SOUNDBITE: While all are worthy, only one film can win Oscar for Best Picture


I’m gonna spill my guts here. Joker was a great film, but I don’t think it deserves a place in all 11 Oscar categories. Whine at my words all you want, but that won’t change the fact that there are superior films in the running for Best Picture. This year’s Oscar nominations for Best Picture feature strong diversity. Some are from classic directors, some feature new takes on age-old tales, and others invent new concepts. The films for this year are Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood, and Parasite. 

  All of these are great films, but when against one another, they begin to fall into a tier system. In the bottom tier or the tier of movies that likely won’t win, I’m placing Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and The Irishman. 

  Once Upon A Time… is directed by legendary Quentin Tarantino and features Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, who plays a famous actor and his stunt double in 1969 Los Angeles. This movie received mixed reviews from audiences and critics, but in my viewing, I had a more neutral opinion. It had great potential but lost out on certain areas, and I fail to see it winning.  The Irishman was directed by the multi-Oscar-nominated Martin Scorsese. This film follows in the footsteps of most of Scorsese’s original gangster films and features the idea of a man who becomes a top hitman and works for two different men in the 1950s organized crime world. The movie is smart and based on the 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, but its fault is its drastic run length of three and a half hours. I’m sorry, but even though it’s smart, a movie with that run-length stands little chance in the race for my Best Picture.

   Now, for the middle section in our tier triangle, I’ve placed in Marriage Story, Jojo Rabbit, and Little Women. These movies are the type of movies that are amazing but are not able to reach the top tier.   Marriage Story is a Netflix original film from director Noah Baumbach featuring Adam Driver and Scarlet Johannson. The story focuses on a stage director and his actor wife who struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce and the custody of their child. The movie was powerful, capturing the audience with the absolute raw strength of the actors and story. I deeply enjoyed this film, but despite this, I have to say that I don’t expect this film to win Best Picture. Its power is simply not powerful enough. 

  Jojo Rabbit, directed by Taiki Waititi, is a comedy-drama (also labeled as satire) that occurs during World War II, focusing on a young German boy named Jojo. Jojo gets into a prickly situation when he finds out his single mother is keeping a Jewish girl in their attic and with his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, and he must confront his blind nationalism. Waititi, who is Jewish, created this film to mock the people who discriminate simply on ethnicity and to expose the manipulation of propaganda and adults. He did this well; the movie was fresh and different, but even with this spunk, it would not be able to compete with my top tier picks. 

  The remake of Little Women is beautiful and rich, which puts it above the others, but its devastating downfall is that it is a remake. Sadly, remakes can only go so far in the race for Best Picture.   I know you all have probably deduced what my top tier is now, but that won’t stop me from presenting them to you. For this year’s Oscars, the movies that I believe will stand the highest chance for Best Picture are 1917, Ford V Ferarri, Parasite, and Joker. All these films are beautiful in multiple aspects, such as cinematography, storytelling, and message. 

  1917, directed by Sam Mendes, is a stunning WWI film about the journey of two British soldiers as they cross dangerous lands to deliver an important message. The film flows seamlessly, capturing the audience’s attention and keeping it on edge through its acting and music. The performances were magnificent, and I found this movie to be extremely powerful, perhaps the best, a contender for Best Picture. 

  Ford v Ferrari, directed by James Mangold, stands high in the ranking with its presentation of the infamous racecar race of Ford vs. Ferarri in 1966. In addition, the movie pushes the idea and importance of innovation, which helps place it in my top contenders. 

  Then, we have the Korean film Parasite from Korean director Bong Joon-ho. This movie is intelligent and exposes the social and economic discrimination in Korea (and subsequently in the rest of the world) through the drama of two families: the rich Park family and the Kim clan which works for them. It’s not surprising when movies like this do exponentially well among critics and viewers. It might not win because it’s a foreign film (i.e. subtitles), and we all know how the Oscars are, but it definitely deserves to be here in my top tier. 

  In truth, I loved Joker; I have the Blu-Ray at home on my shelf. This movie was tantalizing to watch, and as someone who loves psychology, fascinating to pick apart and study. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance was stunning and definitely award-worthy. I can see why Joker is nominated, but it wasn’t good enough to be nominated in all categories. 

  My pick for Best Picture, however, is 1917. The beautiful existence of this film and all its technical superiority push it ahead of Joker for the prize in my humble opinion.