As with last year I ventured into the cinema week by week, working my way through all the year best picture nominees.
And as with last year my bank balanced decreased, and my love of cinemae increased.
So ranked from my most favourite to least favourite are this year 9 nominees (with added emoji)
THE BEST (WOULD WATCH AGAIN) 😎
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
An outstanding performance which deserves the best actress for Frances McDormand. The dark comedic edge of a Coen brothers or Tarantino but with genine heartbreak and emotion. It's not the film the trailer made it out to be but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed and I cried.
It's charming, it's got a low-key indie feel and I think there is something quite universal about it. The film is set in 2002-03 as Ladybird heads off to university (the same year I did) so it was hard not to feel some resonance. It's unbelieveable that Greta Gerwick is only the fifth woman to be nominated for best director. I hope she wins.
The success of Dunkirk give me optimism for more big budget films outside of superheros and franchises. This feels like the film that will be most remembered in the future. It's more about the experience than the plot but it's wonderfully made. Seeing it projected in 70mm was a joy.
PRETTY GOOD (WITH MAINSTREAM APPEAL) 😊
THE SHAPE OF THE WATER
A fantastical gothical fable about a romance between a mute woman and a sea creature. Full of old-timey music and charm but Del Toro brings a dark edge that makes you never quite comfortable. Doug Jones and Sally Hawkins are great. Ultimately it reminded me that I must rewatch Pans Labyrinth.
Get Out does so well at setting up it's sinister atmosphere with subtelty and without playing all its cards too soon. I'm not sure the last third of the film doesn't quite live up to the set up and falls into standard horror tropes. It's good to see diversity not just in the filmakers being nominated but also in the type of films - not just weepy bio-pics.
PRETTY GOOD (AND QUITE ARTSY) 🤔
I'm not sure it's the kind of film I would be eager to rewatch on Netflix on a Friday night, but I got swept up in it whilst watching it. It's hard to really describe it as having a plot; the high points of the film all involve Daniel Day Lewis eating breakfast. Johnny Greenwood's score is sweeping and romantic. I can't stop listening to it.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Another coming of age film, about 17 year old Ellio, struggling with his sexuality and falling for an older PhD student. There is a lot I liked about it, and Timothee Chalamet convincingly portrays the awkwardness of adolescence. After Moonlights win last year I'm glad LGBT cinema continues to get recognised; I did find that casting 31 year old Arnie Harmer as 24-year old Oliver accentuated the age gap between the two leads in a way that left me slightly uncomfortable. It will make you want to move to Italy though.
THE SLIGHTLY MEDIOCRE 😐
When Speilberg and Hanks and Streep get together they are not going to make a bad movie. It feels like it was made quite quickly and quite workman-like. Like an Channel 4 special about Vietnam that happens to start A-listers; I'd watch it if it was on, but it didn't feel in the same league as Spotlight.
I'm sure Gary Oldman will win for Best Actor, and he puts on a fatsuit and does the Churchill thing well. Having watched John Lithgows Churchill in the Crown, I actually felt more engaged with his portrayal. The scene in the Darkest Hour on the subway was so incredibly on-the-nose and such an unabashed attempt to stir up British patriotism that I couldn't quite get past it.