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Oscar's best picture nominees: What they mean and where to watch them

Reza Mardian
Reza Mardian

Film enthusiast

Jakarta  /  Tue, January 21, 2020  /  12:55 pm
Oscar's best picture nominees: What they mean and where to watch them

A still from 'Little Women'. (Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube/File)

The 92nd Academy Awards announced its nominees on Jan. 20, and the Best Picture category is probably the easiest indicator of what statement the Academy is trying to convey. It is important to understand what this means as it could determine Indonesia's strategy in picking its official submission for the 93rd Academy Awards.

What is lacking from this year's Oscar is diversity in the big categories, like acting, directing and best picture. Unlike last year where we had Roma, Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman, this year Parasite is probably the only film representing any hint of diversity. Lulu Wang's The Farewell and Trey Edward Shults's Waves, which were sensations at the Telluride Film Festival, are completely shut out of all categories.

Gender parity is also missing from this year's Oscars. Fortunately, we have Little Women produced by Amy Pascal, but Greta Gerwig has not been nominated in the directing category. The lack of female representation is evidenced not only by the numbers, but also in the substance of the movies. Five out of nine movies in the best pictures category are male-driven, with women largely underwritten. Anna Paquin's character in The Irishman and Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood do not have many significant lines. The celebration of these movies, despite their merits, is also a testament that filmmakers and writers still do not think that female characters are worthy of deeper exploration.

This is a stark contrast to the 90th Academy Awards, where most films were female-driven and they delved deep into the world of women, namely Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing and The Shape of Water.

Despite having more new voters, 70 percent of Oscar voters are still male and may still enjoy Hollywood's overly masculine films directed by Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. In the International Feature Film category, the discussion might shift, as most of the films nominated this year have won in major festivals. Documentary Honeyland, which is nominated in the Documentary Feature, won three awards at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, while Parasite and Les Miserables won awards at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Honeyland is probably the most refreshing nominee as it tells us that documentaries can be nominated in the International Feature Film category. And given the fact that Makoto Shinkai and Hayao Miyazaki once submitted their animation in this category, this could trigger a discussion of what Indonesia should stand for in the future. (wng)

Where to watch Oscar's best pictures nominees:

1. 1917

The movie was released in Indonesia on Saturday and will come to the big screens on Cinepolis (formerly Cinemaxx) and CGV on Wednesday

2. Little Women

Through its Twitter account, CGV has announced that Little Women will hit the theaters in February.

3. Parasite

Thanks to the Oscar nominations, it is currently being screened again on CGV.

4. The Irishman

Available on Netflix.

5. Marriage Story

Available on Netflix.

6. Joker

Available for rent at Google Play Movies.

7. Ford v Ferrari

The movie is yet to be available on streaming services.

8. One Upon a Time in Hollywood

Available for rent at Google Play Movies.

9. Jojo Rabbit

The film was not screened in this country. 

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.