With the final Oscar votes in the hands of Academy voters starting April 15, we continue our fourth annual series of interviews with Academy voters across a range of industries, in which they openly ponder what to choose in this strange pandemic year and overrated.
One of the best results of this challenging award season was the Academy Screening Room portal. It’s easy to get to and works perfectly. No screener DVDs required! We’ll miss the theaters for now, but we’re saving the planet from DVD waste! Next: the trades only online, please!
The nominations weren’t shocking. Some surprises in the Best Actor / Best Actress categories as appearances of equal or greater value were omitted, including Delroy Lindo in “Da 5 Bloods”.
I’m disappointed with Best Picture this year: Not because a suitable film was overlooked, but because some potentially great films were either delayed, released, or not highlighted green at all. I felt the lack of a bigger size in Best Picture this year. Eight very good films in a terrible time, but not a great epic on a large scale. That could be more than the pandemic. The human experience through film seems to be limited more and more to low and medium budget indies.
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But we are voting for what we have and the show has to go on! The films are very good and have weathered a global pandemic. Thank you to all the films released this year. We needed you. Thank you Academy for figuring out how to make it work in these unprecedented circumstances. The show goes on! I look forward to seeing.
The Academy Screening Room app was great. I don’t know who came up with it. it was great. It required digital competence. Perhaps Biden’s Infrastructure Act can support a stronger academy screening room next year. “Minari” was one of the films with interesting stories this year, not mainstream. Among many neorealist films. That was “Nomadland” and this unbelievable Mexican Netflix entry, which was not nominated: “I’m not here anymore.”
I received lavish Netflix gift boxes for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Mank”. It was funny getting a box with a bottle of expensive whiskey from a movie about a drunken man vomiting on William Randolph Hearst’s carpet. Wait a minute, this is all about alcoholism! Honestly, I was looking forward to “Mank” and it was like, “Really? This is the experience I’m having?”
“Judas” is really powerful and stands on its own, but it’s important to be a studio is really effective behind something. Josh Goldstein, the new director of marketing at Warner Bros., loved “Judas” when he saw it and went out of his way to recognize it. Here is this movie that deserves its recognition, but holy shit, he’s getting it! There’s something great about that.
Producer # 1: “Nomadland” had a huge emotional impact on me. So also “Sound of Metal”. Also moved by “Minari”, “Judas and the Black Messiah”, “Pieces of a Woman” (nominated for best actress, not as a picture) and “The Father”. All strong indies. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Mank” are all we have this year that is on a slightly larger scale. Both good, but not enough.
Where are the big, original, bigger “Hollywood” films? Last year: “The Irishman”, “Little Women”, “1917”, “Joker”, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” … This year the smaller Indies dominated more than ever, with “Nomadland” emerging through new discoveries excellent, originality and inspiration. “Nomadland” would be a worthy candidate every year.
I will double-check everything before I vote. After a second visit, there is always a last minute surprise! “Minari”? “Deficiency”? “Chicago 7”?
I got all eight of them right. I’m still not sure whether the weighting of your voice takes away or reduces the power of your voice. I know numbers, budgets, and production plans, but I’ve never mastered the nuances that make your choice safest. I never tried to play the system. And so I wrestled with it. In the end I had “Nomadland” 1, “Judas” 2, “Minari” 3, “Promising Young Woman” 4, “Sound of Metal” 5, “The Father” 6, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, 7 and “Mank” last.
Producer # 2: Viola Davis and Frances McDormand, my goodness, that’s tough. I voted for Frances [“Nomadland”]. In the end, this performance was a little more nuanced. Has she won twice? I didn’t think about that – not enough of an Academy nerd.
Producer # 2: Chadwick Boseman. It’s an incredibly strong category, it deserves it on the merits, and there’s something emotional and necessary to it. I’m happy to recognize him.
Daniel Kaluuya, he’s the one. It’s a tough call. [Lakeith Stanfield] was good, but it’s a richer performance. Loved “Judas and the Black Messiah”; It’s a living story full of events and consequences for anyone who grew up in the 60s and 70s.
“Nomadland.” It was so thoughtful that I wanted to realize that. “Borat [Subsequent Movie Film]” was one of the best films of the year. I am thrilled that it exists. “Nomadland” also had some improvisations. I went with “Nomadland”.
Great category. I voted for “Judas and the Black Messiah”. It found a more real way in  than “Chicago 7”. I don’t mean closer to reality – a certain emotional authenticity. Because of its subtlety, I was also drawn to the script “Minari”, it was incredibly elegant.
I wasn’t knocked out by “Chicago 7”. Unloading it onto Netflix was a clever move. Good luck trying to get the audience to come to the theaters to see this. This allowed it to find the largest audience it possibly could. I was encouraged to see this story being told. It’s a good script. Eddie Redmayne was as brilliant an actor as he was, so not Tom Hayden. [Hayden] was the opposite of handsome. That’s a sticking point. It pushed me away from the film. But if Eddie Redmayne wants to be in your film, do you say no?
Although I thought “Wolfwalker” was great, I chose “Soul”. What great values to vote for! It’s done beautifully. It deserved it on many levels.
I thought of the films, not the cameramen. The ASC winner and popular favorite is “Mank”. I went with “Judas and the Black Messiah”. It’s incredibly rich, with energy in the frame.
Great, incredible category. So many great films. I had to wrestle with this one. It was between “Crip Camp” and “My Octopus Teacher”. It was a painful decision. Both were about spiritual beauty. In the end, I went with the one who validated the earth. It was the pandemic. I went with it as storytelling.
“Sound of Metal” because it mattered so much what each shot was. It was the movie where every choice mattered.
Incredible category; Each of these films is so rewarding. I almost left with “Better Days”. Something in me wanted to support Hong Kong. I know that is not why people should vote. “Quo Vadis, Aida?” was so depressing, I’m still recovering. I will vote for it. I know Collective is going to win, I understand it’s undeniably powerful. I would never vote for “One More Round”. I wasn’t drawn to the drinking aspect – no comment on filmmaking which was great, just a personal thing.
I was torn between the Israeli (“White Eye”) and the Palestinian (“The Present”) and went with the Palestinian. Because it was so emotionally strong.
“Da 5 Bloods”, this movie was robbed. And it was a great score. It has done many things in different time periods.
Each song was about social justice, but the song “Judas and the Black Messiah” was the best. The song “Chicago 7” was incredibly invented.
The design of “Ma Rainey” was a bigger, more emotional factor than “Mank”. I respect “Mank”, it had a consistently high level of craftsmanship, but I don’t think it broke new ground. Hard to say.
I voted for Greyhound, 1) on the matter and 2) it was a chance to vote for a movie that I thought was great.
It’s one of my favorite categories , and I was confused because I hadn’t seen everything and so it wasn’t fair for me to vote. I take this category seriously, so I didn’t choose what made me sad.
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