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2018 Oscar Round Up

Donovan Fisher, Guest Writer

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With the Oscars right around the corner, this list is a short recap and review of all films nominated for Best Picture, along with some other important tidbits regarding their chances of being the big winner.

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CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Original Song, Best Adapted Screenplay)

Love is a unique thing, and Call Me by Your Name is a wonderful take on this. Set in the lovely backdrop of Italy in 1983, this coming-of-age drama focuses on Elio (nominee Timothee Chalamet) when he falls in love with Oliver (Armie Hammer), an American who has come to live with his family. The film offers an uncommon look into gay relationships during this time period, with impeccable writing and performances that leave you spellbound by the presentation. The movie runs at a very slow pace, but the ending is exhilarating in an examination of love and loss. The ending of the film is one of the most gripping of the year, with moments that will leave you thinking long after the movie is over.

DARKEST HOUR (nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Costume Design)

Darkest Hour focuses on British Parliament as Winston Churchill (nominee Gary Oldman) takes the office of Prime Minister. The film is a curious take on the political climate during World War 2, as it depicts the British forces as nervous in the initial face of Nazi power against their forces. Ironically enough, the bulk of the film is Churchill’s reaction to the Battle and Evacuation of Dunkirk (this plan being the primary plot of another Best Picture nominee, Dunkirk). While the film doesn’t have a large amount of substance in storytelling, a gripping performance from Oldman as Churchill makes the film hard to turn away from, displaying the intricate and forceful nature of the Prime Minister.

DUNKIRK (nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Production Design.)

The second film on this list set in the depths of World War 2, Christopher Nolan’s gripping WW2 drama Dunkirk manages to thrill audiences with its intense direction and gripping technical design. Every gunshot and explosion is vivid in both sight and sound, capturing your attention from its first moments. However, the plot feels stretched thin, and therefore you aren’t given enough time to attach yourself to any of the main characters. This is both a negative and a positive, however, as Nolan’s primary intent is to tell the story of how these random soldiers all contributed to the historic Battle of Dunkirk through the 3 vignettes told. With stellar production design, Dunkirk is the one to beat against its many technical award nominations.

GET OUT (nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor)

This horror-comedy stunned audiences when it was first released in February last year, and the Academy is recognizing the talent and hard work that went into it. Director Jordan Peele captivated movie-goers with his story of Chris (nominee Daniel Kaluuya), a black photographer who goes to his white girlfriend’s parents house, where things always seem to be more than what is shown on the surface. Peele’s commentary on modern race relations woven into a tightly bound script make Get Out exceptional, and thrusts it into competition for the awards.

LADY BIRD (nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director)

A modern coming-of-age classic set at the turn of the millennium, Lady Bird surprised audiences when indie distributor A24 released the film in late November. The story focuses on the titular character, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, as she navigates through relationships, work, getting into college, and life in Sacramento. The film is loosely based around first time writer/director Greta Gerwig’s own personal life growing up in the city, and her experience in high school. This touching film has a spectacular ensemble cast, with the most minor of characters feeling impactful on the audience. The film broke the record in early December for best-reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes, with over 170 positive reviews and the coveted 100% mark for nearly three weeks before a negative review came in.

PHANTOM THREAD (nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design)

A haunting tale of love and loss, Phantom Thread is a story of how love expresses itself in unique and interesting ways. The film sets itself in 1950’s London, focused on a tailor named Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his business making dresses and suits for the high class of society. As he introduces his girlfriend Alma (Lesley Manville) into this life, their stifling relationship begins to flourish into something truly unique. The stellar direction by Paul Thomas Anderson and truly haunting style and substance places Phantom Thread as a wonderful story, but its snail-like pace makes the film hard to sit through for people on the anxious side.

THE POST (nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress)

The Pentagon Papers is a crucial moment in American society during the Cold War, and Steven Spielberg’s latest film, The Post, takes on how these documents came into the public’s hands. The story of these vital documents is set in the offices of The Washington Post, which at the time was a fledgling local paper run by Katharine Graham (nominee Meryl Streep), and how this newspaper helped in revealing vital information about the Vietnam War to the American public. The film displays knockout performances at each turn, showing the power of Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and an assortment of others in its large ensemble. The Post offers a compelling input into the story and offers a unique story, however, it doesn’t offer anything new that other journalism films such as Zodiac or Spotlight were able to at the time of their release.

THE SHAPE OF WATER (nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing)

A true fish-out-of-water tale, The Shape of Water is a modern marvel in the craft of filmmaking. Set in the backdrop of the Cold War, the film follows the story of Elisa (nominee Sally Hawkins), a mute janitor for a secret government facility. When she finds a monster from the sea being tortured, she begins to helps the creature heal, and eventually, attempt to escape. The effects for the creature are breathtaking, perfectly blending makeup and CGI to create a believable and realistic Amphibian Man. Director Guillermo del Toro is able to capture a beautiful landscape of color, wonderfully executing his vision for this story. However, the story itself is somewhat predictable, but the strength of the dialogue and script makes the journey to the end as enjoyable as ever. The Shape of Water is a beautiful film, using all of its strengths in cast and crew to create a master work of film.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and 2 Best Supporting Actor noms)

The feeling of injustice fills the soul, especially when it happens to someone you hold dearly, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri captures this feeling excellently. A woman in a small town in the Ozarks is brutally murdered, and for seven months, nothing becomes of it. That is, until the woman’s grieving mother, Mildred Haynes (nominee Frances McDormand), calls out the police department on 3 billboards, demanding justice for her daughter. This dark comedy manages to balance the real with the absurd, in no small part due to the screenplay of writer/director Martin McDonagh. While maybe not as visually impressive as some of the other films on this list, the knockout performances by McDormand and Sam Rockwell alongside the gritty script makes for a captivating tale. Winning Best Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Actress, and Best Picture-Drama at the Golden Globes, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a serious competitor in this year’s Oscars race.

——————————————————————————————————————————Overall, 2017 was an overwhelmingly strong year for movies. Many critically acclaimed films, such as I, Tonya, The Big Sick, Blade Runner 2049, Mudbound, Baby Driver, and more picked up other assorted nominations but not Best Picture. The race is stacked to take home the golden award, and there’s not much telling for what could go all the way. Could it be the enchanting fantasy of The Shape of Water, the gritty dark comedy within Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, or even something like the romantic Call Me By Your Name to take it by surprise? There’s no telling until that fateful night. The 90th Academy Awards airs on ABC at 8pm on March 4th, 2018.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “2018 Oscar Round Up”

  1. Genericcialis on April 4th, 2018 5:05 am

    Thanks Natali dear, I love them too! generic cialis

  2. ilFrosch on April 5th, 2018 9:21 pm

    Even the Royal Navy promised Churchill they could only evacuate 70,000 men at Dunkirk. That they lifted 400,000 men was unexpected and unprecedented. No one in the German staff thought they could get all those men out. Guderisn made some counterclaims later but in hindsight.

  3. Ms. Devers on April 9th, 2018 2:53 pm

    Such a good year for film! I was so happy about The Shape of Water!

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2018 Oscar Round Up