any of them can disappoint the major contenders to become the underdogs.
When it comes to the best picture nominations, anything can happen. None of the films can consider themselves as the clear winner but when it comes to the best female performance in the leading role, there’s only one name which comes to mind – Renee Zellweger. No doubt, Scarlett Johansson delivered a career-defining performance in “Marriage Story”. The confrontation scene with Adam Driver, where her face changes to red during their heated argument, is astounding. Saoirse Ronan is powerful in “Little Women”, and Cynthia Erivo also delivers a solid performance as Harriet. As for Charlize Theron, she is like Nicole Kidman – a chameleon who redefines the craft of acting and lifts it to a whole different level. However, it’s Renee Zellweger who does what all other contenders could not.
Through her performance as Judy Garland, she brings us back to reality. It reminded us of Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Elvis Presley, and all other troubled artists who had to do their best to satisfy their demanding fans to deliver performances while being intoxicated or under influence. Watching Zellweger’s performance without tearing up is impossible because it is real. It’s deeply profound and surreal. You will really have to see the film to believe that so as to not judge when she wins her second Oscar because she will, and there should be no doubt about it.