As audiences gear up for the 93rd annual Academy Awards, all eyes are turned on the Best Picture Nominees. Despite the pandemic creating a lackluster year in films, the Best Picture nominations still contain some memorable flicks. But which will be remembered in 30 years?
It’s a tricky question, because a film’s legacy depends on a number of things. The first is obviously the quality of the film. “Parasite” will remain highly regarded in 2050 because let’s be real, it’s a perfect movie. Another factor is a film’s cultural relevancy. Regardless of its immaculate script, “The Social Network” is a reference point in the ever-present social media age. And finally, it’s important to question whether a film broke new ground. Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” was the first film directed by a woman to win Best Picture and will be remembered because of it.
With these factors in mind, I’ve ranked this year’s Best Picture nominees in their predicted longevities. Check it out:
Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
Emerald Fennell’s thriller about a woman seeking justice for a past tragedy could maintain a legacy from its daringness alone. However, “Promising Young Woman” will remain a part of the zeitgeist for its relevancy in the post-Harvey Weinstein era of filmmaking. The Me Too movement enveloped the late 2010’s, and Fennell’s film serves a vigilante justice you just can’t help but root for.
Judas and the Black Messiah – Shaka King
Regardless of where you land on “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Shaka King’s film will be forever eternalized for Daniel Kaluuya’s performance as Fred Hampton. The British actor plays, no transforms into the Black Panther Leader, delivering goosebump-inducing speeches that sound more like Hampton than Hampton himself. Combine this with the poignancy of “Judas” in the Black Lives Matter movement, and Shaka King’s debut film could very well be a landmark film.
Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
“Nomadland” will be remembered as the film that made Chloé Zhao a household name. The slice of life flick is a breath of fresh air in the auteur filmmaking world, and Zhao utilizes the talents of Frances McDormand to perfection. Nevertheless, I don’t think the film is Zhao’s magnum opus, and I’m predicting her future work will leave a bigger impact on filmmaking than “Nomadland.”
Minari – Lee Isaac Chung
The same rationale for “Nomadland” can be applied to Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari.” It’s a beautiful film with powerful performances from everyone involved. However, “Minari” is simply the vehicle bringing Chung into the mainstream. With a studio budget and access to A-list actors, I foresee a masterpiece from Chung in the coming years. Although, I doubt the director will ever create a character better than David in cowboy boots.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin
If Aaron Sorkin worked with a director not named Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” could’ve been special. That being said, Sorkin’s period-piece courtroom drama is memorable for having the best ensemble of 2020. Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance dominate, and Sasha Baron Cohen is ethereal as Abbie Hoffman – although Baron Cohen is surely to be remembered more for a different 2020 performance … very nice!
Mank – David Fincher
David Fincher’s monochromatic epic about the life of Herman Mankiewicz is a trial in patience. It’s Hollywood blowing smoke up its butt and is small potatoes when compared to the rest of Fincher’s films. And yet, a couple wins at the Academy Awards could create a legacy for “Mank.” Whether that legacy is positive or negative … only time will tell.
Sound of Metal – Darius Marder
It’s a shame because I thoroughly enjoyed Darius Marder’s “Sound of Metal.” Riz Ahmed gives a career defining performance and Marder’s neo-realistic writing is as great as its always been. Unfortunately though, the legacy of “Sound of Metal” resides in “Forgotten Gems” lists on Letterboxd. Hopefully it’s is a stepping stone for Ahmed and Marder into the mainstream, but the film itself is a relic of an abysmal year in filmmaking.