List

Sharon and Cecilia's 2021 Oscar Picks

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

Here are some Academy Award nominees you can check out from the library.

  • The Father

    2021

    Anthony Hopkins is my pick for Best Actor, for his performance in this film. This is a tough movie to watch. Very emotional and deeply impactful. Watching Hopkins here felt like looking into the eyes and the soul of someone who really was dealing with advanced dementia or Alzheimer's. There were a lot of strong lead actor performances this year, but I feel Hopkins' was the best of them. Also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress (Olivia Colman), Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, and Production Design. Recommended by Cecilia.

    Get this item
  • Judas and the Black Messiah

    2021

    Daniel Kaluuya is my pick to win Best Supporting Actor. He's nominated against his co-star in this film, LaKeith Stanfield, who I believe should have been considered or nominated in the Best Actor category instead of supporting. Kaluuya is not the character with the most screen time, though his role as Fred Hampton, a leader in the Black Panther party, is crucial to every element of the film. Kaluuya's performance is exactly what a supporting role should be: strong, fierce, and steals the show anytime he is on screen. Also nominated for Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Original Song, and Cinematography. Recommended by Cecilia.

    Get this item
  • Nomadland

    2021

    Let's continue with another outstanding turn by female writer/director Chloé Zhao. This is the first time ever two women are nominated for Best Director! And Zhao's nomination is extra sweet, since she is the first woman of color Best Director nominee (Zhao is Chinese). Zhao's nomination is well-deserved and my pick for the Oscar. The direction is the best part of Nomadland; her script is meandering, which fits with the storyline, but made it hard for me to immerse myself in the story or with the characters. Also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Film Editing, and Cinematography, which is also stunning and worthy of the win. Recommended by Cecilia.

    Get this item
  • Minari

    2021

    A sweet, tender film about a Korean family that starts a farm in Arkansas. I loved how writer/director Lee Isaac Chung (who is nominated for both Best Director and Original Screenplay) slowly paced his film to match the unhurried deliberation of the family's settling and adjusting to life, not only on the rural farm, but also in a new country. Nominated for two acting Oscars: Steven Yeun for Best Actor and Yuh-jung Youn for Best Supporting Actress. Both are excellent, cautious performances that stand out, though I think the lack of nomination for Alan Kim, who plays the young son, is a definite snub. Kim's performance makes the film warm and more endearing than it could have been without him. Also nominated for Best Picture and Original Score. Recommended by Cecilia.

    Get this item
  • Promising Young Woman

    2021

    Out of all of the films nominated for major Oscars, this is my favorite nominee of the year. What Emerald Fennell does as both writer/director is astonishing, considering this is her first full-length feature as screenwriter and filmmaker. Thankfully, she is nominated for both Best Director and Original Screenplay (my pick!). Also nominated is Carey Mulligan for her tour-de-force performance as a troubled woman taking her grief out on a series of one-night stands. Mulligan's performance is also my pick for Best Actress. Promising Young Woman is also nominated for Best Picture (my pick!) and Film Editing. Recommended by Cecilia.

    Get this item
  • Emma

    2020

    Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, this version has a fun performance by Anya Taylor-Joy and features a delightful supporting cast. Nominated for two Oscars, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Costume Design, which are not a surprise. There are definitely a lot of costume changes for its main characters and many scenes that require fancy makeup and hairstyles. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • News of the World

    2021

    Set in 1870, Tom Hanks plays a Civil War veteran traveling from one town to another to read the news. He finds himself in charge of a young girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa, who now must be returned to her surviving relatives. While Tom Hanks anchors this Western drama, I couldn’t get over Zengel’s terrific performance. It received four Oscar nominations: Best Sound, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, and Best Cinematography. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Pinocchio

    2020

    There have been several adaptations of Carlo Collodi’s children’s book and there are certainly more to come. Filmmaker Matteo Garrone wanted to make this movie for a very long time, and it is full of his passion for the project. This live-action fantastical retelling is meant for adults and older kids because there are some dark and slightly scary scenes. Though under-the-radar, it got nominations in two categories: Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Costume Design. Indeed, the costumes, makeup, etc. are some of the most lavish I’ve seen in a while. In Italian with English subtitles. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Mulan

