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    So I Watched All Of The Best Picture Nominees With My Mom, And We Agree On What Movie Should Win

    "The movie’s payoff is about why Mankiewicz wrote the Citizen Kane screenplay, but by the time I got there, I was as comatose as Gary Oldman." –My mom

    As a big fan of both the Oscars hullabaloo and my mother, in that order (I just read that to her and she said, "In THAT order? I spent a week doing this!"), I was very excited when she and I decided to watch all of the 2021 Best Picture nominees and score them.

    My mom, Nancy, is a cool mom. She graduated from law school at 23, she speaks French, and she loves the song "S&M" by Rihanna.

    I, on the other hand, am 21 years old and just ate a banana with peanut butter at 2:45 a.m.

    Now that we've watched them all, I can safely say it was just as much fun as I expected. Here are our Best Picture thoughts and scores.

    The Father

    Anthony Hopkins walking down a hallway in "The Father"
    Trademark Films

    Basic idea: An elderly father (Anthony Hopkins) loses track of what's real due to dementia.

    Our scores for The Father:

    Olivia Coleman and Anthony Hopkins sitting in an office in "The Father"
    Trademark Films

    Nancy: Absolutely deserves to be nominated. Score: 7/10

    Hope: I don’t know what happened in what I just watched, but I know it was fantastic. Score: 7.5/10

    Fake nomination The Father would earn: Most Not What You Assumed It Would Be.

    Judas and the Black Messiah

    LaKeith Stanfield raisins his fist in "Judas and the Black Messiah"
    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Basic idea: In the 1960s, an FBI informant (LaKeith Stanfield) infiltrates the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (based on a true story).

    Our scores for Judas and the Black Messiah:

    Daniel Kaluuya addressing a crowd in "Judas and the Black Messiah"
    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Nancy: This is a movie everyone should see. Score: 9.5/10

    Hope: So good. I’m sorry that’s not anywhere close to witty, but I’m kind of at a loss for words. Score: 9/10

    Fake nomination Judas and the Black Messiah would earn: Best Speeches.


    Gary Oldman looking tired in "Mank"

    Basic idea: In the 1930s, Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) writes the Citizen Kane screenplay (based on a true story).

    Our scores for Mank:

    Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman talking in "Mank"

    Nancy: The movie’s payoff is about why Mankiewicz wrote the Citizen Kane screenplay, but by the time I got there, I was as comatose as Gary Oldman. Score: 1.5/10 (My mom is currently reading this over for approval and she goes, "God, this movie was terrible.")

    Hope: It’s up there with my least favorite, most boring movies ever, but I had a couple moments of like, okay, sure. Hey, you know, maybe I just don’t get it and it’s actually amazing. Score: 2/10

    Fake nomination Mank would earn: Shortest Tie.


    The family in "Minari" looking at their mobile home
    Plan B Entertainment

    Basic idea: In the 1980s, a Korean American family moves to Arkansas in order to farm (somewhat autobiographical).

    Our scores for Minari:

    Steven Yeun digging and well and talking to his son, Alan S Kim, in "Minari"
    Plan B Entertainment

    Nancy: Absolutely worth seeing. Score: 8.5/10

    Hope: It was so intimate and heart-pounding. I loved it. Score: 8/10

    Fake nomination Minari would earn: Best Acting By a Snake.


    Frances McDormand smiling in "Nomadland"
    Cor Cordium Productions

    Basic idea: A woman (Frances McDormand) lives in her van and travels throughout the United States as a "nomad."

    Our scores for Nomadland:

    Linda May and Frances McDormand wearing face masks and sitting in lawn chairs in "Nomadland"
    Cor Cordium Productions

    Nancy: The last 25 minutes leaves the audience with such a warm feeling that I understand why it was nominated, and I know that I am supposed to be in a swoon about this movie, but for me, Act 2 is so dull I can’t call it Best Picture. Score: 6/10

    Hope: I loved how everything looked, the acting was great, and the vibe was very unique, but it’s not breathtaking for me, and I think Best Picture should be. At the same time, I won’t be furious if it wins. Score: 7/10

    Fake nomination Nomadland would earn: Best Use of 10-Gallon Paint Bucket.

    Promising Young Woman

    Carey Mulligan reading a book in "Promising Young Woman"
    Focus Features

    Basic idea: An ex–med student (Carey Mulligan) seeks revenge on her best friend's rapist and everyone who failed to hold him accountable.

    Our scores for Promising Young Woman:

    Carey Mulligan pretending to be drunk in "Promising Young Woman"
    Focus Features

    Nancy: Underwhelmed. If this is meant as an empowerment movie, why is its final message that men always prevail over women, unless the woman is dead? Score: 3/10

    Hope: It was a brilliant, original movie that was both empowering and heartbreakingly accurate about the constant fear and threat that comes with being a woman. And though I didn’t think it was perfect, so much of it was. Score: 8/10

    Fake nomination Promising Young Woman would earn: Best Opening.

    Sound of Metal

    Riz Ahmed looking calm in "Sound of Metal"

    Basic idea: A four-years-sober heavy metal drummer (Riz Ahmed) loses his hearing.

    Our scores for Sound of Metal:

    Riz Ahmed and a child on a slide in "Sound of Metal"

    Nancy: Unforgettable. It resonates like Charly did at the time. Score: 9/10

    Hope: It’s not going into my list of favorite movies, but I don't think it could have been done any better. Score: 8.5/10

    Fake nomination Sound of Metal would earn: Best Proof Your Mother Was Right ("Don’t play that music so loud").

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    Eddie Redmayne talking at a podium in "The Trial of the Chicago 7"
    Dreamworks Pictures

    Basic idea: In 1969, a chaotic, unfair trial ensues when the United States government prosecutes seven anti–Vietnam War protestors plus the leader of the Black Panther Party (based on a true story).

    Our scores for The Trial of the Chicago 7:

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II being held down in the courtroom in "The Trial of the Chicago 7"
    Dreamworks Pictures

    Nancy: This is the best courtroom drama I have seen in years, and it’s history, and I was alive then, so I remember this. Ultimately, though, like so much of Sorkin’s work, it is much more intellectual than emotional. Without the emotional hook (other than the brutality against Bobby Seale), I can’t give it Best Picture. Score: 8/10

    Hope: I didn’t want this movie to end (even though Aaron Sorkin, king of research, didn't take the time to look up "bra burning" and find out that it never happened, because who cares about women's history). Score: 8/10

    Fake nomination The Trial of the Chicago 7 would earn: Best Use of Headbands on Men.

    So here are our rankings and winners for Best Picture:


    1. Judas and the Black Messiah: 9.5/10 **WINNER**
    2. Sound of Metal: 9/10
    3. Minari: 8.5/10
    4. The Trial of the Chicago 7: 8/10
    5. The Father: 7/10
    6. Nomadland: 6/10
    7. Promising Young Woman: 3/10
    8. Mank: 1.5/10


    1. Judas and the Black Messiah: 9/10 **WINNER**
    2. Sound of Metal: 8.5/10
    3. Minari: 8/10
    4. Promising Young Woman: 8/10
    5. The Trial of the Chicago 7: 8/10
    6. The Father: 7.5/10
    7. Nomadland: 7/10
    8. Mank: 2/10

    The Oscars are this Sunday, April 25, at 8 p.m. on ABC!