Photo credit Call Me By Your Name
Every year, I make it my goal to see every movie that’s nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and every year, excuses for missing my goal quickly pile up: seeing every movie gets too expensive, my schedule rules in favor of other plans, I miss the specific week a movie is showing in my town, etc. Thanks to MoviePass and a newfound determination to ruthlessly cram showtimes into my calendar, I finally completed my goal. If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of fitting all nine movies into your schedule, fear not. I’ve put together a brief guide to the films nominated for Best Picture for those deciding which movies to check off their lists before March 4th.
Call Me By Your Name
Synopsis: Set during the summer of 1983 in Northern Italy, the film follows 17-year-old Elio’s romance with Oliver, a graduate student staying with his family for a few weeks. The sun-drenched setting combined with empathetic performances from the cast members make it a poignant depiction of first love.
Other nominations: Timothée Chalamet for Best Actor, Original Song, Adapted Screenplay
For fans of: romance, coming-of-age
Synopsis: Darkest Hour takes place during Winston Churchill’s first few weeks as Prime Minister in 1940, and explores his unwavering determination to keep Britain safe from Hitler’s increasing presence in Europe.
Other nominations: Gary Oldman for Best Actor, Production Design, Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling
For fans of: biopics, historical drama
Synopsis: The film weaves together three storylines during the evacuation of Allied soldiers out of Dunkirk in WWII. The film follows soldiers on land, air, and sea as their paths to safety intersect.
Other nominations: Christopher Nolan for Best Director, Original Score, Production Design, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing
For fans of: historical drama
Synopsis: An initially awkward weekend turns sinister when an interracial couple goes home to meet the parents. The horror elements mixed with relevant social commentary make it an innovative and timely story.
Other nominations: Daniel Kaluuya for Best Actor, Jordan Peele for Best Director, Original Screenplay
For fans of: thrillers
Synopsis: The film follows self-titled “Lady Bird” through her senior year of high school. The film offers a unique perspective on Lady Bird’s up-and-down relationship with her mother, her transition out of adolescence, and the connection between love and attention.
Other nominations: Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress, Laurie Metcalf for Best Supporting Actress, Greta Gerwig for Best Director, Original Screenplay
For fans of: coming-of-age
Synopsis: Finicky, demanding dress designer Reynolds Woodcock becomes enamored by Alma, a spirited young woman in awe of his genius. Their relationship evolves from an artist-muse dynamic and grows increasingly unhealthy.
Other nominations: Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor, Lesley Manville for Best Supporting Actress, Paul Thomas Anderson for Best Director, Original Score, Costume Design
For fans of: historical fiction, suspense
Synopsis: The floundering Washington Post is given the chance to surpass its competitors when it gets its hands on the infamous Pentagon Papers. Publisher Kay Graham is faced with the decision of whether to release the documents and risk being sued by the government.
Other nominations: Meryl Streep for Best Actress
For fans of: historical drama
The Shape of Water
Synopsis: The film follows Eliza, a mute janitor working at a government facility, as she befriends an aquatic creature that’s being housed there for experimentation. The swirling romance dives into themes of love and loneliness as Eliza and her friends attempt to save the creature.
Other nominations: Sally Hawkins for Best Actress, Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress, Richard Jenkins for Best Supporting Actor, Guillermo del Toro for Best Director, Original Score, Original Screenplay, Production Design, Cinematography, Costume Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing
For fans of: fantasy, romance
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Synopsis: A woman takes on the local police in her small Missouri town for failing to find the murderer of her teenage daughter. Her efforts produce a dark, brutal tale of revenge that’s juxtaposed with frequent comedic elements.
Other nominations: Frances McDormand for Best Actress, Woody Harrelson for Best Supporting Actor, Sam Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor, Original Score, Original Screenplay, Film Editing
For fans of: dark comedy