2021 Academy Awards: ‘Nomadland’ is the top winner

April 25, 2021

by Carla Hay

“Nomadland” producer Peter Spears, Frances McDormand, Chloé Zhao, Mollye Asher and Dan Janvey at the 93rd annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 25, 2021. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

With three prizes, including Best Picture, “Nomadland” was the top winner for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards, which took place place at Union Station and at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on April 25, 2021. There was no host for the ceremony, which was telecast in the U.S. on ABC. Searchlight Pictures’ “Nomadland” also won the awards for Best Director (for Chloé Zhao) and Best Actress (for Frances McDormand). In the movie, McDormand portrays a widow who lives out of her van and travels across different states in U.S. to find work.

With 10 nods, the Netflix drama “Mank” was the top nominee and ended up with two Academy Awards. Movies that won two Oscars each included:

  • “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures): Best Supporting Actor (for Daniel Kaluuya), Best Original Song (“Fight for You”)
  • “Mank” (Netflix): Best Production Design, Best Cinematography
  • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix): Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design
  • “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios): Best Film Editing, Best Sound
  • “Soul” (Pixar Studios): Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score

The awards are voted for by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For the 2021 ceremony, eligible movies were those released in the U.S. in 2020 and (due to the coronavirus pandemic) the eligibility period was extended to movies released in January and February 2021. Because of the pandemic, movies that were planned for a theatrical release but were released directly to home video or on streaming services were also eligible. Beginning with the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony, there will be a required 10 movies nominated for Best Picture. From 2009 to 2021, the rule was that there could be five to 10 movies per year nominated for Best Picture.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were less people invited to the Oscar ceremony in 2021. The presenters included Riz Ahmed, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Bong Joon Ho, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Yeun, Renée Zellweger and Zendaya.

The 2021 Oscar ceremony also marked big changes to the show in other ways. Performances of the year’s Oscar-nominated songs usually take place during the ceremony. Instead, the performances of the five nominated songs were in pre-recorded and televised during the 90-minute pre-show telecast “Oscars: Into the Spotlight,” which included live interviews from the Oscar red carpet. This pre-show telecast was hosted by actors Ariana DeBose and Lil Rel Howery.

Howery acted as an unofficial emcee during parts of the Oscar telecast, which included a segment where Howery played a trivia game where people in the audience had to guess if a song was an Oscar winner, an Oscar nominee or wasn’t nominated for an Oscar at all. The segment started out flat and awkward. Andra Day got her answer correct that Prince’s “Purple Rain” song wasn’t even nominated. (However, the “Purple Rain” soundtrack score did an Oscar.)Kaluuya incorrectly guessed that Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” didn’t win an Oscar. (It did.)

But the segment end up being saved by Glenn Close, who correctly guessed that E.U.’s “Da Butt” (from Spike Lee’s 1988 movie “School Daze”) wasn’t nominated for an Oscar, and she proceeded to show her knowledge of ’80s hip-hop by getting up and doing “Da Butt” dance. This moment got a lot of laughs and cheers and will be sure to be remembered as the most unexpected comedic moment at the 2021 Academy Awards. This moment with Close could have been pre-planned and rehearsed since she seemed a little too prepared with an answer, but it didn’t take away from it being one of the show’s highlights that didn’t involve an acceptance speech.

Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins were the producers of the Academy Awards show. They also made some changes to the show’s format. Instead of presenting the prizes for Best Picture last, the awards for Best Actor and Best Actress were presented last. The award for Best Picture was the third-to-last award presented. The prize for Best Director was handed out in the middle of the ceremony, instead following the tradition of being the second-to-last award handed out during the ceremony.

Another big change was that winners were not limited to a 90-second acceptance speech. Some acceptance speeches lasted longer than three minutes. In addition, there was no live orchestra at the ceremony. Instead, musician Questlove was a DJ at the award show. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the nominees were shown via satellite in various parts of the world, such as London, Paris and Sydney.

