Ranking the 2021 Oscar Clips

We’re back, baby! After the Academy made the terrible decision to showcase the 2020 acting nominees without utilizing clips, the one good decision was to bring them back for 2021.  I am here to over-analyze it to death.  Let’s get it!

You went with that?

My heartbeat is pounding in my throat.”

20. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick….BOOM!
19. Troy Kotsur, CODA

Both of these performances were great and plentiful with clip material.  Instead, they went with clips that don’t showcase anything that makes the performance great.  Garfield’s clip was more about Robin de Jesus, while Kotsur’s clip is one I don’t even remember from the film.  There were so many other opportunities and they chose very poorly.

Big and brassy

Believe me, you checked the wrong box.”

18. J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos
17. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos
16. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

This next step you’re about to take, it would be hard for anybody.”

15. Will Smith, King Richard
14. Ciarán Hinds, Belfast
13. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Whoever chooses these clips usually defaults to these moments.  The trio from Being the Ricardos had their clips picked out months ago, though I thought they could have given something better to Simmons.  Smith’s big emotional scene was the one everyone was expecting, while Hinds’ warmth is what you expected as well.  Cumberbatch’s shouting isn’t really indicative of the complexity of his performance, but you can’t blame them for going with what they went with.

Hard to grasp

I don’t want him to be with Phil at all!”

12. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
11. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

You’d better hurry, Phil.”

10. Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter
9. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Sometimes, the brilliance of a performance cannot be captured in clip form.  In all four of these cases, there is so much more than what is encapsulated in a 20-second clip.  Smit-McPhee comes out the best, but it’s much more difficult for the ladies.

Nailed It

Go. Go now.  Don’t look back.”

Just to say how nice it is not being alone.”

8. Judi Dench, Belfast
7. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

It’s seems there circling just me, not you.”

And how sad is that, that we as Christians, who are supposed to love everyone, are afraid so badly of an AIDS patient…”

6. Kristen Stewart, Spencer
5. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Half the work of choosing these clips is not overthinking it.  These four have had the clips that everyone expected them to have, and there is a reason.  Just because the choice is obvious doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Almost Flawless

Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel”

No gracia”

It felt amazing.”

4. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
3. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
2. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

I was really worried when Denzel’s clip came up, but the longer it played, the better it got.  Macbeth has plenty of chances to be clip-worthy, but they took a swing and it worked.  DeBose got her quieter moment to shine with the “No gracias” line hitting hard.  Former clip champion Olivia Colman almost came out on top again with her “…it felt amazing” speech.  But, there can be only one victor…

The Champ

…and you better be glad, because if I was staying here for you, I would have been gone a long time ago”

1. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

We all knew it was coming, but it still hit like a brick anyway.  Not only is it a great clip from a great scene, it gets the nod because of how well it played in the room.  Big cheers from onlookers go a long way.  Congrats to Ellis, who joins Lesley Manville, Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Florence Pugh on a distinguished list.

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