The All-Encompassing Guide to Oscars 2021


Several Oscar trophies await their new holders. Photo credit: Flickr.

Awards season has officially set in. The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on March 14 saw the top echelon of musical artists recognized for their outstanding commitment to their craft and now the 93rd Annual Academy Awards, nicknamed “The Oscars” is set to recognize the wickedly talented actors, writers, producers, and directors who have shared their art with the public this past year.

Here at the Jetstream, good movies are valued, and a new population of movie connoisseurs has spawned from the global pandemic the country is still in the midst of. The Oscars are set for April 25, giving plenty of time for Air Academy students, faculty, and administration to spend free time dissecting the movies released in 2020.

Listing and summarizing the 366 movies eligible for the 2021 Oscars would be nearly impossible in one article, so the Jetstream has compiled a more realistic watch guide along with the input of some members of the Air Academy student community.

The Oscars, as always, encompasses a wide variety of film, ranging from typical high-budget action examples to understated Indie flicks.

It’s likely that the 2021 Oscars will continue the now two-year-long tradition of doing without a regular celebrity host, choosing to focus more on the films themselves. During the past year, nearly every movie has been moved to online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, or Amazon Prime in the absence of true movie theaters. This has prompted changes to film eligibility, allowing more films to be included in the running of the awards this season.

Some films are of course more likely to earn the major awards based on factors such as actors, directors, producers, and budget, so a small list of movies to keep an eye on follows.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” – Starring Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis, directed by George C. Wolfe and produced by Denzel Washington. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” chronicles the collaboration of a well-known blues musician and a young trumpet player in 1920s Chicago.

“Nomadland” – Starring Frances McDormand, written, edited, produced, and directed by Chloe Zhao. In “Nomadland,” recently widowed Fern sets off to travel across the United States, experiencing life to the fullest.

“Mank” – Starring Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, directed by David Fincher. Set in 1930s Hollywood, “Mank” recalls the true story of the writing of “Citizen Kane,” written by Herman J. Mankiewicz.

“One Night in Miami” – Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr., directed by Regina King. During the Civil Rights Movement, a fictional night shared between Mohammed Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown is documented.

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” – Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Eddie Redmayne, directed by Aaron Sorkin. During the 1968 anti-Vietnam War protests led to the prosecution of 7 organizers of the protest, setting up the plot of “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

This is of course nowhere near a full comprehensive list of Oscar nominated films, but it is certainly a manageable watchlist for most casual movie-goers.

A notable absence from the list of movies most likely to earn the major awards of best picture, best director, best actor and best actress is action thriller “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan and starring John David Washington. Numerous members of the Air Academy student community profess “Tenet” as their favorite movie of the year, such as junior Sam Hagen, who commented, “It was such a different type of movie and I loved how it used time.” Junior Eric Bueno added, “I like movies that make me think.”

The 2021 Oscars will air on ABC on April 25 at 8 p.m. ET.