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Your Guide to the 2020 Oscar Best Pictures

Awards season has just wrapped and it went by in a flash! Weren’t able to catch up with everything? No problem. Here’s your guide to the 2020 nominations for the Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards!

 

1. Parasite (Woo!!!)

Synopsis: South-Korean filmmaker, Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece on the dangers of capitalism has been praised widely with six nominations (which is groundbreaking for the Oscars, considering it’s a first time Korean film nominated for Best Picture). Parasite tells the tale of two families: the Kim’s and the Park’s. Fresh out of jobs, the Kim family lies and scams their way into high paying positions in the upper class Park family household. However, things unfold as their lies face another threat. It is a story of greed and the all encompassing class war that looms between the two families. 

 

What to Look for: Parasite features incredible performances from Park So-dam and Cho Yeo-jeong, as well as the rest of the cast. The entire house from Parasite was built from scratch on a soundstage, which features an unforgettable flood scene. The film also features outstanding editing, VFX, and a beautiful score. It is easily one of the top films of the year and is eventually moving to HBO as a series.

 

 

2. Little Women 

Synopsis: Based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel “Little Women”, it tells the story of four sisters (Amy, Meg, Beth, and Jo) and their adventures from adolescence into adulthood. Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of this classic has become the definitve remake, as it highlights extremely important aspects of the novel whilst using a feminist critique on social issues such as fair pay and marriage.

 

What to Look for: Gerwig’s adaptation includes fiery dialogue and a wonderful sense of humor. Performances by Saorise Ronan (Jo) and Florence Pugh (Amy) are incendiary, as their delivery and acting are perfect in every way.

 

 

3. 1917

Synopsis: In the midst of World War I, two young soldiers are sent on a seemingly impossible mission: cross enemy lines to deliver a message that could save up to 1.600 of their fellow men. 

 

What to Look for: The director, Sam Mendes, features beautiful cinematography in his film, including many scenes that are one continuous shot. 1917 transports audiences into the terrifying time of war and battle. 

 

 

4. Joker

Synopsis: This tells the origin story of Gotham’s most notorious villain, Arthur Fleck, an unsuccessful comedian who is ultimately failed by those around him.

 

What to Look for: Joker features a masterful performance from Joaquin Phoenix, including a wonderful score from female composer Hildur Guðnadóttir.

 

 

5. Ford V. Ferrari

Synopsis: Based on a true story, Ford V. Ferrari is about an American car designer, Carroll Shelby, and British race car driver, Ken Miles, as they battle the corporate world. The two plan to build a revolutionary new car for Ford Motor Company to compete against Ferrari.

 

What to Look for: Ford V. Ferrari features great performances from Christian Bale and Matt Damon, as well as amazing editing in both visual effects and sound.

 

 

6. The Irishman

Synopsis: The three-hour crime epic from legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, The Wolf of Wall Street) is the tale of Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro) and his days as a mobster. Sheeran recalls his close relationship to Jimmy Hoffa and his involvement in the man’s disappearance. 

 

What to Look for: Scorsese’s film has incredible performances from Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Anna Paquin. The production de-age all the lead characters by twenty years through amazing CGI and VFX skills – talk about a face lift!

 

 

7. Jojo Rabbit

Synopsis: Roman Griffin Davis plays Jojo, a ten year old boy in Nazi Germany who discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish teenage girl in their house. This is a conflict of interest for Jojo as his imgainary friend and hero is Adolf Hitler. Taika Watiti’s Nazi satire tells the story of overcoming blind nationalism and learning to understand the truth about his world.

 

What to Look for: Watiti’s heartwarming satire features amazing performances from Davis as well as Thomasin McKenzie. In my opinion, Davis and McKenzie did such a stellar job that I believe they both should have been nominated. The script is insanely hilarious and has gut-busting sequences. Let’s not forget about Taika who plays Hitler in the film!

 

 

8. Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood

Synopsis: In 1969 Hollywood, we follow the friendship and adventures of famous television actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double/best friend Cliff Booth. Throughout the film, we see the two encounter the Charles Manson clan, as well as Rick’s neighbors Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. 

 

What to Look for: The tenth film from Quentin Tarantino features a killer performance from Brad Pitt (are we surprised?) and Leonardo DiCaprio as the pair of best friends. Tarantino’s film also includes an amazing soundtrack and set design that immediately transports audiences back to Los Angeles in the late 60s. The ending will have you wide eyed in the theater (or couch)!

 

 

9. Marriage Story 

Synopsis: Pulled from his own personal experience of divorce, Noah Baumbach’s film is about the marriage and its eventual dissolvement of Charlie and Nicole. Charlie, a stage director, and his wife Nicole, an actress, find themselves going through the dehumanizing and lackluster process of filing for divorce and court. The couple learn paramount truths about each other that were avoided during their marriage.

 

What to Look for: Baumbach delivers a script that is extremely quick and well-written. It forces audiences to keep up with the highly emotional and intellectual characters as they suffer from circumstances of both themselves as well as each other. Adam Driver’s performance is a tour-de-force as viewers both loathe him, yet sympathise with him at the same time. Although the character of Charlie is a complex one, Driver shows off his acting skills by magnificently conveying all of Charlie’s layers in a compelling way. Let’s not forget that amazing monologue from Laura Dern – absolutely life changing!

Alexa Fox

Loyola '21

Alexa is a junior at LMU who is majoring in English and minoring in screenwriting. She loves thrift shopping and 70s movies!
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