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One of my bucket list items from my teenage years was to watch every single Oscar nominated film in the best picture category prior to Oscar night. It was a challenge I’d always try to complete but wasn’t ever super serious or hardcore about it either. Until a few years ago when it became a yearly goal for myself and my bff Katie to do together.
Y’all it’s a super fun challenge and I totally recommend it if you enjoy movie watching!
I know it doesn’t sound like it’d be a challenge or require any strategizing but it totally does. They don’t typically announce the nominees until pretty close to the awards night so in order to actually see all the films you have to start way in advance. We check out lots of prediction lists and really try to start seeing movies around November-December since that’s when many of the nominated films are released to theaters. It’s often tricky to see all the movies because often they will be in this weird limbo period where they are no longer in theaters yet also aren’t released to rent or stream either. That’s why we try to stay ahead of the game as much as possible and see everything that might possibly be a contender when it’s released in theaters! It makes it even more of a challenge living in a small town with only one movie theater and a local audience that doesn’t go racing to see Oscar nominated films. Quite often these movies would be released locally for only a couple weeks, some even only for a few days!
Katie and I are both super proud of how awesome we did this year, especially with me having a newborn 😉 We rocked it!
I typically enjoy recapping the films prior to Oscar night but this year I didn’t have the chance to do it and we didn’t finish watching all the movies until the night before the awards show but I’m still recapping today and will share my favorites, ones that I didn’t like at all, and ones you totally need to see! I’m recapping them in the order we saw them 🙂
This year we invested in MoviePass which is AWESOME. We both pay $9.99 a month for the service which totally pays for itself just by seeing one movie a month because our theater is so crazy expensive. It’s an app and card combo where you login to the app when you arrive at the theater and select the movie you’re seeing then you just use the card as payment and you’re in! I don’t know if it’ll be a long lasting thing because I’d imagine the theaters are losing money (you can see one movie per day with the pass)? But we’re going to enjoy it while we got it! You can learn more about MoviePass here.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Seeing this movie first gave us both a lot of hope for this Oscar season. It was refreshing to see a film that was entertaining and different yet also told a full, complete story and wasn’t overly political or pushing an agenda. It was well acted and truly took me back to my early days of movie experiences where I felt immersed in the story and attached to the characters. It was weird without being unrealistic and had some great character development which is something I always appreciate. I have ALWAYS loved the Coen brothers and this one didn’t disappoint.
It ended up winning an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role to Sam Rockwell which I thought was very deserving. It also won for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Frances McDormand. I wasn’t bitter about her win, she def deserved it, but I did think it was more deserving for Sally Hawkins.
This is one you should for sure rent and one that I plan to re-watch with Zach at some point as I think he’d enjoy it too!
Darkest Hour: It should be retiled “Longest Hour” because it was a SNOOZE FEST. I appreciate a true story type film and understand it takes a lot of work and powerful acting abilities to be able to accurately portray someone so well known in history. However, I just don’t love these types of movies where the focus becomes on being true to the person and the times over making an interesting, entertaining film.
I noticed people from older generations tended to enjoy the movie more than people from my generation did and I think it’s because a lot of older people remember this time period or have more knowledge on it. The movie did an awful job in explaining things to those of us who aren’t familiar whatsoever with Britain’s role in the early days of WW2.
Yes, Gary Oldman was great. But he was also too good because we could barely understand anything he said with all the mumbling. It was very, very boring. One that a new mom with little sleep had to struggle to stay awake through.
I was SO glad it didn’t win for Best Picture but wasn’t surprised that Gary Oldman won for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Honestly, in my opinion, the actor in a leading role category was super weak this season overall so his win didn’t come as a surprise.
I, Tonya: This was ROBBED of a Best Picture nomination. ROBBED.
It’s one of the most unique movies I’ve ever seen. To tell a true story in such a neat, interesting perspective had us saying “Omg I love this” within the first 3 minutes of the film. Even though I know the gist of the Tonya Harding story I didn’t realize that there was so much I did not know about it. You don’t walk away loving Tonya but you do walk away appreciating her in a new light and we are totally rooting for her to do a reality show like Celebrity Big Brother because America needs more Tonya Harding.
