The Films You Need To See Before This Year’s Oscars
The nominations are out, the predictions are in – the 91st Academy Awards are fast approaching. Marvel’s superhero blockbuster Black Panther, Alfonso Cuarón's masterpiece Roma, Spike Lee’s drama BlaKkKlansman, and Peter Farrelly’s feel-good comedy-drama Green Book are all up for Best Picture. In the acting categories, Glenn Close secures her seventh nomination while Roma’s Yalitza Aparicio becomes the first indigenous woman and only the fourth Latinx actress to be nominated. Christian Bale’s transformation into former VP Dick Cheney is being honoured and Rami Malek’s electrifying performance as the legendary Freddie Mercury is getting all the right attention.
With a few weeks to go until the ceremony on February 25th, there’s plenty of time for you to catch up on the films that will be the talk of this awards season. Here, we select our top picks:
Peter Farrelly’s comedy-drama follows the true story of a tour from world-class African-American pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), his Italian-American bouncer and chauffeur. The film depicts the growing bond between the two men in the face of racism and era of segregation.
Set in Colorado Springs in the ‘70s, Spike Lee’s biographical crime film follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington)– the first African-American detective in the city’s police department – as he infiltrates the local Ku Klux Klan branch. The film has scored nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Lee), and Best Supporting Actor (Adam Driver for his role as Flip Zimmerman).
The first superhero film to ever receive a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is a cultural phenomenon and historic box office success that tells the story of T’Challa (who we previously met in Captain America: Civil War) on his return to the fictional African nation of Wakanda after the death of his father to take his rightful place as king. The cast – which includes includes Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Andy Serkis – recently won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, giving the film a strong chance at taking home the Best Picture prize at the Oscars ceremony later this month.
A celebration of Queen, their music and Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody is a feel-good rock film with a magic performance from Rami Malek as the extraordinary frontman. The film is up for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
Netflix is producing more and more original content and with films like Alfonso Cuarón's semi-biographical Roma, the streaming service is making its mark as a major player in the film studios league. Set in 1970 and 1971 and based on the director’s upbringing in Mexico City, Roma follows the life of a live-in housekeeper (played by Yalitza Aparicio) to a middle-class family. The film has scored ten nominations at this year’s ceremony including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress for Aparicio, and Best Supporting Actress for Marina de Tavira.
Critics have been divided over this film but with eight nominations from the Academy, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Christian Bale, Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell, and Best Actress for Amy Adams, Adam McKay’s biographical comedy-drama is not a film to skip this awards season. Starring Bale as Dick Cheney, the film follows the former US vice president on his journey to power during the 2000 presidential election.
A Star Is Born
A remake of the 1937 film of the same name, talks of this version began in 2011 with Clint Eastwood attached to direct and Beyoncé set to star. In 2016, Bradley Cooper signed on to direct and star as seasoned musician Jackson Maine, and he shortly recruited Lady Gaga (and her powerful pipes) as his female lead, Ally. Like the original and previous remakes, the film tells the story of a musician battling alcohol addiction who discovers – and falls in love with – a struggling young singer.
Scoring ten Oscar nods, including three in the acting categories for female leads Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite is getting a lot of attention this awards season. Set in the early 18th Century, the film tells the story of two cousins Sarah and Abigail competing for the affection of the frail and ageing Queen Anne.
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