A new year would never be complete without celebrating the very best of the cinematic industry. This awards season has been difficult to predict, purely because of the quality of films that have dominated cinemas this past year. As we prepare for the Academy Awards this Sunday evening, we thought we’d rank 2018’s Best Picture nominees…
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Frances McDormand is the favourite to collect the golden statue for Best Actress for her performance as Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards. The film, written and directed by British-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, follows Hayes’ journey of self-grief seven months after her daughter’s murder. After putting up billboards to taunt the local police, Hayes goes head to head with chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell). With violent tones and comedy elements, Three Billboards has the potential to be the strongest contender in the Best Picture category.
“Don’t Pick a fight with me, you certainly won’t come out alive” – Cyril Woodcock (Lesley Manville).
This line is just one of many that make Paul Thomas Anderson an excellent screenwriter. Anderson returns to award season with Phantom Thread, a film focussing on 1950’s couture and the exploration of a relationship with an unusual twist. Daniel Day-Lewis is outstanding in the PTA directed film as Reynolds Woodcock, a fashion designer who is stuck between the two loves in his life – fashion and Alma, a waitress.
Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird is one of the most self-effacing and heart-warming films of the year. Saoirse Ronan receives her third Oscar nomination for her role as Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson, an 18-year old Catholic school student who isn’t afraid to be different from her peers. The film explores Lady Birds troubled relationship with her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) as she prepares to leave home for college. The film is a beautiful, yet relatable experience which after one screening will have you wanting to give your mum a big hug.
The Shape of Water
Every awards season needs a sci-fi film, and this one acts as the perfect competition against the likes of Three Billboards and Darkest Hour. Sally Hawkin’s provides audiences with a captivating performance as Elisa, a cleaner at a hidden high-security government laboratory those life changes after discovering a secret classified experiment.
Christopher Nolan directs Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Branagh in this visually stunning re-make of Dunkirk. Nolan’s pristine directing makes the film one of his best after The Dark Knight trilogy, which also acts as the perfect commiseration to the 330,000 soldiers who were safely evacuated in 1940.
Call Me by Your Name
At 22, Timothée Chalamet becomes the youngest Best Actor nominee in almost 80 years following his portrayal as Elio Perlman in the film adaptation of the best-selling novel, Call Me by Your Name. Forget about Carol, it’s refreshing to see a male relationship explored in a manner that has generated strong performances by Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, the film could be this year’s dark horse.
Originally perceived as a small indie-horror flick, Jorden Peele’s Get Out has provided a freshness within this year’s Best Picture category. BAFTA Rising Star winner Daniel Kaluuya shines in the film, which focuses on his character’s disturbing discoveries relating to his girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) parents, who accommodate strange behaviour when dealing with their interracial relationship.
We all love Steven Spielberg, and while The Post isn’t his strongest work the film is full of narrative and character riches. That said, Meryl Streep gives an incredible performance as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of well-known American newspaper – The Washington Post. Graham goes up against The New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers which covered up government secrets regarding the Vietnam War that spans up to three decades. Additional cast includes Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts and Matthew Rhys.
With a Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA award under his belt, it’s pretty safe to say that Gary Oldman is the favourite to win Best Actor at the Oscars. Saying that, while his performance as Winston Churchill provides audiences with an outstanding portrayal of the British icon, the film itself is a bit of a slow burner.