Oscar's Best Picture 2021

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And the Oscar for Best Picture will go to...
5.88%
1 votes
The Father
5.88%
1 votes
Judas and the Black Messiah
5.88%
1 votes
Mank
11.76%
2 votes
Minari
47.06%
8 votes
Nomadland
5.88%
1 votes
Promising Young Woman
0%
0 votes
Sound of Metal
17.65%
3 votes
The Trial of the Chicago 7
17 votes. You may not vote on this poll




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I think AKA23 means that not everyone will consider Unforgiven a masterpiece, not that they personally don't consider it a masterpiece.

Iroquois, while what constitutes a Best Picture is inherently a subjective determination, I think quite a few Best Picture Oscar winners historically, in the not too distant past, are closer to that than you might think. Historically, Best Pictures used to be pretty widely liked and widely seen. If you think about movies that won like "A Beautiful Mind," "Return of the King," "Braveheart," "Million Dollar Baby," "Unforgiven," "Dances with Wolves," etc. these were movies that even if everyone might not agree they were artistic masterpieces of the highest order, most people would agree that they were entertaining, that they were good films, and that they reflected aspects of the human condition that resonated with a broad, representative cross section of the American people.

The Academy has increasingly been moving further away from that as they cleave to films that are more insular, that center more around spotlighting marginalized groups than they do universal themes, and that serve more as messages that the Academy wishes to promote. They often seem to be more about representation or the promotion the Academy's own values, politically, socially, culturally etc, even when that results in the promotion of movies that don't necessarily serve as an exalting of what most people outside of elite critics and the Academy membership might broadly consider to be the Best Picture of the year.
Return of the King notwithstanding, aren't those movies you listed as examples ones that spotlight marginalised groups to one extent or another? A Beautiful Mind is about a schizophrenic, Dances with Wolves (and arguably Braveheart) are about the plights of colonised peoples, Million Dollar Baby changes its focus after a certain event happens to its protagonist, and Unforgiven is fundamentally about sex workers trying to find justice for one of their own. That's without mentioning the likes of Rain Man, The Best Years of our Lives, Midnight Cowboy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Rocky, Forrest Gump, Schindler's List, etc. The Academy has a long history of choosing films that represent their values at least as much as they choose films for craftsmanship, but it only really seems to be noticeable when the films in question aren't sufficiently popular with a mainstream audience - again, the Morton's Fork of being either "out of touch" with audiences or pandering to them. That's a divide that I'm not about to blame on the Academy making active choices so much as them trying to deal with an increasingly atomised pop culture where popular films' actual merits are even more debatable than those of prestige films - Avengers: Endgame was the biggest hit of 2019 but I question how much you can really argue that the Academy are out-of-touch elites for choosing Parasite.
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The Academy has increasingly been moving further away from that as they cleave to films that are more insular, that center more around spotlighting marginalized groups than they do universal themes, and that serve more as messages that the Academy wishes to promote. They often seem to be more about representation or the promotion the Academy's own values, politically, socially, culturally etc, even when that results in the promotion of movies that don't necessarily serve as an exalting of what most people outside of elite critics and the Academy membership might broadly consider to be the Best Picture of the year.
Very well put. The award ceremony was down in viewership this year by 60% from last year, which was down from the previous year. The annual program has gradually turned into a wokefest love-in, with wealthy pampered participants in a fantasy land attempting to dictate how and what the public ought to think. The public is increasingly not buying it. Any other show that was down 60% in viewership would be canceled. I'm surprised that the business people and the show's sponsors are not putting pressure on the Academy to clean up their act and make more pictures that the audiences want to see. If they did that, the Oscar show would gain more interest.



Very well put. The award ceremony was down in viewership this year by 60% from last year, which was down from the previous year. The annual program has gradually turned into a wokefest love-in, with wealthy pampered participants in a fantasy land attempting to dictate how and what the public ought to think. The public is increasingly not buying it. Any other show that was down 60% in viewership would be canceled. I'm surprised that the business people and the show's sponsors are not putting pressure on the Academy to clean up their act and make more pictures that the audiences want to see. If they did that, the Oscar show would gain more interest.
Maybe, but I don't think this year is even really a data point, for obvious reasons.



