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It's Oscars Weekend!!

March 2, 2018

It's Oscars weekend! In my world, and in that of many film nerds, that means it's one of the most exciting weekends of the year. I always try to see as many of the main contenders as I can before the Awards, and this year I'm happy to say I've done better than my average, but I still gutted I haven't caught them all. Because I need some way to vent my awards excitement, here's my thoughts (in a nutshell) on some of the films hoping to meet ol' Oscar this year. 

 

 

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Nominated for: Best Film, Best Actor (Timothée Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song 

My rating: 5 stars 

Synopsis: Northern Italy in the summer of 1983, 17-year-old Elio's world changes when American postgraduate student Oliver arrives to spend six weeks as a research assistant for his father. Amid the sun-drenched splendour of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever. 

My thoughts: Perhaps the most affecting portrayal of first love I've ever seen depicted onscreen, anyone who has questions about how a small art house film could possibly be a major Oscar contender will be rendered silent after viewing. Timothée Chalamet's performance as Elio is nothing short of extraordinary, and this film is utterly mesmerising, taking audiences' breath away. Phenomenal film making.  

 

 

DUNKIRK 

Nominated for: Best Film, Best Director (Christopher Nolan), Best Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing, Best Original Score 

My rating: 4 stars 

Synopsis: In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated. 

My thoughts: If any one individual deserves the title of the Big Screen Blockbuster Master, that person is Christopher Nolan, which he proved yet again with this wartime epic about the legendary evacuation at Dunkirk. He focuses on both the inspiring and devastating moments of war, and made every viewer feel like they were right there on that beach. It's powerful stuff and seeing it on the gigantic IMAX screen was the best decision I've ever made. Although a totally different product and therefore arguable an unfair statement to make, I'm inclined to say it's no Inception, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I don't feel the need to see it again. 

 

 

I, TONYA 

Nominated for: Best Actress (Margot Robbie), Best Supporting Actress (Allison Janney), Best Editing 

My rating: 4 stars 

Synopsis: In 1991, talented figure skater Tonya Harding becomes the first American woman to complete a triple axel during a competition. In 1994, her world comes crashing down when her ex-husband conspires to injure Nancy Kerrigan, a fellow Olympic hopeful, in a poorly conceived attack that forces the young woman to withdraw from the national championship. Harding's life and legacy instantly become tarnished as she's forever associated with one of the most infamous scandals in sports history. 

My thoughts: Margot Robbie is a long way from Ramsay Street! The Aussie actress is excellent as infamous U.S. ice skater Tonya Harding in this biopic which often feels more like a mockumentary. I love me some black humour, and this film dishes it out in spades.  

 

 

LADY BIRD 

Nominated for: Best Film, Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf), Best Director (Greta Gerwig), Best Original Screenplay 

My rating: 4.5 stars 

Synopsis: Rebellious, free-spirited teenager Christine 'Lady Bird' McPherson navigates a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother over the course of an eventful and poignant senior year of high school in Sacramento, California. 

My thoughts: I challenge any female in the western world to watch this film and not see shades of herself, so perfectly does it capture the awkward, beautiful, painful experience of being an almost-woman on the cusp of really growing up. It's something I think can largely be attributed to female director Greta Gerwig, who is only the fifth woman in history to be nominated in the directing category. 

 

 

LOVING VINCENT 

Nominated for: Best Animated Film 

My rating: 5 stars 

Synopsis: In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist's final letter and ends up investigating his final days there. 

My thoughts: I cannot praise this masterpiece (literally) enough... read my full review here.  

 

 

MUDBOUND 

Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress (Mary J. Blige), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song 

My rating: 4 stars 

Synopsis: A family starts a new life on a Mississippi Delta farm. In the midst of their struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, the farmer's brother-in-law, is haunted by his memories of combat, and Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, now battles the prejudice in the Jim Crow South. The two men form a bond as unlikely as it is unacceptable to those around them, creating more tension than there already was between the two families.  

My thoughts: This film is slow in parts, but it's this very slowness which helps make the world the characters inhabit so visceral. Performances all round are amazing, the music is incredible, and the portrayal of the horrendous Jim Crow South is enough to make you want to scream. 

 

 

THE POST 

Nominated for: Best Film, Best Actress (Meryl Streep) 

My rating: 3.5 stars 

Synopsis: Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper -- The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee, Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers -- and very freedom -- to help bring long-buried truths to light. 

My thoughts: Perhaps I had unfairly high expectations of this film due to the powerhouse trio at its core – Streep, Hanks and Spielberg – but it simply fell short of what I hoped it would deliver. I didn't find it packed the punch the hype had me believe it would, and while the story was good, and the truth behind it is undoubtedly mind-boggling, it wasn't always gripping. 

 

 

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI 

Nominated for: Best Film, Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell), Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Original Score,  

My rating: 4.5 stars 

Synopsis: After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command, Officer Dixon -- an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence -- gets involved, the battle is only exacerbated. 

My thoughts: Brilliant. At once heartbreaking and hilarious, this film is a rare gem. Read my full review here.  

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