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Best 2020 Oscar-nominated movies, according to critics

  • #6. Pain and Glory

    - Director: Pedro Almodóvar
    - Metascore: 88
    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Runtime: 113 min
    - Nominations: 2

    Spanish drama “Pain and Glory” became an acting showcase for Antonio Banderas, who was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance. Banderas portrays a declining film director who is left to contemplate his life decisions, with the film following a number of reunions as he revisits his past. The film was universally acclaimed by critics, and also received a nomination for Best International Feature Film.

  • #5. For Sama

    - Directors: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
    - Metascore: 89
    - IMDb user rating: 8.7
    - Runtime: 100 min
    - Nominations: 1

    “For Sama” covers five years of the Syrian Civil War from the perspective of a mother raising her young child. During these five years, she falls in love with someone and later gives birth to young Sama, and she and her doctor husband must make an urgent decision whether to leave amidst the larger fighting or stay to help the victims. The heartbreaking film is one of the films nominated in the competitive Best Documentary Feature category.

  • #4. Little Women

    - Director: Greta Gerwig
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Runtime: 135 min
    - Nominations: 6

    The Louisa May Alcott book has been adapted multiple times for film, and the latest is a highly acclaimed version from “Lady Bird” writer-director Greta Gerwig. Like other iterations of the story, “Little Women” centers around four sisters (Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen) at various points in their lives, attempting to live on their own terms. Ronan and Pugh received Oscar nominations for their acting, as did Gerwig for Best Adapted Screenplay; the film also has nods for Best Picture, Best Original Score, and Best Costume Design.

  • #3. Marriage Story

    - Director: Noah Baumbach
    - Metascore: 93
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 137 min
    - Nominations: 6

    Writer-director Noah Baumbach took inspiration from his real-life divorce, and those of friends, to make “Marriage Story,” which streamed on Netflix and stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a divorcing couple with a young son. The film’s events take them between New York City and Los Angeles, and what begins as an amicable process becomes increasingly bitter when lawyers (including one played by Laura Dern) become involved. As critics who applauded the film predicted, “Marriage Story” scored nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, acting nominations for Driver, Johansson, and Dern, and Best Original Score (Randy Newman).

  • #2. The Irishman

    - Director: Martin Scorsese
    - Metascore: 94
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 209 min
    - Nominations: 10

    A film that was years in the making, Martin Scorsese finally told the story of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) in the Netflix film “The Irishman.” Also bringing Joe Pesci out of retirement, the film took place over several decades and featured de-aging technology to depict De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci through different stages of their characters’ lives. The effects were impressive enough to garner a Best Visual Effects nomination, with Scorsese receiving Best Picture (with De Niro, also a producer) and Best Director nominations, Pesci and Pacino receiving acting nods, and additional nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing.

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  • #1. Parasite

    - Director: Bong Joon Ho
    - Metascore: 96
    - IMDb user rating: 8.6
    - Runtime: 132 min
    - Nominations: 6

    A harrowing satire and thriller from Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho (“Snowpiercer”), “Parasite” is a tale of class dynamics. After scamming his way into a tutoring job for a rich family, a young man in a financially desperate family brings his sister and both of their parents in on the scheme, slowly infiltrating the richer family’s lives and luxurious home. Critics and audiences unanimously praised the film, the acting, the dark humor, and the film’s overall energy, justifying its several nominations that consist of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, Best Production Design, and Best Film Editing.

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