About nine years ago, after the nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards were announced at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on January 25, 2011, I set a goal to see all ten of the nominated movies. At the time of the announcement, I realized that I had already viewed five of the ten movies nominated for the “Best Picture” Oscar. The films of 2010 I watched were: The Social Network; Toy Story 3; True Grit: Inception and The Kids Are All Right. I decided that I would try to see the other five nominated movies before the Academy Awards ceremony on February 27, 2011. Those other movies were: The King’s Speech; The Fighter; 127 Hours; Winter’s Bone and Black Swan. Between some of the remaining movies still being shown at local movie theaters, watching Winter’s Bone on DVD and seeing 127 Hours at a special showing on February 25 at a theater that showed indie films, I ended up viewing eight of the nine nominated films for Best Picture before the Academy Awards ceremony on February 27. The only movie I wasn’t able to see was Black Swan. By the time I watched it later on DVD, I hated it! But I liked the other nominated films, especially the winner, The King’s Speech. By seeing all of the nominated films, I watched some movies I would never had viewed!
The next year I saw some amazing films, such as the black and white silent film, The Artist, which won the Best Picture Academy Award on February 26, 2012. I also listed my predictions for the winners of the 2013 Academy Awards in this blog entry published on February 24, 2013. I picked the correct winner of the Best Picture Academy Award – Argo! Every year from then on I tried to watch all the Best Picture nominees before the Academy Awards ceremony aired and wasn’t able to do it until January 2020.
2020 BEST PICTURE NOMINEES
The nine films nominated for Best Picture announced on January 13, 2020 were: 1917; Ford v Ferrari; Jojo Rabit; Joker; Little Women; Marriage Story; Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood; Parasite and The Irishman.
By attending a lot of matinee showings and watching two of the nominated movies on the streaming service Netflix, I was able to see all of the Best Picture nominees before the 92nd Academy Awards aired on ABC on Sunday, February 9, 2020. Here are the nominated films of 2019 and a few notes about each movie. I’m listing the films in order from #9 (my least favorite) to #1 (my most favorite).
- A young boy in Hitler’s army lives with his single mother in the WW II satire Jojo Rabbit. My favorite part of the movie is Sam Rockwell’s performance as Captain Klenzendorf. The man is an amazing actor. I saw him in the movie The Way Way Back in 2013 and was captivated by his acting ability. I think he is what my late husband would call a “character actor”. Every movie I have seen him in he has displayed an uncanny way to perfectly bring to life each role he portrays.
- One of the reasons I rated this movie #9 is because I don’t like war movies. But I rated 1917 higher because of its cinematography. I know war movies are not romantic comedies and I rather laugh and be entertained than watch the horrors of a war. I will give a shout out to Director/Writer Taika Waltiti, who won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and also gives an unforgettable performance as Jojo’s imaginary friend Adolf Hitler.
- I’m not a fan of actress Scarlett Johansson. I’m sorry – I just can’t imagine being married to Ryan Reynolds and leaving him! I guess that clouds my judgement on her performances. But someone likes her because she was nominated for two Academy Awards this year! She received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role of Rosie Betzier in Jojo Rabbit and Best Actress as Nicole Barber in Marriage Story.
- Christian Bale delivers another amazing performance in the film Ford v Ferrari, based on the true story of American car designer Carroll Shelby (portrayed by Academy Award winner Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (portrayed by Academy Award winner Bale) as they battle corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a revolutionary race car for Ford in order to defeat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race in France in 1966.
- Two of the supporting actors in Ford v Ferrari have Arkansas connections. Josh Lucas, who was born in Arkansas in 1971, plays Ford Executive Leo Beebe and Ray McKinnon, who lived in Arkansas when he and his late wife, actress Lisa Blount, won an Academy Award for Best Short Film, Live Action, for their movie The Accountant in 2001, plays auto mechanic Phil Remington.
- This movie features amazing cinematography of car racing in France and also won two Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Sound Editing. Some parts of this film were a little boring then a few minutes later there were amazing car racing scenes.
- An aging hit man, Frank Sheeran, portrayed by 2 time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro, recalls his time with the mob and the intersecting events with his friend, Jimmy Hoffa, portrayed by Academy Award winner Al Pacino, through the 1950’s-1970’s in the film The Irishman. As a child of the 1960’s, I remembering reading newspaper articles and watching television news reports about the disappearance of the President of the Teamsters Union, Jimmy Hoffa. Although this movie is 3 hours and 29 minutes long and I watched it at home on Netflix, I thought the story line was very intriguing, incorporating both historical information along with biographical claims, and features amazing clothing, hairstyles and production designs from this era.
- Directed by veteran director Martin Scorsese, The Irishman was nominated for ten Academy Awards.
- I’m not usually a fan of mob related movies – I’ve never seen the 1990 film Goodfellas, but both movies feature two of the most popular actors of all time – Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
- Actor Joaquin Phoenix won an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Gotham City’s mentally troubled comedian Arthur Fleck who is disregarded and mistreated by society. He then embarks on a downward spiral of revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his alter-ego: the Joker. Phoenix reportedly lost more than 50 pounds for this role.
