Oscar-Lauded ‘The Father’ Due on Disc May 18

The drama The Father, which earned Anthony Hopkins a Best Actor Oscar, will come out on DVD and Blu-ray May 18 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film, nominated for a total of six Academy Awards, also earned an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

It is already available for digital purchase.

In The Father, a man (Hopkins) refuses all assistance from his daughter (Olivia Colman) as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.

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Special features include deleted scenes and the featurettes “Homecoming: Making The Father” and “Perception Check: Portrait of The Father.”

‘Nomadland’ Takes Top Honors at 93rd Academy Awards; Netflix Wins 7 Oscars

The pandemic-delayed Academy Awards ceremony took place April 25 at Union Station in Los Angeles, honoring a number of films that saw their traditional theatrical releases upended in lieu of online availability.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for their part, pushed back eligibility for the 93rd Academy Awards beyond the 2020 calendar year to movies released by Feb. 28, 2021.

Meanwhile, films available on Netflix, which has long sought to disrupt traditional theatrical distribution anyway, won seven trophies out of the 23 categories presented.

The Oscar for Best Picture went to Nomadland, an exploration of modern-day van life on the road starring Frances McDormand, who won Best Actress for the role, her third career Oscar in the category, putting her behind only Katharine Hepburn’s four. Nomadland also won Best Director for Chloé Zhao, who became only the second woman to ever win the directing Oscar, following Kathryn Bigelow for 2009’s The Hurt Locker. Zhao and McDormand as producers of Nomadland also received statuettes for its Best Picture win.

Read our review of the Blu-ray Disc edition of ‘Nomadland’ HERE

McDormand urged audiences to return to theaters as soon as possible and to watch Nomadland on the largest screen possible. It was released concurrently in theaters and on Hulu Feb. 19 (though it did screen at some film festivals and limited engagements last year), and became available for digital purchase April 13 before arriving on Blu-ray Disc April 27.

Sony Pictures’ The Father won Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins and for Best Adapted Screenplay. Hopkins, who won his second Best Actor Oscar after winning for playing Hannibal Lecter in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, at age 83 is now the oldest performer to win an acting Oscar for playing a man whose family must deal with his growing dementia. The film is available on premium VOD.

Warner’s Judas and the Black Messiah won Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Kaluuya and Best Original Song for “Fight for You.” The film was released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures Feb. 12 simultaneously in theaters and for streaming on HBO Max before coming to premium VOD April 2. It will be released for digital sellthrough April 27, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 4.

Best Supporting Actress went to Yuh-Jung Youn for Minari. The veteran Korean actress plays the grandmother of a South Korean family that moves to the rural United States during the 1980s. Lionsgate will release the film on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally May 18.

Pixar’s Soul, which saw its theatrical release scrapped in lieu of a Christmas Day debut on Disney+ domestically (it played in theaters internationally), won two trophies, for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score. It was released on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally March 23 by Disney.

Promising Young Woman, available on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally from Universal Pictures, won for Best Original Screenplay for Emerald Fennell.

Denmark’s Another Round won Best International Feature Film. A co-production with the Netherlands and Sweden, the dark comedy stars Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang and Lars Ranthe as a group of friends who decide their lives would be happier if they drank enough alcohol to maintain a constant buzz without getting fully drunk. Another Round is available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital sellthrough from Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, widely available on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD and digital from Warner Bros., won Best Visual Effects.

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Among Netflix’s haul, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom won two Oscars, for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and for Best Costume Design. The film adapts the 1982 August Wilson play about influential blues singer Ma Rainey and a turbulent recording session in Chicago in 1927.

Another Netflix movie, Mank, also won two Oscars, for Best Production Design and Best Cinematography. The black-and-white film re-creates the 1930s and 1940s in depicting screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz developing the screenplay for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.

The live-action and animated Oscar winners also are available on Netflix. Best Live-Action Short Film Two Distant Strangers is about a black man caught in a time loop that always ends with him being killed by police. Best Animated Short Film If Anything Happens I Love You follows two grieving parents as they struggle to confront the death of their daughter, who was killed in a school shooting.

The Netflix original My Octopus Teacher Won Best Documentary Feature. The film chronicles filmmaker Craig Foster’s efforts to build a relationship with a wild common octopus in a South African kelp forest.

