Ashley Ranks…The 92nd Academy Award Best Picture Nominees

Why hello there. So nice of you to drop in. As per the title of this, I’m Ashley and this is how I rank the Best Picture nominees. I’ll talk about them, tell you about them and let you know how I feel about them. That sounds fun, right? Well it does to me so let’s do this thing.

9. Joker

Rating: 2 out of 5.

So… um… Where to even begin with this…
Joker has all the characteristics of being a movie. There are characters, plot, conflict and so forth. But this seemed to capitalize on the real world tragedies incredibly similar to this movie while disguising it as a super villain origin movie. I never expected this to provide a message or an answer to a deep routed issues we are currently experiencing.

The issue rests with the classic idea of “You can’t choose how the world reacts to you but you can choose how you react to the world.” Sadly like with many people in the actual world and Arthur Fleck, mental illness takes away that agency. 

Joaquin Phoenix is excellent in this but that’s kind of a moot point. He’s excellent in everything. He was even convincing when he threw away his acting career to be a rapper. I enjoyed that era more than Joker.

Other Nominations:

  • Director (Todd Phillips)
  • Actor In A Leading Role (Joaquin Phoenix)
  • Adapted Screenplay (Todd Phillips, Scott Silver)
  • Cinematography (Lawrence Sher)
  • Film Editing (Jeff Groth)
  • Sound Editing (Alan Robert Murray)
  • Sound Mixing (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland)
  • Original Score (Hildur Guðnadóttir)
  • Makeup and Hair (Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou)
  • Costume Design (Mark Bridges)

8. The Irishman

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I didn’t watch this in one sitting. I’ll freely admit that. Dialogue heavy and very long, The Irishman is a lot to take in. It’s definitely a worthy watch and a good movie. The problem with me is that I’m not a fan of the genre. I can objectively see that this movie is very good. The only bad thing I can say about the movie itself is that I didn’t particularly like the de-aging effects especially on Pesci.

This just wasn’t for me. Simple as that. It’s worthy of the nominations it acquired. For everyone who does enjoy mob/gangster movies, I highly recommend.

Oh. The Irishman does offer up one of the coolest lines (“I heard you paint houses.”) I’ve heard this year.

Other Nominations:

  • Actor in a Supporting Role (Joe Pesci)
  • Actor in a Supporting Role (Al Pacino)
  • Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto)
  • Costume Design (Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson)
  • Directing (Martin Scorsese)
  • Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker)
  • Production Design (Production Design – Bob Shaw; Set Decoration – Regina Graves)
  • Visual Effects (Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser and Stephane Grabli)
  • Adapted Screenplay (Steven Zaillian)

7. Ford V. Ferrari

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I feel like a parrot on this one. This simply wasn’t a movie I would typically sit through on my own accord. What pushes this past The Irishman for me is how ridiculously stunning the racing scenes are. Like Joker, the acting performances, particularly Christian Bale, are excellent.

The biopic is a staple for award season and this was a very good one on the spectrum. Perhaps I have biopic exhaustion but I found myself bored at moments. I didn’t know the story but the blatant foreshadowing steered me (Sorry not sorry for the pun) in the correct direction this was heading. I did enjoy Ford V. Ferrari. I just…I don’t know. It was good. I don’t know what else to say.

Other Nominations:

  • Film Editing (Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland)
  • Sound Editing (Donald Sylvester)
  • Sound Mixing (Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow)

6. Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

We’ve finally reached a point on this list to a movie I actually full heartedly enjoyed. What a wild crazy time. Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood has been described as Tarantino’s love letter to 1960s Hollywood and that’s exactly what it feels like. Okay…love letter to 1960s Hollywood and feet but whatever.

I’m one of many who are living for this resurgence of Brad Pitt who I will argue is the best part of the movie. It comes with everything you expect from a Tarantino movie: humour, violence, sharp dialogue and being coherently incoherent in the best way.

