OSCAR BREAKDOWN: Best Picture
It’s the biggest award of the night. The Academy Award for Best Picture.
The 9 films being nominated this year have all been highly reviewed by critics and online users. In fact, the lowest score on Rotten Tomatoes for these films is Darkest Hour with 86%! And if that doesn’t show how well received these films were, two movies on this year’s list of nominees have a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. They are Lady Bird and Get Out.
Even so, I can still think of a few films that were omitted from this year’s list of nominees (cough…The Disaster Artist…cough…I, Tonya), but that’s a whole different article.
With just a little over a week before the 90th Annual Academy Awards, there is one or two frontrunners in this category, as there usually are this close to awards night, but there is also one film that many believe will being the big surprise of the night and walk away with the Best Picture award. I will go into that later in this post.
I am going to rank these 9 nominees from my opinion of which is least likely to win to most likely to win. At the end of this article, I will post my official list of how I think the Academy will vote for Best Picture.
So, let’s begin! Starting with…
Directed by Joe Wright
Total Nominations: 6
A well-made drama depicting Winston Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister of Great Britain. Gary Oldman, who plays Churchill is really what makes this movie fascinating to watch as he proves once again his ability to transform into a character on screen and makes us forget we are watching an actor playing a historical figure. But aside from Oldman’s brilliant portrayal of Winston Churchill, Darkest Hour suffers from what many biographical films suffer this time of year. It is a film that is designed to win Oscars which takes away the excitement and unpredictability come awards night, and this is something The Academy has tried to avoid in recent years.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Total Nominations: 2
What happened to Steven Spielberg’s politically charged drama that was supposed to dominate awards season? There was Oscar talk for Steven Spielberg’s film about journalists at the Washington Post trying to publish The Pentagon Papers before trailers for the film were even released. So how did The Post only walk away with 2 Oscar nominations? One for Best Picture and the other nomination for Meryl Streep. Perhaps it was too much too soon? Perhaps it was too “Oscar-bait” for The Academy?
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Total Nominations: 6
Director Paul Thomas Anderson is known for his films revolving around the psychology of the human mind and often uncomfortable artistic expressions of pain and loss. In his most recent film Phantom Thread, he takes a more elegant approach to this type of narrative. Phantom Thread has been received well by critics, but many theatre-goers have criticized the film for its slow pace and unsettling themes. In what is said to be the last role Daniel Day-Lewis will play, Phantom Thread is a well-crafted and chic film, but I am not expecting it to take home the award for Best Picture.
Directed by Greta Gerwig
Total Nominations: 5
This coming-of-age film was a massive hit when it was released a few months ago and stood a good chance of winning Best Picture but due to length of time since it’s release and the fact that another coming-of-age story in this category has people talking Oscar trophies, I am not expecting Greta Gerwig’s dramedy to win the big award at the end of the night.
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Total Nominations: 8
Calling Dunkirk one of the best war films ever made may be jumping ahead a bit, but Christopher Nolan’s epic war drama was certainly one of the best films of 2017 and has the 2nd highest number of nominations this year. Its outstanding cinematography combined with a musical score by one of the greats, Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk is an emotionally gripping film and could be one of the films that wins multiple Oscars this year.
Directed by Jordan Peele
Total Nominations: 4
Released nationwide in February of 2017, the fact that Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out still resonates with critics and audiences a year later shows what a groundbreaking piece of work this small budget film is. It tackles the controversial topic of racism but in a systematically psychological sense. Considered to be a horror/comedy film, there are many ways that Get Out has been perceived in its structure of social behaviors amongst people as well as its unique way of storytelling through visual concepts that though not super complex, were nonetheless compelling. Any nomination that Get Out has received from The Academy is certainly deserved.
The Shape of Water
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Total Nominations: 13
Leading the race with the highest number of nominations this year, Guillermo del Toro’s visually masterful film The Shape of Water seemed to make the biggest impact on critics. And while I found the film to have many layers of exceptional concepts and perfectly executed performances, I think critics may have jumped the gun in their praise over The Shape of Water, leading audiences to believe it was the film to beat at the Oscars this year. While I have no doubt, Guillermo del Toro will win Best Director and the film has a strong chance of being recognized for its visuals, I don’t think it has gravitated toward enough people to land a Best Picture win.
Call Me by Your Name
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Total Nominations: 4
As Oscar season comes to a close, no nominated film is being talked about more among critics and audiences as much as Luca Guadagnino’s coming-of-age romance Call Me by Your Name. A month ago, the possibility of this drama about a 17-year-old who develops a romance with his father’s older friend in Italy winning the Best Picture Oscar was very slim. But with it’s unique storyline and moving performances, Call Me by Your Name has made a big impact not only on the gay community but with critics as well. There is potential that this film could be the biggest surprise of the night. But last year, after The Academy was accused of being “too-selective” of their nominations, the Best Picture award went to Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight, a film chronicling the life of a gay African American man, making history as the first LGBT film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. With this happening just a year ago, I would be very surprised to see The Academy give another award for Best Picture to a coming-of-age film that deals with sexual identity.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Directed by Martin McDonagh
Total Nominations: 7
Hollywood has been rocked with scandals for months. With the “Me Too” movement, establishing justice among actresses who have accused men in the entertainment industry of sexual misconduct, it is obvious that The Academy is going to address such an issue through recognizing films that refer to such a controversial subject. No film addressed the term “Times Up!” better than Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri. With a brilliantly written screenplay, phenomenal direction, and an impressive ensemble cast, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has made a clean sweep throughout awards season. Frances McDormand has been universally praised for her portrayal of Mildred, a mother fighting for justice after the unsolved rape and murder of her daughter. Even if the “Me Too” movement wasn’t at the center of Hollywood news, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has spoken to enough critics and audiences to reserve its spot as the Best Picture winner of 2017.
Here is how I think The Academy will vote for Best Picture:
Best Picture 2017 – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
2nd – Call Me by Your Name
3rd – The Shape of Water
4th - Dunkirk
5th – Lady Bird
6th – Get Out
7th – Phantom Thread
8th – Darkest Hour
9th – The Post
What film do you think will win the big award?
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Be sure to watch the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th!