With the Oscars airing on February 26th I have decided to rank each best picture nominee from my least favourite to favourite, which wasn’t an easy task, check it out below!
Lion is probably my least favourite out of the films nominated for best picture this year, I just felt underwhelmed after watching it. With all the buzz surrounding the film, I guess I just expected more. It isn’t a bad film, personally I just found it okay. With such a touching and moving story I thought they could have done more with it. I liked the first part of the film showing how young Saroo ended up separated from his family. Sunny Pawar did a fantastic job of leading this first half of the film, I was interested and thought this part was pretty good.
However, I don’t think the first part of Lion flowed well into the second part when we see Saroo all grown up, I didn’t enjoy this part of the film as much as the first. For me it didn’t have as much as an emotional impact like the first half, Dev Patel gave a strong performance, but it wasn’t enough to keep my interest.
8. Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures is an enjoyable, light-hearted and fun movie, it tells the story of three African-Americans who work for Nasa and how their extraordinary minds were behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn. As a movie with a lot of mathematics calculation and space jargon it still finds a way to be fun and interesting, which is what I liked about the film. I found the movie very inspiring even in such an oppressed and segregated time, it didn’t stop these 3 black women from achieving their goals.
For me this movie was entertaining mainly because of Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae they were really likeable in their roles and gave solid performances. Janelle Monae really stood out for me in this film. This is an untold true story, and I’m glad this movie was made to show how these 3 black women contributed to such an important space operation. I think it’s a good film for everyone to watch, it touches on racial issues while getting it messages across but at the same time is still enjoyable and light-hearted.
Watching Fences, felt like watching a play at a theatre, which is understandable as the film is adapted from August Wilson’s play, with the same name. Fences is a film with limited locations and is very dialogue heavy, so a film like that may have trouble keeping people interested. Honestly, I thought Fences was pretty good and it had no problems at all keeping me engaged, I just loved the dialogue in this movie. The dialogue easily switched from funny to deep without feeling forced. At times I was laughing with characters when troy told his stories and other times I was feeling bad for them.
A film which mainly focuses on their characters, needs good performances, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis helped elevate the film with their outstanding performances. They worked amazingly together and were great as a married couple. Transforming a play into a movie is not easy and sometimes it’s either hit or miss, but Denzel Washington did a good job of directing this powerful drama.
6. Hell Or High Water
With western films you expect a lot of gunplay and action, but that is not the case for Hell Or High Water and in a way it was effective. Hell Or High Water focuses on its story, pacing and well-developed characters to create a good film, while still keeping its western feel. Two brothers robbing banks to save their family ranch seems like a pretty simple plot, but Hell Or High Water is so well crafted that it ends up being entertaining. At first I didn’t think I would enjoy it but it ended up in my top 15 films of 2016.
In terms of performances Jeff Bridges stood out the most for me, portraying a Sheriff close to retiring who tries to track down the people responsible of the recent robbing of banks. The slow pacing of the film is effective and builds up to some pretty tense scenes in the final act. I’m pretty surprised Hell Or High Water got nominated although it probably won’t win, I think the nomination is well deserved.
5. Hacksaw ridge
Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of how one man stands by his faith and decides not to kill during war. The movie starts off by introducing Desmond Doss, we get a look into his life before he enlists for war and his life as he trains for war, which was a tough time as many people judged him for not touching a gun and standing by his faith.
After this we see the brutal, beautifully shot war scenes, Mel Gibson really captured the horror, gore and awfulness of war with graphic violence, explosions and cries of pain. These war scenes were intense, thrilling and captivating. It was also a tough watch as it was depressing to see these young men suffer because of the war. I thought Hacksaw Ridge was a wonderful film, Andrew Garfield gave a fantastic and gritty performance as the courageous medic who was willing to save lives. Throughout his performance you could really see the pain, struggle and determination on his face. I enjoyed Hacksaw Ridge and I was really impressed by Mel Gibson’s direction.
4. Manchester By The Sea
Manchester by the sea a drama with terrific performances and a great screenplay, it’s a moving drama about loss, grief and coming to face with your past. I think the well-developed characters and heart wrenching story is what really made Manchester By The Sea such a good film. It had a lot of good scenes, some deep and genuine scenes which showed the pain and grief of the characters. Casey Affleck was incredible in this film, really portraying a guy who has lost a lot, you can see that his past still affects him. Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams also delivered brilliant performances.
The film did a good job of making the viewer sympathise for Lee Chandler and his nephew, I really cared for both characters. The transition from present day to a flashback was done well, sometimes this transition can be messy, but the editing of Manchester By The Sea made sure it was a smooth transition. I enjoyed Manchester By The Sea, it’s an affective drama, which is worth a watch.
3. La La Land
La La Land overall is a pretty happy film, which left me with a warm sensation in my heart and a big smile. This is Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone third film together and once again they showcased their strong, undeniable on screen chemistry together. For me Emma Stone really shined in this film giving a charismatic, funny and superb performance as Mia. I adored the dancing scenes between Mia and Sebastian they were marvellous and in general just pleasing to watch.
There are so many good qualities about this film, the gorgeous cinematography, the beautiful costume design, the attractive colours and the original songs are just a few to mention. If it wasn’t for the brilliant direction from Damien Chazelle, I don’t think La La Land would have been as good as it, I liked how it was filmed and I thought the camera work, the whip pan in particular, was great. La La Land is a visually stunning modern musical with many beautiful and well-shot scenes. It was energetic, spectacular, full of heart and I enjoyed it very much.
Moonlight is a great film, it’s a film which tells the story of a black gay man growing up and trying to find himself. The plot may be simple, but this film touches on some sensitive topics and ends up being a sincere and powerful coming of age drama. One of my favourite things about moonlight is the cinematography and the way it was filmed, I thought it was wonderful. The bright colours and the 360 spin shots really enhanced the viewing experience. The swimming scene in particular I thought looked amazing.
The supporting cast consisting of Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Janelle Monae all gave fantastic performances in their small roles. Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes whom all portray Chiron in each of his defining chapters also did great jobs showing the struggle of Chiron and him feeling lost or out of place. When showing a guy ageing over time, sometimes it may have problems of not flowing, but Moonlight was able to transition to each chapter smoothly without affecting the vibe of the film. Another thing I really love about moonlight is the dialogue, it just felt natural. At times it was, funny, honest, sad or deep, which made it so real throughout. Moonlight is a great piece of cinema, which showcases Barry Jenkins talent.
Most people probably have La La Land or moonlight as their number 1 but mine is Arrival. I just love movies that make you think, make you ask questions & that’s exactly what arrival did. Arrival’s transformation from short story to feature film was great, it takes the core concept from the story & turns it into a clever sci-fi film with unpredictable twists. I found this film very interesting, it had my attention throughout as I watched Louise Banks and her team try to communicate with aliens which have landed on earth.
Arrival also had more than just a well-written story, the cinematography in this movie was stunning, the different beautiful shots helped set the atmosphere of the film. Also, Amy Adams’ performance was just spectacular and mesmerizing, she really captured the emotions her character was feeling, honestly I believe it was a massive snub when she didn’t receive an academy nomination for this role. Everything about Arrival was just excellent for me, I can’t flaw it, but what made this film even better was the superb direction from Denis Villenueve, who guided this film in the right direction.