Best Picture Rankings
By Alexandra and Christiana
As this year`s Oscars ceremony approaches, we decided to put together a list of our top preferences regarding the 9 Best Picture nominees. Enjoy!
Shamefully, I have not seen "Ford v. Ferrari" yet so I cannot express my opinion about it. This is the reason why my top consists of 8 films instead of 9.
8. The Irishman
Unfortunately for all of us Scorsese fans, the acclaimed director failed to impress or even express any emotion in his newest film. "The Irishman" tells the story of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) - a driver- who ends up working for the mob and becomes a confidant of influential mafia leaders, such as Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). What this Academy-award nominee lacks more than any other "successful`" film this year, is that the longer it runs, the less interesting it becomes. Some of the key moments of the films remain irrelevant until the very end.
7. Little Women
A pleasant looking feature based on the eponymous novel by Louisa May Alcott, "Little Women" caught the public`s eye with its immensely talented cast and crew. What frustrates me the most is that I really want to like Greta Gerwig`s work more than other similar features, but I can`t. Yes, it has a very elegant directing and writing, but it is pretty inconsistent as many of the impactful moments aren`t explored to the maximum potential. No to mention that some of the actors did quite a superficial work and this badly reflected later in the story, character-wise.
6. Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino`s extravaganza seemed to be one of a kind at first glance and probably convinced most of the audience that it is worthy of taking home almost every statuette, but in fact, it roughly deserves half of all the recognition it got. Apart from Brad Pitt`s insane performance and Tarantino`s eccentric script and direction, on paper, it goes on for nearly 2 hours and 40 minutes of amazement, but in reality, it doesn`t offer much. Having said that doesn`t mean the Academy members won`t vote for it, of course... because sadly after all, as a voter recently stated ,,The Oscars is an American thing...and an American director should win." (Hollywood Reporter) ......
5. Jojo Rabbit
Short, but well-balanced and impactful, Taika Waititi`s anti-Nazi satire was one of this year`s pleasant surprises. With an astounding cast and performances led by Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo) and Archie Yates (Yorki), Waititi managed to craft a comedy that not only makes us laugh, but also has plenty of substance. I would be really happy if it were to win in a major category.
4. Marriage Story
Noah Baumbach writes a beautiful intimate story, based on his past divorce experience, about a marriage coming apart and a family staying together. From script to acting, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver embody this heartbreaking dispute to the bone, offering some of the most elegant performances of the year.
It was a very hard process to choose between these last 3 films, because each of them brought something different, but equally impressive to the game. After a lot of thinking, I have come up with the following top:
Bong Joon Ho`s latest film is a masterpiece and almost constitutes its own type of cinema. A daring narrative and bizarre characters put together in a striking ensemble, "Parasite" is the gift that keeps on giving. It takes you from scene to scene, from one perspective to another, fusing multiple directing techniques and creating the ultimate social thriller. In my opinion, this film is the most likely to take home the grand prize this Sunday.
At first glance, the trailers for "1917" depicted a war film reminiscent of Christopher Nolan`s 2017 World War 2 piece, "Dunkirk". This is when the skepticism hit in - why would an audience pay to see a film so similar, both script-wise and with the same editing, when someone else already made it? And I could not have been more wrong... Perhaps "1917" is one of, if not the most ground-breaking war feature ever made. Sam Mendes will undoubtedly be awarded the Best Director statuette for his glorious depiction of World War 1 through the eyes of two young soldiers sent on a key mission that could save 1600 men from an imminent death. His one-shot directing and editing technique will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. It`s a fascinating experience that is worth viewing over and over again in the cinema.
Our long journey brought us right in the heart of Gotham, where Arthur Fleck - a failed comedian hiding a heartbreaking story behind the mask - unknowingly becomes a symbol of anarchy and chaos. Pushed to the edge by an indifferent society, Arthur goes through tragic changes and finally, the rise of the Joker begins. Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix create one of the most risky, unique and provocative films of all time, which will honour comic book origin stories forever. I know it is too controversial to ever win Best Picture at the Oscars, but then again, the Academy always leaves these types of intriguing films out of the conversation, so it really doesn`t matter if it wins or not for best film. Fortunately, for the Best Leading Actor and Original Score categories, "Joker" is guaranteed to fully succeed.
Should have been nominated: "Uncut Gems" and "Booksmart"
"Uncut Gems" is a fantastic, high-adrenaline picture that will keep you on the edge of your seat - amused, frustrated, hopeful, but always entertained by the excellent acting and script.
"Booksmart" is the underdog of coming-of-age films, and one of the best out there in recent years. It's funny without trying too hard clever and sweet, perfect for all audiences.
4. Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood
"Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood" is beautiful, acted well and it changes history to present a story with a happy ending... well, for some of the characters. The storytelling feels disparate and incongruent at times. Sometimes, it is reminiscent of "Under the Silver Lake" for some reason.
3. The Irishman
It should really be in a top of its own, it`s a colossus, a mammoth navigating the Ice Age, a masterclass in acting and directing from the heavy-weights of the movie industry. It takes you on a journey and, like the characters, leaves you weary by the end of it.
2. Marriage Story/Jojo Rabbit
"Marriage Story" and "Jojo Rabbit" are high up there because of how refreshing they felt, how well the story was told even though they are not necessarily highly original. "Marriage Story" is a fantastic duel-acting between Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, in which they both excel. It`s a film that manages to make you feel bittersweet, to make you feel hopeful even though it is tearing your heart apart piece by piece. It`s a love letter to someone you can`t be with, someone you maybe even hate but that you can`t pull out of your heart.
"Jojo Rabbit" is ridiculously funny and upbeat and not offensive at all, surprisingly. It`s impressive how well the young cast acted and Taika`s performance of Adolf Hitler is flabbergasting - to use a word that would fit well with the film. "Jojo Rabbit" manages to be a feel-good film in the end, to teach love, to spread love and to encourage everyone to dance in their darkest moments.
"Joker" is simply harrowing, it`s a heart-wrenching story wrapped around the raw, intense performance of Joaquin Phoenix. Underneath the violent facade, it`s a cry for help, for dignity and for respect. It is masterfully directed and edited, with beautiful cinematography.