By Sam Goforth
The 2020 Academy Award ceremony capped off a year of cinema that was full of masterful directing, genius screenplays, and breathtaking performances that brought back the pure magic, excitement, and competition that the film industry desperately needed. Sure, there were many familiar faces that we seem to see every year on the nomination slabs such as the bright and shiny DiCaprio, DeNiro, and Tarantino names.
However, what we don’t normally see and what is so special about this year’s nomination and award ballot specifically, are the young, refreshing, and wildly talented people who were up for major awards and in some cases took home the Oscar trophy this year this year. Just to name a few we saw: Boon Jong Ho’s masterpiece “Parasite”, Adam Driver in his passionate performance in “Marriage Story”, and Saoirse Ronan in her seemingly flawless depiction in “Little Women.” Young, wildly talented individuals in the film industry today such as these three, are on the rise and have made a habit of putting together memorable performances in the past several years. These up and coming stars, are the future of the industry, and what is so important that we must note about them, is that that they have also created some serious pressure for the normal award favorites such as the prestigious Martin Scorsese, Guillermo Del Toro, and Meryl Streep of this day in age. Now as a result of the incredible performances and films that seemed to sprout all over the globe this year, we have created some healthy competition among filmmakers and in turn this year has produced some of the most iconic films of our generation, chalk full with beautiful scores and performances all the way around.
This competition was not only felt with individuals in the industry directly; but also, us the audience. Since there were so many amazing performances and films in this year alone, the 2020 Oscars gained some hype and attention that we have not seen at this ceremony in a very long time. The shifting of tides within the industry such as: the movement to movie streaming on Netflix, the up and coming acting talent of this generation, and the intimidating competition developing overseas led by Korean Filmmaker Boon Jong Ho, have instilled a sense of healthy competition within the industry that we have not seen for many years, and that will in turn allow for filmmakers to push each other continue to produce more highly reviewed films than the other. As a result, this will make the industry overall way more entertaining for us the audience because we will be getting more years full of wonderful movies.
Perhaps one of the only downsides to this year’s Academy Awards were the amazing individuals who had their work overlooked by the academy this year, such as Lupita Nyong’O, who in my opinion should have absolutely been in the conversation for best Actress in a lead role due to her terrifying performance in “Us”. Nyong’O went on to not gain a slot on the nomination ballot because she technically starred in a Horror movie, which the academy is still learning to see as serious films. She was just one of the few, along with other devastating snubs such as Adam Sandler’s role in “uncut Gems”, and Robert Pattinson being overlooked for the incredible performance he unveiled in the eerie Ari Aster masterpiece “The Lighthouse.” However, with all of this being said, there some films and performances that were simply too good to ignore. Joaquin Phoenix using his so called “method acting”, delivered one of the most terrifying and iconic performances we’ve ever seen in his role as the Joker, in Todd Phillips’ dark and cynical character study. Phoenix went on take home the trophy for best actor in a lead role by a landslide, blowing by big names such as Robert DeNiro, and Leo DiCaprio.
By and large the buzz and hype around this year’s academy awards can be viewed as the spark of which that will revive the movie industry to what many believe it was truly always meant to be. There is a much less mainstream content being poured into films, and rather we are seeing filmmakers put out an art form that expresses a certain feeling or emotion they are trying to convey. The film industry overall is moving in a direction that we, as the audiences can be very happy, and excited with.