- I’m not usually a big fan of movies based on comic books, except for the original Superman, released in 1978 and starring the late Christopher Reeve. The setting for this current movie in the fictional town of Gotham City seems to be New York City in the early 1980’s. The costumes, hairstyles, cars and also the colors of the buildings seem to come straight out of a comic book.
- In watching this film about four hours before the Academy Awards ceremony aired on Sunday, February 9, I was captivated by Phoenix’s performance as Arthur Flex, then his alter ego, the Joker. I felt all kinds of emotions watching this movie – sadness, anxiety, terror, panic and wondering what was coming next. I was drawn into Phoenix’s portrayal of both Arthur and the Joker. He fully deserves his Oscar!
- Marriage Story is Director Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. This film is available on Netflix after showings at selected film festivals in 2019.
- Laura Dern won the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal as attorney Nora Fanshaw. Additional actors in this movie include Scarlett Johansson, Julie Haggerty – from two of my favorite movies: Airplane and Just Friends, Alan Alda, Wallace Shawn, Ray Liotta and child actor Azhy Robertson.
- The star of Marriage Story is actor Adam Driver. His performance as Charlie, a New York City Theater Director going through a divorce with his actress wife, Nicole, played by Scarlett Johansson, is spellbinding. In the middle of their divorce is the custody of their eight-year-old son, Henry. Without giving away a lot of the movie, it involves both parents wanting what is best for their child but also realizing they must make individual sacrifices when it comes to their careers, where they live and involving lawyers in the divorce proceedings when what they first wanted was a simple process without attorneys.
- I didn’t even know what to expect when I went to see a matinee showing of the movie 1917. I don’t like war movies but I was determined to see all the movies nominated for Best Picture, including 1917. The movie is inspired by true stories that Director Sam Mendes said his grandfather, WW I veteran Alfred Mendes, used to tell him as a child.
- Set in Northern France in spring 1917, the movie follows two fictional British lance corporals assigned to race against time and hand deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap.
- The star of the movie is the cinematography and the fact that the movies looks like it was filmed in one shot during real time. It turns out to be more of a suspense thriller than just a movie about World War I because I was sitting at the edge of my seat, anxious to see what was coming next. In addition, the two main soldiers are English actors, and with the exception of cameo shots by Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch, most of the cast are unknown actors.
- Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on their own terms. The characters and the actresses who play them are: Meg March portrayed by Emma Watson; Jo March portrayed by Saoirse Rowan; Beth March, portrayed by Eliza Scanlen and Amy March portrayed by Florence Pugh. Although these actresses all grew up living in other countries, they each sound and look like young women in the years after the American Civil War. Laura Dern, who won an Academy Award this year for Marriage Story, plays their mother, Marmee March.
- Directed by Greta Gerwig, the movie Little Women is based on the novel by American author Louisa May Alcott and was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869.
- I saw this movie on Christmas night with my oldest daughter, Lauren, and we both loved it! Lauren spent the past four years living in Boston and part of the movie was filmed there. Our favorite scenes were filmed at a beach Lauren had been to several times. We loved all the beautiful costumes in Little Women, from the casual clothing of the 1880’s to beautiful ball gowns. Jacqueline Durran won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design for Little Women.
All I’m going to say about the movie Parasite is that it is a South Korean film with English subtitles. And that it won four Oscars this year, including Best Picture. Just make sure and don’t do what my dad did and check out the 1982 Science Fiction Horror movie of the same name starring a young Demi Moore. Make sure you watch the 2019 film. And no, it’s not about insects or plagues, which is hard to think about during these current times. It’s a movie about class distinction involving a poor family and a wealthy family in Seoul, South Korea in present time.
|Best Motion Picture of the Year|
Kwak Sin Ae
Bong Joon Ho
|Best Achievement in Directing|
Bong Joon Ho
|Best Original Screenplay|
Bong Joon Ho
Jin Won Han
|Best International Feature Film|
- A faded television actor, Rick Dalton (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (played by Brad Pitt) strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.
- I loved Brad Pitt’s performance in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. So did the Academy voters. Pitt won his first Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor in his role as stuntman Cliff Booth in this movie about Hollywood set in the 1960’s.
- As a movie lover and film buff, I was intrigued and inspired by the perfect reflection of life in Hollywood in the late 1960’s, including all the vintage cars, clothing and hairstyles found in this film. Margot Robbie does an amazing job of portraying actress Sharon Tate.
- Fun Fact – Child Actress, Julia Butters, who plays the little girl Trudi Fraser in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, also plays the character Anna-Kat Otto in the ABC comedy series American Housewife. Three years ago I spent six weeks in Los Angeles working as a background actor and one of the shows I appeared in was American Housewife as an audience member when Anna-Kat’s brother, Oliver, participates in a dance recital. I’m in the above picture, kind of in the middle, trying not to smile at the camera!
Movie Photos from IMDb