The Oscar ceremony made history in some diversity issues, as Zhao (a Chinese-born filmmaker) became the first woman of color to win Best Director. She is also the second woman in Oscar history to win this Best Director prize. (Kathryn Bigelow, director of the 2009 war film “The Hurt Locker,” was the first woman to win the Best Director award in 2010.) Zhao’s victory had been widely predicted, since Zhao won all of the year’s major Best Director awards for “Nomadland” prior to winning the Oscar.

Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” made Oscar history by being the first black people to be nominated for and to win the prize for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. This breakthrough was acknowledged during their acceptance speech for the award, which they share with Sergio Lopez-Rivera. Neal said in her acceptance speech: “I want to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, who were denied, but never gave up. I also stand here—as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling—with so much excitement for the future.”

Meanwhile, South Korean actress Yuh-jung Youn of “Minari” became the first Asian-born woman to win in the Best Supporting Actress category. In 1958, Japanese American actress Miyoshi Umeki of the 1957 movie “Sayonara” became the first Asian woman overall to win in the Best Supporting Actress category.

Although the late Chadwick Boseman was widely predicted to win the Best Actor award for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which was his last film role, the prize went to Anthony Hopkins for “The Father.” (Hopkins did not attend the Oscar ceremony and was not available by video.) At 83 years old, Hopkins became the oldest person to win an Oscar in an actor/actress category, surpassing the record set by “Beginners” co-star Christopher Plummer, who won the Best Supporting Actor award in 2012, at the age of 82.

Boseman won several Best Actor prizes (including a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award) for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” leading up to Oscar ceremony. However, there was a foreshadowing that Boseman might not win the Oscar when he was nominated for but didn’t win the prizes for Best Actor at the BAFTA Awards and Film Independent Spirit Awards, which were the two major award shows that took place closest to the Oscars. Boseman died in August 2020 of colon cancer.

The Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, with MPTF officials Bob Beitcher, Norma Carranza and Jennifer Jorge acceping the prize on stage. Tyler Perry received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, a non-competitive prize. In his speech, he urged people to “stand up to hate” and to be more giving and compassionate with each other.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards:

*=winner

Best Picture

“The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) 

“Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.) 

“Mank” (Netflix) 

“Minari” (A24) 

“Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)*

“Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) 

“Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios) 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) 

Best Director

Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)

David Fincher (“Mank”) 

Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”) 

Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)*

Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) 

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) 

Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)*

Gary Oldman (“Mank”) 

Steven Yeun (“Minari”) 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Andra Day (“The United States v. Billie Holiday”) 

Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) 

Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)*

Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) 

Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)*

Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) 

Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”) 

LaKeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) 

Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”) 

Olivia Colman (“The Father”) 

Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”) 

Yuh-jung Youn (“Minari”)*

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman and Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer and Nina Pedrad

“The Father,” Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller*

“Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 

“One Night in Miami,” Kemp Powers 

“The White Tiger,” Ramin Bahrani 

Best Original Screenplay

“Judas and the Black Messiah.” Screenplay by Will Berson, Shaka King; Story by Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas and Keith Lucas

“Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung 

“Promising Young Woman,” Emerald Fennell*

“Sound of Metal.” Screenplay by Darius Marder and Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Aaron Sorkin 

Best Cinematography

“Judas and the Black Messiah,” Sean Bobbitt 

“Mank,” Erik Messerschmidt*

“News of the World,” Dariusz Wolski 

“Nomadland,” Joshua James Richards 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Phedon Papamichael 

Best Film Editing

“The Father,” Yorgos Lamprinos

“Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 

“Promising Young Woman,” Frédéric Thoraval 

“Sound of Metal,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen*

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Alan Baumgarten 

Best Sound

“Greyhound,” Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman

“Mank,” Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin

“News of the World,” Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett

“Soul,” Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker

“Sound of Metal,” Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh*

Best Original Score

“Da 5 Bloods,” Terence Blanchard 

“Mank,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross 

“Minari,” Emile Mosseri 

“News of the World,” James Newton Howard 

“Soul,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste*

Best Original Song

“Fight for You,” (“Judas and the Black Messiah”). Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas*

