Best Picture: Oscar 2019 Nominations

Below is a quick run down of the Star Tribune movie critics thoughts on this years best picture nominations. The most interesting thing of the Oscars (In my, Jon Justice, opinion) is the opportunity it provides to debate that which is clearly subjective. Enjoy! 

Oscars 2018: Handicapping the 9 nominees for best picture

By Cynthia Dickison Star Tribune

January 23, 2018 — 11:29am

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Call Me by Your NameThe story: A teenager falls for his father’s graduate assistant in 1980s Italy.In its favor: It’s both halting and exhilarating in its exploration of fresh love. The dewy-eyed Timothée Chalamet is a revelation.Then again: Languid to the point of narcolepsy, it will test the patience of non-art-house viewers.Our review: ⋆⋆⋆½

Darkest HourThe story: Winston Churchill faces his country’s titular crisis in the early days of World War II.In its favor: A towering performance by Gary Oldman; lush cinematography that puts you right in Piccadilly Circus.Then again: This is really a one-man show. And come on, did the great leader really descend into the Tube?Our review: ⋆⋆⋆½

DunkirkThe story: Christopher Nolan’s retelling of a daring and pivotal World War II rescue mission.In its favor: A you-are-there realism, with Hans Zimmer’s thrumming score ratcheting the tension to 11.Then again: The minimal exposition and pliable timeline mean short attention spans need not apply.Our review: ⋆⋆⋆½

Get OutThe story: A young man meets his girlfriend’s wealthy, oddly welcoming family.In its favor: Deft skewering of white liberalism, and the most crowd-pleasing moment of the year.Then again: Call it a comedy, call it a horror film — the Academy doesn’t much like either genre.Our review: ⋆⋆⋆½

Lady Bird The story: A year in the life of a disaffected Sacramento teenager (the luminous Saoirse Ronan).In its favor: A tenderly realistic portrayal of the mother-daughter bond, and a fresh take on a universal subject.Then again: Cue the eye roll — some quirks are just for quirkiness’ sake. And does anything really happen?Our review: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Phantom ThreadThe story: A couturier in postwar London takes on a headstrong muse who disrupts his fastidious world.In its favor: It’s as luxuriously elegant as a ballgown. Spoiler alert: Daniel Day-Lewis is riveting. But so is newcomer Vicky Krieps.Then again: No one is particularly likable, and the film’s vaguely Hitchcockian pretensions fall short.Our review: ⋆⋆⋆

The PostThe story: A newspaper publisher risks everything in a battle against the government.In its favor: A rousing counterargument in the era of “fake news,” it’s got Streep and Hanks and Spielberg.Then again: You could call it “All the President’s Men” lite. That’s a mighty high bar to transcend.Our review: ⋆⋆⋆

The Shape of WaterThe story: A Cold War-era mashup of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Creature From the Black Lagoon.”In its favor: Gorgeously filmed; a standout cast with a mute Sally Hawkins at its poignant center.Then again: Does it want to be a romance? A sci-fi flick? A buddy picture? A spy movie?Our review: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriThe story: A bitter, grieving mother takes in-your-face action.In its favor: A blistering turn by Frances McDormand, tart dialogue and surprising zigzags. With Golden Globes and SAG wins, it’s got the hot hand.Then again: Our heroine’s bad-assery is a shade over the top. Can you say Molotov cocktail?Our review: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

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