Since 2012, I have made a continuing effort to watch all the Academy Award nominees for Best Picture. I have multiple goals for doing this:
- To watch what can be called “The Best Movies of the Year”
- To expose myself to amazing movies that I may not have watched otherwise
- To somewhat feel like I know what is going on when watching the Oscars
I haven’t always agreed with the winning movie, but I always end up seeing some amazing movies. Here are the nine movies up for Best Picture this year and my thoughts on all of them.
- Call Me By Your Name Fiercely sad and fiercely real with the once of the best movie soundtracks that I have heard in a long time this movie is one that touches your heart with a quiet stillness. Set in the Italian countryside this movie is not the most action filled, but it is filled with important growth and learning. I felt myself drawn into the lives of the characters and wished that it would just continue.
- Darkest Hour This is a movie that, while it tells an interesting part of history, couldn’t quite capture my attention. The acting was great and very believable, but I wasn’t super intrigued by the story. The movie tells the story of Winston Churchill’s first few weeks as Prime Minister, the decisions leading to the evacuation of Dunkirk, and the behind the scenes view of the war. It was interesting to watch this movie in comparison to Dunkirk as they are existing at the same time, but I enjoyed the other view much more.
- Dunkirk I am not always one for war movies, but this movie was amazing. Telling the story of the evacuation of the Dunkirk beach from land, sea, and air I was swept into the lives of these men and how they fought to get off the beach. There is not much dialogue throughout the movie, but the movie is carried through amazing cinematography and the hope of the people. The suspense is palpable and the movie captured my attention.
- Get Out Never have I been so caught in the depths of a movie until this one. When Chris goes home to meet his girlfriends family there is much more to them than meets the eye, much more. Combining psychological horror with racial issues in a way that both shows the racial inequality of North America and made me not want to tear my eyes away from the screen. This movie is so different from all of the others and from is usually presented for Best Picture and though it was disturbing and horrifying it is the movie that I have thought about the most since watching.
- Lady Bird This movie is so quirky and interesting. The story of a girl in her senior year of high school in 2002 dealing with friends, boys, and a mom who can’t just stay on the same page as her. This movie gave Nigel and I a lot of laughs, but there were also moments that definitely hit home. I love Saoerse Ronan and this movie just proves my love for her even more.
- Phantom ThreadThis is not a movie heavy in plot or action, but the characters and their relationships and growth were astounding. Though it can be slow at times I found myself drawn into the life of this dressmaker and his new muse and lover. They live a complicated and somewhat problematic life together, but that is what makes this movie so intriguing and interesting to watch. I do not think this movie will win best picture, but I definitely believe Daniel Day Lewis is a strong candidate for Best Actor.
- The PostIt took a while for this movie to capture my attention, but when it did I was hooked. Telling the story of the Washington Post as they try to publish classified documents that could make or break them. I loved seeing the evolution of Meryl Streep’s character and how she grew and how she dealt with all the hardships that came with the Pentagon Papers.
- The Shape of WaterWow, just wow. From just a few minutes in I knew that this was going to be a favourite and I was not wrong. From the acting, to the soundtrack, to the set design; everything was so thoughtful and intriguing. This movie was both emotional and left me wanting to know more. All of the side characters added immensely to the story and everything was done so well.
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Out of all the movies this is perhaps the most violent and dark. A story of a mom wanting answers for her daughter’s rape and murder and the town that doesn’t align with how she goes about creating change. While her methods are unconventional it is her anger that is palpable and her relationships with the other characters are both heartbreaking and hilarious. Warning: This movie includes a lot of swearing and can be quite disturbing.
There are a lot of amazing movies this year and there is a lot of competition for the big prize. While some movies I enjoyed more than others I feel like there is something to be taken from all of them, at least of a world view different than my own.
What I think will win: The Shape of Water. This was the last movie that I saw and it made me change a lot of the answers that I thought I had. I think it is going to win a lot of the awards that it is up for.