Movies Update: Oscar Nominations and More

Plus, a talk with Zack Snyder.

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By Mekado Murphy

Movies Editor

Hey, movie fans!

The Oscar nominations were announced this week, making history in the process. It’s the first time that two women (Emerald Fennell and Chloé Zhao) were nominated in the directing category. And Zhao is the first Chinese woman nominated for best director. It’s also the first time that two men of Asian heritage (Riz Ahmed and Steven Yeun) have been nominated for best actor. And Ahmed is the first Muslim nominated in that category. On the best picture side, it’s the first time an all-Black producing team (Shaka King, Ryan Coogler and Charles D. King of “Judas and the Black Messiah”) has been nominated for that award. Read more about the snubs and surprises of the day, take a deeper dive into the best-picture race and also check out where you can stream the nominated films to prepare for the April 25 ceremony.

Block out four hours. The Snyder Cut is here. Zack Snyder’s expanded version of his 2017 superhero film “Justice League” is now streaming on HBO Max. We have an interview with Snyder and a review from Maya Phillips, who writes: “The supersized run time allows the narrative room to stretch, for better or for worse.”

Also out this week, a Netflix documentary on the college admissions bribery scandal, a crime thriller about the murders of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, and a Cold War-era spy drama with Benedict Cumberbatch.

Enjoy the movies.



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Critic’s Pick

‘Operation Varsity Blues’ Review: Failing the Ethics Test

Chris Smith’s gripping documentary looks deeper into the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal.

By Amy Nicholson

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Kino Lorber

Critic’s Pick

‘Wojnarowicz’ Review: A Revolutionary Provocateur

A documentary on the artist David Wojnarowicz shows the ways that the rebel was a prophet, and honors him appropriately.

By Glenn Kenny

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Taskovski Films

Critic’s Pick

‘Before the Dying of the Light’ Review: Moroccan Cinema’s Attempted Revolution

This Ali Essafi documentary presents an inspiring view of the roiling visual-arts scene in 1970s Morocco.

By Glenn Kenny

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Critic’s Pick

‘The Fever’ Review: Tropical Maladies

Maya Da-Rin’s extraordinary film details the intimate life of an Indigenous family in the Brazilian city of Manaus.

By Devika Girish


‘The Courier’ Review: Secrets and Spies

Benedict Cumberbatch plays a salesman-turned-secret agent in this stuffy Cold War drama.

By Jeannette Catsoulis

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‘Groomed’ Review: Confronting Patterns of Abuse

In this distressing documentary, a filmmaker confronts her own lingering trauma as she explores how perpetrators prime victims for abuse.

By Natalia Winkelman

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‘City of Lies’ Review: Dirty Cops and a Dangerous Conspiracy

Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker head up this artless procedural about the murders of two rap artists.

By Jeannette Catsoulis

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‘Luz’ Review: Love In and Out of Lockup

In this romantic drama from Jon Garcia, two men find love in prison, then try to make it work on the outside.

By Teo Bugbee

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‘After the Murder of Albert Lima’ Review: Justice His Own Way

In this true crime documentary, a man ventures with two bounty hunters into Honduras to avenge the killing of his father. But the film struggles to fit the crime.

By Robert Daniels

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‘Happily’ Review: Does Long-Lived Love Mean You Need Treatment?

In this keeps-you-guessing comedy, Joel McHale and Kelly Bishé play a couple married for 14 years whose mutual passion is undimmed, to the annoyance of their friends.

By Glenn Kenny

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‘Rose Plays Julie’ Review: An Eerie Thriller With Mirrored Traumas

Sexual violence and adoption bracket the life of a young woman seeking a family connection and finding a #MeToo legacy instead.

By Kristen Yoonsoo Kim

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‘Martha: A Picture Story’ Review: Snapshots of a Career

This documentary recounts the work of Martha Cooper, a photographer instrumental in establishing the validity of street art.

By Ben Kenigsberg

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Glen Wilson/Warner Bros. Pictures, via Associated Press

The Projectionist

2021 Oscars Nominations: Snubs and Surprises for Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield and Jodie Foster

The two men are up for supporting actor in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” a best picture candidate. So who was the star? And the Globes’ best supporting actress was shut out.

By Kyle Buchanan

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Maggie Shannon for The New York Times

Zack Snyder’s Rough and Tumble Ride With ‘Justice League’

The director digs into his exit from the original version of the epic and what led to his edit, the Snyder Cut, which HBO Max will release Thursday. “Am I a provocateur? A little bit.”

By Dave Itzkoff

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Imrana Kapetanovic/Deblokada

Making a Movie About a Genocide That Some Still Deny

For years, Jasmila Zbanic hoped someone else would dramatize the worst atrocity of the Balkan wars. Instead, she did so with “Quo Vadis, Aida?” and it has been nominated for an Oscar.

By Alex Marshall

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Ryan Pfluger for The New York Times

How Honest Can Demi Lovato Be?

The singer is opening up about her queerness, her near fatal overdose and her journey to living her truth. “I’m ready to feel like myself,” she said.

By Caryn Ganz

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