I had the TV on Sunday with the NFL Conference Championship games in the background, while wifey and I played backgammon.

It seemed like every commercial break included a spot for The Weeknd’s Super Bowl performance, which featured people from all walks of life singing “Blinding Lights.” You know, the biggest and arguably best song of the last two years. The one that was completely excluded from the Grammy nominations. It’s back to being the #1 seller at iTunes and sits at #3 worldwide at Spotify.

It just made me angry all over again that our system of award nominations continues to falter, especially when compared to the typically spot-on Academy Awards noms.

So, instead of going off on a tangent and railing about our Academy’s choices, let’s take a fun spin around what is happening with this year’s delayed Oscar candidates—notably the films I can heartily recommend, and the ones I feel will be leading contenders for Best Picture.

A minor caveat: I have yet to see the highly touted Nomadland (featuring the incredible Frances McDormand) and One Night in Miami. That said, this is how I think it should go.

Best Picture:

Promising Young Woman: The less you know about this unique revenge thriller, the better. Carey Mulligan leads a perfect cast down the rabbit hole of bad behavior. (Rentable via iTunes, Amazon and other DSPs)

The White Tiger: Based on Aravind Adiga’s electrifying Man Booker Prize-winning novel, this tale of caste conflict in India will have you on the edge of your seat. (Netflix)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom:Tensions rise when blues giant Ma Rainey and her band gather at a recording studio in Chicago, 1927. Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman (in his final performance) shine. (Netflix)

Mank: My never-ending fascination with Citizen Kane is stoked by this black and white epic about the movie business in the 1930s and early 1940s, seen through the eyes of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, portrayed by the endlessly versatile Gary Oldman. (Netflix)

Soul: Animated movies, however brilliant, usually put me to sleep. This latest from Pixar is not only an old-school “stoner classic” (thanks to its wild visions of the hereafter and “herebefore”) but also a celebration of living one perfect night of your musical dream. It kept my attention throughout. (Disney+)

Da 5 Bloods: Spike Lee’s Vietnam War-era drama looks back at the conflict through the eyes of four African-American veterans who return to the Southeast Asian country to find the remains of their fallen squad leader. Delroy Lindo shines. (Netflix)

The Trial of the Chicago Seven: Aaron Sorkin chronicles the infamous 1969 trial following antiwar protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Sasha Baron Cohen is a million miles from Borat as Abbie Hoffman. (Netflix)

Also recommended:

Two films starring Tom Hanks—the WWII submarine drama Greyhound (Apple+) and post-Civil War odyssey News of the World (Amazon). And if you are looking for a beautiful, intimate indie period piece, check out First Cow (Amazon).