The Oscar Project
It’s Wednesday, and it’s time to reveal my number five and six first time watches from this year. Today’s films are both from last year, and both Oscar nominated which means I as watching them in the lead up to the Oscars back in the spring. Let me know your thoughts on these great movies if you’ve seen them.
6: Nightmare Alley (2021)
This film was definitely much better than I anticipated going in. There is a bit of a slow start to it, but once it gets rolling, I was fully invested in the story.
As a remake of a film from the 1940s, I was surprised to see how well this held up with a modern visual touch. Yes, the story is still set in earlier times, but the ability to do so much more with the camera is what makes this film worth watching. There are some excellent performances in the film from Bradley Cooper to the ice-cold Cate Blanchett. Even the supporting roles like Toni Collette and David Strathairn shine in their limited screen time.
But what really does it for me is the world that director Guillermo del Toro creates. Del Toro is known for creating fantastic worlds and while this is one that is more grounded in reality than some in his filmography, you can tell right away that it’s his world that we’re playing in.
The film is currently available on Hulu so definitely check it out if you haven’t already.
5: Flee (2021)
This is yet another film I probably never would have seen if it hadn’t been for a number of movie podcasts I listen to and for it getting nominated for a number of Academy Awards. That said, I’m so glad I saw it and glad that I keep an open mind for things that approach movie making in a new way.
Flee is the story of a young boy named Amin who flees Afghanistan and eventually ends up living in Denmark. To cut the summary off there is a huge disservice to the film because it’s so much more than that. Over the course of the film, we get to see the horrors that Amin and his family have to endure from trudging through frozen forests in Russia, to being sent back by patrols in the ocean when they try to cross from one country to another. The journey out of war is not fun and the film portrays that well.
Compounding things is the fact that Amin is gay and comes from a country and a culture where that is not accepted. As the film is told in animated flashback, we also get a few contemporary scenes (also animated) that show him with his partner looking for a house. The fact that a documentary was made as an animated film speaks to the innovative things that are possible with film, and I’m so glad I was able to appreciate this addition to the cultural conversation.
Flee is also available on Hulu, so please check this out as well if you haven’t seen it yet.
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?