Traditionally, Oscar nominations land early in the year, but it’s safe to say 2021’s ceremony will be different than most. While we don’t know exactly how it’s going to work yet, given how coronavirus has shaken up every aspect of the film industry, it’s likely the Oscars will proceed in relative normality (social distancing included). They’re a tradition that’s continued for more than 90 years and despite a short two-month delay, they still look set to go ahead in April 2021.
With that in mind, it’s time to cast our ballots and shout-out a bunch of movies that rarely get the Oscars recognition they deserve: genre films.
Sci-fi, fantasy and horror flicks are often seen as ‘low brow’ entertainment, or less ‘substantial’ than their drama, period and comedy pals. But there were some excellent genre films released in 2020 despite the challenges of the pandemic, and many of them deserve recognition for their heart, humour and entertainment value.
Here’s every sci-fi, fantasy and horror film the Gizmodo Australia crew would love to see become Oscar nominees in 2021.
Birds of Prey – Costume Design
Birds of Prey is an excellent, fun film but it’s the costume design where it really shines. Harley alone rocks at least five different iconic outfits throughout the movie, including the spectacular yellow jumpsuit pictured above, the sparkly ‘caution tape’ jacket, a screen-printed tee with her own name printed on it (a massive flex) and a blue coat and red glasses combo that would look killer on the runway.
But it’s not just Harley that rocks a fabulous outfit in this film.
Both Huntress and Black Canary wear great, jazzy costumes that take direct inspiration from their comic counterparts, but with a distinct Birds of Prey spin. Couple that with the excellent wardrobe of Black Mask, and you have one very fashionable film.
The outfits here are to die for, and they certainly deserve a nod.
Palm Springs – Music (Original Score), Best Picture
The Palm Springs score is a certified banger and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be called out for Best Original Score. The whole movie rocks a low-fi aesthetic, with electronic beats and whining chords backing a sci-fi infused tale about love and being trapped in time loops. ‘Sarah Drives to Austin‘ is a standout track, but the vibes of the entire album are just fantastic.
It helps flesh out the film’s fantastic story, which is also buoyed by heartfelt performances from Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti.
While contending for Best Picture might seem like a big ask of an low budget indie flick, every piece of Palm Springs just works. It’s sweet, endearing and incredibly well-told. While it’s surely an underdog, we’d love to see a nomination here.
Sonic the Hedgehog – Visual Effects
Sonic the Hedgehog was a near-disaster but thanks to the work of some incredible special effects artists, it was saved from the pit of laughable mediocrity. The Sonic we see in the final film is a great work of CGI and character design, and perfectly brings the Sonic of the video games to life. Combined with great voice work from Ben Schwartz, he’s a perfectly loveable creation and the effort that went into his design should be lauded.
While the film itself is more entertaining than Oscar-worthy, it’s hard to argue how well the visual effects work here. The fight sequence between Eggman and Sonic at the conclusion of the film is particularly spectacular, and it deserves a shout out regardless of how well-reviewed the film was.
Sonic the Hedgehog was an underrated hit in 2020, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be in contention for best Visual Effects.
Bill & Ted Face The Music – Makeup and Hairstyling
Bill & Ted Face The Music should get a shout out for best makeup simply for the prison scene alone.
In this extremely good sequence, Bill and Ted run into their future counterparts, who just so happen to be muscle-bound macho men who rule the prison scene. It’s hard to tell under all those prosthetics, but that’s Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in the image above. It’s spectacular work, and absolutely deserves a nom.
Check out that six pack, and the way their latex muscles ripple. Check out Keanu’s hair. Total masterpiece, give it all the Oscars.
Onward – Animated Feature Film
Onward was one of the last films showing in theatres before coronavirus changed global plans, but if you didn’t manage to check it out then you should absolutely watch it now. It’s a gorgeous tale about magic and brotherhood, with all the heart Disney has become known for. Ian and Barley are great characters, and the magical quest they go on is filled with excellent humour and a story children and adults can appreciate.
It’s a beautiful journey, and one deserving of an Oscar nod. It doesn’t have much strong competition this year (outside of Soul) so it’s likely it’ll get name-dropped at the very least.
The Invisible Man – Best Picture, Best Actress (Elisabeth Moss)
The Invisible Man is an incredible, tense thriller helmed by a stellar performance from Elisabeth Moss. It’s a haunting tale, and one that deeply analyses the impact abusive and gaslighting relationships have on women. While it’s couched in a fantasy setting, the horror behind The Invisible Man is deeply real. It’s an essential commentary on how women can be manipulated into abusive relationships, but it also shows just how powerful they can be.
Elisabeth Moss is absolutely magnetic as Cecilia Kass, and both she and the film should be up for some form of Oscars recognition. It’s an important film, and one that’ll stick with you for a long, long time.
The full list of Oscar nominations will drop on March 15, 2021.
Stay tuned to Gizmodo Australia for more news about the Oscars and how you can tune in from Australia.