On Tuesday, the nominees for the were announced. This year’s slew of nominations proved to be more inclusive and mainstream than years past, especially in the Best Picture race. Eight films were nominated, and almost all of them say something about the world we currently live in, which isn’t always the case for the nominees in the night’s biggest category.
Last year, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water won Best Picture. Personally I don’t know of anyone having sex with a government-tested fish man, so I can’t say it was relevant social happening. On the flipside, Jordan Peele’s socially conscious horror film Get Out was nominated, and it was the most current-thinking film nominated. Peele could have paved the way for this year’s nominees, which seem more relevant than a lot of movies nominated in year’s past. There are five movies that seem to really stick out: The Favourite, Roma, BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther and A Star Is Born.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ British film The Favourite is the least obvious out of the lineup. The arthouse-oriented period dramedy is obscure to say the least, but it says a great deal about people’s obsessions with the royal family. The film was released by Fox Searchlight the same year Meghan Markle and Prince Harry married and announced they were expecting their first child, making it more relevant than ever. The Favourite goes beyond that infatuation and shows the behind-the-scenes lifestyle of an aristocratic family, no matter how dark and kinky it gets.
On the surface, The Favourite doesn’t seem to have a lot in common with the other Best Picture nominees, but the film shares a common theme with Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white masterpiece Roma. Both films highlight the strain gender roles put on women in particular. The Favourite and Roma have strong female casts, which was recognized by the Academy in the acting categories. Between the two films, the body of voters recognized five women. With the #MeToo Movement in full force last year, it was amazing to see filmmakers tap into the new and seasoned talent in the industry.
Spike Lee’s biopic BlacKkKlansman tackled white supremacy but in a complex way. He showed all of the different conversations people were having within the Black Power Movement of the ’60s, but more importantly he made it contemporary with the discussion of the Black Lives Matter in today’s society. The gut-wrenching footage of the Charlottesville attack is shown at the end of the film, showing racism is alive in the 21st century.
Lee has been an outspoken critic of the Academy’s past nominations due to the lack of representation in major categories. The Academy started shifting when it nominated Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, but this year it nominated Black Panther. It was the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture, but what made the film monumental was it featured an all-black primary cast and a black superhero. Superhero films dominated the industry and the box office, so it was only time before one infiltrated the elitist nature of the Oscars — and are we glad it was Black Panther.
Then there is A Star Is Born. Bradley Cooper’s adaption — which is the fourth — starring Lady Gaga is a stunning and genuine look at the music industry and its effect on its artists. The people who have grown up in the ’90s and 2000s have not seen a more honest look at the struggles musicians go through, and that’s something we’ve needed. With musical talent dying by suicide every year, A Star Is Born takes into account the mental health challenges those people face. No film has felt more honest about the topic.
There is a side effect of picking more popular and contemporary films: People might actually tune into the ceremony. With these five Best Picture nominees alone, the Academy doesn’t need to implement a Best Popular Film award. The Academy seems to be doing a fine job at choosing the right films.
Georgia Davis is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think of this year’s Oscar nominees? Tell Georgia by tweeting her at @georgiadee35.