By: Caitlin R. (’20)
I don’t know about you, but for the past few weeks I have been desperately trying to find time to watch at least half of the nine nominees for Best Picture, a difficult task considering Crystal’s workload. While I don’t consider myself a movie fanatic, I do always love filling out a ballot for the Oscars and competing with my family to see who can guess the most wins. In past years, I’ve watched zero to one of the movies, and my goal was to have more knowledge about the movies this year. For those like me who don’t have time to watch all nine movies before the Oscars, which are this Sunday the 4th, hopefully this article will help with providing some general info (and some controversies, of course) about the movies up for Best Picture.
Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) is the first female publisher of the Washington Post. Graham and her editor race to catch up with the New York Times in exposing a long-hidden government secret. This is based off a true story where Graham and other journalists from the Washington Post worked to expose secrets about the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. Luckily, no controversies with this movie, and my parents really enjoyed it!
The story of a complicated relationship between mother and daughter in Sacramento, “the midwest of California,” touched the hearts of many and brought back the feeling of being a teenager. Christine “Lady Bird” is just like us – a teenager trying to make her way through school while navigating the other overwhelming aspects of her life. Personally, I loved this movie, especially since I was able to watch it with my mom in the comfort of a movie theater, popcorn in hand. Notably, the director Greta Gerwig is nominated for Best Director– a category that has been lacking female directors since its creation. The movie also centers on mainly female characters, none of whom die (gasp!), an unusual feat as female-centered movies without action generally fail to gain any recognition. With a whopping 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, this film will without a doubt win at least one award, which it definitely deserves.
Chris and his girlfriend Rose have reached an important milestone in their relationship – time to meet the parents. At first, Chris sees Rose’s parents odd behavior as them trying to not react to their daughter’s interracial relationship. But, as the movie progresses, the disturbing truth becomes apparent. I’m not going to lie, this movie haunted me. When it ended, it left me sitting on my couch, unable to speak for quite some time. Not only was the acting superb, the plot itself is chilling. This film was nominated in the comedy category for this years’ Golden Globes, which is ironic considering it is anything but funny. The main themes in Get Out are all too apparent today, where blatant racism exists in aspects of everyday life (hopefully not to the extreme of the movie though).
It’s May of 1940, and Germany advances into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. The stress-inducing movie follows French and British troops evacuating from the beach by any serviceable naval and civilian vessels that could be found. This heroic mission saved approximately 330,000 French, British, Belgian, and Dutch soldiers. This movie has excellent reviews, so if you’re into war movies, this is a must-watch.
Another war movie, Darkest Hour describes the true story that begins at the start of World War II. The Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill, must face a tough challenge: exploring a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or fighting for the ideals, liberty, and freedom of a nation. As the Nazis roll into Britain, Churchill must rally his nation and pull them out of their darkest hour. Gary Oldman does an excellent job portraying Winston Churchill in this riveting look into history.
The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water explores an unconventional love story through normally hidden topics. In 1962 Baltimore, Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works at a high-security government facility as a cleaning woman. When Elisa discovers the lab’s top secret project, a mysterious creature that lives in a water tank, her life changes forever. As Elisa begins to form a unique relationship with this creature, she learns that its survival lays in the hands of the government and a marine biologist. This movie has phenomenal directing, cinematography and a unique storyline, increasing the odds of it winning Best Picture.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
After her daughter is raped and killed, Mildred Hayes paints three controversial billboards directed towards William Willoughby, the town’s reverend chief of police, for not catching the culprit months after the murder. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon, who has a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle is only exacerbated. This hard-to-watch movie is emotional but well-done, and is predicted to win many awards for its relevant story and excellent acting.
Another historical movie, Phantom Thread focuses on the glamorous life of famous dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril. Woodcock is used to women of movie star, royalty, and heiress status passing through his life, but he is caught off guard when strong, independent Alma comes into his life. She soon becomes a fixture, and lover in his life. This movie explores this artist’s creative journey and the women who keep his world running. Considering I had never heard of this movie before writing this article, I would guess that it does not have a high likelihood of winning best picture, even though it may be a great movie.
Call Me By Your Name
Last but not least, Call Me By Your Name centers on a small town in 1980s Italy, where Oliver, a 24 year old American professor comes to stay with 17-year old Elio and his intelligent family. As the summer progresses, Elio struggles to deal with his feelings for Oliver, and vice versa. In a time where anything outside of the norm was not widely accepted, Call Me By Your Name beautifully depicts the budding and falling of a vulnerable relationship between two vastly different, but similar humans. I read this book before seeing the movie, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. The scenery, acting, cinematography, and heartfelt storyline made this movie beautiful. There are some controversies surrounding this movie, since the love interests are 17 and 24, but the story balances out any negative connotations that may come with this age gap. This small indie movie turned Oscar nominee is definitely a contender for Best Picture.