For Your Consideration: Best Picture
With the Oscars only four days away, it is time to completely wrap up this blog series. We have had a few weeks of dissecting nominees for best original song, director, actor in a leading role, and actress in a leading role. I wish we would have had time to break down nominees in every category because I hate skipping over categories like best in cinematography, adapted screenplay, and original screenplay; however, time is just not on our side. We do have one more category to explore today, though, and we have saved this huge, overarching category for last. So, today we are looking at all eight nominees for Best Picture, and since I have finally viewed all of these, I’m excited to discuss them here.
So, without further ado, let’s break down these nominees and what led to them securing the nomination.
1) Black Panther
This nominee gained a lot of attention as the first superhero film to earn a Best Picture nomination. There are always questions surrounding some of the nominees, but I still firmly stand by the fact that Black Panther deserves to be here. The film is visually stunning and marked by great performances and solid character arcs. However, even more than that, this story touches on oppression, isolationism, and the struggles of a good man becoming king. It might be a superhero film, but Black Panther supersedes that genre, which is why it is here.
There are several quirky films that make the list this year, and BlacKkKlansman is one of them. It’s a blend of dark comedy and biopic, and it has some heavy hitting themes in between all of that. This story would be interesting enough just based on its source material, but it becomes all the more brilliant by the clever script written by Lee and his writing partner. This one also contains some brilliant performances from John David Washington and Adam Driver, and it is a film that stays with its audience long after the credits roll.
3) Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody has received a lot of questions this year as to whether it deserves to be included on this list. I understand this, although I am admittedly biased on this one since it was literally one of my favorite films from 2018. I think that Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury is enough of a reason for it to be here, but it does not rest on Malek’s performance alone. The film is compelling as it chronicles the creative process of one of the greatest bands in the world as well as Mercury’s own personal struggles and growth. The way Queen’s music is expertly woven throughout the film is almost magical, and all of these aspects warrant the nomination in my opinion.
4) The Favourite
As I mentioned earlier, quirky is one of the buzzwords for this awards season, and there is none more deserving of that term than Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite. Between the unique cinematography choices and crazy sequences, this comedic period piece has stood out from the bunch. It contains dynamic performances from all three of its leading ladies, and at its heart, this is a unique story about power and the lengths people are willing to go to attain it, maintain it, and manipulate it.
5) Green Book
I sincerely wish that the word controversy was not so synonymous with this year’s award nominees, but once again, we find ourselves in that spot with Green Book. In my opinion, these disputes have hurt its chances of actually winning this category. Nevertheless, though, this is a feel good story about a friendship between two unlikely people. It’s a heartwarming viewing experience to see these two characters challenged and pushed to set aside their differences and personal prejudices. Plus, it is accented by some truly memorable performances from Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen.
Alfonso Cuarón is no stranger to the awards scene, and Roma is a worthy inclusion on this list of nominees. It is a desperately bleak story sometimes, but it is expertly told and beautifully written. Some really interesting creative choices were made such as its black-and-white coloring and consistent callbacks to water. It is also beautifully shot, and the film benefits from Cuarón’s need to not rush through the story. He demands patience from the audience with the film’s long, extended shots and effective use not only of dialogue but also of silence. Roma ends up coming across as a raw and authentic tale, and Yalitza Aparicio‘s performance only enhances that feeling.
7) A Star is Born
With three acting nominations coming out of this film, it’s not surprising to see A Star is Born on this list. It is obviously a poignant love story, and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sell it completely with their incredible chemistry. However, this is also a moving story about substance abuse and a commentary on the music industry. Of course, the original music is the other unofficial star of the film. Most of these songs are beautiful, but practically every song aids in telling the story that is unfolding and the journeys of these characters. It’s also a solid directorial debut for Cooper.
Vice is another film from Adam McKay that keeps with his unique style of intercut footage and wild narratives. It is undoubtedly not everyone’s cup of tea, but the story McKay presents is compelling and thought-provoking. Dick Cheney is a controversial political figure at best, and McKay’s exploration into his personal life and political career leaves audiences with a unique look at the man and the office he forever changed. This crazy story coupled with some killer performances from Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell, and Steve Carell unsurprisingly secured the film this nomination.
Since we have given some thoughts on each nominee, who do we think will be taking home that golden statue?
Our Pick: Well, this feels weird to say, but at this point, it is practically anyone’s game. Practically every guild and group imaginable have chosen someone different for their best picture, director, or screenplay, which all heavily influence which movie takes home this coveted golden statue. My best guess from watching all of these films, though, is that Roma will end up taking the category. The film truly is unique and a feat for Cuarón and his team. However, I am also fully prepared to be wrong on this one.
So, stay tuned next week as we finally stray from the Oscars and on to something new.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.