Awaiting the 2020 Academy Awards

Gemma Torras, Senior Design Editor

As February inches closer and closer, movie fanatics eagerly await the Oscars. With movies like “Joker” and “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” sweeping the nation, people are  anticipating which movies will win and who will go home empty handed. 

Although 2019 produced many incredibly captivating movies, “1917” truly deserves best picture. With fascism rising once again and the loom of war hanging over our heads after the Iran-U.S. attack, this World War I  film is more relevant than ever. Sam Mendes masterfully directed a heart-wrenching and brutal depiction of the extreme pain of war, perfectly capturing how horrifying war truly is. Using a one-shot technique, Mendes depicted the drawn-out, yet rapid pace of war. “1917” includes tear-jerking performances by George MacKay and Dean Charles Chapman.

Narrowing down in terms of acting, Joaquin Phoenix hit a home run in his role as the iconic villain in Todd Phillip’s “Joker.” This unique take on Batman’s villain shows the tragic path that led to the breakout of the Joker. Phoenix separates himself from the friendly personas he’s taken on in other roles, such as Theodore from “Her,” and transforms into a deeply broken man. With every movement and line throughout the movie, the viewer sees the menacing, yet empty husk of a man inside the Joker. Phoenix’s talent, visible in this intense role, makes him deserving of an Oscar for best actor.

With best actress, Scarlett Johanssen produced such a poignant performance in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story.” Based on his own divorce, Baumbach provokes impassioned performances both by Adam Driver and Johanssen. Especially in the scene in which both actors completely break down in tears, Johanssen perfectly embodies the pain felt through the divorce of a family, showing how swiftly a family can crumble to pieces.

To tie together the majorly anticipated Academy awards,  Bong Joon Ho should go home with an Oscar in hand for best director or any other award for “Parasite.” This Korean film was unlike any film I had seen before. It was suspenseful, enticing and centered around the horrifying reality of modern-day class division. Coming from a fresh director, the carefully-articulated shots with subtle hints in every scene show how masterful an artist Bong Joon Ho truly is. For Joon Ho to go home empty-handed would be a loss for cinema in 2019. As the Oscars slowly but surely approach, movie enthusiasts await what the Academy deems worthy of an award after a year full of so many enriching films.

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