|Trevor's View on Hollywood||
Another early morning, another night of hardly any sleep, another set of disappointing nominees. In previous years, my lack of sleep in anticipation for the Academy Award nomination announcement has been out of excitement, but this year, it was out of fear and anxiety. I knew that the Best Picture frontrunners were no good, and the rest of the categories didn't look nearly as promising. Yet the actual result of this morning's big announcement proved to me that the Academy actually cares far less about the quality of filmmaking than I ever thought, as many of the nominees in many of these categories aren't just mediocre or overwhelming- they are flat-out awful without a single redeeming quality about it. But there are still a FEW good things I have to say about these nominees.
It's time again: time to make the best guess as to what the Academy of Motion Pictures believes are the best achievements of filmmaking in the year 2021. Unfortunately, we had to endure yet another pandemic year, but at least this time, movie theaters have been open! Now, the box office still hasn't exactly been revived yet, and who knows when (or if) that'll happen, but that won't stop the Academy from honoring the biggest endeavors that filmmaking artists had to endure in their latest projects. Now, I personally believe that due to the strange last couple of years, this still will be a rather weak lineup of nominees in most categories, with several nominations occurring simply because of the lack of competition. I realize that nowadays very few people respect the Oscars or will even bother to remain up to date on what they do, but I'm in the minority who actually cares what they nominate because that will decide the future of Hollywood, and American society as a whole.
But full disclosure: this is not what I personally believe deserves the nominations, but what I think from the Academy's shoes what they would want to honor, based on their nomination trends in the past few years as well as critical reception on a number of these films. I've spent the entire year keeping track of every movie that comes out and formulating a system that can help best come up with predictions, so without further ado, here's all my hard work, my predictions for the 94th Annual Academy Award nominees!
Years like this prove why storytelling is really so important. Working on a motion picture may not be an "essential" profession, but just what stories offer us are probably the most effective modes of moral and informative guidance for the average human being, far more so than what the government may try to do to control our lives. When Jesus had to give an answer to the question, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus didn't just say, "Everybody is your neighbor" and call it a day, he did something far more impactful: he gave a parable, a potential scenario that the listener could relate to, so that he could see Jesus' point made in action. It's exactly the same way with the movies and TV shows we watch nowadays. We may watch them primarily for entertainment, but we always consciously pick up on new ways to look at the world and obtain moral guidance on issues we are uncertain about.
That's why your state governor could tell you all he wants that you are required to wear a mask while in a public space. But that alone won't necessarily convince you to do so. Rather, if you heard about someone who wasn't wearing a mask while out shopping and someone s/he came into contact with got Coronavirus and died a few weeks later, that would motivate you in a heartbeat to add a mask into the essential items you must have on you every time you leave the house, along with your phone, keys, wallet, and ID.
Thus, as my custom every year around awards time, I will give my picks for the best out of the films I saw this calendar year. Except I won't be including the January-February 2021 timeframe that the Academy of Motion Pictures added this year to accommodate to the films that suffered from delayed release dates. But don't worry: Nomadland, The Father, Minari, and Judas and the Black Messiah will gladly be in next year's TVOH Awards!
Best Popular Film
What do these three have in common? The latest changes the Academy has made, with the inclusion of a 25th category: Best Popular Film. What does that mean? Well, to be honest, nobody knows, not even the Academy themselves! They're still working out the details...
Another significant change they made includes condensing the ceremony to a much stricter 3 hour run time, which means the winners of the smaller categories will only be able to have their speeches condensed into a shorter montage run during commercial break, kind of like how the Tony Awards works.
If you've been on social media a lot since yesterday, I'm sure you saw that the response has been overwhelmingly negative. As in, I have not seen even one person who's happy about these changes. At first, I didn't really care much about the Best Popular Film category, but after thinking about it more, and hearing other people's reactions, I do have some things to say.
I now want to introduce something that is new for both of us: a full complete list of what I believe is the best of the year. Now, I haven't seen everything this year, and that includes several of the films that the Oscars nominated, so based on all 53 releases this year I assessed and graded, here's what I genuinely believe deserves the honors.
But first, a few notes on some of these categories:
I considered the animated films for all the categories except for makeup and costume design, since there are technicians behind the editing, cinematography, and set design that deserve every bit as much recognition as those who work on live action films. So it's virtually free for all in everything.
I also consider all films that feature visual effects shots a chance in Best Visual Effects. I say that it should be the goal of any vfx artists to make the effects invisible, so that's what I've been judging this year.
I'm not following the same judgment as the Oscars, who like to judge based on technical achievement. While that's important to acknowledge to make sure the artistry of filmmaking continues to grow with its discoveries, my focus is on how the practical elements contribute to the film's unique needs, so you may find nominees in some of these categories you'd never expect to find in any other awards show lineup. I'm not saying I'm better than any of them, but rather this is my two cents on what's important in filmmaking.
So now without further ado, here's my nominees, starting with...