    2020

    Walt Disney Pictures spent $200 million to bring this action remake of their popular 1998 animated feature to the big screen. Inspired by the beloved Chinese folklore hero, it is great to see a strong central female character. It is a pleasure to watch veteran actors Gong Li, Donnie Yen, Tzi Ma, Jason Scott Lee, Rosalind Chao, and Jet Li. The film is surrounded by controversy, such as the choice of some filming locations. Also, there is a lack of diversity in the production team--a white director, screenwriter, and costume designer. It received two Oscar nominations, one for Best Visual Effects and the other for Best Costume Design. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Colectiv: Collective

    2021

    Director Alexander Nanau turns his camera to a team of journalists as they investigate a whistleblower’s allegations about substandard medical care of several hospitalized burn victims. It plays out like a thriller, revealing a deep web of political corruption and health care fraud. This earned Oscar nominations for Best Documentary and Best International Feature Film. In Romanian with English subtitles. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Another Round

    2021

    Filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg received an Oscar nomination for Best Director, and this was also nominated for Best International Feature. The storyline focuses on four friends, all high school teachers, feeling stuck in their lives. They decide to try a social experiment to maintain a certain level of alcohol in their system to see if it frees them up to be more creative and relaxed. Actor Mads Mikkelsen stars, and his last scene is quite affecting as his character brings everything full circle. In Danish with English subtitles. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • The Mole Agent

    2020

    From Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi, The Mole Agent received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary. It follows Sergio, a man in his 80s hired by a private detective to move into a nursing home and report back. Sergio doesn’t exactly stick to the task at hand, and universal themes such as aging, family, and loneliness hit the mark. In Spanish with English subtitles. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Better Days

    2019

    This romantic crime drama from Hong Kong director Derek Tsang received an Oscar nomination for Best International Feature Film. It revolves around two teenagers, one a bullied high school student and the other a small-time criminal. They form an unlikely partnership of protection and become embroiled in a murder investigation. The two lead actors have intense on-screen chemistry and I never doubted their relationship. The theme concerning bullying, while specific to circumstances of the narrative, carries a powerful universal message. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Also available on Hoopla. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Tenet

    2020

    Truth be told, I’m still not sure what actually happened in this movie. The protagonist (John David Washington) is working for the CIA and his latest mission goes spectacularly wrong. He's recruited to a secret organization called Tenet, searching for objects that travel backward through time and are weaponized in some way. They are trying to prevent WWIII. Twisty plots aside, filmmaker Christopher Nolan strives for mind-blowing visuals and high production values. This pic has two Oscar noms, Best Visual Effects and Production Design. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Love and Monsters

    2021

    An adventure/comedy/romance/monster-apocalypse movie--sounds like a hard sell. Well, maybe not. It has a breezy script, likable characters, an awesome dog companion, and most important: imaginative giant creatures that believably blend into the environment. Nominated for Best Visual Effects. Watching this is a hoot. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Onward

    2020

    Tom Holland and Chris Pratt voice two elf brothers who embark on a quest to discover what little magic there is left in the world and to bring their father back for one more day. From Pixar Animation Studios, this received a nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. It is heartfelt with an emotional impact by the end. Keep your eyes open for “Corey” the Manticore. Voiced by Octavia Spencer, she is a scene-stealer. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Soul

    2021

    One of the most highly anticipated animated feature films of the year, it got nominated for Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score, and Best Sound. It’s a Pixar comedy/fantasy/drama centering on a New York City middle school music teacher named Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), whose soul accidentally gets separated from his body and he has to find a way to get it back before missing his big break to join a jazz band. The city scenes really pop and the jazz soundtrack (thank you, Jon Batiste) is wonderful. The movie’s co-director Kemp Powers also received an Oscar nom for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film One Night in Miami. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item