The 90th Academy Awards is coming quickly and for the first time, I have seen all the films nominated for the Best Picture award. So today I will be ranking all the films in order from best to last (though to note, because this is the Academy Awards even last is an interesting film). Now, this won’t just be a ranking of 1-9, it will be ordered into categories where films will be listed alphabetically.
As well as that, this list is based on my own personal feelings as to which films connected with me or not, if you are looking for a list about whether or not they are likely to win this is probably not the list for you. If you are looking for that kind of list can I instead recommend Matt Neglia’s and the team’s Oscar Predictions over at Next Best Picture. So let us dive into 2017 which was a fantastic year for cinema, and let me know in the comments below how you would have ranked this year’s Best Picture nominees.
Ok for anyone who knows me this is no real surprise as I have loved nearly all of Christopher Nolan’s filmography, and I did give it 5 out of 5 in my review. It is a powerful look at the nature of war, it is violent, compromising, and yet full of lulls of boredom. It has a strong cast, the different timelines intersect in interesting ways, and of all the Dunkirk films this year it stands out above the rest. Dunkirk shows the beautiful framing of Hoyte van Hoytema, the fantastic direction of Christopher Nolan, and the powerful acting of Mark Rylance, I do highly recommend it. Also, we get Tom Hardy acting from behind a mask and it is just good to see a film respect tradition like this.
Get Out –
Get Out is one of those rare films like Arrival and Mad Max Fury Road that magnificent on the first viewing and even better on the second. Take Rose who in many ways is the best predator cinema has seen in a very long time, Allison Williams plays two different characters the charming lover, and then the killing psychopath that has lured dozens of people to their deaths. However, when you watch it a second time you see things in a different light, like when she did not want the cop to see Chris’ licence, in the first instance it is setting up the cop as the racist and her as the person calling him on it, when really she just does not want a record of Chris being this close to her home. Add to this, it is Jordan Peele’s first ever feature directing gig and he is producing such amazing work, and the themes which are as unfortunately real today as they have ever been. Get Out was my film of the year in 2017, and it still is my top pick here.
The last of the best picture nominees that I got to see is Lady Bird, tanks Australian release dates for that late release. There are a lot of coming of age films out there, but rarely are they as good as this. I think the reason behind this first you have a female director and writer writing a story about girls growing up. This gives the film a level of authenticity that you don’t often see in these types of films. Like Get Out, Lady Bird is by a first-time feature film director, and I think it shows an amazing talent that I can’t wait to see get even better over the next few years. I know one of the other films on this list will likely sweep the acting awards, but I would really like to see the amazing Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf get recognition for their amazing acting here, bringing these two characters to life and making them feel real.
The Post –
The Post is one of those films that in a different circumstance could easily have been written off as Oscar bait, all flash and no substance. However, unlike actual Oscar-bait films like Crash, The Post actually has a solid core to it, and a real message it wants to put across. What works about The Post, but also holds it back a little bit is the fact that it is really is a straightforward film, everyone is giving good performances, the script is solid, but it does not take it further than that. I think it is telling as to how good the nominees are for this year that a film with such a strong line up that any other year it could almost be a shoe-in for the win, but not this year.
The Shape of Water feels like a film out of time and place, an echo to the films of the past, yet a triumph of modern filmmaking. In some respects, this the perfect Guillermo del Toro film, dealing with themes and concepts that are common in his films but then taking them to the next level. It is a very stylised film, which you see in its depiction of Baltimore, and the Cold War dynamics. However, it is also a film of great emotional warmth, due in no small part to the wonderful performances of Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg to bring the humanity of the world to this cold place. Also, it would not be the film it was without a great bad guy, which we find in Michael Shannon character. Touching, romantic, and dealing with issues that are very relevant today, it is a fascinating film.
I don’t think I have ever quite seen a film really show off its location like Call Me By Your Name did. In every frame, moment, and sequence it was imbuing the Italian countryside and the 1980s in a way I have not seen before. I was not as enamoured with this film than a lot of other people, I thought it was really solid, but it took things a bit too far in places, and look this is probably just me but calling each other by their name, which is the hook of the film, it’s just weird. However, Timothée Chalamet came out of nowhere with his performance which I think could actually give him a win if only for the last scene in the film where he tries to compose himself whilst looking into the fire. Also, dat soundtrack is lit.
Britain is at war and the Nazi war machine is marching across Europe with no end in sight, and the UK Parliament is falling apart [insert topical Brexit joke here]. There needs to be a united front and there is only one politician that can bring both sides of politics together, Winston Churchill. Darkest Hour was the last in the unofficial Dunkirk trilogy that we got in the last year and the whole film is centred on Gary Oldman’s transformative performance as Churchill. He is almost unrecognisable as the cigar smoking, champagne sculling British PM. However, once you step away from that the film becomes a bit muddled, and they can’t really decide what story it wants to tell, up to an including a scene that did not happen in real life that feels so forced and out of place I know it almost ruined the film for some people. It is still high on my list because Gary Oldman’s performance is as good as everyone says, but it could have been more.
I think it is safe to say that Three Billboards is one of the favourites to take out the top award at the end of the night, however it might also be one of the more controversial nominees. I have a feeling this disconnect for people is that it is a film of two stories, one that is fascinating and the other that is deeply problematic. You have on the one hand the story of a mother played by the fantastic Frances McDormand trying to find the modicum of justice for her murdered daughter. But then you also have the story of racism and how that interacts with the American police force, that feels more like an afterthought than a whole integrated idea. It is a film filled with wonderful performances, which finished 10 minutes too late, or 10 minutes too early and undoes some of that good work by letting you walk out of the cinemas thinking ‘wait you are going to end it there?’
I can completely see why Phantom Thread was nominated and I can see why it is getting 5/5 reviews and love from people. It has a fantastic soundtrack, beautiful costumes, and captivating performances. However, I don’t think the film works as a whole, and for me, it is because I could never buy into the ‘fix’ that they come up with to make it work. There is this point when they get married and at that point, I found out I could not support, identify, or even care for any of the two leads, and it made the long march to the end from there frankly a bit of a struggle.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
What are your favourite Oscar Best Picture Nominees?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of each respective film.