Some lesser films got chance to shine during pandemic Oscars

China-born filmmaker Chloe Zhao won her first Oscar, for Best Director, for “Nomadland,” her third film, which also won the Academy Award for Best Picture, at the 93rd Academy Awards on April 25, 2021. Photo courtesy of Associated Press

She’s the best thing about this grim survival flick

Angelina Jolie and Finn Little are on the run from mysterious assassins and a raging forest fire in “Those Who Wish Me Dead.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Dementia film features Anthony Hopkins in top form

Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins star in “The Father,” which earned Hopkins his second Oscar (for Best Actor), on six nominations. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Tender film about Korean immigrants a deceptively pretty picture

Steven Yeun, Noel Cate Cho, Alan Kim and Han Ye-ri, from left, star in Lee Isaac Chung’s film “Minari,” about Korean immigrants making a go of it in Arkansas. Photo courtesy of A24

But film features career-best performance by Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan stars as Cassie, a med school dropout with vengeance in her soul, in Emerald Fennell’s debut feature film “Promising Young Woman.” Photo courtesy of Focus Features

Acceptance, community take center stage in Best Picture nominee

Riz Ahmed stars as a drummer in a metal band who loses his hearing in “Sound of Metal,” directed by Darius Marder. Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

David Fincher’s father would be pleased, but the movie is a slog

Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) and actress Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), rear top, meet cute in David Fincher’s “Mank.” Photo courtesy of Netflix

Aaron Sorkin’s film comes out against injustice

Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch and Sacha Baron Cohen, from left, star as Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger and Abbie Hoffman, respectively, in the Aaron Sorkin film “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Photo courtesy of Netflix

More nominations meant more recognition for diverse voices, with uneven results

Audience members at the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre exhibit a range of emotions watching “Moonlight” win the Oscar for Best Picture minutes after the honor was mistakenly awarded to “La La Land,” on Feb. 26, 2017. Photo courtesy of Associated Press

But Chloe Zhao’s film doesn’t tell us how to feel

Frances McDormand and David Strathairn share a quiet moment in the Badlands of South Dakota in “Nomadland,” directed by Chloe Zhao. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Warm3wind

Todd Hill is a former journalist with 30 years of experience, much of it in film criticism, who misses neither journalism nor the film beat.

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