The Academy Awards: What We Didn’t See

oscarIn 2019 I saw seven of the eight films nominated for an Oscar as Best Picture by the  Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

For me, 2019 was a great year at the cinema. Looking back at that list, I realize I even saw one of the Oscar nominees, Black Panther, twice, as well as half of the eighth nominee, Roma, which I still plan to finish one day.  Green Book, inspiring and positive–if not 100% accurate–won the award. I wouldn’t have wanted to choose a winner from so many fine films.

In 2020 I saw three of the nine Oscar nominated movies, not one of which I enjoyed.

I’ll confess I don’t like war movies, so even though I know that 1917 was an important and beautifully done film, I passed on it after watching the trailer multiple times. Unfortunately I didn’t pass on another. After hearing so much hype about Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Proman and I  settled into our den last night and numbly watched as a movie with a drawn out, boring story crept toward horrifying violence.

While many reviewers doted on this film, and it received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, a favorite review conveyed my feelings: “Watching the movie is like listening to a friend explain a Wikipedia article that he’s been obsessed with since he was 15.” (Damian Levy from the Jamaica Gleaner.)

With the exception of Ford Vs. Ferrari and Little Women (whose director was convinced that showing scenes out of order would turn a well loved novel into art) all the films were, in their own way, dark stories of difficult times. I leave it up to you to decide why, after Green Book won an Oscar last year, filmmakers chose so many grim stories to showcase.

In all fairness to the movie industry, though, there’s another list of recent films you might want to see.

Recently Greater Good Magazine published an article describing twelve films that highlight the best of humanity. Films like Harriet (about Harriet Tubman), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (about Fred Rogers), Just Mercy, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, even The Rise of Skywalker.

The article describes each movie and awards it a title like The Compassionate Heroism Award, or The Resilience Award. If you’re looking for thoughtful, sensitive movies to stream or see in the theaters, this may be the list for you.

I will point out that two of the films on the Greater Good list were also nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. Parasite (Oscar winner) and Marriage Story. I haven’t seen either. Although I know the stories, I suspect that after or if I ever recover from Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, I’ll try them both.

Did you have a favorite film last year? Want to share and tell us why?


  1. Jane Dougherty on February 12, 2020 at 10:06 am

    My husband and I are not movie go-ers. We joke that the last movie we saw together was The Sound of Music the first year we were married. This year I did go to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Harriett, and I enjoyed both of them. Most of the movies of today are so full of special effects and vulgarity that they are no longer enjoyable to those of us who are older.I only watch the Oscars to see the dresses .

  2. Coelle Baskel on February 12, 2020 at 10:20 am

    “The Best of Humanity”…………Thank You! It could be my age, but I just can’t view anymore these real disturbing movies or TV shows…..for some reason, it just takes me too long to get over them and I have enough issues trying to sleep at night! Several weeks ago my husband and I saw “Knives Out”. This was more my kind of movie….enough interest and mystery without being too scary or violent…with a surprise ending.

  3. Pamela Feinberg on February 12, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Don’t pass up 1917. When my husband wanted to see it I hemmed and hawed, but it was his turn to pick out a movie. It was excellent! Thank you for the thumbs up on some of the movies. I will definitely have to go see the ones you recommended.

    • Nita Voleski on February 12, 2020 at 6:19 pm

      We saw ‘1917’ last week. Even though I thought it would be a war movie, it was so much more than that. You root for the young soldiers from the beginning. I was sorry to see it only won one award at the Oscars
      I enjoyed ‘Little women’ but could have done without the out of order depiction.

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