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Best 2020 Oscar-nominated movies, according to critics

  • #16. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

    - Director: Marielle Heller
    - Metascore: 80
    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Runtime: 109 min
    - Nominations: 1

    Beloved American actor Tom Hanks portrayed the even-more beloved television figure Fred Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which followed a jaded Esquire journalist (Matthew Rhys) profiling the extremely optimistic and hopeful television personality. The film was praised as graceful and heartfelt, with Hanks’ performance at the center. Hanks then received his first acting nomination in about 20 years, in the category of Best Supporting Actor.

  • #15. The Edge of Democracy

    - Director: Petra Costa
    - Metascore: 81
    - IMDb user rating: 7.4
    - Runtime: 121 min
    - Nominations: 1

    Brazilian documentary “The Edge of Democracy” centered around an intense political era of which many international audiences may have been ignorant. The personal film followed director Petra Costa’s perspective on the tumultuous changes in the Brazilian government, from the first mandate of President Lula to the impeachment of his successor, President Dilma Rousseff. The intense and intimate documentary ultimately received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature.

  • #14. I Lost My Body

    - Director: Jérémy Clapin
    - Metascore: 81
    - IMDb user rating: 7.6
    - Runtime: 81 min
    - Nominations: 1

    One of the quirkier films in the Best Animated Feature category is a French fantasy film called “I Lost My Body,” with the premise as literal as the title suggests. The film follows a young lovestruck piano player, while also following a severed hand in search of the rest of its body. Critics appreciated its beautiful animation and unique tone.

  • #13. Ford v Ferrari

    - Director: James Mangold
    - Metascore: 81
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Runtime: 152 min
    - Nominations: 4

    In an underdog racing film, Christian Bale and Matt Damon portray a pair who lead a 1960s team commissioned by Henry Ford II to build a new car to compete with, and beat, the Ferrari team in France. With so much Oscar-nominated power behind the film, “Ford v Ferrari” received the coveted Best Picture nomination. The film’s technical prowess was also lauded—especially for the racing sequences—earning the film nominations for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

  • #12. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    - Director: Quentin Tarantino
    - Metascore: 83
    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Runtime: 161 min
    - Nominations: 10

    In Quentin Tarantino’s ode to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a fictional fading actor named Rick Dalton, who just happens to be neighbors with Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) in 1969. Brad Pitt portrays Cliff Booth, Dalton’s loyal stunt double, and the film contains numerous references to 1960s television shows and films. The acting highlighted the film, along with Tarantino’s directing and screenplay, with DiCaprio, Pitt, and Tarantino receiving nominations (Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay), and additional nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.

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  • #11. The Lighthouse

    - Director: Robert Eggers
    - Metascore: 83
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 109 min
    - Nominations: 1

    “The Witch” director Robert Eggers re-teamed with studio A24 to bring yet another unsettling piece of cinema, this time starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in scenery-chewing fashion. Pattinson plays the new wickie for a lighthouse on an isolated New England island, which is supervised by Dafoe’s ornery character. The film explores their loss of sanity during a storm, and the black-and-white photography landed the film a Best Cinematography nomination.

  • #10. Toy Story 4

    - Director: Josh Cooley
    - Metascore: 84
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 100 min
    - Nominations: 2

    Although “Toy Story 3” was seen as a perfect ending to the classic Pixar series, critics were won over again by “Toy Story 4,” which featured Woody (Tom Hanks) reuniting with lost toy Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and questioning his role with his new kid Bonnie. Alongside Hanks and Potts were returning voice performers Tim Allen and Joan Cusack and a number of new characters contributing to a heartfelt plot that provided closure to Woody’s story. Like the previous “Toy Story” films, a Randy Newman song gained a nomination (“I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away”), while the film itself is up for Best Animated Feature.

  • #9. The Cave

    - Director: Feras Fayyad
    - Metascore: 84
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Runtime: 107 min
    - Nominations: 1

    This Syrian-Danish documentary film from director Feras Fayyad shed light on a particular angle in the ongoing Syrian Civil War. “The Cave” follows Amani Ballour, a female doctor who uses a cave as a makeshift hospital during the increasingly violent conflict. Fayyad created the film to showcase the innocent victims of the war, and critics responded favorably, with the film garnering an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature.

  • #8. American Factory

    - Directors: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
    - Metascore: 86
    - IMDb user rating: 7.6
    - Runtime: 115 min
    - Nominations: 1

    Barack and Michelle Obama’s film production company produced “American Factory,” a documentary that followed an Ohio factory owned by a Chinese manufacturing company. The plant was previously owned by General Motors, and the directors filmed the factory from 2015 to 2017 in a fly-on-the-wall manner to show the dynamics in this globalized work environment. The film was considered thoughtful and compelling, eventually receiving a nomination for Best Documentary Feature.

  • #7. Honeyland

    - Directors: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov
    - Metascore: 86
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 86 min
    - Nominations: 2

    The documentary film “Honeyland” is representing North Macedonia at the Oscars through the Best International Feature Film Category. It tells the story of a beekeeper in a remote village and condenses 400 hours of footage into an 87-minute documentary about her life and relationships, especially with her 85-year-old mother and a neighbor. Even taking place in a quaint little area didn’t stop the film from resonating heavily with critics and viewers.

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