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Another streaming original, Sound of Metal, released on Amazon Prime Video Dec. 4, won two Oscars, for Best Film Editing and Best Sound. The film stars Riz Ahmed as a metal drummer dealing with losing his hearing. The Best Sound category is a combination of the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing categories that had previously been presented separately.

Best Documentary Short Subject went to Colette, which follows former French Resistance member Colette Marin-Catherine as she travels to Germany for the first time in 74 years. The film was co-produced by Oculus and Respawn Entertainment as part of the documentary gallery for the virtual-reality video game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, making it the first Oscar nominee and winner produced by a video game studio.

Amazon’s Oscar-Nominated Doc ‘Time’ Streaming Free for a Week

The Oscar-nominated Amazon Original documentary Time is streaming for free to audiences globally without needing a Prime subscription.

Starting April 12, the film will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall as well as streaming on YouTube for one week.

Time, from filmmaker Garrett Bradley, will also return to theaters starting April 16 in New York at the Village East, Los Angeles at The Landmark and San Francisco at the Embarcadero.

If Time wins, it would mark the first time ever a Black female director would win an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

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The documentary follows entrepreneur, abolitionist and mother of six boys Fox Rich, who has spent the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob G. Rich, who is serving a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed in the early ’90s in a moment of desperation. Combining the video diaries Fox has recorded for Rob over the years with intimate glimpses of her present-day life, Bradley paints a portrait of the resilience and radical love necessary to prevail over the endless separations of the country’s prison-industrial complex.

Time cross-cuts footage from the past and present, framing it with a voiceover from Fox and her sons to provide a uniquely intimate perspective into the long-term costs of incarceration: the children who grow up without fathers, and the mothers who are forced to become caregivers and legal experts all at once.

Oscar Nominee ‘Minari’ Coming to Disc May 18

Six-time Oscar nominee Minari will debut on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (plus digital) May 18 from Lionsgate.

The film, which won the best foreign-language film Golden Globe, the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and two Critics Choice Awards, follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother.

Minari stars Academy Award nominee Steven Yeun (2020, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Minari), Yeri Han (TV’s “My Unfamiliar Family,” “Nokdu Flower,” Worst Woman)Critics Choice Award winner Alan Kim (2021, Best Young Actor, Minari), Noel Kate Cho, Academy Award nominee Yuh-jung Youn (2020, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Minari), and Will Patton (TV’s “Falling Skies,” Halloween, TV’s “Swamp Thing”).

The film was also nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Lee Isaac Chung), Best Screenplay (Chung) and Best Original Score.

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Special features include deleted scenes, the featurette “Sowing Seeds: Making Minari,” and audio commentary with writer-director Chung and actress Yuh-jung Youn.

Promising Young Woman

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 3/16/21;
Universal;
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Dark Comedy;
Box Office $5.5 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence including sexual assault, language throughout, some sexual material and drug use.
Stars Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Sam Richardson, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Adam Brody.

Striking right at the core of gender relations brought to the fore by the #MeToo movement, Promising Young Woman is a relentless revenge thriller that expertly walks a line between dark comedy, tragedy and drama led by a beautifully nuanced performance from Carey Mulligan, who just received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for it.

Emerald Fennell (who served as showrunner on “Killing Eve” and plays Camilla on “The Crown”) received three well-deserved Academy Award nominations for her directorial debut (Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay) for this story than broaches a wrenching subject while keeping the audience laughing and gasping on a roller coaster journey through one woman’s pathos and secret fury. (The film also received an Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing for a total of five noms.)

Promising Young Woman follows Cassie (Mulligan), a former medical student who was headed for success until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. By day a young woman going nowhere as a barista, by night Cassie lives a secret double life. An unexpected encounter with an old classmate gives her a chance to avenge the wrongs of the past.

At turns a horror story, a romantic comedy and a tragedy, the film plays with familiar tropes in the narrative and film history of male-female relations and power dynamics. With a hot score and vibrant, eye-popping art direction, set design, costumes and makeup, it’s a truly unique film that defies categorization. Dark comedy elements provide levity, but the film also takes a deep dive into the characters’ multiple facets. As noted in the bonus features, the film portrays men who think of themselves as “good guys,” while doing morally questionable, even horrible things. Then there’s Cassie, an engaging, attractive and smart avenging angel/devil who leaves emotional turmoil in her wake. This tension between the light and dark side of humanity allows the actors to explore a layer cake of emotions and elicits some truly great performances.

