You could watch all nine films nominated for best picture in this year’s Oscars, but luckily you don’t have to. Skip the duds and be in the know, read our preview and review of all the best picture nominees.
Every year I make it a personal goal to see every movie that is nominated for best picture before the Oscars, but I only ever get around to seeing two or three. Well this year, I finally accomplished that goal. I saw all nine best picture contenders, and I’m going to preview them and make predictions so you don’t have to stress before the Oscars on Sunday.
If I had the time, I would have seen all the movies that had a nomination, but I don’t think anyone has time do to that. But I love seeing movies and going to the theater and seeing all the movies that were deemed this years best was very fun for me. I’d highly recommend trying it. The only downside to this was that I saw the same previews in almost every movie and they got really old, really fast. If I see the preview to Tully one more time…
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Nominations: Best Picture, Lead Actor, Director, Original Screenplay
This movie will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. It is a horror movie after all. You spend the whole movie knowing things will all go wrong but not knowing how or when. When it all hits the fan, it’s more than you could have imagined. When Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) agrees to meet his white girlfriend’s parents, she tells him not to worry, they’re liberal. But despite this front, they’re as racist as they come. It’s a look into the deep-seated, everyday racism that plagues America. Get Out tackles these issues and starts an important conversation while thrilling its audience.
Prediction: While this movie was one of my favorites, I don’t think that it will win best picture. However, Daniel Kaluuya, the main character, has a strong chance of winning best actor. He does a phenomenal job in this movie. I don’t think Peele will win best director, but the fact that he is being recognized for this work is historical and well deserved. I think it stands a chance of winning best original screenplay, and I hope it does.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design, Original Score
Dunkirk takes you right in the middle of World War II and plops you down on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. The movie is filmed in a unique way. It doesn’t follow one specific person and jumps around to civilian boats, planes, the shore, and military ships which can be confusing. You never once see the Germans, but you know they are there because of the constant bomb, torpedo, and gunfire attacks. The viewer feels the anxiety of not knowing when and where the next attack will be. You feel the fear of the soldiers, the urgency of the civilian fleet, and you see their pain in a way you normally wouldn’t.
When the movie ends, you know it’s not the end of the war, and you don’t know what is going to happen to these soldiers. The movie is war, and that’s what makes it so special. Also, I’d highly recommend watching this with the volume up as loud as you can handle it because the sound in this movie is out of this world.
Prediction: I can’t see this winning best picture, but it does stand a chance at best director. With the constant jumping around, it still manages to flow very well, and each shot had a purpose. I think this will win either sound editing or sound mixing, and it would deserve it. They nailed the cinematography, but I can’t see it beating The Shape of Water or Blade Runner 2049.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Nominations: Best Picture, Lead Actress
Compared to the other movies nominated for best picture, The Post doesn’t quite measure up. It’s a great movie, but it’s nothing special. However, The Post worthy is still worthy of a nomination for its applicability in the current social climate. Had this movie been made two years ago, I doubt it would score a best picture nomination. The Post centers around a newsroom’s struggle to publish information that is essential for the public to know in the face of backlash.
It’s also a look into gender roles of the time and how, in the newsroom, not much has changed. Katharine Graham is the publisher of the Washington Post, and she is the only female in power. Her dad previously owned the paper, and when he died he passed it down to her husband because, at the time, that was the natural thing to do. Sadly, most newsrooms still lack females (and people of color) in those power positions.
Prediction: This won’t win best picture. I don’t think Meryl Streep will win either, but she has so many Oscars, I don’t think she’ll be too upset.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Nominations: Best Picture, Lead Actress, Supporting Actress, Director, Original Screenplay
This was my favorite movie out of the nine. It’s a beautiful story about the complicated nature of a mother-daughter relationship and a 17-year-old trying to figure life out in her own way. Both women are strong, stubborn, and opinionated and they tend to clash. The daughter, who chooses to go by Lady Bird, longs to live away from home and go to college in New York City. She’s discovering who she is and what she wants from the world in such a real way that it’s hard not to relate to it. She and her mom have so much love for each other but don’t know how to express it. Everything about this movie is beautiful and real, and I love it.
Prediction: I would love to see this take home best picture, and I think it stands a chance. I also think it has a strong chance of winning lead and supporting actress, but I think it will lose out in original screenplay. I will cry tears of joy if it wins best director, but while I think Greta deserves it, I don’t think she will win – this time.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Director: Martin McDonagh
Nominations: Best Picture, Lead Actress, Supporting Actor (x2), Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Original Score
This movie was both exactly what I thought it would be and nothing like I thought it would be. It was chaotic and dysfunctional, captivating and frustrating. Each character was flawed, some more than others, and it felt both like real life and a different world. One character is so unapologetically racist, but he never gets a redemption. It leaves you wondering what is going to happen next, but at the same time, you’re okay not knowing. This movie is a very exaggerated version of real life. It’s messy and filled with emotions that sometimes can’t get resolved, so you have to learn to live with it.
