Must-See Movies this Award Season
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh
Dunkirk tells the story of the miraculous evacuation during World War II of 300,000 soldiers off the beaches of Dunkirk, France by using three separate viewpoints: land, air, and sea. By stripping the characters of backstories and offering only this one moment, director Christopher Nolan allows viewers to put themselves in the men’s shoes. There is almost no blood seen throughout the movie; the horror is thus primarily emotional and mental, not visceral. Dunkirk is a beautiful, realistic, and minimalistic film of survival in its purest form. The best summary of the plot and feeling of the movie can be found in the final bit of dialogue between two characters: “All we did is survive,” says one, to which the other replies, “That’s enough.”
The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer
Imagine Guillermo Del Toro, creator of Pan’s Labyrinth, directing a Sleeping Beauty remake, and you have The Shape of Water. Del Toro is a master at imagining entirely new worlds and creatures, and this beautiful story is a perfect example. The film is also receiving praise for its score and Octavia Spencer’s performance.
Call Me By Your Name
Director: Luca Guadadnino
Starring: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet
Call Me By Your Name provides an interesting take on a not-so-classic love story involving two young men who meet in Italy during the summer and learn to love one another despite many personal challenges. This movie is perfect if you’re looking for something a little more realistic and high-stakes than your average rom com. Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet have received a lot of recognition as Oliver and Elio; Chalamet would be the youngest person ever to win Best Actor.
Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan
I, Tonya tells the story of the Nancy Kerrigan scandal Olympic skating scandal from the perspective of the assailant, Tonya Harding, played by Margot Robbie. The movie is quick, witty, and brings a fresh take on the scandal. Allison Janney, as Tonya’s abusive mother, gives one of the best and funniest performances this season.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf
This year’s indie coming-of-age film, Lady Bird focuses on a high school senior named Lady Bird, played by Saoirse Ronan, and her relationship with her mother. Seniors, you may relate to this movie because of all the college talk, and if you take one of your parents with you to see it, they are bound to cry. The film has a good chance at winning Best Picture’ both Ronan’s and Metcalf’s performances are being recognized.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks
This instant classic recounts the story of the release of the Pentagon Papers. The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper (played by Meryl Streep), works with executive editor Ben Bradlee (played by Tom Hanks) to publish articles based on the Pentagon Papers that revealed the truth about American involvement in Vietnam in the decades following World War II. Streep and Hanks are both up for big awards this season; so is Spielberg. This movie turns the scandal into a thriller, and is a good choice if you want to see Meryl Streep displaying her “bossness” yet again.
The Disaster Artist
Director: James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco
The Disaster Artist is about the life of Tommy Wiseau, his friendship with Greg Sestero, and the making of the cult classic film, The Room. James Franco plays Wiseau and perfectly captures his absurd accent and mannerisms; he has already taken home the Golden Globe for Best Actor. If you loved The Room or have just heard of it, see The Disaster Artist.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Director: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson
Frances McDormand Mildred Hayes, a mother who holds the police of Ebbing, Missouri accountable for her daughter’s death and will stop at nothing to receive justice. This film won big at the Golden Globes, including Rockwell and McDormand, whose performances will make you question where to draw the line between villain and hero. McDonagh tackles heavy topics relevant to current events, but there’s also a lot of comic relief throughout the movie, making it easier to watch.
Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams
The movie that Jordan Peele always dreamed of making, Get Out offers a fresh take on the horror genre. His directorial debut provides the jumpscares, confusion, and surprising twists featured in any horror movie, but in Get Out there’s something much more substantive going on: “The film critiques the insidious racism that lurks just beneath a veneer of white liberal do-gooders,” writes the New Yorker. Go see the most interesting, surprisingly funny, and thought-provoking horror movie that has been made in a long time.
- Madei Davis '18, Ava Davis '18, and Grace O'Malley '18