The best way to get through the end of a bleak winter? Make like Hollywood and turn all attention to the big screen. Whether you bagged a BAFTAs invite, or prefer to take in the awards shows from the comfort of home, make sure you’re prepped for the proceedings with our pick of seven of the buzziest movies this awards season…
8 of the Buzziest Movies to Know this Awards Season (whether they won an Oscar or not)
The Shape of Water
What? This film has been the talk of the town since nabbing a whopping 13 Oscar nominations – and winning 3 at the 90th Academy Awards last night. Guillermo del Toro won Best Director for the ‘outcast fantasy’ which tells the tale of a mute janitor who falls in love with a sea creature. Its Best Picture win was hailed as ‘a battle cry for inclusion’ in one of the tightest races for the award yet. An absolute must-see (sooner rather than later if you want to join the conversation).
What the critics say: ‘I became aware of the shape of my own tears, swept along by the emotional waves of Del Toro’s sparkling drama, succumbing to its seductively melancholy song of the sea.’ Mark Kermode, The Guardian
Call Me by Your Name
What? A stylish, sensual romantic tale of the blossoming relationship between Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armier Hammer) that unfolds across a summer in northern Italy. ‘Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine’ whispers Oliver to lover Elio, in this heartbreaking story of acceptance. Chalamet was a favourite for Best Actor awards this season for his performance – but lost out to Gary Oldman who took the Oscar for Best Actor.
What the critics say: ‘There is such tenderness to this film. I was overwhelmed by it.’ Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
What? This directorial debut from Greta Gerwig sees Saoirse Ronan as ‘Lady Bird’, a wilful adolescent finding her way in the world. Ronan is tipped for Best Actress awards for her beautiful portrayal in this season’s best coming-of-age tale.
What the critics say: ‘Gerwig displays no narcissism as someone sharing a version of her past or an aching desire to be hip as a young film-maker and instead relies on genuine, deeply felt emotion to sell her story. It’s an impeccably crafted film.’ Benjamin Lee, The Guardian
What? Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, The Post tells the story of America’s first female newspaper publisher Kay Graham (Streep) and her involvement in the uncovering of the Watergate conspiracy alongside her editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks). A timely reminder that it wasn’t just a group of male journalists that toppled the presidency, and that Graham had more than the United States government standing in her way.
What the critics say: ‘Set nearly half a century ago, but remarkably prescient in these “fake news” times, The Post is an engaging and masterfully acted tale sure to be in the running come the Oscars.’ Jonathan Pile, Empire
What? This eery satire is a timely and sinister reflection of the current state of race relations in the US. When young African-American Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) visits his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) family estate to meet the parents the real reason for his invitation quickly becomes apparent. This is the oldest of the awards season contenders, released March last year, but keep an eye out for special screenings in the run-up to the shows.
What the critics say: ‘Blending race-savvy satire with horror to especially potent effect, this bombshell social critique from first-time director Jordan Peele proves positively fearless.’ Peter Debruge, Variety
The Disaster Artist
What? A hilarious behind-the-scenes expose about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s (James Franco) The Room, often referred to as the worst film ever made. Based on Greg Sestero’s best-selling tell-all, Franco directs and stars alongside brother Dave Franco. James has already been awarded Best Actor at the Gothams for his hysterical but sensitive portrayal.
What the critics say: ‘Sincere and sporadically funny, The Disaster Artist is an endearing tribute to failing in Hollywood. Anyway, how is your sex life? John Nugent, Empire
All The Money in the World
What? All The Money in the World follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the attempts of his mother Gail (Michelle Williams) to get hold of the ransom money from the boy’s billionaire grandson (Christopher Plummer). The movie has already garnered extensive media coverage due to director Ridley Scott’s decision to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in the midst of a Hollywood scandal and reshoot in six weeks at a reported cost of $10million. All the money in the world, indeed.
What the critics say: ‘Plummer is easily the best thing about a film that is technically accomplished, yet a bit too mechanical in the way it sets up and executes the high-stakes kidnapping at its centre.’ Peter Debruge, Variety
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
What? Expect to see unlikely heroine Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) kicking schoolchildren in the crotch and petrol-bombing police stations in this dark comedy about one mother’s fight for justice. The grieving mother takes her local police force to task after they fail to catch her teenage daughter’s killers by plastering her messages of accusation across three billboards. Trouble ensues. McDormand deservedly took the Oscar for Best Actress at the awards after a dazzling season of recognition.
What the critics say: ‘A quirky emotional puzzle put together by a trickster poet. It’s far from a masterpiece, yet it holds you, it adds up, and it’s something to see.’ Owen Gleiberman, Variety