For the first time in a long time, I’ve seen all of the Best Picture nominees for this year’s Academy Awards, and the vast majority of the films in the other major categories – all without having been to a movie theater in, like, forever.  Streaming has been very, very good for me.

I actually think that it largely has been a very good year for movies – the Best Picture category is incredibly strong.  So here are my choices – not who I think will win, but who I would vote for if I had a vote.  With, of course, brief explanations.

Best Picture:  The Father

Mrs. Content Guy disagrees with me on this one;  she would choose Nomadland, which I loved … and yet, because of the quality of all the other nominees, it wouldn’t even make the top four.  I loved Judas and the Black Messiah and Promising Young Woman more, because they made me think about issues and movements in fundamentally different ways than I had before.  And I just loved The Trial of the Chicago 7 because, well, I love everything Aaron Sorkin does.  But The Father made me understand dementia in a way I never did before, by making me experience it as an audience member.

Best Director:  Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Just a terrific thriller that walked a tightrope of styles and emotions and never fell off.  (And Florian Zeller, director of The Father, wasn’t nominated in this category.)

Best Actor in a Leading Role:  Anthony Hopkins, The Father

An extraordinary performance.  Sorry, Chadwick Boseman – who was great in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, but Hopkins was transcendent.

Best Actress in a Leading Role:  Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

I’m torn here between Davis and Carey Mulligan from Promising Young Woman – both were fearless.  So I flipped a coin.  (Note:  I have not yet seen Andra Day in The United States v. Billie Holiday, nor Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman.  So this is an uninformed pick.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:  Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah 

Beats the hell out of me.  I saw all the films in this category and loved all the performances.  But Kaluuya  may be the performances that stayed with me the longest.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:  Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Another coin flip.  I saw all the movies in this category except Hillbilly Elegy – which held no appeal to me, though Glenn Close probably win because the role just looks like Oscar bait and she’s never won an Oscar.  But I thought Bakalova was great, and she won the coin toss. 

Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Father

Brilliant.  Everything I said above still goes.

Best Original Screenplay:  Promising Young Woman or Judas and the Black Messiah

I just can’t make up my mind on this one, and I still have a soft spot for Aaron Sorkin’s work on The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Best Original Song:  “Speak Now,” from One Night in Miami, with music and lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

Terrific song, and besides, I have to root for Odom, with whom I once shared a stage at a Produce Marketing Association convention.  I’m guessing he won’t thank me, though…

A reminder.  This is a list of how I would vote.  My guess/prediction is that Nomadland will probably be a big winner.

Just to elaborate on a point I made above – I was really blown away by Promising Young Woman when I watched it last weekend.  It blends so many different genres, but at heart it is a Hitchcockian thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I really recommend it.

My wine of the week is the 2016 Griffin, from Griffin Creek, a Willamette Valley Vineyard label that comes from the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon.  This is an absolutely delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot that is full-bodied and balanced … perfect with a nicely grilled steak.

That’s it for this week.  I hope you have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

Stay safe.  Be healthy.

Sláinte!

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