The Six Must-Watch Award-Season Movies and Why - L'Officiel
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The Six Must-Watch Award-Season Movies and Why

Don't waste time on the one's that won't win — watch these now.
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Awards season seems to come around quicker every year, bringing with it a new wave of films that are all labelled ‘must sees’, forcing us to confront an overwhelming FOMO anxiety for all the ones we haven’t actually seen yet. This means we find ourselves nodding along politely during intellectual conversations, from December ‘til March, pretending we know the obscure arthouse drama your co-worker’s been babbling on about for months.

 

From queer coming-of-age stories, to war movies, to a fantastical tale about a mute woman fornicating with a fish, this year’s line-up couldn’t be more diverse. With 10 possible contenders for the Best Picture prize come Oscar night – and dozens more for the acting, animation and foreign feature categories, too – there’s a good chance we won’t have caught everything by that point, so let’s streamline things a little.

 

Awkward office movie chat, no more! Here are the films that are on everybody's lips for all the right reasons; the ones that are likely to actually take home one of the major prizes that they’ve been nominated

DUNKIRK 

So what’s it about?

Christopher Nolan’s widely-praised, based on reality WWII drama tells the story of the British soldiers stuck on the beaches of Dunkirk, facing a barrage of bombs and gunfire from Nazi soldiers in planes overhead and submarines below.

 

What will it be nominated for?

At this stage, it’s pretty much a shoe-in for Best Director and Best Picture nominations – surprising, considering it hit cinemas in a popcorn summer slot rather than the awards-friendly fourth quarter of 2017. Hans Zimmer should grab a nomination for his heart-racing score, and it should be in a good spot for some technical recognition, too. Its primarily young cast (Harry Styles included – shocker!) seem to have passed under the radar, though.

 

And will it win any of them?

In such a strong year for subdued indie films that don’t really feel like Best Picture material, Dunkirk’s glorious scale and execution still make it a frontrunner for the big prize. A technical gong – sound mixing, in particular – is very likely, too.

LADY BIRD

So what’s it about? Hating high school, disagreeing with her mother and keen to escape her home town, a teenage girl self-named Lady Bird comes of age in early noughties Sacramento.

 

What will it be nominated for?

There are a few lock-ins: Best Picture, Best Actress for Saoirse Ronan, Best Supporting Actress for Laurie Metcalf, and Best Original Screenplay for the brilliant writer/director Greta Gerwig; Lady Bird is her directorial debut. I would have said that a director’s nod for Greta at the Oscars was a definite too, but after the Globes made that gross oversight I can’t be too sure.

 

And will it win any of them?

Saoirse Ronan is the real front runner here; she already picked up a Best Actress gong for her eponymous role at the Gotham Awards last month. Thank god Greta Gerwig also has a good chance at grabbing the screenplay prize – it would be a shame to see her come away from her first big awards season empty handed.

LADY BIRD

THE POST

So what’s it about?

Steven Spielberg returns with a pertinent political drama about the Pentagon Papers, and how the first woman publisher of The Washington Post in the 1970s (along with her editor) raced to uncover and publish them.

 

What will it be nominated for?

At this stage, it would be a shock if The Post didn’t continue its streak of picking up nominations for Best Picture, Best Director for Steven Spielberg, and Best Original Screenplay. Another nod for Streep – what will be her 21st at the Academy Awards – seems very likely, too.

 

And will it win any of them?

In the eerily similar Trumpian age, a Best Picture win feels predictable and politically motivated, but not totally unjustified; many critics have called The Post their film of the year. In a slow season for performers, it wouldn’t be surprising if Streep won her fourth Oscar for this, though it would be nice to see it go to a fresher acting talent who hasn’t been nominated several times before.

THE POST

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

So what’s it about?

In 1980s rural Italy, a teenage boy lazing about in the sunshine falls in love with his father’s terrifyingly handsome older assistant. A beautiful, unexpected summer romance ensues.

 

What will it be nominated for?

Best Picture; Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Actor for young Timothée Chalamet – three noms you can definitely put your money on. If there’s any justice, Sufjan Stevens will get some recognition for his beautiful contributions to the film’s soundtrack. Michael Stuhlbarg, who almost steals the show with his gorgeous, fatherly epilogue towards the end of the film should get some recognition in the Best Supporting Actor category, but he was criminally swapped out for a fine Armie Hammer in that category at the Globes.

 

And will it win any of them?

It’s bound to win something, but quite what that’ll be we’re not sure yet. At 21 years old, Timothée Chalamet is by some stretch the youngest man in play for the Best Actor gong, and having picked up some prize from Film Critic Circles around the world already, it wouldn’t be a total surprise. Best Picture? Sadly, I think it’s unlikely for the Academy to award a queer film the top prize two years in a row.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

THE SHAPE OF WATER

So what’s it about?

Baltimore, 1962. A mute cleaning lady working in a top-secret science lab falls in love with a strange amphibious creature that’s being shielded from the outside world.

 

What will it be nominated for?

Having won the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival and a bunch of praise from film critic circles, a Best Picture nomination is in the bag as is a director’s nod for Guillermo del Toro, who delivers his best work in over a decade here. Sally Hawkins, who’s already been nominated for an Oscar with Blue Jasmine, will finally crack the lead actress category, too. Besides that, some recognition for the film’s original script, steampunk-ish set design, special effects, and music wouldn’t be surprises either.

 

 

And will it win any of them?

It wouldn’t be a completely left-field choice to see this film about a woman falling in love with a fish walk away with the top prize. It’s beautifully made, a general crowd-pleaser and packs the emotional heft that Academy and Globes voters love.

THE SHAPE OF WATER

GET OUT

So what’s it about?

Chris, a young African American guy, reaches the “meet the parents” stage of his relationship with Rose, his white girlfriend. On a weekend getaway to her mom and dad’s house, their overbearing, super-accommodating behavior starts to turn sinister.

 

What will it be nominated for?

Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay are lock-ins, as are Jordan Peele for Best Director and some recognition of Michael Abel’s rousing and uncomfortable original score. It’s likely that Daniel Kaluuya, the film’s ace lead star, will get some love too.

 

And will it win any of them?

It’s a difficult one to call. At the Globes, the film has been thrown in the comedy or musical category despite the fact it’s a haunting sociopolitical horror of sorts. Even then, the Academy aren’t big fans of horror either. That being said, it’s impressive that Get Out, which bowed almost a year ago, still has a huge traction on the awards circuit. It’s a testimony to how strong, relevant and rare films like this really are.

GET OUT

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