“Hear My Voice,” (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”). Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite

“Húsavík,” (“Eurovision Song Contest”). Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson

“Io Si (Seen),” (“The Life Ahead”). Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini

“Speak Now,” (“One Night in Miami”). Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

Best Animated Feature Film

“Onward” (Pixar) 

“Over the Moon” (Netflix) 

“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix) 

“Soul” (Pixar)*

“Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV+/GKIDS) 

Best International Feature Film

“Another Round” (Denmark)*

“Better Days” (Hong Kong)

“Collective” (Romania) 

“The Man Who Sold His Skin” (Tunisia)

“Quo Vadis, Aida?”(Bosnia and Herzegovina) 

Best Documentary Feature

“Collective” (Magnolia Pictures and Participant) 

“Crip Camp” (Netflix) 

“The Mole Agent” (Gravitas Ventures) 

“My Octopus Teacher” (Netflix)*

“Time” (Amazon Studios) 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Emma,” Marese Langan, Laura Allen, Claudia Stolze

“Hillbilly Elegy,” Eryn Krueger Mekash, Patricia Dehaney, Matthew Mungle 

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson*

“Mank,” Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams, Colleen LaBaff

“Pinocchio,” Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli, Francesco Pegoretti

Best Costume Design

“Emma,” Alexandra Byrne 

“Mank,” Trish Summerville 

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Ann Roth*

“Mulan,” Bina Daigeler 

“Pinocchio,” Massimo Cantini Parrini

Best Production Design

“The Father.” Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton

“Mank.” Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale*

“News of the World.” Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan

“Tenet.” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

Best Visual Effects

“Love and Monsters,” Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox 

“The Midnight Sky,” Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins

“Mulan,” Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram

“The One and Only Ivan,” Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez

“Tenet,” Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher*

Best Documentary Short Subject

“Colette” (Time Travel Unlimited)*

“A Concerto Is a Conversation” (Breakwater Studios) 

“Do Not Split” (Field of Vision) 

“Hunger Ward” (MTV Documentary Films)

“A Love Song for Latasha” (Netflix) 

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow” (Disney Plus/Pixar)

“Genius Loci” (Kazak Productions) 

“If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix)*

“Opera” (Beasts and Natives Alike) 

“Yes-People” (CAOZ hf. Hólamói) 

Best Live-Action Short Film

“Feeling Through” 

“The Letter Room” 

“The Present” 

“Two Distant Strangers”*

“White Eye” 

Review: ‘Another Round,’ starring Mads Mikkelsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang and Thomas Bo Larsen

April 18, 2021

by Carla Hay

Mads Mikkelsen in “Another Round” (Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films)

“Another Round”

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg

Danish with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed city in Demark, the dramatic film “Another Round” features a predominantly white cast (with a few black people and South Asian people) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: Four middle-aged men, who are friends and teachers at the same high school, decide to drink more alcohol as an experiment, but they begin to abuse alcohol, which causes problems in their lives.

Culture Audience: “Another Round” will appeal primarily to people interested in watching well-acted and realistic movies about alcoholism and how people deal with mid-life crises.

Mads Mikkelsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang and Thomas Bo Larsen in “Another Round” (Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films)

When there are movies about the culture of people who binge-drink alcohol in groups, the stories usually focus on young people who get into misadventures because of their drunken antics. The Danish dramatic film “Another Round” defies that stereotype with a compelling tale about four middle-aged men who become binge drinkers together. And these four pals find out how quickly their lives can be consumed by alcohol addiction.

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (who co-wrote the screenplay with Tobias Lindholm), “Another Round” is more than just another mid-life crisis story. It’s a sharply observant commentary on what can happen when people are bored and unsatisfied with their lives, and they live in a society where heavy drinking is not only accepted, but it’s also encouraged. Anchored by exemplary performances from the primary actors, “Another Round” stands out as a highly unique film about the causes and effects of alcohol abuse.

