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.
“Hunger Ward,” an unvarnished vérité look at starving Yemeni children and the medics trying to save them, best encapsulates the human experience of pain and resilience that all the nominees embody.
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.
As stuffed with soap-opera clichés as its cinematic precursors, but this is nevertheless a solid and diverting rescue procedural… and it’s somehow even more shocking for how mundane its disaster is.
A bittersweet, multilayered vérité portrait of the street dogs of Istanbul. Startlingly immersive, howling with moral questions about what we owe these creatures of intelligence, dignity, and feeling.
A fictional version of a story we know in the abstract, told with hushed reserve and brutal unsentimentality. An incisive, nontitillating female gaze on sexual abuse that never sensationalizes horror.
The story of the women duped into *checks notes* killing Kim Jong-un’s brother is more bonkers — and sad, and gripping — than we’ve heard. Utterly fascinating; the stuff of a Hollywood thriller.
Nonsensical Danish thriller concocts absurd connections between the nature of evil and *checks notes* office politics among shallow clichés of women. Preposterously, this is not meant to be satire.
Brings a fundamental new humanity to the story of those who court great danger in order to advance human knowledge. Eva Green is immense. Writer-director Alice Winocour’s compassion is achingly acute.
Lovely verité documentary about eight-year-old Sasha, who was born into a boy’s body but is definitely a girl. An inspiring portrait of someone asking for so little: to be accepted for who she is.