Margot Robbie was awesome, but I agree she wasn’t deserving for the win for Leading Actress (although I think the nomination was totally deserving). Every person in the movie was strong. There wasn’t a weak character among them and seeing them compared to the real life people made it even better because casting was pretty dang flawless.
I knew when we left that it wouldn’t win Best Picture but I was still SHOCKED that it wasn’t nominated. Seriously it’s up there as one of my all-time favorite movies. It’s that good. Be warned that it’s got a lot of harsh, strong language but it also doesn’t feel like ugly language just to be ugly…it’s part of who these people were (and still are) and feels authentic rather than forced.
It did win for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Allison Janney and y’all she was PHENOMENAL. Every American must see this movie 😉 And, heck, every non-American should too (although I will defend our country’s image and ask that you don’t assume every American is like Tonya ha!)
The Post: I may be in a minority but I’m just kinda over Meryl Streep. When watching Meryl Streep in a movie you know you’re watching Meryl Streep. It’s hard for me to be lost in the film and the story and feel any attachment to the roles in which she plays because she’s always Meryl.
Tom Hanks though can do no wrong and, in my opinion, he was the better of the two in this movie. Even though she, of course, was the one who ended up being nominated.
This was a middle movie for me. It wasn’t awful. I didn’t hate it. But I didn’t love it either. I wouldn’t see it again and I won’t suggest for Zach to watch it. However, it was watchable. It told an interesting story and left me thinking and gave us some things to discuss which is always a positive movie outcome!
With today’s issues with the media and “fake news” and all of that it was neat to see a story told about the earlier days when political figures and media outlets were friends and scratched each other’s backs. It touched on the true role of what news outlets should be and I liked that it didn’t go overly political when it could have. It stayed pretty neutral and middle ground and I appreciated that. It did have a climax to it and wasn’t like a Darkest Hour where I felt like I was going to fall asleep 😉
I was pretty happy though when Meryl stayed in her front row seat on Oscar night and wasn’t given the award for Best Actress.
Call Me By Your Name: I almost just didn’t even touch on this one. It’s probably among the most awful movies I’ve ever seen. Do not see it. Tell everyone you know not to see it.
I appreciate a story about someone’s person journey. Even if I can’t relate to the journey or the experience they have, I can appreciate it for it being theirs and I enjoy seeing personal growth and triumphs.
This movie pushed boundaries that should never be pushed. Ever. It took the long, uncomfortable scenes from Moonlight and multiplied it by 1,000. It had me literally squirming in my seat and closing my eyes wishing for the scenes to end. Remember American Pie? The Pie Scene? Imagine that. With an apricot. And WAY more graphic and detailed and intimate. Then imagine that pie being zoomed in on showing things no one needs to see and THEN showing someone knowing what happened wanting to EAT IT. Y’all. SO AWFUL.
And for a movie about a personal journey, the characters weren’t even well developed at all. And the casting was very off. The “boy” was WAY too “boyish” and the “older guy” was WAY too “manly” to where it seemed very unrealistic and very illegal.
The only positive I can say about it is that the song was really great and catchy. Which I listened to a lot since I was closing my eyes so much throughout it. I was SUPER nervous it’d win and I think Moonlight’s win last year helped this one not win since they are similar in many ways (Moonlight is a 1,000 times better…you can read my thoughts here).
The Shape of Water: I saw a few trailers for this while we were seeing other movies and I have to say they did an amazing job of really not giving anything away in the trailers and ads. I thought it looked weird and usually, for me, weird is something I like in a movie so I was already down to see it even before it was on the prediction lists.
Katie and I were both completely and totally blown away. Right from the beginning it was beautifully done, magically told, and extremely well acted. I had just been watching a documentary about Walt Disney and in it they talked about how his goal with Snow White was to make people cry. He wanted to apply emotions to animation which had never been done before. This movie pushes those same boundaries and makes you root for, cheer, cry and love a creature in a way you’ve never had happen in any movie before.
