The Best Picture Trailer Race

One week until the biggest night in Hollywood! We’re smack dab in the middle of Oscar voting and since it has been such a weird year, I figured let’s do something different. Some of y’all know I’ll be graduating in a few weeks with my MBA and since I’m looking to get back into film marketing, I decided to round up a few of my friends and play a game of Best Trailer. 

I thought it’d be super interesting to see what regular people (aka not movie crazy fanatics) think of the industry’s chosen best movies of the year based on JUST their marketing. And which one would they vote for as the number one.

So I asked Chris, Curt, Jaz, and Steph (all fellow MBA marketing students) to watch the trailers for all the Best Picture nominees, give their thoughts, and decide whether the trailer was enough to pique their interest and convince them to watch.

The results were… surprising to say the least. Read on to check out their thoughts and find out the winner!


The Father

  • What do you think about this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — Wow! This one looks like a tear jerker. 
    • Curt — It hits close to home, so I would have to be in the right mood to watch it, but I really like the cast!
    • Jaz — I think they definitely did a great job with casting, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a difficult movie to watch especially if you’ve known someone who’s gone through a similar situation.
    • Steph – It looks like it will be a sad story to watch, but the acting looks amazing!
  • Would you watch this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — Maybe
    • Curt — Probably not
    • Jaz — Probably with family
    • Steph — Yes 

Judas and the Black Messiah

  • What do you think about this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — Looks super fascinating and caught my attention.
    • Curt — Looks intense! And I am a sucker for movies based on historical events.
    • Jaz — This movie looks like it’s going to teach me something I didn’t know about the Black Panthers. The cast and acting looks amazing. Very powerful story if told right. 
    • Steph – Looks powerful, lead actor is recognizable.
  • Would you watch this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — For sure! 
    • Curt — Absolutely!
    • Jaz — 100%
    • Steph — Definitely 

Mank

  • What do you think about this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — I have never seen Citizen Kane, so I would be confused.
    • Curt — I love Gary Oldman, but full disclosure, I have never seen Citizen Kane, so maybe I should watch that first?
    • Jaz — Not sure that this is my cup of tea. It looks a bit nostalgic for people who have watched Citizen Kane. If you’ve never seen it, I’m not sure the trailer makes much sense. It has an all-star cast so I’m assuming it’s going to be good. 
    • Steph — Love Amanda Seyfried! Also have never seen Citizen Kane, so not sure if it is of interest.
  • Would you watch this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — No
    • Curt — Yes
    • Jaz — No
    • Steph — No

Minari

  • What do you think about this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — This movie is very much my alley.
    • Curt — This is the kind of movie I watch when I want all the emotions.
    • Jaz — I LOVE Steven Yeun. This looks like a very engaging movie with a relatable plot fit for everyone.  
    • Steph — I love these types of American Dream stories. Think this would be a really compelling and engaging story.
  • Would you watch this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — 100%
    • Curt — Absolutely!
    • Jaz —  Yep, for sure
    • Steph — Yes!

Nomadland

  • What do you think about this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — Definitely not interested, the trailer was hard to watch. 
    • Curt — I will usually watch anything Frances McDormand is in, but I’ll be honest, not the most enticing trailer IMH(Uniformed)O.
    • Jaz — This seems like the story is going to be very slow and not all that eventful. Not something I’d watch personally because the plot doesn’t look like it’s going to be all that interesting.
    • Steph — Frances McDormand looks great, but can’t really tell the storyline from the trailer.
  • Would you watch this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — No
    • Curt — No
    • Jaz — No
    • Steph — No

Promising Young Woman

  • What do you think about this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — Looks super interesting, it caught my attention and I googled it. The color and aesthetic is my vibe. 
    • Curt — Very unique-looking take on a real problem in society, and Carey Mulligan is the best.
    • Jaz — Love the idea for the plot, seems like we as a society need something like this right now. I like the quirky and playful vibe of a movie that portrays such a terrible situation that many young women find themselves in. Also great cast!
    • Steph — Looks really interesting. A very timely plot line. Would definitely watch this. 
  • Would you watch this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — Yes
    • Curt — Yes
    • Jaz — 100%
    • Steph — Definitely 

Sound of Metal

  • What do you think about this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — The trailer was very gripping and unconventionally emotional. The use of music seems interesting. 
    • Curt — This looks very interesting. I can’t imagine going through something like that, especially as a musician. 
    • Jaz — Very intense movie with a heart wrenching plot. I would probably cry during it, I can tell already. 
    • Steph — This looks amazing, seems like it will be an amazing triumph tale. 
  • Would you watch this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — Yes
    • Curt — Yes
    • Jaz — Yes
    • Steph — Definitely

The Trial of the Chicago 7

  • What do you think about this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — Loved the trailer on this one. It was moving and convicting.
    • Curt — Seems like a fantastic cast. I also love learning about this era that was so chaotic and revelatory.
    • Jaz — This movie is one of the best I’ve seen so far. I’m a sucker for activist movies that portray historical events. The casting and acting seems like the movie is going to be pretty amazing.
    • Steph — Looks really interesting, really enjoy trial type movies. Have a friend whose grandmother went to school with some of the real cast, so I am intrigued.  
  • Would you watch this movie based on the trailer?
    • Chris — Yes
    • Curt — Absolutely
    • Jaz — Definitely
    • Steph — Yes


Okay I’m sorry but as a crazy film marketing fanatic, this was FASCINATING. And yeah, yeah, I know it’s not enough to make any definitive claims and sample size too small and yadda yadda. 

But this was still super cool.

SO. Ladies and gentlemen. Without further ado and based on just the trailers, your 2021 Best Picture winner is… (drum roll please)

Minari Minari Wonderful Wonderful!!!!

(Which imo should win anyway)

In non-voting terms, along with Minari, the other two movies that had enthusiastic responses to the trailers were Judas and the Black Messiah and Promising Young Woman with The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Sound of Metal close behind.

But to me the most surprising part of all this is the complete apathy and disinterest in Nomadland and Mank.

The former is the current frontrunner for Best Picture winner (and likely Best Director). Though it was not nominated for SAG Ensemble (the win went to The Trial of the Chicago 7), it is still as of now the most likely winner. And I know I’m in the minority opinion when it comes to Nomadland and that so many people absolutely loved it. But the trailer itself just doesn’t seem to be enticing enough.

Mank on the other hand received the MOST nominations, leading the pack with ten nods. It just goes to show that while Hollywood may love movies about themselves, audiences aren’t necessarily on the same page. And that’s not to mention Citizen Kane is an old movie. Like, really old.

So there you have it folks. Upsets and surprises are always fun on Oscar night so let’s see how it all shakes out in a week. Until then, happy watching!

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