Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù on how Mothering Sunday let him “flex a different muscle”

mothering sunday sope dirisu eva husson odessa young olivia colman josh o connor alice birch graham swift

Mothering Sunday was an opportunity to flex a different muscle and explore a different part of my craft,” says Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, explaining what drew him to his latest film, a 1920s-set period romance co-starring Odessa Young and Josh O’Connor. “It requires a different sort of discipline or a different sensibility: I think lots of things are like muscles where if you don’t use them, you’ll lose them.”

“I think it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come from times, and also how far we haven’t come as well,” continues Dìrísù, talking about why he enjoys period drama. “Part of the magic of performance is being transported, and you get that a bit more viscerally when you’re doing a period drama than when you’re doing a modern-day piece.”

Key to this is Dìrísù’s interest in “the lived experience, and either documenting that or interrogating it.”

“A big one that I can’t escape is race, and race relations, racial politics. Donald [Dìrísù’s Mothering Sunday character], in the time 1920s-1940s, had a very specific experience and interrogating how he had to navigate that compared to how I navigate it today is creatively interesting.”

The first part of a three-part interview with Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, who was a really enthusiastic, thoughtful interviewee. Enjoyed doing this one, nice to share it finally (this was, I think, done in early October?)

You can find more of my interviews here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter. If you enjoyed reading this piece – or if you didn’t – perhaps consider leaving a tip on ko-fi?

Oscars 2021 Predictions

oscars 2021 predictions nomadland mank promising young woman father oscar statue mask coronavirus soderbergh

Oscars! I’m okay-ish at predicting these, I think – last year I got 17, which was decent, and the year before that 12, which is slightly better than what you’d get guessing completely at random – but I’m hoping that this year I do marginally better. We’ll see, I suppose.

A word on the format: the nominees are listed below in order of predicted likelihood (so I expect Nomadland will win Best Picture, but if not The Trial of the Chicago 7 strikes me as the second most likely, so on). Three points for a correct first guess, two points for a correct second guess, one point for a correct third guess, you get the idea.

You can find the full list of nominees here (and I assume that page will be updated with the winners eventually), but otherwise, my predictions are as follows:

Best Picture:


The Trial of the Chicago 7

The Father

Best Director:

Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

David Fincher, Mank

Best Actor:

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Gary Oldman, Mank

Best Actress:

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor:

Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

Best Supporting Actress:

Youn Yuh-Jung, Minari

Olivia Colman, The Father

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Best Original Screenplay:

Promising Young Woman

The Trial of the Chicago 7


Best Adapted Screenplay:


The Father

One Night in Miami

Best International Feature:

Another Round


The Man Who Sold His Skin

Best Documentary Feature:

My Octopus Teacher

Crip Camp


Best Animated Feature:




Best Film Editing:

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7


Best Original Song:

“Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

“Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest

“Io Si (Seen)” from The Life Ahead

Best Original Score:



News of the World

Best Cinematography:



News of the World

Best Costume Design:




Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom



Best Production Design:


News of the World

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Sound:

Sound of Metal



Best Visual Effects:


Love and Monsters

The Midnight Sky

Best Animated Short:

If Anything Happens I Love You

Genius Loci


Best Documentary Short:


A Love Song for Latasha

A Concerto is a Conversation

Best Live-Action Short:

Two Distant Strangers

The Letter Room

White Eye

I’ve not actually written about most of these films, or even had the chance to watch many of them, but you can find my round-up of all the films I saw across 2020 here, and my reviews of Another Round and One Night in Miami here.

You can find more of my writing about film here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter. If you enjoyed this piece – though I can’t think why you would, it’s just a list – perhaps consider leaving a tip on ko-fi?