Prediction: I don’t think this will win best picture, but despite what some people are saying, I think it deserved to be nominated. Frances McDormand could easily win lead actress, and out of the two nominated for supporting actor, I think Sam Rockwell would get it over Woody Harrelson. The score didn’t stand out to me all that much, but as for original screenplay, I don’t see it winning but it deserved recognition.
Call Me by Your Name
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Nominations: Best Picture, Lead Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Original Song
This film was by far the most beautiful of the nominated. It took my breath away in every scene. It made me cry and want to live in the Italian countryside. This is a story about a love between two young men who are doing their best to keep it a secret. It’s about deciding whether it is better to speak up and proclaim your feelings or live a lie, and Elio (Timothée Chalamet) decides to speak up. If you didn’t know anything about this movie going in, they do such a good job of hiding their forbidden feelings in the beginning that you almost wouldn’t know they were there. You are brought along the journey of Elio discovering himself and his feelings, and his journey is nothing short of exquisite. It’s a short-lived love, but it will stay with you forever.
(On a side note, don’t watch this movie with your parents!)
Prediction: I think this stands a strong chance of winning best picture. Timothée Chalamet is spectacular, and his final scene in this movie could win him the Oscar, but up against such amazing talent in this category, I won’t be surprised if this year isn’t his. But he will be back and if he doesn’t win, his time will come.
Director: Joe Wright
Nominations: Best Picture, Lead Actor, Cinematography, Production Design, Makeup and Hair, Costume Design
This movie starts the day before Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister, taking over for Neville Chamberlain, at what seems like the downfall of the British Army and the inevitable take over from the German Army. This movie shows you the thought process of Churchill and what he thinks is the best way to continue in the war and how Parliament goes from wanting to remove him from office to accept his views.
It’s also a very interesting story because it takes you on the other side of Dunkirk. Instead of showing you the scenes on the beaches, it takes you inside the map room and the decision process that lead to sending civilian boats to Dunkirk. The cinematography in this movie plays along with the name of the film. There are so many scenes where it’s Churchill alone in a scene where the light is just on him, and everything around him is black. He’s surrounded by darkness, alone in his views. If you like history, then I’d highly recommend watching this movie.
Prediction: I think there is a high chance Gary Oldman could walk away with the lead actor Oscar. He is unrecognizable as Winston Churchill and is well suited for the role. I loved the cinematography in this movie, but I don’t think it will win.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Nominations: Best Picture, Lead Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Original Score, Costume Design
I went into this movie expecting so much more than what I got. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock, a narcissistic, self-entitled dressmaker who becomes captivated by a young woman named Alma (Lesley Manville). Their love is twisted and unnatural, and it took too long to get some form of interesting communication from the two. It was slow and boring throughout the majority of the movie. I was very unimpressed with the whole movie.
Prediction: I hope this doesn’t win best picture, and I don’t think it will. Daniel Day-Lewis is a phenomenal actor, and this movie is no exception, but I can’t see him winning. Lesley Manville does a good job as the supporting actress, but again, I don’t think she will win either. She’s up against some big names. I absolutely loved the score in this movie, and I think it stands a chance of winning. The costume design team in this movie really created some wonderful dresses and, even if it doesn’t win, it deserved the recognition.
Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Nominations: Best Picture, Lead Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design, Original Score, Costume Design
This was my least favorite movie. While I can admit that it was very well done, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Sally Hawkins, who plays the main character Eliza, was extraordinary in this movie. To be able to act as well as she did without actually saying a single word is not an easy thing to do. But outside of her acting, I found the film to be more than a little uncomfortable, and at times, unnecessary.
The head of the laboratory that Eliza is a racist and is a terrible man to his family. His character had little effect on the plot and felt unnecessary. I also didn’t need to see Eliza fully naked, nor did I need to see her nakedly embrace the fish/man creature. It did have its moments that were good and that brought me back from my state of discomfort and shock, but overall, it stank like a fish.
Prediction: I think Guillermo del Toro is going to win best director, and this has a very strong chance of winning best picture, but I don’t want it to. Octavia Spencer is a gem, however, I felt like this movie didn’t play to her strengths or showcase her extraordinary talent. I can’t see her winning for supporting actress. Doug Jones had no personality as the creature other than blinking, so I can’t see him winning. However, The Shape of Water showcased great cinematography, so I could see it winning for that. I know this movie is going to go home with a few Oscars no matter what.
To sum up:
I think the three movies that have the strongest chance of winning best picture are Shape of Water, Lady Bird, and Call Me by Your Name. But it’s the Oscars, anything can happen.
For a list of all nominations, click here.
If you enjoyed this, click here for Emily Bowers’ Stranger Things 2 spoiler-free review.