Let’s Go to the Movies: Oscars 2018


Graphic by John Liang via The Tower (https://thetowerphs.com/2018/02/arts-and-entertainment/the-oscars-2018-who-will-take-the-win/)

On March 4, the best actors, actresses, technicians, and films of the year were given the highest honors at the 90th Academy Awards. This year, a fantastic crop of films were nominated for best picture. While they are very different from one another, they all send important messages prevalent in today’s society: love is more powerful than society’s hate, hope and perseverance must prevail even in the darkest of times, and it is up to us, the people of the world, to wake up and realize who we are and what’s happening around us before it’s too late. Time’s up.


Call Me By Your Name: (3 nominations)

Call Me By Your Name is certainly an exciting ride! In 1980s Italy, 17 year old Elio experiences the wildest, most emotionally charged summer of his life when grad student Oliver comes to stay with his family. Audience members will lose themselves in the beautiful story of intense, sensual, all-consuming first love. Timothée Chalamet (Elio) blows it out of the water with his heart wrenching performance in this film, and the music, writing, and camerawork blend perfectly together to create the dreamy atmosphere of a summer in Italy. This is a movie that will leave people thinking about it for a long time afterwards. Bring tissues! 11/10


Dunkirk: (8 nominations)

Based on a true story, Dunkirk is set in WWII on an island where thousands of Allied troops were trapped and tells the story of the many missions to rescue the soldiers from their isolated location before the Germans could arrive and attack. The epic-style three-hour movie is directed by Christopher Nolan and features Tom Hardy and Harry Styles. The cinematography was impressive but the plot was difficult to discern and the characters, while visually stunning, were forgettable at best. There were some suspenseful moments that captured the attention of the viewer, such as the story arc of the British pilots who were desperately evading German fighter planes. All in all, the movie is only worth it for movie buffs or fans of World War II.


Darkest Hour: (6 nominations)

Another side of World War II can be seen in Darkest Hour. Gary Oldman fantastically portrays British prime minister and wordsmith Winston Churchill, but the real star of the show is the cinematography. The shots are so creative and make the movie so much more interesting to watch. It is sometimes difficult to retain the audience’s attention during long war movies, but that is not the case for Darkest Hour. The movie is aptly named: symbols for time are present throughout the film, as well as recurring shots of Churchill surrounded in darkness. This movie encourages the public not to forget Churchill’s inspiring time in office and emphasizes the strength and faith of the British people.


Get Out: (4 nominations)

No spoilers here, but Get Out is a must-watch. This social thriller is not particularly enjoyable to watch, but it shouldn’t be. Get Out will make white people uncomfortable. Watch it anyway. Director Jordan Peele turns a spotlight on a form of racism that many people pretend doesn’t exist. It forces the “woke” white audience member to take a long hard look at themselves and ask, is that me?


Lady Bird: (5 nominations)

Lady Bird is an absolute delight! It stars Best Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan and is directed by Greta Gerwig, the only female nominee for Best Director this year. Christine, self-named Lady Bird is in her senior year of high school and is terribly bored with life in Sacramento. The movie details the highs and lows of her senior year, from boyfriends (Timothée Chalamet is back!) to friendships, plays, and Lady Bird’s complicated relationship with her mother. Overflowing with wit, charm and happy feels, Lady Bird will leave you smiling and wanting to come back and watch it again. 10/10!


Phantom Thread: (6 nominations)

1950s England is home to famed fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock and his latest muse, Alma. The pair’s unusual relationship is built on deep love but is threaded through with dysfunction. The two lovers fight furiously for control, both outwardly and subliminally. Daniel Day-Lewis (Reynolds) has achieved yet another impeccable performance- this film is really about the acting, with music and costume design (of course) coming in second. Some parts of the film are sort of jagged and do not flow naturally, but the air of mysteriousness keeps the audience engaged.   


The Post: (2 nominations)

The Post is a big film featuring some big names. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep, this movie fights the fake news with the strategy and intelligence of bigwig editor of Washington Post Katharine Graham (the first female publisher of an American newspaper). The Washington Post races the New York Times to expose information on the Vietnam War that had been long buried. This film emphasizes the importance of journalism and free speech in the seventies when it is set, but it is necessary more than ever today.


The Shape of Water: (13 nominations)

Director Guillermo Del Toro had a really strange dream one night a few years ago, and it became The Shape of Water, winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Picture. In New York City during the Cold War, the movie contrasts a fantasy fairy tale with a stark military research center. The film itself is exquisite, and quite unlike anything else. Cleaning lady Eliza Esposito (Sally Hawkins) finds herself falling in love, a love that transcends the bounds of human language and centers around earnest expression and feeling. This unique relationship endures past persecution, discrimination, and hate from those who do not understand it. Prepare to be surprised.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: (7 nominations)

This one’s a hard hitter. Three Billboards addresses many important issues society faces today, including racism, mindless sexual assault, suicide, physical abuse and violence. Frances McDormand plays a mother whose daughter was raped and killed near her town of Ebbing, Missouri. She puts up three billboards just outside of the town in order to catch the attention of the sheriff (Woody Harrelson), whom she believes has neglected her daughter’s case. The reactions of the townspeople to these billboards make bare the societal flaws that Missourians (and Americans as a whole) possess, but also shows how healing and change can come from horrifying events.


So, why not take a trip to the movies over Easter break? Even if you’re just staying in town, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break from your daily routine and check out one of these nominated films.