Take a look at this year’s posters, and see how iconic art, masterful storytelling, and creative passion inspire something truly unique.
After a year of empty theaters, shuttered movie sets, and shuffled release dates, the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards ceremony offers proof that the film industry is slowly, but surely, getting back to work.
Of course, this small step toward normalcy required a few pivots, like moving the ceremony from February to April, and tweaking eligibility criteria to account for films that landed on streaming services. Regardless, we’re just happy Hollywood is back, because we love movies.
That love is a big part of why Shutterstock’s in-house creative aces revisit the Oscar Pop! challenge each year to celebrate and reinterpret the art of cinema though the art of design.
Shutterstock’s ninth annual Oscar Pop! poster series reimagines movie posters for the 2021 Academy Award for Best Picture nominees. Turning to world-famous pop artists for aesthetic inspiration, our designers use Shutterstock’s collection of over 300 million photos, vectors, patterns, and textures to capture the spirit of the films, while showcasing the infinite possibilities of stock assets.
Take a look at this year’s posters below, and hear from the designers themselves, how iconic art, masterful storytelling, and creative passion can come together to inspire something beautiful and new.
“The Father is a heart-wrenching drama about the final (lucid) days of Anthony, an eighty-year-old man unknowingly battling dementia. I found it brilliant, especially the way it sometimes leaves the audience in a state of confusion resembling Anthony’s.’
“The pop artist I chose, Banksy, utilizes confusion and the unknown in his own work. In 2006, he shocked the art world at an auction when his painting Love is in the Bin shredded itself immediately after selling for £1.04 million. It reminds me of the way Anthony’s mind self-destructs in The Father. Both question what is tangible in reality, with sanity and societal values an illusion that can be stripped away from us at any moment.”
Judas and the Black Messiah
“Led by brilliant performances from Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield—as well as an all-Black production team—Judas and the Black Messiah tells the story of the killing of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. Who better to use as inspiration for the film’s poster than revolutionary artist and Minister of Culture for the BPP, Emory Douglas?’
“I wanted to convey the struggles each main character faced, and showcase the dynamic between them using Douglas’s energetic illustration style. Like Douglas, I included a short caption in the poster to send a message that will continue to resonate in 2021.”
“Mank is a black-and-white biopic about screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz and his work on the classic film Citizen Kane. The movie focuses on the struggles Mankiewicz faced during that period, from writing the script to battling alcohol addiction.’
“I thought Yayoi Kusama’s artwork was perfect for the movie’s poster. Inspired by her style, I employed polka dots around the typewriter, which is a key element in the story, and contrasted the movie’s subdued color scheme with a bright, bold central element that’s still in line with the minimalism of the film’s look and feel.”
“Set in the 1980s, Minari is an intimate, wonderfully absorbing drama that follows a Korean-American family’s move to an Arkansas farm in search of their own slice of America. It tells a classic immigrant story rooted in both the hope of endless possibility and the pain of heart-rending setbacks.’
“Peter Max is a German-American artist who specializes in vibrantly-colored Pop and Psychedelic Art. Similar to the protagonists, Max’s family also migrated—first to China, then to Israel, and eventually to the US, where a young Peter Max explored his passion for art. As a result, Max’s early work is a perfect blend of fascination for Eastern culture and Western influence. Much like Minari, Max’s eye-catching work invokes positive, uplifting feelings.”
“After the economic collapse of her Nevada hometown, Fern (portrayed by Francis McDormand) hits the open road to explore life in Nomadland. The movie takes us on a journey through the American West, offering an in-depth look at the lasting effects of the Great Recession.’
“Johanna Goodman is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York. She creates collages of towering female figures, utilizing pictures that range from her personal photography to vintage photos of everyday objects. I chose Johanna because the women in her work are self-sufficient, liberated, and independent—much like Fern, a maverick at heart who’s compelled to take the road less traveled.”
Promising Young Woman
“Promising Young Woman is a thrilling revenge tale about a woman who seeks to avenge the sexual assault of her best friend. The film’s charming, “feminine” pastel color palette stands in stark contrast to the story’s underlying themes of manipulation and grief, as well as its painful nods toward gender inequality and rape culture.’
“My poster is inspired by Pauline Boty, the sole founder of the British Pop Art movement. Boty used her art as a way to redress the sexism that she experienced, making her work a perfect inspiration for this movie poster. I juxtaposed the film’s bright colors with the dark undertones of its story, mixing a bubbly color palette with black collage elements that instill a sense of chaos. I want the film and the poster to convey the idea that, indeed, looks can be deceiving.”
Sound of Metal
“Sound of Metal tells the story of a drummer who loses his hearing and is forced to relearn how to communicate with the world around him. The film depicts his struggle and withdrawal, and explores the internal conflict caused by his belief that being deaf is something to ‘fix.”
“As I was drawn to the musical aspect of the film, I chose Jamie Hewlett—best known as the illustrator for the band Gorillaz—as the influence for my movie poster. Admiring Hewlett’s work inspired me to play around with 2D illustration and integrate it with real-world, three-dimensional imagery.”
The Trial of the Chicago 7
“In the film, we’re faced with the battle of words between the defendants and the government. At one point, defendant Bobby Seale is bound and gagged in the courtroom, erasing his fundamental ability to use words in order to speak up for—and defend—himself.’
“The message from the activists/defendants is powerful enough to spark protests, empowering more and more people to lend their own voices to the call for justice. I tried to illustrate all of that in my poster, how the piecing together of these simple symbols can create something seemingly larger than life.”
Get More Oscar Pop!
One week, eight posters, dozens and dozens of royalty-free assets. Our in-house design team wasn’t just challenged to recreate an iconic style in one week, they had to pull it off using only Shutterstock assets. Watch this time-lapse design video to see how they used textures, patterns, and pictures from our collection to make movie-poster magic.
Oscar Pop! is in its ninth year. Check out all of the past Pops! below.
- Oscar Pop! 2020 – Parasite, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, and More
- Oscar Pop! 2019 – Black Panther, A Star Is Born, and More
- Oscar Pop! 2018 – The Shape of Water, Get Out, and More
- Oscar Pop! 2017 – Moonlight, La La Land, and More
- Oscar Pop! 2016 – Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road, and More
- Oscar Pop! 2015 – Birdman, Whiplash, and More
- Oscar Pop! 2014 – 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and More
- Oscar Pop! 2013 – Argo, Django Unchained, and More