It’s an experience. And it’s pretty darn close to perfection. I’m SO thankful it won for Best Picture. This win gave me new hope in the Academy moving forward that they will continue to reward films due to filmmaking…not political agenda. This is a movie everyone should see and enjoy and I do think that it was also very well deserving of every category in which it won (including best director). I was disappointed that Sally Hawkins didn’t win for Actress in Leading Role as she was simply incredible.
I don’t want to give too much away but just want to simply suggest seeing it and seeing it before you have any of it spoiled for you since I know there will be a lot of post-Oscar talk about it now that it’s the big winner! You won’t regret it!
The Phantom Thread: I knew going in that it’d be boring. And it was. BUT I wasn’t frustrated that it was boring, I was frustrated that it had great potential not to be. For a few brief moments in the film it went weird and I wish it would have gone deeper into the weirdness and explored that story line much more and it could have been a film that said something and had more meaning. Instead it fell flat for me and I don’t get the hype around Daniel Day Lewis in it.
Just because a great actor is in a film doesn’t make it a great film.
I did think it was neat to learn more about fashion design from back in that time period and how things were done and how fashion shows were put on and how much work went into all of these beautiful clothes. But those moments were also very brief and not explored enough, in my opinion.
It also didn’t win any of the biggies which I agreed with the academy on. I see why it was nominated, but am glad it didn’t win.
Lady Bird: This one was tough for us to see. It was released briefly in theaters and it was during the time period I was in Florida for ICPC so we missed it. We lucked out and were able to rent it through Amazon. Lady Bird had a lot of hype. Out of all the nominated films I feel like this one was the most buzzed about.
I don’t do well with hype. When anticipation is high, so are expectations. And it’s hard to live up to that. I was a tad nervous about the story line of exploring a mother-daughter relationship. My own relationship with my mother is far from the ideal and I was nervous it would strike a personal cord with me. But it didn’t explore that relationship nearly enough in my opinion.
It had a LOT of potential and the movie ended with me feeling like that potential wasn’t fully explored or lived up to. Yes, it touched on that mother-daughter bond and the struggles of it, but it didn’t go nearly enough into it or show enough personal growth throughout. It focused too much on relationships but still only on a service level. It left me wanting more and wishing for more.
I enjoyed it, wasn’t ever bored with it, and it was a positive movie experience for me…but it just wasn’t as good as it could have been!
I thought Greta Gerwig was a shoe-in for Best Director because she was the only female nominated in the category and there was so much talk about it. But she didn’t pull out the win and I agree that she wasn’t deserving of it and appreciate that she wasn’t handed the statue just to have it go to her, ya know?
Overall it’s an enjoyable movie and one that I enjoyed and was towards the top side of my list for sure.
Get Out: It came out quite awhile ago and I knew it was a horror movie and never thought I’d need to see it as an Oscar nominee, but here we are! It was the toughest one for us to watch because it was sold out at two redbox locations and was only available to watch on HBO. I did a free trial in order to see it!
It’s the only one Katie and I didn’t fully watch together this season. She’d already seen it and was having eye issues so she went home early and Zach and I finished it. SUPER awesome and excited for Jordan Peele. He both wrote and directed it and won the Oscar for Original Screenplay.
It was a good movie! Not really scary…and I scare easily. I actually had a nightmare that night about a Grey’s Anatomy story line I’d watched that day over a nightmare about the horror movie I watched right before bed 😉 It wasn’t really scary but for sure it was creepy and interesting and never got dull.
I loved the way it handled delicate topics. I had heard the buzz about it being a politically racial driven film and it did not come across that way at all. Sometimes movies lately seem to be made JUST to say something which, to me, takes away from the films ability to say anything. This wasn’t that type of movie and instead left you thinking about things without being obvious about them. It was a story with some political messages if you looked hard enough rather than an overtly political message with a bit of story that you have to look for.
Zach and I both liked it and both would recommend watching it. I could see why it was Best Picture nominated. I would even understand if it did win. It was unique and different and brought a lot to the table among the other nominees.
I was, however, surprised that Daniel Kaluuya was nominated for Best Actor in Leading Role. I mentioned earlier that it was a weaker year in that category so maybe that’s why he got the nomination? I didn’t think his acting was all that great? Again, horror movie guys. His acting was on par, in my opinion, to a typical horror film?
