Best Picture Contenders-A Race to the Oscars

In late January, the nominees for the 90th annual Academy Awards were announced, including the nominees for the most coveted award of the night, “Best Picture.” With nine vastly different films all fighting for the award, the race is extremely close leading up to the ceremony on March 4. Here is a brief rundown of each film nominee, and which you can expect to take home the award.

Call Me By Your Name
Call Me By Your Name follows Elio, a 17-year-old spending the summer at his family’s Italian villa. When Oliver, his father’s intern, shows up to spend the summer with the family, the two immediately form a deep bond that defies all that is socially acceptable at the time. The film was a major success this awards season, and for good reason. Between the beautiful scenery, the melodious score and an emotional performance from newcomer Timothée Chalamet, it has everything the Academy looks for in a film.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a foul-mouthed, comedic tragedy about a mother’s anger towards a local police force who she felt disregarded the rape and murder case of her teenage daughter. Frances Mcdormand, an Oscar veteran, is the clear standout in this film, delivering the rage her character felt in an extremely believable way. The film itself is a strong contender for the award, as its plot flows along quite easily, leaving you shocked, confused and ultimately satisfied.

The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water is definitely the most unique film to be nominated this year. In it, Elisa, a mute cleaning lady at a top secret government laboratory, develops a relationship with one of the labs classified subjects, an amphibious man found in the waters of South America. While the plot seems to be a lot to handle (and trust me, it does take some getting used to), the film’s unconventional approach to love ends up being really touching. Besides the dream-like score and scenery, a highlight of the film is Sally Hawkins (Elisa), who is able to develop the character without dialogue, an impressive feat.

The Post
With five Oscars between them, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks give The Post a pre-existing advantage over the other films nominated this year. Set in 1970s Washington D.C., The Post is about The Washington Post’s decision to run articles featuring leaked, confidential government documents recounting the Vietnam War. While Streep and Hanks shined in their respective roles, the film itself was a bit dull until the dramatic conclusion, which made the first hour or so seem almost unnecessary.

Dunkirk is a war drama following the Dunkirk evacuation in World War II. While many know the film as “the one starring Harry Styles from One Direction,” Dunkirk’s beautiful cinematography and interesting take on the historical event make it a strong contender for the award.

The Darkest Hour
Another World War II era drama, The Darkest Hour follows Winston Churchill who, days after becoming the Prime Minister of Great Britain, has to make a major decision that could change the course of history. While I didn’t personally see the movie, as I don’t have enough faith in myself to sit through a 2 hour period-piece, Variety refers to the film as a “talky yet stunningly cinematic history lesson,” and lead actor Gary Oldman has already taken home multiple awards for his performance as Churchill.

Get Out
Get Out was one of the most talked about movies of 2017. Referred to commonly as a thriller, the film goes in a different direction than most current “thrillers” and acts as a commentary on the racism that is still present in our society. With shocking twists, an extremely relevant narrative, and an explosive finale, Get Out is unlike any other film nominated this year, which may place it ahead of its competitors.

Phantom Thread
Phantom Thread, set in 1950s London, is shocking, to say the least. While on the surface, the film is a drama about a dressmaker who has trouble settling down, it becomes so much more as the plot progresses. Without any spoilers, the film made me audibly say “Oh my God” on multiple occasions, something I would have never expected from a period-drama.

Lady Bird
Finally, Lady Bird is the only film directed by a woman (Greta Gerwig) to receive a nomination in the category this year. Lady Bird highlights Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson’s (Saoirse Ronan) life as an outspoken, misunderstood senior at an all-girls Catholic high school, desperate to leave the town of Sacramento, California for New York City. The film is a refreshing and scarily realistic take on the relationship between a mother and a daughter, along with the navigation of high school and the uncertainty of what comes after.

With 13 nominations in total, The Shape of Water remains a strong contender for the award. However, with big wins at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Three Billboards also stands a fighting chance. Lady Bird and Get Out, both directed by first-time directors, cannot be counted out, though, as both films’ strong ensembles and currently-relevant plots lead them to be extremely popular with audiences. With such a tight race, it’s tough to say who will come out victorious. To find out, tune in on March 4, when the 90th annual Academy Awards airs live on ABC.

About Jake Mauriello 100 Articles
Jake Mauriello is a fourth-year journalism and public relations major, with a minor in film and video studies. This is his seventh semester with The Oracle. Previously, he has worked as an Arts and Entertainment Copy Editor, Features Editor and Managing Editor. He dedicates each of his stories to his personal heroes, Taylor Swift and Alexis Rose.