The brilliantly unsettling “Two Distant Strangers” is not only the most important of the nominees but one of the movies of the year, of any length. Its surprises are more brutal than mere plot twists.
I don’t see how the astonishing “Opera,” by Erick Oh, doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Animated Short. This is a stupendous achievement, a cartoon clockwork depicting life, the universe, and everything.
A wonder of emotional claustrophobia and narrative economy. Rachel Sennott is delightfully caustic in this painfully poignant, dryly funny portrait of a deeply awful moment of young adulthood.
The Disney paradigm is hard at play again here, its familiarity offset by its inspiration in Southeast Asian culture and mythology. Sweepingly told, gorgeously animated, and audaciously optimistic.
Ejiofor and Hathaway are game, but they’re grasping for something solid, and don’t find it. A deeply unsatisfying novelty artifact of the pandemic that fails to create a necessary sense of transgression.
The internal monologue that modern women have with ourselves gets externalized in this audacious and absolutely brilliant dramedy. Poignant, vulnerable, and almost shocking, in the best possible way.
Finds something fresh and gently feminist in the tropes and claptrap of an overbaked genre. Stewart and Davis have terrific chemistry, and the supporting cast of modern legends of funny is to die for.
This pleasantly silly-sad apocalypse, melancholy with a dash of optimism, smashes clichés and finds fresh angles on the familiar. Dylan O’Brien has a self-deprecating charm; there’s a great dog, too.
Offbeat portrait of an unconventional girl is all over the place, sometimes detouring into the cringeworthy, as it tries to depict the emotional familial confusion its tween protagonist is navigating.
A ramble with appealingly messy people rethinking their priorities that is perhaps more charming and touching than it might have been if this pandemic summer didn’t have so many of us doing the same.