The nominations for the most prestigious Academy Awards that celebrates the artistic and technical merit in the film industry, also known as the Oscars, just dropped for its 2019 instalment and boy is the Best Picture category an eclectic variation of films. Whether you want to refresh your memory or simply desire to catch up, here are the eight of the Best Picture nominees we reckon you should binge-watch before the full 91st Academy Awards is underway on 24 February. Also, can we just
1. A Star Is Born
With a total of eight nominations (Best Picture, Lead Actress – Lady Gaga, Lead Actor – Bradley Cooper, Supporting Actor (Sam Elliott), Cinematography, Original Song – “Shallow”, Adapted Screenplay and Sound Mixing), Bradley Cooper definitely made his mark via this directorial debut with the adapted narrative of A Star Is Born. The 2018 version is one of romance that involves Cooper as a seasoned musician who helps thrust a talented newcomer (Gaga) into the spotlight before she starts to eclipse him. Be prepared to be wowed by the compelling songs, which is easily our favourite movie soundtrack of the year.
2. The Favourite
Bagging 10 Oscar nominations this year (Best Picture, Lead Actress – Olivia Colman), Supporting Actress – Rachel Weisz, Supporting Actress – Emma Stone, Best Director – Yorgos Lanthimos, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing and Production Design), The Favourite is a loosely historical tragicomedy which features a complex trio of female characters set in 18th-century England involving personal and political jealousy as well as the need to attain power. It’s as entertaining as it is honest and daring, leaving the audience unsettled.
3. Black Panther
This superhero blockbuster, which garnered 6 Oscar noms (Best Picture, Original Music Score, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Production Design and Sound Editing), is the radical celebration of black culture the world needed, so much so that it was the No. 1 box office hit of 2018. Featuring an outstanding cast including Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita N’yongo, Black Panther honours the preservation of identity, traditional African society, and power of black women. It has also made history as the first superhero film nominated for the Academy Awards’ top prize.
4. Bohemian Rhapsody
This 2018 biographical film which pays ode the British rock band Queen and the life of the lead singer Freddie Mercury who defied stereotypes accumulated five Oscar nominations (Best Picture, Lead Actor – Rami Malek, Sound Mixing, Film Editing and Sound Editing). It follows the meteoric rise of the band, from humble beginnings through to the band’s legendary 1985 Live Aid performance, as well as the recording of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which gives the film the electrifying pull it needs. A must-watch for fans of Queen, and an engaging enough biopic that is greatly entertaining.
With six nominations in total (Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor – Adam Driver, Adapted Screenplay, Director, Original Music Score, and Film Editing), this is another film of colour that attests the need for diversity in the industry. Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver and Topher Grace, this dark comedy is a true story from the 1970s based on an African-American detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan by going undercover. The film is wonderfully nuanced as it fuses the struggles of the past and present into one.
6. Green Book
Amassing five nominations (Best Picture, Best Actor – Vlggo Mortensen, Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali, Original Screenplay and Film Editing), Green Book is set in the Deep South in the 1960s and follows a tour of a world-class African-American pianist (Ali) who hires an Italian-American bouncer (Mortensen) as a driver and for protection. The film confronts their differences as the two form an unexpected bond within an era of racial division, allowing the bouncer to experience first-hand the indignities the pianist faces.
Tying with The Favourite with 10 nominations in total (Best Picture, Best Actress – Yalitza Aparicio, Supporting Actress – Marina De Tavira, Director, Foreign Language Film, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Production Design and Sound Editing), Roma is a tearjerking, black-and-white drama set in 1970s Mexico that follows a domestic worker’s journey as she manoeuvres through domestic and political turmoil. It’s a rich and worthy contender that is a multiplex of emotions, gripping scenarios, and rich visuals and sound.
With 8 nominations in the bag (Best Picture, Best Actor – Christian Bale, Supporting Actor – Sam Rockwell, Supporting Actress – Amy Adams, Director, Original Screenplay, Film Editing and Makeup), Vice is an American biographical comedy-drama film that’s essentially a highlight reel from the late 20th and early 21st centuries depicting the tale of the former US Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), the vice of George W. Bush, on his road to becoming the most influential Vice President in American history.