That’s not to say that the filmmakers of “Another Round” have portrayed Denmark as a country with too many drunks. But it becomes clear from watching the film that the country has laws about drinking alcohol that are much more lenient than other countries. Denmark’s minimum legal age to drink alcohol in public is 18 years old, while children ages 17 and younger are legally able to drink alcohol in private settings, such as in homes.

It’s in this alcohol-permissive society that viewers meet the four friends who are at the center of the story. They all work as teachers in the same high school in an unnamed city in Demark. And they are all experiencing some kind of dissatisfaction with their lives, which leads them to make an unusual pact to drink enough to have at least a 0.05% alcohol level in their blood every day.

The four friends are:

  • Martin (played by Mads Mikkelsen), who is in his mid-50s, is a history teacher at the school. He and his wife Anika (played by Maria Bonnevie) have two sons together: Jonas (played by Magnus Sjørup) is about 16 or 17, while Kasper (played by Silas Cornelius Van) is about 14 or 15.
  • Tommy (played by Thomas Bo Larsen), who is in his late 50s, is a physical education teacher at the school, and he also is a soccer coach for children in the 8-to-10-year-old age range in elementary school. Tommy is a bachelor with no children.
  • Peter (played by Lars Ranthe), who is in his early 50s, is a music teacher at the school. He is also a bachelor with no children.
  • Nikolaj (played by Magnus Millang), who celebrates his 40th birthday in the movie, is a psychology teacher at the school. He and his wife Amalie (played by Helene Reingaard Neumann) have three sons under the age of 8 years old, including a newborn.

Why are these men going through a mid-life crisis?

Martin and Anika’s marriage has become cold and distant, which also describes how Martin currently feels about teaching. His sons and his students don’t seem to respect him very much, since they barely listen to him. Viewers will get the impression that Martin has been in the same job for years without a promotion.

And recently, Martin has come under criticism by several of his students and their parents, who have a meeting with Martin to pressure him to bring their children’s grades up in the history class, so that their children can get into the universities of their choice. The parents want to blame Martin for not being a better teacher, but he answers defensively that maybe the students who are floundering just aren’t paying attention in class: “It’s not easy to learn when you’ve got your head stuck in your phone.”

Tommy is getting close to retirement age and he doesn’t have much to show for it except for his elderly dog and a house where he feels lonely. Out of all of the four friends, Tommy seems to care the least about what other people will think about him. He can be fun-loving, but he has a grouchy side to him too.

Peter laments that he hasn’t found his true love yet. He also expresses regret that he isn’t a parent. And he feels sad that his students (whom he sees somewhat as his surrogate kids) seem to forget about him after they graduate. Peter is the one in the group who is most likely to be sensitive to his students’ needs and is willing to give them extra help outside of class hours. There’s a subplot in the movie about Peter taking an interest in counseling and advising an anxiety-prone student named Sebastian (played by Albert Rudbeck Lindhardt), who’s feeling pressure to pass a certain class or else he will be held back from graduating for another year.

Nikolaj is frustrated (and sleep-deprived) by the demands of being a father of three very young children, which means that he has less free time to himself. His two older sons (who are bedwetters) sleep in the same bed with Nikolaj, while his wife has recently been sleeping in the same bed as the baby. A few of the movie’s more comical scenes are about bedwetting moments at Nikolaj’s house. And when Nikolaj is drunk, it’s not always the kids who are urinating in the bed.

One evening, the four buddies have a fateful dinner at a restaurant to celebrate Nikolaj’s 40th birthday. Nikolaj admits that he should be happy with his life: He has a beautiful and healthy family, he likes his job, his wife comes from a wealthy family, and they live in a nice seafront house. However, Nikolaj feels somewhat “trapped” by his routine life.

