Across the country, we’ve been spending periods of time in quarantine. Some of us are using the extra time to binge-watch shows, practice their cooking skills, create tik-tok videos, gaming, etc… Basically whatever it takes to get you through these long days. This is a good time to watch (or re-watch) some of the Oscar-winning films and see what all the buzz was about. Everyone’s idea of a great movie differs but below are 10 that stood out for me. Let me know what you think.
10. The Help
The Help is a movie that stars Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, and Jessica Chastain. The film follows a southern college student returning home to Mississippi in the 1960s to accomplish her goal of being a writer. Emma Stone plays “Skeeter” Phelan and after she meets Minny Jackson (played by Octavia Spencer) and Aibileen Clark (played by Viola Davis) her whole outlook on life changes. There are a lot of plotlines but it’s a great story illustrating the power of friendship and courage.
- Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer
Argo follows the true story of The Iranian Hostage Crisis 1979–1981. Ben Affleck starred and directed the film. As militants march the US embassy, six Americans escape and find asylum with the Canadian Ambassador. The film follows Tony Mendez and his team finding a way to break them out of Iran by pretending to film a Space Action/Adventure Film. This is a great political thriller if you are looking for some excitement.
- Best Picture: Ben Affleck, Grant Heslov, & George Clooney
- Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio
- Best Film Editing: William Goldenberg
8. The Social Network
The Social Network is a true story based on the journey of Mark Zuckerberg during his years at Harvard and how he started the biggest social media platform in the world, Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is played by Jesse Eisenberg. The film shows the struggles in becoming the youngest billionaire from lawsuits to falling out with former partners and friends.
- Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin
- Best Original Music Score: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
- Best Film Editing: Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter
7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
In my opinion, Three Billboards should have won the Oscar for Best Picture but it had a tough competition that year with The Shape of Water. It had a great cast: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody. The film focuses on Mildred Hayes, whose daughter was brutally murdered. She feels the case is being neglected and decides to buy three billboards in their small Indiana town to get the police’s attention. Willoughby is the police chief who is dealing with his own personal issues and Dixon is an alcoholic cop who abuses his power. The film brilliantly shows three different people struggling with everyday life and how such trauma impacts each one of them differently.
- Best Actress: Frances McDormand
- Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell
We have to have at least one animated film, right? In my opinion, it’s Coco. That is saying a lot since they have made Toy Story and Cars. Coco is the story of a family living in Mexico during the Day of the Dead. Miguel is a boy who just wants to play music but his family has banned music due to past trauma. When Miguel gets caught up in the dead world he has to figure out a way to get home with music and by freeing his family from their stigma.
- Best Animated Feature Film: Lee Unkrich & Darla K. Anderson
- Best Original Song: Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez (Remember Me)
5. The Florida Project
The Florida Project really never got the love it deserved. The film directed by Sean Baker follows the true story of innocence at its finest and the theme of “You can pick your friends but not your family.” William Dafoe plays Bobby who is a motel owner a couple of miles from Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Bobby looks after all the tenants of his motel but he keeps an extra eye on some of the kids who live there especially when their parents are struggling. Bria Vinaite plays Halley who is a single mother to Moonie who is played by Brooklynn Prince. Moonie gets into a lot of trouble during her summer break from school but Bobby is there to lend a helping hand especially if Halley is not around.
4. The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water is a film directed by Guillermo Del Toro. It was the favorite going into the 90th Academy Awards and it ended up coming home with 4 awards. The film follows Elisa played by Sally Hawkins and her unlikely love story with an Amphibian Man. Elisa is a mute woman who is compelled to do the right thing even if it means making an enemy out of the US government.
- Best Picture: Guillermo Del Toro & J. Miles Dale
- Best Director: Guillermo Del Toro
- Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat
- Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau, & Jeff Melvin
3. Lady Bird
Lady Bird did not win any awards but it should have. It was one of the top 3 best movies in 2017 in my opinion. Greta Gerwig directed this film and it stars Siorsa Ronan as “Ladybird”. Ladybird is a senior at a Catholic High School in Sacramento, California and she is trying to find who she really is. She thinks she is grown and wants to move to New York City to achieve her dreams. During her senior year, she deals with adversity from her family and peers in school that makes her find who Christine McPherson really is.
2. 12 Years a Slave
This is a movie about the horrors of slavery. It follows the true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Solomon is a free African-American man living in the North a few years before the Civil War who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the south. The film shows the brutality and human cruelty of slavery. Soloman’s journey is hard to watch at times but it is something people need to see to truly understand the past and our country’s history.
- Best Picture: Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, & Anthony Katagas
- Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o
- Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley
The film everybody can’t stop talking about. The film is a depiction of how societal class systems can define and separate us. Bong Joon-Ho is a great director who also directed SnowPiercer which is another film I recommend. The film follows a rich and a poor family in South Korea and how different their lives are yet how they still tie into each other and how we all need each other.
- Best Picture: Bong Joon-Ho & Kwak Sin-ae
- Best Director: Bong Joon-Ho
- Best Original Screenplay: Bong Joon-Ho & Han Jin-won
- Best International Feature Film: Bong Joon-Ho (South Korea)