Dunkirk: Dunkirk was one we were hoping wouldn’t be nominated so we wouldn’t have to see it. But it was, so we had to. Zach had actually rented it while working a prison awhile back and he said it was AWFUL so we didn’t have high hopes for it.
We actually rented it and watched it on fast forward and Zach narrated the story plot for us as we went through it. So I don’t think it’s super fair of me to give a lot of my opinions about it since I didn’t really truly watch the full film.
I will say that it’s about a very specific event in time and that it just so happens it’s about the same specific event that Darkest Hour was about. So that seemed very redundant to me and we already knew the outcome of the event since we’d seen Darkest Hour so it felt even less like we needed to actually see Dunkirk.
It’s a film with very little dialog so I recommend drinking a lot of caffeine prior to watching if you want to stay awake. I did notice in the fastforward watching that a lot of the guys in it are pretty cute so at least there is that if you have a war movie watching hubby who wants to see it 😉
Roman J Israel, Esq.: Every year our goal is to see all the films nominated for Best Picture. This year we only needed to see ONE extra movie in order to see ALL the ones nominated for Best Picture, Actor in Leading Role, and Actress in Leading Role (and if we’d only seen two additional films: Mudbound and The Florida Project we would have seen all the supporting actors and actresses too).
We were so close it was silly not to just go ahead and rent Roman J Israel, Esq. Especially because it’s Denzel and who doesn’t like Denzel? Unlike Meryl Streep he DOES play a different character every movie and you are able to believe he’s the character he’s portraying.
This movie was very confusing for us because it was never truly clear on WHEN it was supposed to take place. He looked out of the 70s. But then some of the costumes and buildings and vehicles looked very 90s. But then people would mention Uber and we’d be like dang is this current day? That confusion really took away from the ability to enjoy the film because we couldn’t understand how certain things were impacting certain characters without being able to relate to the time frame in which the events were happening.
It felt similar to Lady Bird in that it could have gone further. I appreciated a lot of the messages it touched on but wish it’d explored them deeper and allowed us to see more of Colin Ferrel’s character development too.
It wasn’t nominated for Best Picture but was a nomination for Denzel. Again, not the strongest year in that category but he did a good job with it!
I did also want to mention that this year we guessed very well in which movies we saw prior to the nominations being announced. The only one we saw that was an extra one was All The Money in the World.
I was surprised it was on the prediction lists as it had Mark Wahlberg and seemed like a more action-type Mark Wahlberg movie but I actually LOVED it and want to make sure Zach sees it. I know there was a lot of drama surrounding it with all the Kevin Spacey mess and honestly it benefited the film to replace him with Christopher Plummer. And this is from a former Kevin Spacey fan (House of Card is MY FAV show!). All the Money in the World is really great and I def recommend seeing it as well!
Sunday night Katie came over and we printed off our ballets and made our predictions and my sweet husband made us some yummy dinner (chicken in tortillas). I thought the show was a little lack luster this year. I loved the set design and thought it was beautiful but the jokes weren’t so great and a lot of fluff was added that wasn’t needed. I missed how they used to show longer clips of each of the best picture nominees and would talk about them more throughout the show to build anticipation of the winner being announced. I thought it was cute how they had the same presenters back to fix last year’s mistake. I also enjoyed a lot of the songs that were nominated and performed this year. I was SO sad though to realize I’ve reached the age where the movie stars I grew up finding so beautiful are now getting WAY too much work done to their faces and are starting to look like plastic cat-women. C’mon Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman…stop messing with your face! Am I right?
I love love love that a personal goal I used to always want to achieve has now evolved into something that Katie is equally passionate about. It’s SUCH a fun tradition every year and I love seeing all the movies together, discussing them together, and then seeing who wins together too!
I also love that Katie and I are like-minded in our lack of competitiveness. We filled out our predictions based on what we wanted to win, not what we thought “would” win. And we both scored the same at the end of the night and both high-fived and were happy with our tie 😉
Did you see any of the films nominated this year? Have any favorites? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?