This year marked the ninetieth year of the Academy Awards or, as they are more affectionately known, the Oscars. The 2018 Oscar winners prove that it was a good year for movies. Some people love catching all the nominated films before the ceremony, some people prefer picking up the best-in-shows afterwards. For the latter type, we at n3rdabl3 have made a quick list of the award-winning movies and what they’re all about, as well as some runner-ups that caught our eye.
“A Silent Child”
Oscar: Best Live-Action Short Film
This short film is about a four-year old girl named Libby (Maisie Sly) who is deaf and unable to communicate until a social worker teaches her sign language.
Oscar: Best Visual Effects
A sequel to Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner (1982) that’s set thirty years after the events of the original. The original is set in a classic dystopian future where bioengineered beings known as replicants are hunted down and killed after four years by specialized cops (Blade Runners). We’re keeping mum on 2049 so we don’t accidentally spoil the first film for anybody!
Call Me By Your Name
Oscar: Best Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name was based off the novel of the same name by André Aciman, and chronicles a summer in the life of teenager Elio (Timothée Chalamet) as he becomes quite intimate with an older grad student named Oliver (Armie Hammer).
Oscars: Best Animated Feature, Best Original Song
This Disney-Pixar film draws on the traditions of dias de las muertos, a Mexican holiday which honors the deceased. After a preteen boy named Miguel steals a cursed guitar, he finds himself in the Land of the Dead. He must find his way back to the Land of the Living before sunrise, or join those that have passed on permanently.
Also check out Loving Vincent, which was also nominated for best animated picture. It’s a film about Vincent van Gogh’s life and unusual death, and is notable for the fact that every single frame of animation is an oil painting in imitation of van Gogh’s style.
Oscars: Hair and Make-Up, Best Actor (Gary Oldman)
Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in his early days as prime minister of the UK, right as Nazis were sweeping across Western Europe. This is a great film for history lovers, though those not as familiar with the British side of WWII may want to brush up on the early forties before watching.
Oscar: Best Animated Short
This short film was written and narrated by Kobe Bryant. He based it on the letter he wrote which announced his retirement from basketball in 2015. It takes the viewer through his lifetime spent with the sport.
Oscars: Sound Editing and Mixing, Achievement in Sound-Mixing, Achievement in Film Editing
Another World War II movie, Dunkirk takes place during an Allied retreat to Dunkirk, France. The main cast struggles to survive against German troops. Because this movie takes WWII from the soldiers’ point of view, more sensitive viewers may want to stick to Darkest Hour.
If you’re a buff for sound and film editing, you may also enjoy Baby Driver. A getaway driver in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the best in the business until he falls in love and tries to go street. Much of the action is perfectly timed to a catchy soundtrack.
A Fantastic Woman
Oscar: Best Foreign Language Film
A young waitress, Marina (Daniela Vega), and her much older boyfriend, Orlando (Francisco Reyes), are planning for a wonderful future together when Orlando passes away. Suddenly, everyone seems to be sure that Marina had a personal hand in Orlando’s death.
Oscar: Best Original Screenplay
A black man, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), reluctantly agrees to meet his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) family. The locals express their feelings towards black people in different ways, with overt racism and with a quiet, subtle type that “others” in a very different way. Things only get more uneasy and more complex from there on out. Get Out swept box offices and award shows, and with good reason.
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405”
Oscar: Best Documentary Short Subject
The subject of this documentary is the artist Mindy Alper. She suffers from anxiety and depression, as well as residual trauma, and uses this as the inspiration for her artwork.
Oscar: Best Documentary Feature
Remember how during the Olympics Russian competitors had to compete under a neutral flag due to a doping scandal? Bryan Fogel does–this documentary is all about his interactions with Grigory Rodchenkov, a Russian doctor who held a very important place in it all.
Oscar: Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Alison Janney)
Speaking of the Olympics, remember the would-be ice skating star Tonya Harding? Harding was on the rise until one of her rivals suffered a mishap that could be traced back to Harding’s boyfriend. This biographical film about Harding’s life is fascinating, especially for those who remember the events that took place in 1994.
Oscar: Costume Design
A British fashion designer of the fifties, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), falls for a waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps). The two twist around each other in a particularly toxic way as it becomes more and more clear that they’re both dangerously off-balance. Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will recognize the relationship type.
The Shape of Water
Oscars: Best Picture, Production Design, Best Director (Guillermo del Toro)
Love is an amazing thing, even when one half of the pair looks less like Matthew Bomer and more like the creature from the black lagoon. A mute cleaning woman (Sally Hawkins) at a government facility discovers the top-secret humanoid amphibian (Doug Jones), and the two begin to bond secretly. The Cold War serves as the backdrop for this impressive film that only Guillermo del Toro could tell so well. This marks the first time a best picture Oscar has ever gone to a sci-fi film.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Oscars: Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell)
Mildred Hayes’s (Frances McDormand) recently had to deal with the devastating rape and murder of her daughter, and feels that cops aren’t doing as much as they could to find the perpetrator(s). She rents three billboards to showcase her frustrations and succeeds in upsetting the police force and many of the townspeople–as well as keeping attention on the lukewarm case.
Now that the Oscars have come and gone, enjoy the next week or two to catch up with their hit list… until the buzz starts for next year’s pictures, at least!