Hollywood’s Best Pictures Burn Bright

The 2020 Academy Award Nominations

Sahil Koul, Writer

On the morning of January 13, the long wait for this year’s nominees for the 2020 Academy Awards was over, all the excitement and juicy twists finally revealed.

I think 2019 was one of film-making’s finest years. The 2020 Best Picture nominees introduced us to many new faces and great original work, while the heavyweights also continued to satisfy and impress viewers. Whether it was Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman or Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, the creativity and expertise of the legends lived on.  Yet there was also a fresh emergence of new directors with clever satires that made their mark in 2019 as well, such as the Korean class-struggle thriller Parasite by Bong Joon-Ho and the Nazi satire Jojo Rabbit by Taika Waititi; both of which were well received. The surprise hit of the year goes to Sam Mendes’ World War I drama 1917, which along with Ford v Ferrari starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, brought out the best of historical fiction in 2019.

The most gutting/character-focused films of the year went to Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Todd Phillips’ Joker; both of which displayed convincing messages of heartbreak, hate, and struggle. And finally, the brilliant Greta Gerwig’s ode to Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century beloved novel, Little Women, was transformed by her modern sensibility and spoke to millions of viewers.

There are way too many excellent movies this year and I think it will be one of the closest Best Picture races in a long while with disappointed fans no matter which is chosen. As for me, I usually don’t have favorites, but I have to admit being struck by the combination of talented veteran actors, superior acting and direction, and the strange but compelling story in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The film carries the viewer along on what can only be described as a surreal trip back in time, first lulling us with the ordinary quality of many interactions, but then casually inserting Charles Manson, Sharon Tate and some drug addled criminals.  We end up wide awake at the controversial conclusion…not going to ruin the ending but…uh, Academy?   Give Leo and Brad another Oscar. Their closet’s are pretty empty.