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Bonus features include three featurettes: “A Promising Vision,” in which Fennell discusses her inspirations for creating the film; “Two-Sided Transformation,” a look at Mulligan in the role of Cassie and how filmmakers used wardrobe, hair and makeup to express the balance between light and dark; and “Balancing Act,” in which cast members discuss their unexpected reactions to the careful balance of levity and tragedy in Fennell’s take on female revenge.

There’s also a commentary with Fennell, who provides a detailed explanation of key elements in the film, including set design, framing, and makeup and costume choices. As do the best commentaries, Fennell’s leaves viewers with a greater appreciation for the artistry and thought process behind this complicated film and makes a second pass through Promising Young Woman with commentary well worth the time.

People of Color, Women, Streamers Dominate 93rd Oscar Nominations

Netflix’s Mank led a set of nominations reflecting increased diversity for the 93rd Academy Awards, which honors movies released in 2020.

In a livestream from London March 15, actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and her musician-actor husband Nick Jonas read the nominees covering 23 categories for the Oscars, which will air on ABC TV on April 25 from both Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Mank, starring Gary Oldman — a film about scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, who wrote Citizen Kane — earned 10 nominations, including best picture and best director (David Fincher). Oldman was nominated for best actor, while Amanda Seyfried earned a nom for best supporting actress.

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For the first time, a record nine non-white actors were nominated for awards, including Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari), Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami), LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah), Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), the late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Steven Yeun (Minari), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday).

Notably, two women, Emerald Fennell (for Promising Young Woman) and Chloe Zhao (Nomadland), were nominated for best director for the first time.

Six movies earned six nominations each, including Netflix’s Judas and the Black Messiah; Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7; A24’s Minari; Sony Pictures Classics’ The Father;  Searchlight Pictures’ Nomadland (available on Hulu); and Amazon Studios’ Sound of Metal. Focus Features’ Promising Young Woman received five nominations.

Academy Temporarily Waives Theatrical Requirement for Oscars Eligibility of 2020 Films

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences April 28 announced that, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is waiving the requirement that films screen in theaters to be eligible for Oscars consideration at the 93rd Academy Awards.

Typically, films are required to be shown in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County for at least seven consecutive days, with at least three screenings per day, to qualify for Oscars consideration. However, due to the coronavirus all L.A. theaters have been shut down since March. As a result, the Academy declared that films intended for a theatrical run that instead debuted on a streaming platform or VOD service would still be considered for nomination in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards to be held Feb. 28, 2021.

The special dispensation will apply to this awards year only, according to the rules approved by the Academy’s Board of Governors, and only while theaters remain closed.

The film must still be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release, and the film must meet all other eligibility requirements.

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This is good news for films such as Universal’s Trolls World Tour and Warner’s Scoob!, which skipped theatrical runs in favor of a direct-to-VOD premiere, but can now still be considered for awards such as Best Animated Feature.

The Academy further specified that the exemption would be removed once theaters reopen in accordance with government-approved guidelines, at which point standard theatrical qualifications would again apply.

As such, with theaters looking to re-open by the end of summer, Netflix would still need to stage a token theatrical run for its year-end original movies to qualify them for the awards.

“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty.  We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever.”

For films to more easily meet theatrical exhibition requirements when theaters reopen, the Academy will expand the number of qualifying theaters beyond Los Angeles County to include venues in additional U.S. metropolitan areas, including New York City, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Film festivals that have been impacted by the pandemic may provide films online through either a transactional pay wall or password-protected entry, which will not affect the films’ eligibility for future Academy Awards qualification. The Academy will allow an exemption for those films that are released online through an impacted festival’s online platform, provided that proof of inclusion in the festival is submitted.  With these provisions, films will be expected to comply with all other eligibility requirements for the 93rd Academy Awards.

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The Board of Governors also announced rules changes in the Sound, Music and International Feature Film categories. The separate Sound Mixing and Sound Editing will be combined into a single Achievement in Sound award going forward; music scores must comprise a minimum of 60% original music, with sequels and franchise films requiring 80% originality; and all eligible Academy members will now be invited to participate in the preliminary round of voting for Best International Feature Film.

In addition, the Academy announced that the 93rd Awards season will be the final year DVD screeners will be distributed. Citing environmental concerns, the Academy will mandate digital screeners for 2021 films and beyond, covering the 94th Academy Awards and after. The distribution of physical music CDs, screenplays and hardcopy mailings, including but not limited to paper invites and screening schedules, also will be discontinued.