Other Nominations:

Actor in a Leading Role (Leonardo DiCaprio)
Actor in a Supporting Role (Brad Pitt)
Cinematography (Robert Richardson)
Costume Design (Arianne Phillips)
Directing (Quentin Tarantino)
Production Design (Production Design – Barbara Ling; Set Decoration – Nancy Haigh)
Sound Editing (Wylie Stateman)
Sound Mixing (Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler and Mark Ulano)
Original Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino)

5. 1917

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I’ve seen so many people bitching about how the one shot look is a gimmick. It makes the upmost scene for the movie which is a literally race against time. You don’t get a break watching the two British soldiers run, dodge and get thrown around in their efforts to pass on a message to call off an attack that has been revealed to be a set-up from the Germans. The shooting of this film creates such urgency that only a real time approach could achieve.

This is also one of the most stunning movies this year. With the tremendously talented Roger Deakins as the cinematographer, you can really expect no less. The man is a legend.

If this wins Best Picture which it’s where the season seems to be leaning towards, I wouldn’t be mad. It’s deserving. Everything comes together perfectly.

Other Nominations:

  • Director (Sam Mendes)
  • Original Screenplay (Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns)
  • Cinematography (Roger Deakins)
  • Sound Editing (Oliver Tarney and Rachel Tate)
  • Sound Mixing (Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson)
  • Production Design (Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales)
  • Original Score (Thomas Newman)
  • Makeup & Hair (Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole)
  • Visual Effects (Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy)

4. Marriage Story

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Marriage Story rips your heart out of your chest, makes you suffer to only put it back but you’re never quite the same after. I’ve discussed this before in my post about Frances Ha but Noah Baumbach’s writing is so unflinchingly human. He knows exactly how to inflict pain, inspire laughter and drain your tear ducts in ways that never feel forced.

Adam Driver is a force in this and I’m still heartbroken that he’s probably not going to win Best Actor. I’ll get over it. (I won’t.) Scarlett treats us to acting that some people forget she can do when she’s constantly Black Widow or a tree in our minds. And Laura Dern. Period.

Other Nominations:

  • Actor in a Leading Role (Adam Driver)
  • Actress in a Leading Role (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Actress in a Supporting Role (Laura Dern)
  • Original Score (Randy Newman)
  • Original Screenplay (Noah Baumbach)

3. Jojo Rabbit

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The silliest comments I’ve seen about Jojo Rabbit are how Hilter and Nazis are not funny and this is a disgrace. For those who have seen the movie, there is a clear distinction between laughing at and laughing with. It’s even more clearer to know which option the movie went for. Especially if you’re familiar with Taika Waititi.

Jojo Rabbit demonstrates the perfect way to bring the weight of such a horrific time in history while also bringing light to how truly absurd this way of thinking was and unfortunately is. The emotional whiplash in this is out of control. I cried as much as I laughed. …And I cried a lot.

Other Nominations:

  • Actress in a Supporting Role (Scarlett Johansson)
  • Costume Design (Mayes C. Rubeo)
  • Film Editing (Tom Eagles)
  • Production Design (Production Design – Ra Vincent; Set Decoration – Nora Sopková)
  • Adapted Screenplay (Taika Waititi)

2. Parasite

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Parasite is perfection.

I’d end it just there but I’ll say a couple more words about it.

I can only recommend seeing Parasite with knowing the least amount the movie as possible. The journey is like no other. The weight of it alone will stay with you.

Other Nominations:

  • Directing (Bong Joon-Ho)
  • Film Editing (Yang Jinmo)
  • International Feature (South Korea. Directed by Bong Joon-ho.)
  • Production Design (Production Design – Lee Ha Jun; Set Decoration – Cho Won Woo
  • Original Screenplay (Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won; Story by Bong Joon Ho)

1. Little Women

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Greta Gerwig has a quality as a human, writer, director, actor and creator that is something I can only express as being true authenticity. The humanity and warmth she brings to everything she touches is out of control. Little Women has been made into countless iterations but Greta has made it feel fresh by putting her magic on it.

The cast is amazing especially the always incomparable Saoirse Ronan and the exceptional Florence Pugh. Everyone and everything comes together in this movie so effortlessly. Don’t even get me started how Greta fixed the ending.

Little Women is such a special story. As soon as this was announced as Greta’s follow up to Lady Bird, I knew it was going to be one of my favourites the year it was released. Low and behold…

Other Nominations:

  • Actress in a Leading Role (Saoirse Ronan)
  • Actress in a Supporting Role (Florence Pugh)
  • Costume Design (Jacqueline Durran)
  • Original Score (Alexandre Desplat)
  • Adapted Screenplay (Greta Gerwig)

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