Where to watch this year’s Oscar-nominated movies in Australia
The Oscars are just around the corner, but you still have time to catch up with this year’s Academy darlings.
This is shaping up to be one of the most exciting Oscar races in years. Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman ever nominated for best director, for Lady Bird. Get Out is one of the few horror movies ever nominated for Hollywood’s highest honour. Netflix is stepping up as well, with Mudbound receiving attention in four categories and two documentaries in the running for Best Documentary Feature. But regardless of which films you’re rooting for, you have to admit that this year’s list of nominated movies has something for everyone.
With less than two weeks until the 2018 Academy Awards, now is the perfect time to update your watch list with some of this year’s top contenders. The best way to catch up is to head to a theatre near you, where the most nominated movies are still playing. The list includes The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Call Me by Your Name, I, Tonya, and Lady Bird. If you’d prefer a more comfortable viewing experience, rest assured – some of last year’s best flicks are already available to stream or rent on Australia’s most popular online platforms.
The 90th Academy Awards, honouring movies released in 2017, will take place Sunday night, March 4 (US time). Jimmy Kimmel returns to host the ceremony for a second consecutive year. In Australia, the awards will be broadcasted on Channel Nine, so you can watch the ceremony live on Monday. Until then, if you still have some titles to get to, here’s what’s currently available to stream or rent.
Beauty and the Beast
A live-action re-telling of the animated classic, Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, with supporting performances from an immensely talented ensemble cast. You probably know the story. Belle, a bright and beautiful young woman is taken prisoner by a beast. As time goes by, she befriends her captor’s enchanted staff and realises that beyond Beast’s hideous exterior lies a kind and warm heart.
Thanks to its beautiful songs and attention to detail, the movie is a true feast for the eyes. It manages to honour its source material while also providing a refreshing take on the classic tale. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Production Design.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
One of the most enticing films to come out last year, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues our heroes’ adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. They must fight to keep their team together and strive to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage. The movie excels when it comes to funny banter, but also proves to have much more depth that fans were initially expecting.
An inventive tale with a great soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will take you a thrilling adventure across the universe and give you some fun companions to keep you entertained. Baby Groot included. The movie was nominated for Visual Effects.
The Boss Baby
A fun treat for the entire family, The Boss Baby follows a… baby who is a secret agent in the war for adult's love between babies and puppies. Yes, you’ve read that right. It’s goofy, it’s original, it’s very charming at times. The Boss Baby was nominated for Best Animated Feature.
It was surprising to see the movie being recognized, especially since it premiered to (very) mixed reviews from critics. Alas, there’s no doubt that The Boss Baby is highly entertaining for children and adults alike. Plus, the animation is close to perfect. A sequel is currently in the works, scheduled to premiere in 2021.
Kong: Skull Island
Kong: Skull Island reimagines the origin of the mythic Kong in a compelling and lively manner. The plot of the movie is pretty straightforward. A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden. But as exhilarating as it is to watch the monsters in action, the movie’s biggest strengths are its warmth and wit.
Nominated for Visual Effects, this monster flick offers more than stunning visuals. Sharp dialogue and fast-paced action are the first that come to mind. Although we would recommend seeing it on the big screen, Kong: Skull Island is solid enough to keep you fully immersed in the story regardless of screen size.
Nominated for Adapted Screenplay, Logan was produced by Marvel as the third and final Wolverine solo film. Since this was s Hugh Jackman’s last appearance, the expectations were high; and thankfully, the movie delivered big time. Jackman offers an amazing performance in what has to be one of the best superhero films of all time.
Logan takes place in 2029 and follows a despondent Logan and an ill Professor X as they defend a young mutant. When it’s not action-packed, the movie is heartfelt and emotional, giving the title character a lot of depth. It’s a dark and satisfying conclusion every Marvel fan has to see.
A powerful and memorable film, Dunkirk depicts the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II. It does so from three perspectives: land, sea, and air. The movie features little dialogue, with most of the suspense resulting from its excellent cinematography and score. A truly ambitious endeavour, Dunkirk isn’t your standard war film, which makes it stand out from the crowd even more.
Visually stunning and incredibly powerful, the movie is both awe-inspiring and emotionally satisfying. Dunkirk was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography.
It’s always a feat to see a horror movie nominated for Best Picture, and Get Out doesn’t disappoint. It stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a black man who uncovers a disturbing secret when he meets the family of his white girlfriend. Besides its horror elements, Get Out can also be categorized as dark comedy and sharp social satire, proving that fitting only one genre is so 2016.
The movie is both funny and scary, giving viewers a lot to think about. Not to mention the fact that it should win bonus points for tackling a painful subject in a very entertaining manner. Get Out received four Oscar nominations - Best Picture, Lead Actor, Best Director, and Original Screenplay.
