FIELD OF STREAMS wants you to check out these 5 highly touted award seekers on your favorite streaming services today
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The beginning of the end of awards season is finally upon us with the recent announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees. Like any year, there were the glaring omissions, the surprise dark horses and the ones which, let’s be real, don’t have any chance of winning whatsoever. Unlike any year, the strides in diversity within the industry can be felt across the board. There isn’t a single category this year which doesn’t include at least one woman or person color among the nominees, a monumental first for an industry eternally stuck between tradition and progress.
Even a simple glance at the films singled out this year by the Academy can’t help but reflect the undeniable changes happening. Time will of course tell if this year is just a happy accident or the beginning of long lasting change. For the moment however, there’s nothing left to do but simply savor it.
I’ve got no clue what the Oscars will look like this year and I won’t be finding out since I haven’t watched them in years. If you’re of a similar mindset and can’t be bothered with the grandness that comes with awards shows, check out some of this year’s Oscar-nominated streaming titles that night instead, all of which make up some of the best that the film world had to offer in 2020.
The collaboration between filmmaker Chloe Zhao and producer/star Frances McDormand has resulted in a new American classic. In telling the simple story of a woman’s (McDormand) life wandering from from region to region, while living and making friends among her fellow travelers, one of the most beautiful films of the year was created. Nomadland is such a gentle slice of life piece of filmmaking rich with natural beauty and Zhao’s curious eye, it all but redefines the term cinema verite within its first few minutes. The director’s capturing of this pocket of society most of us have only seen from the peripheral ends up being truly one of the most life-affirming offerings of the year.
Some films about Hollywood tend to revel in recreating the glamour of their past so much, they struggle to get their history right. Not so with David Fincher’s Mank. The director adapted his late father’s script about troubled screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) and his struggle to write the screenplay to Citizen Kane. Fincher, already known for crafting visually stunning pieces, outdoes himself with a film which revives 1930s tinseltown in a most dazzling and telling fashion. But it’s the way the director chronicles the title character’s journey from a cynical fringe Hollywood player to a self-destructive mess with one last bit of fight in him that makes Mank worthwhile.
THE LIFE AHEAD (Netflix)
I’m always intrigued by films that are brave enough to feature characters who are rightfully angry at the world and put them at the story’s forefront. That’s the case with The Life Ahead, an Italian drama starring Sophia Loren as Madame Rosa, a bitter former prostitute, and Ibrahima Gueye as Momo, the young orphan she takes in. Directed by Edoardo Ponti, The Life Ahead is rich in lush cinematography and beautiful shots as it tells this human story of two damaged people leaning on one another. Loren (in a rare screen appearance) gives one of the best turns of her carer and Gueye shines in an incredibly impressive feature debut. Together with Ponti’s tender touch, The Life Ahead beautifully works as a tale that comments on the power of life’s emotional truths.
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… (Prime)
It’s hard to imagine a more outstanding directorial debut from an actor than Regina King’s much-lauded One Night in Miami… Based on the acclaimed stage play, the film stars Kingsley-Ben Adir, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr. and Eli Goree as Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Cassius Clay, respectively, who all reconvene in a hotel room following the latter’s most recent boxing win. What follows is not just a snapshot of what it’s like being a prominent man of color in 1960s America, but a pulsating exchange of ideas concerning race, success, identity and the responsibility that comes with it all. King doesn’t have much to work with when it comes to visuals, but the explosive script and phenomenal group of actors ensures One Night in Miami… is just the beginning for the promising new director.
The story of a man whose own death forces him to look at the life he led couldn’t have picked a more symbolic time to come out. In a year with virtually everyone being forced to face the aspects of themselves they were able to previously avoid thanks to the blessings of a daily routine, Soul ended up being one of the more cathartic and poignant movies of the year. The animation, including the warm nostalgia of a New York gone by and a mesmerizing vision of the afterlife, is untouchable. But Soul is just as much of a philosophy as it is a dazzling and funny movie, albeit one less for kids and more for their parents. With hilarity and poignancy, the film forces us to look at the experiences we’ve had and the life we’ve been living; and wonder if it’s the destiny we were truly meant for.
There are countless services to explore and great things to watch on all of them. Which ones did we miss that you would suggest to us? Tell us what we’re missing out on or what new services we should check out by leaving a comment below or emailing us.