The nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards were revealed a couple of days ago. As always, there were great surprises, disappointingly safe choices, and frustrating ‘snubs.’ I’ve now had some time to think about the decisions that the various branches of the Academy made, and I want to share with you a couple of thoughts that I have had over the course of the last two days or so. I’m going to talk about a couple of Oscar snubs, but, mostly, I want to talk about the Best Director-category. Or, rather, one of the nominees in that category.
- Not enough love for ‘Tenet.’
Let’s start with one of the most talked-about movies of 2020 — Christopher Nolan’s time-bending spy-thriller Tenet. I know that not everyone loves this movie, but, to me, the release of Nolan’s latest blockbuster, which I liked, was an attempt by the filmmaker to help the movie theater business stay afloat in a very difficult year, and I really thought that the Academy-members would want to celebrate that attempt. In the end, it was only nominated in two categories — Best Production Design and Best Visual Effects — and it missed out on the nomination that it probably deserved the most: Best Original Score. However, I do think there is a chance that Nolan’s criticism of Warner Bros.’s decision to release their films in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously ended up hurting his film in the end.
- No ‘Boys State’ or ‘Dick Johnson Is Dead’ in Best Documentary.
Best Documentary didn’t exactly turn out the way I thought it would. While my favorite documentary film of 2020 was nominated, I was shocked that neither Boys State nor Kirsten Johnson’s Dick Johnson Is Dead was nominated for the prestigious award. I don’t know what went wrong for Kirsten Johnson’s film during awards campaigning, but I think I know the reason why Boys State ended up being snubbed. I think the problem for Boys State was the fact that it was an Apple TV+ film, which was thus perhaps not as accessible to the Academy-members as other documentaries were. Apple TV+ did end up with a couple of nominations (for Greyhound and Wolfwalkers) but they definitely hoped Boys State would also earn a nomination.
- A Best Picture category that I don’t know a lot about.
One of the frustrating things about this awards season has been the fact that most of the major awards contenders were only released in the United States. Take a look at the Best Picture-category for example. Only 2 of the 8 films nominated for Best Picture this year can be seen in Denmark right now. Thanks to Netflix and their focus on releasing films everywhere in the world on the same date, Danes can watch Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7 right now if they have a Netflix subscription.
However, Danes have to wait to see the remaining six films in theaters, which have been closed for several months now. Amazon’s Sound of Metal opened in Danish theaters right as the theaters were ordered to close, and, frustratingly, it has not been made available on Prime Video in Denmark. It is really disappointing that people outside of the United States probably have to wait until after the ceremony to watch most of the major films that will be celebrated at the ceremony.
- No Delroy Lindo or Mads Mikkelsen in Best Actor.
Two of my favorite films of 2020 are Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round (actually, that’s my favorite film of 2020), and both of those films featured some of the year’s very best acting performances. Ultimately, even though they deserved to be nominated, neither Delroy Lindo nor Mads Mikkelsen ended up with Oscar nominations on nomination morning. That is really disappointing, and I hope they get the nominations (and possibly wins) that they deserve in the future.
- Thomas Vinterberg was nominated for Best Director for ‘Another Round’ (Danish Title: Druk).
Okay, with the snubs and disappointments out of the way, it’s now finally time to talk about my favorite moment of Oscar nomination morning — Another Round‘s two nominations! Firstly, Another Round was nominated for Best International Film, a category for which it had been considered a frontrunner for quite some time.
This is the category that my favorite film of 2020 actually has a realistic chance to win. It won’t be easy, as there are other exceptionally good international films out there, but I think Another Round, the Danish selection, has a pretty good chance in the category this year thanks to the way the film’s very memorable ending makes you feel, and thanks to the respect and acclaim that both its star, Mads Mikkelsen, and its director, Thomas Vinterberg, have earned both for this film and previous films.
I really hope that Another Round wins the Best International Film-category. I think it is a wonderful film, and I truly do think it is the best film of 2020. However, it wasn’t the only nomination it got on nomination morning. After Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas had read out the nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress, I looked down at my phone for a moment, since I didn’t expect anything shocking to happen. And then I heard something that really made me happy: “Thomas Vinterberg.” Thomas Vinterberg, arguably the best Danish film director of the last twenty-five years or so, was nominated for Best Director, even though he wasn’t nominated at the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards, or the DGA Awards (though he was nominated at the BAFTAs).
This makes Thomas Vinterberg the first Danish film director to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, and I am so happy for him. As a Dane, it makes me very proud that a Danish film director was nominated for Best Director for a film entirely in Danish. That really should mean a lot to the Danish film industry, and I’m pretty sure Thomas Vinterberg is also elated. He really deserves this moment in the spotlight. At the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, I really hope he gets to go up on stage, thank the Academy, and dedicate an award to his daughter, Ida.
– Article Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.