The 2021 Academy Awards are just around the corner. We know that life can get pretty hectic and it might be difficult to keep up with all the movies that are coming out almost every single week. For this reason, we made a compilation of 10 movies to look out for before the ceremony. There are many notable films and performances included and not included on this list, but we hope you enjoy our picks and take advantage of the weekend to watch a few of these stories.
This film sees Frances McDormand play Fern, a woman that’s forced to leave everything behind for an old van. She gets on the road and adopts the life of a modern-day nomad. Throughout her journey, she joins a community of like-minded people, and the beauty lies in the fact that some of these actors are actual nomads in real life, giving the film a touch of genuineness you don’t see very often. Director Chloé Zhao did remarkable work in her portrayal of the nomad lifestyle, the complicated, painful, awkward, and gratifying raw human experience.
2. Over the Moon
Over the Moon is an American-Chinese production that follows Fei Fei, a 12-year-old science nerd that loves the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e. Even though they tell her to stop believing in those childish stories, Fei Fei is not over believing in magic and embarks on a fantastical space journey with her rabbit and step-brother Chin. From her building a rocket to the kingdom of Lunaria, this film is visually impressive and at its core, enchanting and full of heart.
This movie is set in the 1980s during the Reagan presidency. An immigrant South Korean Family arrives in Arkansas and settles on a farm. The father, Jacob Yi has big plans for this farm and himself; he wishes to grow vegetables for the Korean-American market someday. The mother, however, would prefer to live in a city near a hospital, as the youngest son, David, has a heart condition. Minari is a story about the American Dream and the challenges that come along with it. Nothing’s easy for this family, but their resilience and unity carry them all the way to the end.
4. The Trial of the Chicago 7
This is the real story of 7 men on trial for the protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. We follow students such as Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), militant Yippies like Abby Hoffman (Sasha Baron Cohen), and Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) from the Black Panthers who was not even at the protests. We go back and forth in time, from the present-day trial and relationships of the “guilty party” to the protests and the violent confrontations. The film is very dynamic and immersive; it showcases the very truthful way these men were wrongfully charged and, with the help of their pro-bono lawyer, had to learn to work together against the government.
Starring Jaime Foxx and Tina Fey, Soul follows Joe, a music teacher in love with jazz and with hopes and dreams of becoming a real jazz-musician someday. Just after getting his big break, he dies and finds himself in the “Great Before.” Here he meets a reluctant and pessimistic soul that teaches Joe about the meaning of life, and in the process, becomes a more optimistic and loving soul. This creative story is for kids and adults alike and its lesson is universal. If you want to feel motivated and inspired, this is the film for you.
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6. The Father
Starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman, The Father deals with the complicated relationship between Anthony and her daughter Anne. Anthony is a stubborn 80-year-old man who refuses to accept help from her daughter. Every caretake Anne has sent his way, he hates and rejects. On the other hand, we see the anguish of Anne not being able to be there for him 24/7, especially when she realizes his mind is not what it used to be. As the movie progresses, we can experience every point of view to heartbreaking but entertaining results. Even though this can be a complex story to watch, Hopkins and Coleman deliver punctual and marvelous performances that stick with you after the film is over.
7. Promising Young Woman
Promising Young Woman has received mixed reviews from audiences. Either you love it, or you hate it. Still, it got an Oscar nomination along with actress Carey Mulligan for her portrayal of Cassie. Cassie is on a quest to avenge her best friend’s death, who was sexually assaulted. The premise itself sparked enough debate, but the delivery of the movie, mixed with its dark comedy tone and fun-thriller style, works in its favor. The story is undoubtedly bold, and it makes for a very rousing and exhilarating watch.
8. If anything happens, I love you
If anything happens, I love you, is one of the nominees for Best Animated Short Film. If you do dare to watch this beautiful tale, be prepared to cry and feel all the feels. The 2D animated short tells the story of two parents dealing with the loss and grief of the death of their daughter. Because of this, the couple begins to drift apart and are followed by shadows that express their sorrow. As the film progresses, we get to know more about their daughter and the way she died. As painful as the story is, it is a very honest depiction of grief and a tear-jerker from start to finish.
9. Judas and the Black Messiah
O’Neal, FBI informant, infiltrates the Black Panthers, where he carefully spies Chairman Fred Hampton, played by Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya. O’Neal continues to gather information on Hampton without his knowledge and does get him imprisoned at some point. The biographical drama is a reminder of racial inequality, and its powerful message resonates a lot with current times. The movie is explosive in all the right ways, infuriating, and critical. Add to that the outstanding casting and performances, and you have an unforgettable film.
This is one for the fantasy epic journey fans out there. A bit under-watched due to the fact that it came out at the peak of the pandemic, Onward sees two polar opposite elf brothers, played by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, in a journey to see if magic still exists in the world. In the process, the brothers get a chance to see their now-deceased father one last time if they play their cards right and learn to accept each other for who they are. This movie will make you laugh, cry, and you will probably want to hug your sibling after experiencing this spectacular adventure.
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