During this dinner party, it’s brought up in the conversation that the school’s faculty have heard that Martin is under scrutiny by parents of his students for not being an effective-enough teacher. Martin’s eyes starts to well up with tears, and his friends comfort him and ask him what’s really bothering him. He confesses that his marriage has gotten stale, he feels lonely, his kids don’t appreciate him, and he thinks he could have accomplished much more in his life. When someone asks Martin if he’s thought about having an affair, Martin replies that he’s not interested in cheating on Anika.

“I don’t know how I ended up like this,” Martin says with a defeated tone of voice. Peter mentions that years ago, Martin was expected to become a research professor at a university, but it never happened. Peter asks Martin why he didn’t live up to that potential. Martin says that at the time, his children were young and he just didn’t apply to grad school to get a Ph.D.

It’s also mentioned during the dinner that Martin used to take jazz ballet lessons. Tommy says that Martin’s dancing was so good, that Martin could have passed as a professional dancer. Martin endures some good-natured teasing from his pals, who try to get him to show some jazz ballet dance moves at the dining table. Martin laughs but ultimately refuses. However, since all of them have been drinking alcohol at this dinner, their inhibitions are lowered, and Tommy and Peter get up and briefly give separate dances at the table.

It’s at this dinner that Nikolaj comes up with an idea that will be the catalyst for the rest of the story: He talks about the real-life theory of Norwegian philosopher/psychiatrist Finn Skårderud, who thinks that human beings are born with a blood deficiency of 0.05% alcohol. And therefore, it’s in people’s best interest to maintain at least 0.05% alcohol in their blood content every day. Skårderud believes that alcohol can generally make people more relaxed, more open to possibilities, and more creative.

Nikolaj suggests that they all try out this theory by drinking enough alcohol every day to have a constant blood alcohol content of at least 0.05%. They all go back to Nikolaj’s house to immediately begin testing the theory. Nikolaj goes to his computer to take notes, as if he’s taking this experiment seriously enough that he could write a research report about it. But over time, any “scientific research” that was intended quickly turns into excuses for the men to get drunk instead of tipsy.

That first night that they test the theory at Nikolaj’s place, he laces the drinks with absinthe. They all get “happy drunk” and have a good time. But the experiment requires that they drink during the day, which is something that Martin is uncomfortable with at first. They also have their own breathalyzers, and the movie has frequent on-screen indicators showing what their respective blood-alcohol levels are.

Eventually, all four men end up drinking while they’re on the job. They hide their liquor in the school’s gym depot that Tommy and only a few other school staffers have access to during regular school hours. It should come as no surprise that another school employee finds this secret stash of liquor. The movie shows what happens after this discovery.

At first, the four pals’ increased alcohol consumption seems to have positive effects. Martin becomes more confident and entertaining in his class. His enthusiasm is infectious to the point where he can get the entire class to laugh at his jokes. Martin and Anika also rekindle their love life, and it looks like the passion has returned to their marriage.

Tommy becomes a more jovial and motivational coach instead of being a grump with a tendency to give a lot of critiques. Peter comes up with more ideas to inspire his music students. Nikolaj also seems to be getting better results as a teacher, although he has the least number of movie scenes that show him as a teacher.

One day, Nikolaj is walking in the school hallway when he passes by Martin’s class and hears Martin’s students roaring with laughter at a joke that Martin told. Nikolaj looks surprised and a little envious. Not long after that, Nikolaj announces to the other three friends that all four of them should increase their blood-alcohol content as far as they can. It’s easy to guess what the results will be, but it’s no less riveting to watch.

“Another Round” takes place over the course of an academic school year (about nine months), and the movie shows how quickly alcohol abuse can turn into addiction. What started out as an experiment so that the men could gain confidence and creativity through alcohol turns into a dependency on alcohol where they start to lose control in major areas of their lives. Unlike their young students (who are shown binge drinking in the movie’s opening scene), the four middle-aged pals do not have the metabolism to bounce back as quickly from hangovers.

Their addiction to alcohol comes out in ways besides binge drinking. In their conversations, they start talking about famous drunks/alcoholics who excelled in their careers while they had a drinking problem. Martin and Nikolaj in particular like to come up with examples, as if to justify what they know is their own increasing addictions to alcohol. Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill are mentioned frequently in these discussions.

