Are this year’s Oscars movies worth the hype? As the night of the Oscars quickly draws closer, everyone seems to have become a movie critique all of a sudden. There is your friend that has never seen a movie in their life but has just watched Dunkirk and he is sure that THAT will be the winner. Then, there is your other friend that never stops bragging about the fact that she always told you that Leonardo di Caprio would win Best Actor for The Revenant. This time, whether the Oscar will go to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, already the winner for Best Picture at the Golden Globes, or to the only female-directed movie nominated for Best Picture, Ladybird, I believe we will only find out on the 4th of March. In the meantime, here are my picks for the films that you should watch (or better not) in preparation for the 2018 Oscars night.
Quick disclaimer: I have no right to call myself a movie expert, I have never watched Forrest Gump, and the only movies I would get a movie ticket in advance for are the ones with Star Wars in the title.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri If you have not watched this movie yet, please do yourself a favour and go watch it now. Such a powerful message conveyed in such a powerful way: three billboards installed in a road that no one uses anymore to bring to light the dysfunctionality of the police to investigate the rape and murder of a young girl. I would honestly bet all my money on this one for the win. Is it worth the hype? Hell yes.
To draw up this list, I have sacrificed too many hours of my life to watch all the Oscars-nominated movies in a two-week span, and, contrary to some of the movies in this list, I can honestly tell you that the two hours to watch this movie were totally worth it. It follows the life of figure skater Tonya Harding, portrayed by Margot Robbie (the wife of Leonardo di Caprio in The Wolf of Wall Street) and her connection to the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan in occasion of the 1994 Winter Olympics. Touching upon rivalry, abusive relationships, disastrous childhood, figure skating, boxing, the movie follows the rise and the fall of a figure skating prodigy. Perfect to watch if you followed the Winter Olympics in the past two weeks and you cannot go over the fact that they are already over. Is it worth the hype? Yes.
Dunkirk This year there are not one, but two movies nominated for Best Motion Picture about the same historical event, the Battle of Dunkirk and the evacuation of the British armies from France to England with hundreds of merchant boats in one of the most remarkable moments of the Second World War. Told from three perspectives, land, sea, and air, this war film manages to portray the tensions, the fear, and the bravery with such truthfulness that makes you feel like in the middle of the battle. Although the movie remained truly spectacular and the special effects were great, there were some holes in the plot and some scenes were confusing, as war is most of the time, but maybe too confusing for the viewer.
Is it worth the hype? Yes.
Darkest Hour On the battle of Dunkirk as well, this movie could not be more different from the previous. Told from the perspective of the personal typewriter of Winston Churchill, the movie follows his first years of power during the Second World War and his decision to evacuate the British armies from Dunkirk. Full of political back-stabbing and military scheming and with the impressive performance of Gary Oldman in the role of Churchill, for which he received a nomination for Best Male Actor, this movie is one not to miss out on. Is it worth the hype? Resounding yes.
Call Me By Your Name A movie about first love and self-discovery set in the background of the Northern Italian countryside, Call Me By Your Name sees the seventeen-year-old Elio exploring his sexuality with the arrival of his father’s new American assistant Oliver and the eventuality of the two men falling in love. This is a coming-of-age film, like Ladybird, but with the emotional connection that ‘Ladybird’ did not manage to deliver. It totally deserves the price of that movie ticket. Is it worth the hype? Yes.
Loving Vincent “We cannot speak other than by our paintings”. Vincent Van Gogh managed to come back to life in this fully painted movie about the life of the Dutch painter and, in particular, the circumstances surrounding his death. Realised by a team of 125 painters, this movie is unique in its genre and a step forward from the other animated movies nominated together for Best Animated Feature. However, I have different reservations to make with regards to the plot: it simply was not what it was marketed to be. I went into this movie fully expecting to be enlightened about the life of Van Gogh and what I obtained from it was a mystery behind the particular circumstances of Van Gogh’s death. Still exceptionally executed. But not what expected. Is it worth the hype? Maybe.
The Post Set in the early 1970s, it depicts the true story of the attempt of the journalists at the Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers, top-secret documents regarding the 30-year involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War. The significance of the freedom of the press and the efforts of the government to repress are so well portrayed that the link with the Trump administration is immediate. However, echoing (too) many aspects of Spotlight, the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2016, the movie has low chances against the others on the run for Best Picture. Is it worth the hype? Yes.
Ladybird Another seventeen-year-old in search for her true identity and worrying about her future while taking part in a musical during high school. No, it is not High School Musical. No, I do not think it quite matches the level of the other movies in the list. However, I can only appreciate the fact that, with Ladybird, there is at least one female directed movie nominated for Best Picture.
Is it worth the hype? Sadly not.
The Phantom Thread Set in the 1950s, it follows a British dressmaker that falls in love with a much younger waitress that soon becomes his muse. If it seems like any other romantic drama, it probably is. I cannot give you a definite answer since I just did not follow it after thirty minutes.
Is it worth the hype? Uncertain.