PSA: These Oscar films have officially left the theater, but can be found On-Demand, streaming on Amazon Prime, or downloaded from iTunes.
As a retired publicist (but not completely retired because I’m only 26), this was the first Oscar season in 3 years where I wasn’t 100% immersed in multiple major film campaigns during the 8 months we refer to as Award Season. However, I miscellaneously covered screenings for my previous PR firm and still read the trades jut for fun. (Trades are the most credible digital/physical magazines specifically designed for the entertainment industry). I enjoy knowing what films are in the lead, what the voters are praising, and I am also a nerd.
I’ve learned how to predict the outcomes of the most significant categories. It’s true that “you win some, you lose some.” Some contenders will seem downright unlikely, while others scream EPIC CLASSIC for the rest of time. Some films will be snubbed, while others simply get lucky.
Contender films that are
Worth The Watch:
Sue me. I love a Christopher Nolan feature because his creativity and vision never fails me. I love (even more) that Nolan portrayed a true, historical tale that hadn’t been told before. There are hardly any new takes on war in the cinema. This particular war wasn’t really about the soldiers as much as it was about the civilians, who set out to bring home the men they shipped out to fight in the first place. The cast is great, even Tom Hardy, who only says about two words, of course. Nolan also took chances on young, less experienced actors, which most directors would stray from.
It’s like watching myself. Soirse Ronan is a revelation!! This film feels strangely familiar to any viewer who was ever a teenager, in a way that is hard to explain. You just have to experience the familial love and friendships that are expressed here. AND, it’s set in the early 2000s AKA a magical time for us millennials. Many nostalgic objects are perfectly in place, such as faded red hair, Justin Timberlake, cell phone free zones, and pretentious teens fighting against the system of adulthood. Lesson: Be proud of who you are and grateful for whoever helped you get there (AKA Mom).
The Disaster Artist
HILARIOUS and INSPIRING. The Franco brothers really nailed this one, that I would dedicate to dreamers everywhere. It’s about a man named Tommy Wiseau (who’s background and age remain a mystery) and who literally wouldn’t take no for an answer. In fact, he decided to make his dreams happen for himself, with the help of a good friend. This movie is about the best worst movie ever made. This man basically created the genre of parodies. Tommy’s effort to make a great movie didn’t go as planned, but it stimulated laughter and energy into every audience member.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The ending may dictate your entire opinion of this story, but the beginning and middle are told so uniquely that it’s worth the watch. In summary, a grieving mother teams up with the town’s racist, immoral cop who takes nothing seriously. It is really a story about redemption, which this world could use more of. It’s about growth in good AND bad people. It’s about the force of a mother, and the idea of true respect and forgiveness. This film won two Oscars this year, both for the performances of the lesser-known cast. These billboards put things into perspective.
Based on the true story of Molly Bloom, the ex-Olympian who ran high-stakes poker games in Los Angeles, is not the story you expect it to be. Molly is a true movie heroine, full of strength and dignity. She is a woman attempting to own her mistakes, without taking anyone down with her. Each player is (without naming names) based off celebrities who actually participated in the underground games. Aaron Sorkin explained it best, as he wrote this script to shed a new light on Molly’s reputation and presumed “glamorous” life. “Molly’s book was just the tip of the iceberg.”
Important. The message of this movie is important. It’s also raw and gritty, with impeccable acting and beautiful cinematography. I initially gave it a watch because the distributor (Netflix) made it so easy to do so. I finished in awe of the power it held. Mary J. Blige is a dream and Garrett Hedlund is freaking gorgeous. I’ve always loved anything with history, which the circumstances and segregation perfectly exemplify. It’s about two families working on the same land, yet having totally different experiences there, strongly influenced by the time period.
“It’s so much fun.” This was the #1 reaction from audiences since this film hit theaters last summer. The release date makes the film’s long-lasting mark in awards season even more impressive. I’ve never experienced a film where the action scenes are perfectly in sync with the music, which was Director Edgar Wright’s whole purpose. There is love, humor, and a little anxiety present. The soundtrack is bomb, Ansel Elgort is charmingly funny, and the overall concept is 100% unique. Trust me, you want to go on this ride.