Ah, Oscar season. That time of year when you say to yourself, “I can’t wait to see how many awards Beauty and The Beast gets…wait, it’s not nominated for anything?…but that movie has Hermoine singing…what in god’s name is The Shape of Water?”
Yes, the so-called experts who dish out the top film and television prizes each year often seem to be living in a different world from us Avenger-loving simple folk. You spent the whole year bingeing Stranger Things and watching that blinking white guy GIF. What are you going to do when you get invited to a swanky Oscar party or your boss starts talking red carpet with you? I’ll tell you what, you’re going to read this. Here’s the lowdown on all the key flicks and even some of the answers to who will win:
The Big Sick
You know Kumail Nanjiani from Silicon Valley? His now-wife almost died right at the beginning of their relationship. The couple wrote a movie about the experience; Judd Apatow helped pack a killer soundtrack, a 9/11 joke, and YouTube legend Bo Burnham into it; and now that movie is nominated for an Oscar.
Call Me By Your Name
After a few days, this movie will feel more like a vacation memory than something you saw on a screen. That the vacation is to beautiful and boujee 1980’s rural Italy and that you’ll be accompanied by well-dressed lovebirds Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet should be enough information for you to up and pack your bags. Chalamet is the youngest Best Actor nominee since 1944!
Missing some good old quality leadership these days? A glance back at Winston Churchill may provide temporary solace. Gary Oldman transforms himself into the British legend and he will win an Oscar for doing so.
The Disaster Artist
Movies as dumbfoundingly bad as The Room often leave one asking “How the fuck is that even a movie?” As it turns out the answer is appropriately strange, but also genuinely inspiring, and in this case, relayed by America’s favorite bromance besties – James Franco & Seth Rogen (plus literal bro Dave Franco!).
The guy who’s made literally all of your favorite movies (The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar, The Prestige, Memento) brings his knack for explosion inclusion without quality sacrifice to this famous WWII evacuation story. And just to be sure you don’t get bored (since there’s no dreams inside of dreams and stuff) he threw Tom Hardy and Harry Styles in there for you.
The Florida Project
In 1982 the optimistic and wonder-filled world outlook of childhood was made available to all of us with E.T. But it ain’t 1982 anymore, brother. How about, instead of a squeaky little candy-loving alien, settling for some poverty-line prostitutes and other lowlifes in a motel? Would you believe it if I told you there’s just as much joy?
Jordan Peele, teammate of Jackmerius Tacktheritrix in 2012, will now be put in the Oscar telecast Best Director penta-box with geniuses like Paul Thomas Anderson and Guillermo del Toro. That’s because he put together one brilliant postmodern critique of liberal racism. A horror-comedy-essay – you won’t know whether to go “AHHH!!”, “ahhhhh…”, or “ahaha”.
Will anything as exciting as a figure skater arranging to have her rivals’ knees bashed in with a hammer happen at this year’s Olympics? Doubtful! So watch I, Tonya and catch Best Supporting Actress winner Allison Janney (that’s C.J. from The West Wing!).
The first female Best Director nominee since 2010 apparently had to work for it because Lady Bird is a legitimate Best Picture threat. Saoirse Ronan is absolutely addicting as a high-school senior fed up with the bullshit like we sort of all are.
It’s Daniel Day-Lewis’ last film (so he claims) – that’s all you really need to know! He won’t win Best Actor, but that’s okay because he already has three – the only man with that distinction.
A timely story about journalistic integrity and whistleblowing on the U.S. government with Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks at the helm? It’s sort of par for the course and for that reason lacks Oscar buzz. A Lebron-making-the-Finals-but-not-winning kind of thing.
The Shape of Water
So there’s a mute woman (disenfranchised representation…good) and she falls in love (pull the heartstrings! yes!) with a sea monster (what now). This charming, tap-dancing, oddball movie is the favorite to win Best Picture at time of writing.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
In a hyphenated word, Three Billboards is jam-packed. Your Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell) winners are both present. Toss in Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage, twists, turns, fires, rapes, and suicide and it just might be a Best Picture concoction. I hope not though, because I hated it. Snuck a note of subjectivity in at the end here on you.
That should be enough for you to make one or two intelligent comments in any given situation or at least to read tweets without being concerned about missed irony. Go forth now like little Lady Birds and be kind of a poser at times because it makes your social life better.
Feature image via The Shape of Water