Mudbound, released on Netflix last November, follows two World War II veterans – one white, one black – who return to rural Mississippi to address racism and PTSD, each in his own way. The movie takes a hard look at the system of racial inequality that defined that moment in time, and it does so in a heartbreaking way, delivering a layered portrait of two families.
At its core, Mudbound is the story of two Americas, centring on people who live side by side but are separated by their unique set of experiences. The movie received three Academy nominations: Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, and Cinematography (making Rachel Morrison the first woman ever nominated in this category).
The Big Sick
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano
If you’re in the mood for an endearing romantic comedy, this one is the perfect pick. The Big Sick, nominated for Original Screenplay, revolves around an interracial couple who must deal with cultural differences when one of them gets sick. It was written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani and it’s loosely based on their real-life romance.
The Big Sick was one of the highest-grossing independent films of last year. That’s especially impressive given the fact that it’s been a while since the genre delivered a crowd-pleaser. The movie is charming, witty, and thought-provoking; proving once again that rom-coms can be just as intelligent as they are heartfelt.
Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049 was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Cinematography and Production Design. The sci-fi movie stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford and it’s set 30 years after the first film in the franchise. Gosling plays K, a blade runner who uncovers a secret that threatens to instigate a war between humans and replicants.
Visually stunning, the movie deserves accolades for more than its sheer beauty. Blade Runner 2049 delivers a compelling storyline and nuanced performances from its two stars. Thanks to its grandeur and attention to detail, it’s easy for viewers to get lost in the movie’s richly imagined futuristic world.
Nominated for Documentary Feature, Icarus was created by Bryan Fogel. It chronicles how a major Olympic cheating scandal is uncovered by accident by an American documentary filmmaker and a Russian scientist. The two alleged that Russia had conspired to cheat the Olympics for decades through state-sponsored doping.
If you’re looking for insight into cheating in sports, Icarus will prove both revelatory and fascinating. It’s a tense documentary, as things get particularly dark when the scientist and documentary maker realize they might know too much. All in all, to say that this documentary is mind-blowing would be an understatement.
Last Men in Aleppo
In this heartbreaking documentary, the Syrian civil war is brought to life through the eyes of a group of volunteer rescue workers in Aleppo known as the White Helmets. This organization is comprised of ordinary people who are the first to rush towards military strikes in the hope of saving lives.
Last Men in Aleppo, nominated for Documentary Feature, incorporates moments of both heart-pounding suspense and improbable beauty. It provides an unflinching analytical look at the devastating civil war in Syria, managing to be inspiring in spite of the horrors portrayed on screen. With a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, this intense documentary definitely deserves a spot on your watch list.
This chilling true-crime documentary, directed by Yance Ford, centres on the murder of Ford's brother. A deeply intimate and meditative film, Strong Island asks what one can do when the grief of loss is entwined with historical injustice. “The police had turned my brother into the prime suspect in his own murder,” we learn from the trailer.
Strong Island was nominated for Documentary Feature. This is both a personal documentary and a profound meditation on race in America. It also has unanimous acclaim on Rotten Tomatoes, where it stands at a perfect 100% score.
An action-packed thriller that’s both gripping and well-written? Yes, please! Baby Driver follows a young getaway driver who finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail after being coerced into working for a crime boss. Part crime thriller, part romantic comedy, part musical, Baby Driver is one of the most original films to come out in recent years. Stylish and exciting, the movie will win you over from the first scene.
As for the soundtrack, it’s as close to perfect as movie soundtracks get, featuring various artists like Blur, Run the Jewels, Sky Ferreira, and Queen. No wonder Baby Driver was nominated for three Academy Awards - Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.
Victoria and Abdul
This touching movie is based on the real-life friendship between Queen Victoria and her Indian Muslim servant Abdul Karim. As unlikely as it is endearing, the bond that flourishes between the two turns into a devoted and loyal alliance. Moreover, it ends up influencing them both in unexpected ways.
Although we’ll let historians debate how accurate the portrayal of this unique friendship is, we’ll tell you that Victoria and Abdul is a charming and funny story about human connection. And the clothes are the stuff of dreams. The movie was nominated for Makeup and Hairstyling and Costume Design.
War for the Planet of the Apes
War for the Planet of the Apes, nominated for Visual Effects, marks the third and final chapter in the rebooted franchise. The movie follows a confrontation for control of Earth between the apes, led by Caesar, and the humans, led by a ruthless Colonel. When the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar fights against his darker instincts and embarks on a mythic quest to avenge his kind.
Besides its breathtaking special effects, War for the Planet of the Apes also delivers a compelling narrative, proving that blockbuster sequels aren’t always mindless fun. In fact, they can be smart and thoughtful. A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, the movie will provide much more than closure. In fact, it will make viewers crave even more Ape goodness, so don’t be surprised if you end up watching it more than once.
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