We had more intimate, art-house, multicultural and diverse talents left in front and behind the camera that were showing up on streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Disney + or on VOD. But one movie was quickly named as the one to beat: Chloe Zhao’s transcendent “Nomadland”. When it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in early September, it won the Golden Lion. He also won the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival later that month. The story of itinerant workers who chose to live in their recreational vehicles after the Great Recession while roaming freely in the American West, which stars two-time Best Actress winner Frances McDormand, was quickly regarded as the favorite to beat.
Some of the well-received late arrivals that might outrun some of the likely suitors below include “Judas and the Black Messiah,” about Fred Hampton (an electrifying Daniel Kaluuya), the assassinated radical president of the Illinois Black Panther Party, who was fired by an FBI informant (LaKeith Stanfield); “Sound of Metal”, about a rock drummer (Riz Ahmed) who has to deal with hearing loss; and “Soul”, a Pixar animated film about a jazz musician (voiced by Jamie Foxx) who dies just before taking his big break and finds himself like a soul in the “Great Beyond”. It has a chance of becoming the third Pixar title to compete in the category after “Up” of 2009 and Toy Story 3 of 2010. ”
This year, academy voters can still nominate between five and 10 nominees for Best Picture, but next year they will be allowed to fill the 10 spots. Here are the favorites to find a place on the ballot for Oscar’s top prize.
1. “Nomadland” (projector): Frances McDormand could win a third Best Actress Oscar for her role as Fern, a middle-aged widow whose job in a small town gypsum mine is forced to close. She decides to buy a van and hit the road while looking for work ranging from Amazon fulfillment centers and cleaning bathrooms in RV parks. Zhao, whose movie “The Rider” surrounds McDormand with real nomads who advise Fern and become his colorful and compassionate companions. Mother Nature, for her part, offers the perfect panorama to lift our pandemic blues. If “Nomadland” wins, it will be the second time that a Best Woman-Directed Film has won after “The Hurt Locker” by Kathryn Bigelow in 2009.