Awards season will soon come to its dramatic close with the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, airing on ABC on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. CDT. The awards ceremony will award prizes in 24 categories, most notably Best Picture. Now that the nominations have dropped, Northwestern students (including yours truly) are buzzing with opinions on the nine movies up for consideration.

Ford v Ferrari

This movie from director James Mangold is based on the true story of a team of American engineers and designers working for Henry Ford II to create a race car that will beat the Ferrari racing team. I’m not a car guy myself, so I haven’t seen this one, but according to Communication first-year Ben Swedberg, I should still give it a shot.

“It does a really good job of making you care about cars if you've never thought about cars in your life,” Swedberg said.

The Irishman

This Netflix film from acclaimed director Martin Scorcese takes us into the world of the mob and the complicated relationships of gangsters in the latter half of the 20th century. Once again, not really my speed, especially considering that this movie clocks in at a whopping three hours and 29 minutes long!

Medill fist-year Meher Yeda shared my concern. “It’s just long. It could just be more concise, you know what I mean?” she said. There was a saving grace for the Michigan native, however. “At the end, they show Michigan, and that’s what I’m here for.”

Jojo Rabbit

Director Taika Waititi looks at World War II through a child’s eyes in this satirical film that’s not afraid to tackle the taboo. I typically find war-based movies to be overdone and tired, but this one’s concept and irreverence lets it break from that old mold. It’s a fresh take that Communication first-year Sydney Tennill greatly appreciates. “Leaving Jojo Rabbit, I felt kinda just warm and whole,” she said.


Known for its singular long shot, this World War I epic from director Sam Mendes has received critical acclaim and is among the top contenders for Best Picture. Though the academy may love it, Northwestern students (myself included) aren’t quite as enamored.

1917 was disgusting. Like, I actually thought I was gonna throw up. It was so gory,” said Communication first-year Maggie Grond. “You would just see these dead, decaying bodies. And there was this one point where this man, like, cut his hand open, and then he stuck it into a rotting corpse. I mean, it was a fine movie. I just would never watch it again because it was heinous.”

Beyond the gore, 1917 could also be said to lack originality, recycling old stories of a long-gone war. Communication first-year Shane Chung so eloquently puts it, “war movies are peepee poopoo narratives.”

Little Women

My personal favorite of the year, Little Women, elevates the 1868 book’s old storyline through creative direction and refreshing performances, like those of Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh, who are up for acting awards at the ceremony. Its director Greta Gerwig was notably snubbed for a nomination, with that category filled solely with men, but her masterpiece is no less powerful for it.

“I couldn't understand it for the first 40 minutes, but as soon as I understood it, I started crying,” Swedberg said. “It made me cry for 30 minutes.”


Surprisingly netting the highest number of nominations with 11 (The Irishman, 1917, and Once Upon a Time . . . In Hollywood each received 10), this movie reimagines the story of the classic comic book character the Joker. I personally don’t understand the hype.

Joker is an unusual genre of film to receive such high praise from the academy, a fact Communication first-year Caroline Bates was quick to point out. “Why are we just accepting that Joker is this work of high art now? Any other superhero movie is just always, I don't know, not well respected. But now Joker is, like, everything!” she said.

Marriage Story

Another film from Netflix, Noah Baumbach’s look at a family struggling to make it through a divorce is best known for its star-studded cast, garnering three acting nominations for Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern.

“It’s amazing. One of the best movies of the year. Adam Driver can get it,” said Communication first-year Nico Sagnelli. “I like the part when he punched the wall. I related to it a lot.”

Once Upon a Time . . . In Hollywood

A tribute to the golden age of Hollywood, this Quentin Tarantino film follows a washed-up TV star and his stunt double navigating the film industry of the late ‘60s. It has done well this awards season, but some Northwestern students think it’s time for the sexist Tarantino to retire.

“Tarantino can keep himself and his stupid foot fetish out of theaters for the future as far as I'm concerned,” Swedberg said.

“And his inability to write female characters!” added Medill first-year Jordan Mangi.


Another favorite of mine, this South Korean thriller from Bong Joon-Ho about class warfare has transcended the language barrier to find immense success overseas, especially among Northwestern students.

“My favorite right now is Parasite, just because I feel like it would make a statement in the fact that I think it would be the first foreign film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, and I think if any film’s gonna do it, it's gonna be Parasite,” Bates said.

Chung agreed with another quip: “I hope Parasite wins every category, including Best Animated Feature.”

There you have it: the nine films going for the gold at this year’s Academy Awards. Will 1917 one-shot its way to the win? Will Parasite worm itself into the academy’s hearts? Only time will tell, but hopefully, there’ll be at least a Little recognition for Women.

Thumbnail is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported