Preview: What to look for at the Academy Awards

By Paris Adams & Pavel Zlatin – 1851 Staff

Oscar West Newton
The West Newton Cinema on Washington Street is currently featuring a selection of Oscar nominated movies. Photo by Paris Adams

The 90th Academy Awards will be held on March 4. With the help of host Jimmy Kimmel, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be presenting the prestigious Oscar awards to the best films of 2017.

The Academy has been criticized in the past for lacking diversity and equality within the nomination categories, however this year’s nominations include a wonderfully diverse selection of artists of all genders and backgrounds. 

“Darkest Hour”

Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Gary Oldman), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hair Styling.

Based on a true story, ‘Darkest Hour’ explores the complicated appointment of Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II. When faced with the decision of making peace with the Nazis or continuing to fight for freedom, Churchill must deal with the opposition of others and his own personal values. Gary Oldman’s performance as Churchill is incredibly passionate, digging deep into the emotional layers of Churchill’s time as Prime Minister.

“Lady Bird” 

Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Greta Gerwig), Best Original Screenplay (Greta Gerwig), Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), and Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf).

Lady Bird humorously attacks the dynamic between mother and daughter, as well as being a female attempting to dominate adolescence. Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, the film is an ode to Gerwig’s beloved home, San Francisco, and loosely based from personal experiences. For anyone who’s experienced family tribulations and the drama of growing up, Lady Bird is almost therapeutic.


“Phantom Thread” 

Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Lesley Manville), Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson), Best Original Music Score (Jonny Greenwood), and Best Costume Design (Mark Bridges).

“Phantom Thread” is a stunning picture. The costumes, the production design, everything is elevated to perfection. Besides the aesthetic part, the characters are amazingly elegant and mysterious. This dark and incredibly stylish romance is worth seeing.

“The Shape of Water” 

Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Actor in Supporting Role (Richard Jenkins), Best Actress in Supporting Role (Octavia Spencer), Best Director (Guillermo del Toro), Best Original Music Score (Alexandre Desplat), Best Original Screenplay (Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, and Best Sound Effects.

“The Shape of Water” is a touching and sensual, yet provocative love story. The picture is tragic, yet still comedic and even naive, like many other of del Toro’s creations. Overall, it is a beautiful picture that has a great story, wonderful costumes, and stunning visual image.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” 

Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson), Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

A grieving mother (Frances McDormand) becomes frustrated with how her daughter’s murder case is being handled, and takes matters into her own hands by installing three billboards on the outskirts of town, challenging the town’s police chief (Woody Harrelson).

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