It’s that time of year again, with the latest edition of The Oscars coming up this weekend. Eight films are up for the biggest prize in movies, and whatever our opinions are of what should and should not have been nominated, here are the films that will be fighting it out for Best Picture on Sunday, as we see all the 91st Academy Awards Best Picture nominees RANKED.
8. Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody is the greatest demonstration of the immense range of opinions and tastes in the world of film that we’ve seen in years. Lauded by general audiences with over $800m at the worldwide box office, while picking up a Best Picture award at the Golden Globes among many others, it’s proved a hugely popular film for many.
On the flipside, it’s also one of the weakest Best Picture nominees in years, and in my opinion without a doubt the worst of this year’s shortlist. While it tells a great story that’s filled with some great music, Bohemian Rhapsody is a by-the-numbers and often fairly choppy music biopic, without the ingenuity or prowess at any point to really deserve its place as one of the eight ‘best films’ of 2018.
Despite all this, its popularity with general audiences has kept it in the conversation, and with under 48 hours to go until the big reveal, one of the weakest Best Picture nominees of the decade stands a very good chance of taking home the crown.
Read a full review of Bohemian Rhapsody here.
In comparison to Bohemian Rhapsody, BlackKklansman‘s reception from the film community has been far more consistent. Acclaimed as legendary director Spike Lee’s best work in years, and the film that’s finally getting him the awards recognition he deserves, there’s little dispute about its place in the Best Picture line-up.
However, I’m a little bit of an outsider on this one, and while the film is definitely an entertaining and engaging watch, with its palpable 70s vibe, strong humour and innovative story, it’s a movie that never really hammers home its key message in such an affecting manner. With the exception of a rather frightening and memorable epilogue, I never felt the injustices and discrimination being shown here really getting under my skin.
With that said, BlackKklansman still stands in good stead to cause a major upset and potentially win Best Picture on Sunday, something that will certainly make fans of Spike Lee hugely happy. For me, though, it’s not quite powerful enough to prove a real world-beater.
Read a full review of BlackKklansman here.
6. Black Panther
This is the big one that caught everyone’s attention when the Best Picture nominees were announced last month. After a record-breaking box office run last February, and a massive Twitter campaign to get it nominated for Best Picture, Black Panther becomes the first superhero movie ever to be up for the biggest prize in film.
Of course, campaigning for a superhero movie to be nominated is nothing new – you only have to go back to 2008 and The Dark Knight‘s snub, or even the unexpected awards popularity of Deadpool two years ago – but Black Panther signals an significant changing of perspective from the Academy and awards bodies in general, as they attempt to draw in greater audiences with more recognition for blockbusters (especially following the debacle over the quickly-cut Best Popular Film category).
For me, it’s still not really worthy of a Best Picture nod, and while it’s an entertaining comic book movie, it’s far from Marvel’s most innovative or groundbreaking. With the exception of its dazzling costume and production design that it should definitely win awards for on Sunday, Black Panther is just a little too plain to prove a really special comic book movie, and far from the one that should have been the first to be nominated for Best Picture.
Read a full review of Black Panther here.
Three years after his first big awards success with The Big Short (which was an outside bet for Best Picture in 2015), Adam McKay returns with Vice, a comedy-biopic about former VP Dick Cheney, told in McKay’s uniquely irreverent style.
It’s an entertaining movie, and despite its often aggressively negative portrayal of Cheney throughout, it features a collection of great performances, interesting history, and properly funny comedy, all of which make it a thoroughly enjoyable watch. However, that irreverent style, while perfect for The Big Short, often comes up a little unstuck in Vice, failing to gel with the story in the same deliciously manic manner as was the case three years ago.
As a result, the film can feel a little all over the place, as it tries to wrestle comedy and historical fact together in a marriage that just won’t stick. It may be an enjoyable movie, but is it really worthy of Best Picture, or even a nomination? Not for me.
Read a full review of Vice here.
