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Top 5 Films to Watch Before the Oscars

For all the film buffs out there, you know that when February comes around,  it’s officially Oscar season! The Academy Awards are just about a week away, and there are probably a ton of fantastic movies that you’ve been meaning to catch up on. If you’re having trouble narrowing down your list before the big day, we’ve put together a quick breakdown of the most nominated films of 2019. And hey, if you finish these before the Oscars take a look at the full list of nominations here.

So break out the popcorn! Here are the films with the most Academy Award nominations for the year.


Nominated for: Best Picture | Best Actress (Yalitza Aparicio) | Best Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira) | Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron) | Best Original Screenplay | Best Cinematography | Best Sound Mixing | Foreign Language Film | Best Production Design | Best Sound Editing

Roma is a quasi-autobiographical film by director Alfonso Cuaron, who uses this as an opportunity to dig deep into the memories from his childhood. The plot is told through the lens of a Mexican family’s caretaker, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), who is based on the actual life Curaron’s nanny. In the film, Cleo is the glue that holds together a family that has to deal with both the familial struggles and the effects of political turmoil within Mexico.

An interesting note is Cuaron’s decision to shoot this film in black and white, but not in the traditional way that we’ve come to expect. The film is intentionally shot digitally with no grain and is a way for Curaon to eliminate the nostalgic feel of this movie that recreates his real-life childhood. In a way, we are looking at his past through the prism and perspective of the present, as if he’s reminiscing with the understanding he currently has as an adult.

Where to Watch: You can still catch this film in some local theaters, and it is available to stream on Netflix.

The Favourite

Nominated for: Best Picture | Best Actress (Olivia Colman) | Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone) | Best Supporting Actress (Rachel Weisz) | Best Director (Yorgos Lanthimos) | Best Original Screenplay | Best Cinematography | Best Costume Design | Best Film Editing | Best Production Design

While England is at war with France, a battle for aristocratic influence and affection is being fought inside Queen Anne’s (Olivia Colman) inner-court. The Queen has fallen to ill health, and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead. Meanwhile, Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) uses this opportunity to gain influence in the Queen’s court. As Abigail’s bond with Queen Anne grows, Sarah intervenes, and the cousins clash for Anne’s affection and favor.

Like Roma, The Favourite is nominated for 10 academy awards. Our trio of amazing actresses are the draw for this movie, as their wit and brash dialogue bounces off one another, making for a hilarious two hours of back-and-forth interactions. The dynamic between the three stars and the constant game of manipulation and out-doing their rivals is at times dark, but overall the film is wicked fun!

Where to Watch: The Favorite is currently still in select theaters. Check your local listings for showing times.

A Star is Born

Nominated for: Best Picture | Best Actor (Bradley Cooper) | Best Actress (Lady Gaga) | Best Supporting Actor (Sam Elliott) | Best Adapted Screenplay | Best Cinematography | Best Sound Mixing | Best Original Song (“Shallow”)

As seasoned country artist Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) slowly starts to fade in popularity, he discovers and is blown away by an unknown talent at a drag bar. Ally (Lady Gaga), was a struggling musician when Jack found her, though, her career takes off after Jack invites her to perform with him on stage. The two shortly form a romantic relationship, but their relationship sees some hardships as their careers continue to go toward completely separate paths.

A remake of the classic 1937 film, 2018’s version of A Star is Born marks the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s first leading role. What’s nice about this rendition of the film is how it takes what was done with the original, and practically strips down the typical Hollywood glitz and glamour story into something a little more grounded and raw. The music in the film is amazing and is the perfect soundtrack for a heart-wrenching love story, and many of the songs were written in collaboration with musicians like Mark Ronson and Jason Isbell.

Where to Watch: A Star is Born is currently still in theaters, and is available to stream on YouTube, Vudu, and Google Play.


Nominated for: Best Picture | Best Actor (Christian Bale) | Best Actress (Amy Adams) | Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell) | Best Director (Adam McKay) | Best Original Screenplay | Best Film Editing | Best Makeup

A biopic of former Vice President Dick Cheney, director Adam McKay and actor Christian Bale tell a comedic-satire of Cheney’s tenure in office.

This one seems to be a bit polarizing among critics. Some are really into the political satire that has become a staple in Adam McKay’s latest run of films, while others seem to find the tone of this movie consistent. What draws me in, though, is, of course, the performance of Christian Bale and how he transforms personally and physically to portray the former vice president. Say what you will about method acting, but you have to admit it’s an incredible feat for anyone to put this much dedication into a role. Big props to the make-up team too for making Bale’s appearance uncanny. (And this make-up team is nominated as well!)

Where to Watch: Vice is in select theaters, and is available on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Video, Vudu, and HBO.

Black Panther

Nominated for: Best Picture | Best Production Design | Best Original Music Score | Best Costume Design | Best Sound Mixing | Best Sound Editing | Best Original Song (“All the Stars”)

In the aftermath of Marvel’s Civil War (2016), T’Challa, also known as the Black Panther, returns to his home country of Wakanda, where he now takes on the mantle as King of the entire nation. However, T’Challa soon discovers that his life as a King and a world-famous superhero is a tricky balancing act, especially when multiple foes come to challenge him for his throne. As new enemies and threats continue to rise, The Black Panther must decide if he should fight for the safety of the world, even if it comes at the cost of his duty to protect Wakanda.

Now, I won’t go too deep into the many aspects of what makes this film so great, especially when we have an article written by our very own Hannah Escher that talks about it! (Please check it out if you haven’t done so already!) But one thing that is significant about this film is that it is the first time a superhero movie has ever been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It is encouraging to see how views about what makes a work critically acclaimed seem to be broadening each year, and now films with diverse casts and varying genres are getting some of the recognition they deserve.

Whether it’s a character-driven drama, a comedic satire, or an action-packed superhero flick, what matters most is that these films resonate with audiences across the world and bring joy to those who take time out of their day to go out and watch. All the nominees this year are winners from that perspective.

Where to Watch: Black Panther is available to stream/rent on Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video, Google Play, Vudu, and iTunes.


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