On my latest podcast episode, me and my guest Erik Anderson (from Awards Watch) get into the possible reasons why ratings have been going down <shameless self plug> (and you can listen to it here!)</shameless self plug> But seriously, we recorded this pre-Oscars because the truth is that ratings have been going down for a while now and have rarely been stable during the last 40 years? maybe even before that, so I'm not going to put the blame on so-called "wokeness" or political leanings or all that division that has been augmented during the last years.

In summary, he boils it down to availability to see the show and the availability of the films that are being nominated/awarded. For the former, I can say I didn't see the show by legal means. I don't have ABC and all the other means weren't available here in Puerto Rico, so what the heck. But just like me, there are probably thousands, millions of others that did see the show, only not by measurable means. And this is something that has obviously increased over the last years. For the latter (availability of the films), studios should make all the efforts for nominated films to be available to the general public. But the truth is that many of the nominated films have limited releases or are crammed at the end of the year in order to get in, so when the ceremony comes, most people haven't been able to see it. So why see the show if I don't have anything to root for?

As for 2021, I agree with Yoda that this year shouldn't be considered in the grand scheme of things. But I do think that the Academy needs to make adjustments.
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Very well put. The award ceremony was down in viewership this year by 60% from last year, which was down from the previous year. The annual program has gradually turned into a wokefest love-in, with wealthy pampered participants in a fantasy land attempting to dictate how and what the public ought to think. The public is increasingly not buying it. Any other show that was down 60% in viewership would be canceled. I'm surprised that the business people and the show's sponsors are not putting pressure on the Academy to clean up their act and make more pictures that the audiences want to see. If they did that, the Oscar show would gain more interest.
So your solution for a group of people trying to tell people what to think is to have another group of people tell them what to think?



I'm not sure they're quite equivalent, since in one case you're talking about a single person pontificating to many, about things they have no apparent expertise or insight into, as opposed to the opposite. Nevermind that the performer/audience relationship is supposed to be asymmetrical in that regard, anyway.

Pretending these things are the same is kind of like pretending democracy and dictatorship are the same.



Imagine saying Unforgiven wasn’t an artistic masterpiece of the highest order... and that too while having a Clint avi

I’d argue Parasite, despite being a Korean movie did arguably fit into your first category.
I am an Eastwood fan, so I consider "Unforgiven" to be one of the best Westerns ever made and certainly the best Western that has been produced since 1992, but when I write, I try to be objective in my analysis, and so I was referring to the possibility that not everyone would consider it to be a masterpiece. I wasn't speaking of my own views.



I’d argue Parasite, despite being a Korean movie did arguably fit into your first category.
I think that "Parasite" partly fits, because it was widely seen and appreciated, but I know quite a few people that didn't like "Parasite." I also think it may be instructive to compare "Parasite" to the film that didn't win but that was also nominated, "1917."

"1917" is a classic Oscar film that has many of the hallmarks of movies that won in the past. It's a sweeping war epic, it was filmed in a very innovative style, mimicking a "one shot" technique. It had a rousing, sweeping score, it was a visual marvel and technically extremely well done, and it featured a classic theme. It depicted a man on a mission who faces death defying obstacles in support of a higher purpose to support the war effort and to save the lives of the soldiers who otherwise would be walking into an ambush and be likely to die as a result.

"Parasite," on the other hand, was more of an independent film. It was much smaller in scope, it was much more intimate, it wasn't the same marvel technically as "1917", etc. It was also in a foreign language, featuring a completely unknown foreign cast. What it did have going for it is that it served as a social commentary on the divide between rich and poor, and the tendency of the wealthy to use and in some cases abuse the lower class people who they depend on. It depicted a disdain on the part of the wealthy towards the very people that serve them, and MAJOR spoilers for Parasite...

concluded with a scene where the working class driver/servant murders their upper class master. In the Trump era, this was the exact message that the Academy wanted to reinforce, and this was a marginalized group that the Academy wanted to look favorably upon. The depiction of the working class man seeking revenge against his ill treatment was also something the Academy wanted to celebrate in a symbolic rather than literal fashion.

