Deadline’s Reviews Of The Oscar Best Picture Nominees

By Pete Hammond, Todd McCarthy


Nominations were revealed Monday for the 93rd Oscars, the apex so far of a movie awards season that has been impacted by coronavirus with movie theaters shuttered forand the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences forced to move its ceremony to its latest date ever, April 25.

In the marquee Best Picture race are film that had to find their way to viewers either via festivals, streaming or even drive-ins. The noms are spread out among studios in streamers, with Warner Bros’ Judas and the Black Messiah repping the majors, Searchlight’s Nomadland, Sony Classics’ The Father, Focus Features’ Promising Young Woman and A24’s Minari the specialty labels, and Netflix’s Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Amazon Studios’ Sound of Metal the streaming services.

RELATED: Deadline’s Read The Screenplay Series: The Oscar Nominations Edition

Here are how Deadline’s film critics Pete Hammond and Todd McCarthy reviewed them:

The Father

A Trademark Films/F Comme Film/Ciné-@ Production
David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Nutshell via Pete Hammond’s video review: Don’t think because it is a dark subject at heart that The Father is drearily depressing. Instead it is a humane and universal family story.

Judas And The Black Messiah

A Macros Media/Proximity Media Production
Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers

Distributor: Warner Bros

Nutshell via Pete Hammond’s video review: Joining co-screenwriters Will Berson, Keith Lucas & Kenny Lucas, director Shaka King skillfully lays out each side of the equation in this raw and exciting account.


A Netflix International Pictures Production
Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers

Distributor: Netflix

Nutshell via Pete Hammond’s video review: The real meat of Fincher’s film, which was written by his late father Jack Fincher more than three decades ago, is Mankiewicz’s effort to finish the Citizen Kane screenplay.


A Plan B Production
Christina Oh, Producer

Distributor: A24

Nutshell via Pete Hammond’s video review: In some ways, it harkens back to classic cinema like The Grapes of Wrath, but its warm sensibilities, never over-sentimentalized, hit right at the heart.


A Highwayman/Hear/Say Productions/Cor Cordium Production
Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers

Distributor: Searchlight

Nutshell via Todd McCarthy’s print review: There has been nothing else in recent cinema that resembles Zhao’s modest but captivating trilogy about the modern American West.

Frances McDormand in 'Nomadland'
Searchlight Pictures

Promising Young Woman

A LuckyChap Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment Production
Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers

Distributor: Focus Features

Nutshell via Pete Hammond’s video review: Emerald Fennell’s skill is balancing the tone among dark comedy, rom-com, psychological disturbance and suspense thriller.

Sound of Metal

A Caviar/Flat 7 Production
Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers

Distributor: Amazon Studios

Nutshell via Pete Hammond’s video review: This 10-year journey to the screen proves well worth the effort as both a technical triumph of filmmaking and a humane and enlightening character study.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

A Netflix in association with Cross Creek Pictures/Marc Platt/DreamWorks Pictures in association with ShivHans Pictures Production
Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers

Distributor: Netflix

Nutshell via Pete Hammond’s video review: Sometimes movies can take on an outsized importance, and this just might be one of those times.

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