4. A Star Is Born
Upon release in early October, A Star Is Born was the unassailable leader in this year’s Best Picture race. Cut to 4 months later, and the film is looking like one of the only two that stand almost no chance of winning the big prize on Sunday, and that saddens me a little.
As Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, the film brings the timeless tale to the big screen in beautiful fashion, particularly in the form of a genuinely electrifying opening act that’s far better than any part of any other movie up for Best Picture this year. The following two acts may not prove quite as astonishing, but the film is a tender and powerful story, with a stunning performance from Lady Gaga at the centre to boot.
Its weaknesses lie in its inability to surpass the three previous editions of A Star Is Born, mostly over the course of the latter half of the film, while its Oscar campaign certainly peaked far too early – all the way back in the autumn. So, while it’s a wonderful film that does deserve its place among the nominees, it’s unfortunately unlikely to win this year, but you should still give it a watch if you have the chance.
Read a full review of A Star Is Born here.
3. Green Book
Much like Bohemian Rhapsody, director Peter Farrelly’s Green Book has caught all sorts of flack over the course of this awards season for sneaking through and proving an undeserved winner of Best Pictures and more all across the world.
And yes, its rather simplistic approach to its key theme of racism is its biggest weakness, and makes it seem a little inferior to some of this year’s more inventive nominees, but there’s a sweet innocence to the movie that we haven’t really seen in a long time, and that’s why I can’t help but really like it.
It shouldn’t win Best Picture – I’m sure of that – but in similar fashion to the effortlessly likable Driving Miss Daisy, Green Book is a relaxed, pleasant and enjoyable comedy-drama throughout, with two thoroughly likable performances from Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. It’s not a groundbreaking drama, and it certainly won’t change the world as it often professes to, but if you’re looking for a Best Picture nominee this year to sit back and relax with, then there’s no better choice than Green Book.
Read a full review of Green Book here.
To be honest, of the eight nominees this year, there are only two films that I really love – and Alfonso Cuarón’s beautifully elegant semi-autobiographical drama Roma is undeniably one of them.
Arguably the most visually stunning film of the nominees, Roma is bathed in wonderfully nostalgic black-and-white that crafts such a deep emotion and connection between you and the characters on screen. It’s not a particularly special story, yet the attention to detail and passion that director Cuarón clearly shows as he recreates his own memories on screen are what make it truly astonishing.
A patient, immersive and graceful watch from start to finish, Roma is a bold and unique film that really stands out this year, backed up with deservedly-nominated performances from Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, all of which gives me a real hope that the Academy will go bold this year and award a black-and-white, foreign-language Netflix film the biggest prize of the year. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Read a full review of Roma here.
1. The Favourite
And here we are, of all the eight nominees, my absolute favourite does exactly what it says in the title. Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite is a delightfully bizarre, hilarious and equally enthralling film, building on his unique style crafted over the last decade and putting it into a widely accessible and still thoroughly entertaining period drama.
I adored The Lobster three years ago, and The Favourite’s acclaim this year feels like a little bit of recompensation for The Lobster’s snubs back then, yet this film still has so much ingenuity, energy and talent filling the screen at every moment that you can’t help but absolutel love it. With three dynamite lead performances from Olivia Colma, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, it’s a powerful and devilishly intriguing look into the world of power plays in court in 18th Century England.
Couple that with Lanthimos’ inimitable brand of bizarre humour and hilarious combination of period drama dialogue and foul language, and you have a film that’s both an intriguing and even exciting watch, as well as an absolute riot to follow and laugh along to, which is why it’s certainly my favourite of the Best Picture nominees this year.
Will it win? Perhaps. Its popularity in the film community has kept it high in the conversation, but in what is billed as a battle between art and general popularity, a lot of the weight (including my own) is being thrown behind Roma against the likes of Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther. Watch this space, though, absolutel anything can happen when it comes to the Oscars on Sunday night.
Read a full review of The Favourite here.