Martin also tries to ingratiate himself with his students during his class lectures, by mentioning alcohol binge drinking as an acceptable way to relax and be creative. He gets them to open up to the rest of the class about how much alcohol they drink on a weekly basis, and he doesn’t judge students who admit to excessive drinking. In fact, Martin jokes with them about their drinking habits.

And there’s a memorable scene where Martin asks the students which one of three unnamed political candidates they could vote for if they had the choice. He describes Candidate No. 1 as someone who has polio, drinks a lot, and cheats on his wife. Candidate No. 2 is an alcoholic who isn’t well-liked by his political peers and has already lost several elections. Candidate No. 3 almost never drinks, is kind to women, and has a reputation of being very focused on his job. Not surprisingly, the students say that they would vote for Candidate No. 3, until Martin reveals that Candidate No. 1 is Franklin D. Roosevelt, Candidate No. 2 is Winston Churchill, and Candidate No. 3 is Adolph Hitler.

In this scene where Martin points out that many powerful leaders were actually drunks, “Another Round” director Vinterberg shows a wry sense of humor by inserting some real-life video news montages or photos of world leaders drinking alcohol while on the job or appearing to be intoxicated in public. In photos, Angela Merkel is shown holding up a stein of beer; Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev are toasting each other with liquor. There’s also archival footage of Boris Yeltsin stumbling and slurring his words at government appearances.

“Another Round” realistically shows the highs and lows of what Martin, Peter, Tommy and Nikolaj experience as they have similar yet different reactions to their alcohol “experiment.” All of them get hooked on drinking alcohol every day, but two of the men want to quit the experiment after they see the negative effects of their alcohol dependency. Because the movie is mainly from Martin’s perspective, the movie gives the most screen time to how his alcohol addiction changes his life.

There are good times and bad times for all of the four friends. The alcohol makes them want to forget the bad times and create good times that they want to remember. However, the alcohol increasingly becomes the cause for the bad times. And that’s why the alcohol addiction (or any addiction) becomes a vicious cycle.

Mikkelsen’s fascinating portrayal of Martin is one that many viewers can find relatable, even without the alcohol addiction. It’s an outstanding performance of a character who sees himself as an “ordinary” person. One of the highlights of the film is a scene where Mikkelsen has to show a lot of impressive physical agility. What’s even more admirable is that Mikkelsen did not use any stunt/body doubles for this scene, according to the “Another Round” production notes.

“Another Round” doesn’t judge alcoholic behavior as much as it lays bare what attracts people to alcohol, how peer pressure plays a role in many alcohol addictions, and how people handle the problem of addiction differently, depending on the individual. The cinematography from Sturla Brandth Grøvlen adds realism to the movie, since the entire film was shot with hand-held cameras. Therefore, when Martin or some of the other characters are drunk, the camera sways along like an intoxicated person too, so viewers can almost experience what these characters are feeling in that particular scene.

What’s most authentic about “Another Round” is that it doesn’t follow a stereotypical narrative that movies tend to have when they’re about people who become alcoholics. Yes, the movie does show consequences to the reckless actions that happen because of alcohol intoxication. But even if something bad happens, it doesn’t necessarily make people want to suddenly stop drinking alcohol.

“Another Round” poses a lot of questions, knowing that there are no easy answers, because so much depends on the complexities of individuals. What’s the difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic? Can an alcoholic quit drinking without rehab or any counseling? At what point should someone get an “intervention”? Regardless of how people feel that about the ways that binge drinking and alcoholism are portrayed in “Another Round,” the movie succeeds in telling these characters’ stories in such an impactful way that it will make viewers think about these characters long after seeing the movie.

Samuel Goldwyn Films released “Another Round” in select U.S. cinemas on December 4, 2020, and on digital and VOD on December 18, 2020. The movie’s DVD release date was March 30, 2021. “Another Round” is also available for streaming on Hulu.