In a year where cinemas around the globe have been forced to close for several months, we have still been able to receive some movies that have truly been fantastic. From big blockbusters such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet to smaller indie movies such as Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, we have still been able to access great films either in the limited time that cinemas were open or on streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. With the Oscars only a couple of weeks away, here is my personal ranking of the eight Best Picture nominees.
8) Mank (2020)
While David Fincher’s latest movie is still at the bottom of the list, I still do rather enjoy it. The performances from Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins and the rest of the supporting cast are all fantastic plus the production design and cinematography are jaw-dropping. However, with each time I have watched it the story has never particularly connected with me. On each viewing, the plot peaked my interest during its opening half an hour, then slowly begins to lose my interest in the latter half. Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz is great, his performance carrying the film and the way the piece feels as though it has been pulled straight out of the 1930s is perfect. Other than that, Mank will probably be a film that I never rewatch again.
Read David Cuevas’ full review here: https://filmhounds.co.uk/2020/12/the-making-of-a-mankiewicz-mank-film-review/
Where to watch in the UK: Mank is now streaming on Netflix
7) Sound of Metal (2021)
Darius Marder’s second feature film features a career-defining performance from Riz Ahmed (Mogul Mowgli, Four Lions) that feels very personal to him; and that is what makes Sound of Metal one of the best films of the year. Olivia Cooke and Paul Raci are fantastic supporting characters on Ruben’s journey. The story is filled with heart, passion while also being heartbreaking. Seeing how Ruben (Ahmed) changes his entire lifestyle due to the sudden loss of his hearing is a powerful message that hit me emotionally. The way sound is used to portray what Ruben can hear is used masterfully here and while the movie is a tad too long, this is a must watch for everyone!
Read Maria Lattila’s full review here: https://filmhounds.co.uk/2021/04/remarkable-but-flawed-sound-of-metal-film-review/
Where to watch in the UK: Sound of Metal is now streaming on Amazon Prime
6) Minari (2021)
Since its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival at the beginning of 2020, Minari has been receiving acclaim from nearly everyone (including me) from all directions. Lee Isaac Chung brings a story that is very personal to the director’s lived experience while still succeeding in evoking so much emotion from its audience. Steven Yeun carries this film by portraying a character that only wants his children to see him succeed while Alan Kim steals every scene that he is in. Emile Mosseri’s score perfectly captures the entire tone and mood of the film. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous and I cannot wait to see what Lee Isaac Chung does next as a director.
Read Freddie Deighton’s full review here: https://filmhounds.co.uk/2021/03/minari-film-review/
Where to watch in the UK: Minari is available to rent from Digital Platforms for £9.99
5) The Father (2021)
Out of all the movies on this list, The Father is probably the hardest one to watch. It tells a story of an elderly man whose mind is deteriorating due to dementia and who is refusing all help from his daughter. This story allows both Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman to deliver two of their best performances to date. Hopkins really embodies this character and as the story progresses, you sympathise with his character and it broke my heart multiple times. Colman also delivers as she wants her father, Anthony, to get the support he needs but when he refuses all the help she can provide, it crushes your heart and by the end of the film I was left devastated. Florian Zeller excellently directs the film while the production design, score and cinematography are all masterfully handled. It certainly isn’t a light-hearted watch but is certainly a must see for the way it depicts dementia.
Read Jed Wagman’s full review here: https://filmhounds.co.uk/2021/03/devastatingly-good-drama-the-father-film-review/
Where to watch in the UK: The Father will be available in cinemas from June 11th
4) Nomadland (2021)
Out of all the nominees this year, I think Nomadland has been the film to dominate this year’s awards season. Chloé Zhao has won nearly every single Best Director award at other ceremonies and the movie itself has won dozens of Best Picture awards. Zhao perfectly captures the life of Fern (Frances McDormand), a modern-day nomad who embarks on a journey in her van after losing everything, including her house, during the Great Recession. She makes the story feel very personal, intimate and emotional from beginning to end. McDormand perfectly plays the van-dwelling lead, Fern, and her performance is very quiet yet delivers a powerful punch during the movie’s final thirty minutes. The cinematography is stunning and the score is extremely soothing to listen to. If this is our Best Picture winner, then I would be extremely happy because this is a worthy contender to win the big award at the Oscars.
Read Andrew Gaudion’s full review here: https://filmhounds.co.uk/2020/10/see-you-on-the-road-nomadland-lff-review/
Where to watch in the UK: Nomadland will be available to stream on Disney+ from April 30th
3) The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Aaron Sorkin’s latest movie might just be one of his best to date. Boasting a massive ensemble of A-list actors including Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Mark Rylance, Jeremy Strong as well as many other actors, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is one of the best movies streaming on Netflix right now. The movie features one of Sorkin’s best screenplays to date and moves at a breakneck pace so the audience is never bored. All the performances from the actors are great and the stunt work is superb, especially in the riot sequences. Easily one of my favourite movies from 2020 and if you haven’t watched Sorkin’s latest masterwork, then I highly recommend checking it out!
Read Tom Beasley’s full review here: https://filmhounds.co.uk/2020/10/ive-never-been-on-trial-for-my-thoughts-before-the-trial-of-the-chicago-7-film-review/
Where to watch in the UK: The Trial of the Chicago 7 is now streaming on Netflix
2) Promising Young Woman (2021)
Promising Young Woman is yet another of the Best Picture nominees that debuted at Sundance and is, in my opinion, the best nominee from the festival. Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut is one of the best debuts I have ever seen from a filmmaker! The writer and director’s script is filled with twists and turns that I found really unpredictable and by the end I was left in shock. Carey Mulligan provides a fantastic performance that really is the heart and soul of the movie. You can feel the emotion leaping off the screen and Mulligan really gives a career-high performance and deserves every award that she is receiving. Bo Burnham is also great having a supporting role; he aids the movie by delivering a lot of humour which gives the film a really balanced tone. The chemistry between Burnham and Mulligan is fantastic; each actor plays off the other so well and mixed with Fennell’s fantastic script, everything works perfectly.
The highlights a subject that doesn’t get the attention it deserves and is an issue that we as a society do not discuss and try to put an end to. The soundtrack is filled with some great songs, the cinematography is filled with bright and vibrant colours and a brilliant score. The ending is also perfect and wraps the movie up perfectly, making Promising Young Woman a must watch for everyone!
Where to watch in the UK: Promising Young Woman is on Sky Cinema and streaming service NOW from 16 April
1) Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)
Here it is; my favourite of the Best Picture nominees. We rarely see movies as brilliant as Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah. The movie delivers two powerhouse performances from Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya who truly embody Bill O’Neil and Fred Hampton – in my opinion both actors give the best performances of their careers! Jesse Plemons and Dominique Fishback are electrifying as two of the supporting players. King’s direction is fantastic and perfectly creates depth to each of the characters while telling the story about the Black Panthers and their leader, Chairman Fred Hampton. Mark Isham and Craig Harris’ score is their finest work to date while Sean Bobbitt’s cinematography makes every single person or object stand out beautifully. Its messaging is powerful, intimate and the ending breaks my heart on every viewing. I can’t recommend Judas and the Black Messiah enough and if you haven’t already seen it, this a classic in the making.
Read Paul Klein’s full review here: https://filmhounds.co.uk/2021/02/where-theres-people-theres-power-judas-and-the-black-messiah-film-review/
Where to watch in the UK: Judas and the Black Messiah is available to rent from Digital Platforms now