By SEAN MOORE
For students who like to keep an eye on pop culture, winter means awards season, and for movie lovers, no award is talked about more than the Academy Award for Best Picture.
This year eight movies are nominated for the coveted Oscar: “Black Panther,” BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favourite,” “Green Book,” “Roma,” “A Star is Born,” and “Vice.”
“Black Panther” was one of the biggest movies of 2018 and is the first Marvel movie to be nominated for Best Picture. If you haven’t already seen this wildly popular superhero film, it’s available on Netflix now.
“BlacKkKlansman,” a film based on the true story of an African-American police officer from Colorado and his quest to infiltrate a local chapter of the Klu Klux Klan, would be acclaimed director Spike Lee’s first Oscar should it win. This film is definitely worth seeing, especially if you are a Spike Lee fan who may have been turned off by some of his other recent releases.
Alexander Lee, a sophomore political science and psychology major and president of the UMW Film Society, called it one of his personal favorite films from last year and would like to see it take home the Oscar, but does not think that it will.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a biopic centered around former Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Lee does not think it is likely to win Best Picture and was surprised that the film was even nominated. If you are a Queen superfan and want an excuse to sing along to some of their hits then you may want to check this out, but if not, feel free to skip it.
“The Favourite” flew a little under the radar, grossing only $27.5 million dollars domestically, but is certainly worth watching if you get the chance. Not only is this period comedy-drama set in 18th century Great Britain nominated for nine Oscars, sophomore English major and vice president of the UMW Film Society Timothy Simms is personally rooting for it to win.
Simms said, “It’s refreshingly weird compared to other period pieces and makes a total mockery out of the politics of the time. The three main actresses and their constant scheming are just a joy to watch.” Definitely do not miss this one.
Both Lee and Simms think that “Green Book,” for better or worse, has a strong chance to take home Best Picture. It is popular with audiences and has a “conventional and Oscar-baity plot,” Simms said. “But, the Academy has picked more unorthodox films for Best Picture in the last couple years, so you can never really know,” he added.
“Roma” is what Antonio Barrenechea, associate professor of English and instructor of this semester’s Introduction to Cinema Studies course, calls an “update of what in the Classical Hollywood era was called a ‘woman’s picture,’ that is, a female-centered melodrama about difficulties in the domestic sphere.”
Barrenechea was most impressed with the film’s cinematography and said he would not be surprised to see it win in that category but is skeptical about its chances to win Best Picture. If it does win it would be the first non-English film to win the award. This film is also on Netflix so next time you feel like procrastinating give it a watch.
“A Star is Born” is the fourth remake of the 1937 film of the same name. This time around it stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga and is certainly an emotional roller coaster. It is also Lee’s dark horse candidate to win Best Picture. “It’s authentic, it’s charming, and it’s the sort of thing that is that’s going to naturally appeal to the folks who actually make the final decision,” Lee said. Even if it doesn’t take home the Oscar it is definitely still worth watching, just be sure to have a few tissues close by.
“Vice” is a political biopic focused on former Vice President Dick Cheney. It is certainly a polarizing film, with Lee calling it one of his favorites of last year and Simms saying that he did not like at all. As such, it probably will not win Best Picture but is worth a watch nonetheless, especially if you are interested in politics but are too young to remember or otherwise unfamiliar with the Iraq War.
For films that were not nominated but are still worth seeing, Lee recommends “A Quiet Place” and Simms recommends “First Reformed,” “Eighth Grade,” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
The Oscars air on ABC February 24.