Winning best picture at the Oscar’s is a pretty big deal! So many pictures are nominated for that prestigious gold statuette, but whether or not the nominations are actually good, is debatable. Blitz presents the Oscar’s 2017: Best Picture Guide, to help you shave a few seconds off deliberation time, when scrolling through Netflix deciding what movie to watch next.
Arrival is a Sci Fi movie starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, two names that stamp quality on a film, and upcoming director Denis Villeneuve. The film revolves around a top U.S Language professor, contracted by the U.S government to translate messages from Alien ships that have just arrived. If you’re not keen on Sci Fi, have no fear, besides the Aliens, the film feels much more like a typical drama with a brilliant twist at the end. Arrival occupies a weird space among film genres as it’s somewhere in between a popcorn worthy spectacle and a serious drama. Provided you don’t have expectations of the film falling into either of the aforementioned categories, you’ll find it extremely satisfying.
Based on August Wilson’s play of the same name, Fences brings the stage to the big screen, for a second round of genre bending. Directed by and staring Denzel Washington alongside the incredible Viola Davis, Fences revolves around a Pittsburgh family trying to make it through life as best as they can. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis’ acting almost seems play-like, as the actors have huge sweeping monologues and duologues making you feel like you’re at a Broadway play, rather than your local cinema. If you seek quality acting, Fences is definitely the film for you. However if you’re looking for those beautiful shots and artistic cinematography direction, you may not find it in Fences.
Directed by Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge stars Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving and Teresa Palmer. Despite Andrew Garfield’s best intentions, his character, Desmond Doss is a little flat throughout the movie. The character was no where near as interesting as his heroic actions, which only made up a small portion of the film. There are definitely some amazing battle scenes, something that Gibson has always excelled at, and the story is easy to follow. In saying that, there is so much potential for the movie to portray war better, to holistically simply be better.
Hell or High Water
Hell or High Water is a (for a lack of a better word) good movie. Watch it. It may not have won best picture, but it’s easily one of the best tales of a local sheriff’s chase after two blue collar bank robbers. Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and the incredible Jeff Bridges bring back old western elements and transform them with modern day elements. The characters are honest, real, and most importantly funny. The deadpan humour coupled with brilliant acting culminates into a film where you like everyone, and regardless of whether they’re good guys or bad guys, you want them all to win.
Hidden Figures stars Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe, as three women instrumental in getting John Glenn into space. The films exudes that classic feel good movie vibe, but nothing in the film is particularly exceptional apart from the story line itself. It’s sprinkled with an array of good moments, but not a lot of great moments. Hidden Figures is more of a film to watch when there’s nothing else to watch, because it doesn’t stand out as an Oscar worthy film, but it is nevertheless good in a mediocre sort of way.
La La Land
La La Land is a great film. Following his 2014 hit Whiplash, Damian Chazzelle is a director to remember, as he brings back the film musical La La Land as an ode to classic Hollywood. The film stars superb acting from Ryan Gosling, and chilling meta acting from Emma Stone, you’ll understand that part when you see the movie. The film is perfect for date night, a girls night out or even a bros night out. Everyone loves cheesy singing and perfectly choreographed musical numbers that fill you with Singing in the Rain nostalgic feels. If you’re on the fence, give it a go, you’ll leave the cinema pleasantly surprised. However, be sure to set your expectations low, as while the film is great the hype surrounding it leaves it to be somewhat underwhelming.
While big names, Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman from Lion will undoubtedly draw you in, Sunny Pawar is the star that steals the show. Lion is the true story of a boy, Saroo, separated from his family in India at a young age, adopted into a Tasmanian family and his journey of self discovery. The movie explores the life of Saroo starting in the slums of India, moving to Australia, and then travelling back to India to establish a sense of cultural identity. Overall the movie is great, however it’s easy to get lost in the middle. The beginning is fantastic and it will leave tears rolling down your cheeks, but in between the poignant start and finish, something is lacking. It’s a perfect movie to watch with your mum to score a few brownie points, and take your rightful place as the favourite child.
Manchester By the Sea
Manchester By the Sea is essentially a movie about funeral arrangements. The film is the very definition of understated and subtle, as the characters slowly draw you in with sad backstories, raw life experiences, and incredible acting. The film takes all the right steps allowing you to peer through the looking glass at these unfortunate lives unfolding. The main issue, is that there is no emotional closure at the end of the film, but it aptly reflects natural experiences of life that don’t necessarily always provide closure. It’s not a fun watch, but if you’re looking for a few laughs mixed in between intense sadness and a sombre tone, this is the film for you.
Moonlight tells the tale of a boy throughout different stages of his life – childhood, teenage years, and finally adult years, struggling to come to terms with his sexuality among a hyper masculine environment. The movie is artfully shot, the acting is phenomenal, and the story grips you with heart wrenching drama. This film deserves the highest of praises, is a must watch, and definitely deserved the win.