The upcoming 90th Academy Awards have a strong roster of Best Picture nominees, briefly summarized and detailed here.
“Call Me By Your Name”
What It’s About: A teen on the cusp of manhood falls in love with his father’s male research assistant over the course of the summer in Italy.
Other Nominations: Actor in a Leading Role, Timothée Chalamet;
Music (Original Song), “Mystery Of Love”; Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
Also Features: Ancient Grecian sculpture, peaches, the Italian countryside, fatherly advice, reading books moodily.
Did You Know: Timothee Chalamet learned piano and Italian for the role of Elio.
You Should See It If You: Are a fan of Sufjan Stevens and can get past the fact that Timothee Chalamet looks like a baby while Armie Hammer looks like a man.
What It’s About: Based on a true story, “The Post” follows one newspaper’s struggle to publish the truth about the Vietnam War, even in the midst of a large-scale government cover-up.
Other Nominations: Meryl Streep for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Also Features: Briefcases, Meryl Streep being the only woman in the room most of the time, telephone dialogue, intense situations you already know the ending to, entrepreneurial children.
Did You Know: The film was rushed into production due to the timely nature of its message.
You Should See It If You: Are looking to be inspired and mildly entertained.
What It’s About: A teen navigates her final year of high school, balancing friendships, first loves, college applications and her relationship with her mother.
Other Nominations: Saoirse Ronan for Actress in a Leading Role; Laurie Metcalf for Actress in a Supporting Role; Greta Gerwig for Directing; Writing (Original Screenplay).
Also Features: Thrift stores, high school musicals, Catholic nuns, me bawling my eyes out at the end.
Did You Know: Greta Gerwig is the only female director nominated for an Oscar this year, and the fifth women ever to be nominated in this category.
You Should See It If You: Want to see a well-done coming-of-age story written and directed by a woman.
What It’s About: A black man visits his white girlfriend’s family for a weekend, but things are not as they seem.
Other Nominations: Daniel Kaluuya for Actor in a Leading Role; Jordan Peele for Directing; Writing (Original Screenplay).
Also Features: Deer, a new outlook on TSA, the most messed-up game of Bingo ever.
Did You Know: It was filmed in 23 days.
You Should See It If You: Want to be culturally relevant, wished you could have voted for Obama a third time or are just in the mood for a really good movie.
“The Shape Of Water”
What It’s About: A mute janitor develops a strong connection to a strange fish-like creature being held in captivity in a secret government facility.
Other Nominations: Sally Hawkins for Actress in a Leading Role; Richard Jenkins for Actor in a Supporting Role; Octavia Spencer for Actress in a Supporting Role; Cinematography; Costume Design; Guillermo Del Toro for Directing; Film Editing, Music (Original Score); Production Design; Sound Editing; Sound Mixing; Writing (Original Screenplay).
Also Features: Cold War-era Russian spies, flooded bathrooms, Octavia Spencer once again playing a supporting character and not a lead, finger horror, eggs.
Did You Know: Director Guillermo Del Toro said that if “The Shape Of Water” had flopped, he would have retired from directing due to the personal nature of the film.
You Should See It If You: Are sad at the state of monsters being typecast as villains and want to see one as the sexy hero.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
What It’s About: A woman enraged by the unsolved rape and murder of her daughter rents three billboards to publicize her outrage against the local law enforcement.
Other Nominations: Frances McDormand for Actress in a Leading Role; Sam Rockwell for Actor in a Supporting Role; Woody Harrelson for Actor in a Supporting Role; Film Editing, Music (Original Score); Writing (Original Screenplay).
Also Features: Arson, corrupt cops, some small-town charm, good people doing bad things to each other, Midwestern accents.
Did You Know: Caleb Landry Jones, who plays the manager of a small advertising firm, also starred in the Oscar-nominated “Get Out”.
You Should See It If You: Want to see an emotionally effective redemption film with a good sense of humor.
What It’s About: Surrounded by German forces, Allied forces struggle to cross the English Channel, while civilian vessels are called to aid their escape from northern France.
Other Nominations: Christopher Nolan for Best Director; Film Editing; Music (Original Score); Cinematography; Sound Mixing; Production Design; Sound Editing.
Also Features: Harry Styles, a confusing and non-chronological sequence of events, Mad Max a really contagious phobia of drowning.
Did You Know: Veterans who had survived the events of Dunkirk complained that the film’s soundtrack was louder than the actual bombardment.
You Should See It If You: Want to see a sweeping but contained military epic that attempts to capture the horrors of ground-level combat.
“The Darkest Hour”
What It’s About: Amidst the escalation of conflict in World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill struggles to find the right course of action for Britain.
Other Nominations: Gary Oldman for Actor in a Leading Role; Costume Design; Cinematography; Production Design; Makeup.
Also Features: That girl from “Baby Driver,” a pretty convincing fat-suit, characters from “The King’s Speech” depicted negatively, very little color, a Teddy Roosevelt cameo.
Did You Know: Gary Oldman is the sixth actor to play Winston Churchill who also starred in the Harry Potter film franchise.
You Should See It If You: Have the patience and interest for another biopic about a World War II leader, and maybe a generic biopic at that.
“The Phantom Thread”
What It’s About: In Post-War London, an acclaimed dressmaker’s life is disrupted by his fixation on a young woman.
Other Nominations: Daniel Day Lewis for Best Actor in a Leading Role; Lesley Manville for Actress in a Supporting Role; Paul Thomas Anderson for Best Director; Music (Original Score); Costume Design.
Also Features: Hallucinations, Belgian royalty, Daniel Day Lewis method-acting, age disparity in a relationship and the economy of dress.
Did You Know: This is, supposedly, Daniel Day Lewis’ final film before he retires. He previously worked with director Paul Thomas Anderson in “There Will Be Blood.”
You Should See It If You: Have a dramatic interest in dark and unconventional romance stories.