I personally liked "Parasite," and am not upset that it won, but ten years ago, "1917" would have won the Best Picture Oscar.

You can make a similar comparative analysis to what happened with "Moonlight" and "La La Land." Ten years ago, "La La Land" would have not only won the Best Picture Oscar, it would have swept the awards. It is pretty undeniable, in my opinion, that the Oscar voters, in many but not all cases, have in recent years simply chosen to anoint totally different types of films than they would have in years past.

I agree that this is not true in every year. "Green Book" would likely have won ten years ago as well, but there was also a huge movement of opposition to "Green Book" winning, so even though it was awarded Best Picture, the fact that it experienced such a groundswell of opposition, and that there are many Oscar voters today that don't think it should have won, still in part reinforces the spirit of my argument.



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I'm not sure they're quite equivalent, since in one case you're talking about a single person pontificating to many, about things they have no apparent expertise or insight into, as opposed to the opposite. Nevermind that the performer/audience relationship is supposed to be asymmetrical in that regard, anyway.

Pretending these things are the same is kind of like pretending democracy and dictatorship are the same.
True, I just think it's amusing that the apparent solution here is "make movies that people actually want to see", which is a very "why don't they build planes out of the same indestructible material as the black box" way of looking at things, especially in The Year With No Movies.

I think that "Parasite" partly fits, because it was widely seen and appreciated, but I know quite a few people that didn't like "Parasite." I also think it may be instructive to compare "Parasite" to the film that didn't win but that was also nominated, "1917."

"1917" is a classic Oscar film that has many of the hallmarks of movies that won in the past. It's a sweeping war epic, it was filmed in a very innovative style, mimicking a "one shot" technique. It had a rousing, sweeping score, it was a visual marvel and technically extremely well done, and it featured a classic theme. It depicted a man on a mission who faces death defying obstacles in support of a higher purpose to support the war effort and to save the lives of the soldiers who otherwise would be walking into an ambush and be likely to die as a result.

"Parasite," on the other hand, was more of an independent film. It was much smaller in scope, it was much more intimate, it wasn't the same marvel technically as "1917", etc. It was also in a foreign language, featuring a completely unknown foreign cast. What it did have going for it is that it served as a social commentary on the divide between rich and poor, and the tendency of the wealthy to use and in some cases abuse the lower class people who they depend on. It depicted a disdain on the part of the wealthy towards the very people that serve them, and MAJOR spoilers for Parasite...

concluded with a scene where the working class driver/servant murders their upper class master. In the Trump era, this was the exact message that the Academy wanted to reinforce, and this was a marginalized group that the Academy wanted to look favorably upon. The depiction of the working class man seeking revenge against his ill treatment was also something the Academy wanted to celebrate in a symbolic rather than literal fashion.

I personally liked "Parasite," and am not upset that it won, but ten years ago, "1917" would have won the Best Picture Oscar.

You can make a similar comparative analysis to what happened with "Moonlight" and "La La Land." Ten years ago, "La La Land" would have not only won the Best Picture Oscar, it would have swept the awards. It is pretty undeniable, in my opinion, that the Oscar voters, in many but not all cases, have in recent years simply chosen to anoint totally different types of films than they would have in years past.

I agree that this is not true in every year. "Green Book" would likely have won ten years ago as well, but there was also a huge movement of opposition to "Green Book" winning, so even though it was awarded Best Picture, the fact that it experienced such a groundswell of opposition, and that there are many Oscar voters today that don't think it should have won, still in part reinforces the spirit of my argument.
Guessing that's because ten years ago they gave the award to The King's Speech over The Social Network, which is arguably one of the best examples of the Academy being aggressively stuck in their ways - looking back now, the former is considered something of an archaic embarrassment while the latter is a modern classic that regularly cracks best-of-the-decade lists so it's a clear example of the Oscars being on the wrong side of history. While I don't think that was the sole motivating factor for the Academy to change things up in regards to their choices, it does make the idea of "this would've won ten years ago" a little bit of a back-handed compliment.



