Arts, Culture & Lifestyle

Oscars 2018: Top 10 picks for Best Picture nomination

by William Defebaugh, Usa
28.11.2017
The holiday movie season is officially upon us, and here are our list of Best Picture worthy films.

It's often said that in times of unrest, the greatest art is made — and 2017 seems to have put that theory to the test as they use art to shine light on the state of the world and act as simple enchanting distractions.

Filmmakers, actors, and creators of all kinds have stepped up their game and the result is a long (and somewhat intimidating) list of imaginative stories that speak to a wide range of diverse subject matter.

Whether that's the often-uncaptured intimacy of love between two men (Call Me By Your Name) or whip-smart, genre-bending commentary on race relations (Get Out), or the retelling of one of journalism's most significant historical feats that feels even more relevant in an era where the field itself is coming into question by world leaders (The Post)

Below are our ten predictions for Best Picture at the Oscar 2018, so you can plan your movie dates accordingly.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Few films have received as much unanimous critical acclaim as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Written by Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards stars Academy Award winner Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes, a woman who demands justice for her murdered daughter by rallying her town to hold its chief police officer (Woody Harrelson) accountable via a controversial messaging tactic that you can probably guess by the title.

The film has been credited for striking an expert balance between its humour and the dark, culturally relevant subject matter it depicts (negligent police officers, hello). After watching the trailer, it's hard to resist the urge to run right for the nearest movie theatre.

 

Watch the trailer here.

The Shape of Water

Leave it to fantastical storyteller Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) to make one of the year's most heartwarming films about a merman (and no, we're not talking about Jason Momoa).

Set in Cold War America, The Shape of Water follows Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute janitor at a government facility living out her days in solitude, aside from the company of her co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer).

While on the job, Elisa discovers something known as "the asset," a highly-intelligent man-fish hybrid with whom she develops a secret relationship, and eventually must save from the bigoted government agents who deem him a monster.

All in all, it's a touching love story between two people of wildly different origins who find connection due to their differences, and are ultimately judged for it. It might be set in 1962, but could anything be more 2017?

 

Watch the trailer here.

The Florida Project

The Florida Project, the latest film from Sean Baker, is as heartbreaking as it is cinematically stunning.

Continuing his modus operandi of narrating the uneventful, everyday lives of marginalized American subgroups (for those who didn't watch his previous film Tangerine, it's a must-see), The Florida Project centers around a group of impoverished children who weave in and out of trouble at The Magic Castle, a low grade motel outside of Orlando, Florida.

The main character, six-year-old Moonee, attempts to have a good time despite her circumstances — and her prostituting, perfume-peddling mother (who is trying her best).

Willem Dafoe plays the good-natured hotel manager who faces moral dilemmas on the daily in trying to play a second-hand parental figure to the children.

It's an inspiring look at the ability of children to use imagination to find happiness anywhere, and a tragic reminder of the tough choices many young parents face today.

 

Watch the trailer here.

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig's directorial debut has just broken a record on Rotten Tomatoes for having the most consecutive "Fresh" reviews (163) and zero "Rotten" ones.

Yes, this means it has a 100% score. This should come as little surprise to fans of Gerwig's work as a writer, including acclaimed hits like Frances Ha! and Mistress America.

The indie darling's latest feat stars Saoirse Ronan as "Lady Bird" (self-named), an eccentric high school student and reluctant Californian as she navigates the tricky waters of late adolescence, boys (including Timothée Chalamet), and a complicated relationship with her mother (played by Laurie Metcalf).

We hope this will be the first of many directorial achievements from Gerwig, whose star is undoubtedly on the rise even more than it already was.

 

Watch the trailer here.

Call Me By Your Name

Aside from a few notable exceptions, relationships between gay men have historically been portrayed in cinema as lacking depth and intimacy (hence stereotypes about gay men being superficial and sex-driven).

Nothing could be further from the truth in Call Me By Your Name, Luca Guadagnino's silver screen adaptation of the 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman.

The story follows the relationship between 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome student doing a summer residency with Elio's father in a seaside town in Italy.

The unfolding of their romance is as delicate as it is sensual, elegantly capturing the often-overlooked "will he or won't he" nuances of gay love.

A bonus? The film's gorgeous soundtrack is scored by indie music darling Sufjan Stevens. Run, don't walk to see this one.

 

Watch the trailer here.

Get Out

From the mind of Jordan Peele, Get Out set the bar high for movies this year.

Dubbed a "socially conscious horror movie," the movie stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a black man who visits the family of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams).

We won't spoil this one, but let's just say that things in the suburbs are not what they appear.

What we will say is that Get Out provides brilliant satire that reminded audiences what the horror genre was before slasher films: a way of providing commentary on legitimately horrifying scenarios of everyday life by way of over-exaggeration (think 1978's Dawn of the Dead, which used zombies in a mall as a metaphor for consumerism).

There's a reason this one earned a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

Watch the trailer here

The Post

Is a tight Oscar race really complete without a movie starring Meryl Streep?

What about one starring both her and Tom Hanks — a first in Hollywood history?

But don't let the star-studded cast of The Post distract you: Steven Spielberg’s latest film tackles a deeply important event, one that is politically relevant in Trump's "fake news" America.

Streep plays Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a large American media outlet (The Washington Post) as she attempts to beat The New York Times in breaking a story about the Pentagon Papers, a massive government cover-up that spanned three decades.

Think Spotlight, but instead of taking down the Catholic Church, it's the U.S. government. We're not sure that two journalism-based films can take home the gold in such short succession, but Streep is sure to be nominated.

 

Watch the trailer here. 

The Big Sick

It's not every day that you come across a movie you can call entirely unlike anything you've seen before — a sentiment commonly expressed after seeing The Big Sick.

Kumail Nanjiani's appropriately billed "awkward true story" follows Nanjiani as a lovesick Pakistani-American man pining after an actually-sick girl named Emily (based on Nanjiani's real-life wife, who co-wrote the film).

It's a rom-com-drom (romantic-coma-drama-comedy) that's as sincere as it is relatable, with endearingly awkward humor.

Plus, Holly Hunter delivers an amazing performance as Emily's mother! Basically, The Big Sick is a much-welcome light in a sea of dark subject matter that defined 2017.

 

Watch the trailer here.

Dunkirk

It's uncommon for a war film to get so much Oscar buzz, but then again, most war films are not directed by mastermind Christopher Nolan and Dunkirk has received steady praise since it released in theatres this summer.

Set in 1940, the movie recounts the desperate, piecemeal evacuations of 330,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, where they were trapped by the advancing German army.

The stellar cast includes Harry Styles (his acting debut), Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, and more.

A tale of heroism at its finest, the trailer alone is enough to tug at your heartstrings.

 

Watch the trailer here.

I, Tonya

The tenth slot is a tricky one, but we're giving it to I, Tonya — largely thanks to standout performances by Margot Robbie and Allison Janney.

Robbie plays Tonya Harding, who was once the greatest figure skater in the world as she rises to the top of her career, only to tumble after her husband attempts to (violently) remove the competition.

"America," says Robbie in the film, "they want someone to love, but they want someone to hate." It's a dark comedy that again proves that filmmakers this year have drawn inspiration from the past to speak to America's present.

It may be a runner-up for Best Picture, but we've got our bets on Robbie taking home the gold for Best Actress.

 

Watch the trailer here

NOTE: Some of the films mentioned will not be airing in Malaysia (some may be due to sensitivity and censorship by the local authority).

However, you can check iTunes or Amazon Movies to stream/download the films.

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