In an excellent year that saw the reopening of movie theaters with blockbusters and a greater number of quality films released on streaming platforms, ten productions are competing for the Oscar for best film.
The list presented to the members of the Academy for their vote includes a dark western, a Japanese duel and an epic work of science fiction.
These are the films that compete for the top prize in Hollywood this Sunday.
“Love without barriers”
Steven Spielberg’s decision to work on a new version of the most awarded musical of all time was controversial. Even after “Love Without Barriers” garnered rave reviews upon its release, some critics questioned the effort.
Spielberg maintained the atmosphere of 1950s New York in which the original plot takes place, dealing with a love story pitting rival gangs against each other, but also addressing issues of representation, including a diverse cast and extensive dialogue in Spanish. .
Ariana DeBose’s performance as Anita garnered recognition for supporting actress status, and while she doesn’t seem close to winning the night’s biggest award, Spielberg is so revered in Hollywood that nothing can be ruled out.
The shortest and most personal on the list, Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical “Belfast” has long established itself as a strong contender in the Oscar race.
He shows the outbreak of violence in the 1960s in his native Northern Ireland from a different perspective: that of a nine-year-old boy.
Buddy (Jude Hill) struggles to make sense of life-altering events on his street in a familiar, working-class neighborhood, but he’s sure of one thing: He doesn’t want to leave the only home he knows.
“Belfast” won several awards this season, but may have lost some of its early momentum.
Another intimate, family-oriented look, “CODA” centers on teenage Ruby (Emilia Jones), the only one in her family who isn’t deaf.
The Rossis live in a small fishing community in Massachusetts, USA.
The film, whose cast has deaf actors to play the leading roles and developed a good part of the dialogues in sign language, is considered a milestone of inclusion.
But it also touches on emotional themes, with the family’s struggle to support Ruby, torn between leaving home to follow her dream of being a singer, and helping them communicate with the outside world.
“CODA” became one of the favorites last month by winning recognition from the Screen Actors Guild of America, an award that is considered a thermometer in the Oscar race.
This triumph placed her as one of the competitors with the most chances of beating the great favorite, “The power of the dog”.
“Drive My Car”
At two hours and 59 minutes, Japanese drama “Drive My Car” is the longest nominated film. The production is a slow, subtle meditation on grief and loss, adapted from a short story by writer Haruki Murakami.
Two years after the success of South Korea’s “Parasite” proved that subtitles were no longer an obstacle, “Drive My Car” was applauded by moviegoers and won dozens of critics’ awards.
With more chances to win as best foreign film, winning the Oscar would be the surprise of the night.
“Dune,” Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic, took in $400 million at the box office, nearly double the $220 million earned by the other nine nominees — combined.
An adaptation of the first part of Frank Herbert’s novel, which imagines noble families on a planet plagued by giant sandworms, the production gained popularity among specialized critics and a sequel has been confirmed.
But his awards season success has been limited to technical categories, such as visual effects, sound and photography. Thus, the night can end without the Oscar for best film but with several statuettes.
“The Alley of Lost Souls”
“The Alley of Lost Souls”, a full-fledged author’s work, is a macabre circus fable about a supposed fortune teller who tries to deceive wealthy clients.
The film noir by Mexican Guillermo del Toro, which captivates the audience with its fascinating production design, hardly reaches the achievements of his previous “The Shape of Water”, with which he won Hollywood’s top award.
“The Power of the Dog”
Since its lavish world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September, Jane Campion’s Western “The Power of the Dog” has become a favourite.
The film, an adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel about toxic masculinity in the American West in the 1920s, leads the Oscar competition with the most nominations (12), and has swept nearly every award show. of the Hollywood season.
Bringing together Campion’s distinctive vision, an all-star cast led by Benedict Cumberbatch, a bleak psychological plot, and stunning photography thanks to the New Zealand locations where it was filmed, the film ticks several of the traditional boxes that the category of best film demands. film.
But its slow pace, which has alienated members of the Academy, and a voting system that favors universally enjoyed films, mean that there are still doubts about its ability to win the night’s top prize.
Set in the 1970s suburb of Los Angeles where its director, Paul Thomas Anderson, grew up, “Licorice Pizza” is a nostalgic film featuring an unlikely relationship between an untimely woman in her 20s and a bold, confident teenager. itself.
Anderson, the writer-director behind such hits as “Bloody Oil” and “Boogie Nights,” has built a remarkable career in Hollywood.
In “Licorice Pizza,” made up of a series of moments that capture the zeitgeist, Anderson captivated audiences and earned rave reviews, but even her fans admit it’s not the best of her repertoire.
“Don’t look up”
The satirical comedy “Don’t Look Up” has more stars in its cast than any other nominee for the 94th Academy Awards.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Timothée Chalamet and Ariana Grande are some of the figures facing the end of the world as a huge comet approaches Earth, in a deliberate allegory of the climate crisis.
“Don’t Look Up” is one of the most-watched Netflix movies in the platform’s history, but its political tone divided audiences and critics.
“King Richard: A Winning Family”
Combining the incredible story of sisters Venus and Serena Williams with the talents of superstar Will Smith, “King Richard: A Winning Family” is an inspiring production that connected with audiences and garnered strong reviews.
Smith plays the ambitious father of two future tennis powerhouses in this tale of family dynamics that manages to avoid many of the clichés seen in sports and biographical films.
If Smith does not win the Oscar for best actor, he would continue in the fight to win the best picture.
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