True, I just think it's amusing that the apparent solution here is "make movies that people actually want to see", which is a very "why don't they build planes out of the same indestructible material as the black box" way of looking at things, especially in The Year With No Movies.



Guessing that's because ten years ago they gave the award to The King's Speech over The Social Network, which is arguably one of the best examples of the Academy being aggressively stuck in their ways - looking back now, the former is considered something of an archaic embarrassment while the latter is a modern classic that regularly cracks best-of-the-decade lists so it's a clear example of the Oscars being on the wrong side of history. While I don't think that was the sole motivating factor for the Academy to change things up in regards to their choices, it does make the idea of "this would've won ten years ago" a little bit of a back-handed compliment.
I like The King's Speech much more than the Social Network.



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I would have rather seen a documentary about these nomadic homeless van wanderers than a feature film about them. To me, it's not a very cinematic subject to center a film around.
Dunno mind, The Grapes of Wrath did pretty well too:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032551/awards?ref_=tt_awd



especially in The Year With No Movies.
Yeah I think this is the best point/argument. Maybe throw in the fact that TV ratings in general are more stratified, so that it's quite possible there's nothing they could do to prevent this decline. It's possible they're exacerbating it, of course, through a mix of things (both political alienation/polarization combined with the way any art form can become increasingly niche at the highest levels), but my guess is some decline is to be expected in any event, and that this year doesn't tell us much of anything about how steep it is, or how culpable any one thing is for it.



I like The King's Speech much more than the Social Network.
I'm a Fincher fan and I think I might agree with this. At the very least, they're neck and neck for me. I think The Social Network is a pretty solid film, but I've never understood the overt praise it gets.



I'm a Fincher fan and I think I might agree with this. At the very least, they're neck and neck for me. I think The Social Network is a pretty solid film, but I've never understood the overt praise it gets.
Inception should've won, or The Social Network.

King' Speech is just another oscar-bait film directed by an ok director.



Inception should've won, or The Social Network.

King' Speech is just another oscar-bait film directed by an ok director.
I would've gone for Black Swan.



All valid, more worthy choices than The King's Speech.
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Guessing that's because ten years ago they gave the award to The King's Speech over The Social Network, which is arguably one of the best examples of the Academy being aggressively stuck in their ways - looking back now, the former is considered something of an archaic embarrassment while the latter is a modern classic that regularly cracks best-of-the-decade lists so it's a clear example of the Oscars being on the wrong side of history. While I don't think that was the sole motivating factor for the Academy to change things up in regards to their choices, it does make the idea of "this would've won ten years ago" a little bit of a back-handed compliment.
By choosing ten years ago, I wasn't referring to the "King's Speech" vs. "Social Network" debate. It could have been 15 or 20 years ago. I chose a period far enough away from the present to illustrate the point that the types of films the Academy has been awarding Best Picture recently are often quite different than they have done historically.



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The Year With No Movies.
The ultimate asterisk. It's impossible to fully calculate the worldwide production freeze, especially for smaller, mid and low budget films that didn't have a major studio sponsor who could invest in the necessary "quarantine bubble" that we saw for the Matrix and Mission Impossible films (and even then, the latter was briefly shutdown due to on-set infections).


I'm not really so sure how many of the nominated films this year would have managed against the releases of a normal year. A couple of them, certainly, maybe half. I'm not sure that some of them would have even been campaigned for noms. I think there definitely would have been more diversity of titles from one catagory to the next. I don't think it's something that these winners should be ashamed of, but it's an unmistakable fact that no one is responsible for.
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I'm a Fincher fan and I think I might agree with this. At the very least, they're neck and neck for me. I think The Social Network is a pretty solid film, but I've never understood the overt praise it gets.
Take it back! TAKE IT BACK!!!

In all seriousness, it probably should have been Black Swan. Social Network was a solid second for me. Both were brilliant films.

Oscars rarely ever get it “right” and even so there will always be debate over which film “deserved” it more.

If I ever did my top 100 list from the prior decade, it would defiantly include the two I listed above and possibly 127 hours. It was a strong list of nominees, for the most part. Haven’t seen The Kids are Alright yet. The King’s Speech, which was ok, would have been like....6 or 7th on my ballot of the nominees.