Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture – what’s new and old in entertainment.
Tonight’s the night. Hollywood’s biggest night – the Academy Awards. The nominations were announced a while ago, so we’re here to help jog your memory on some of the big contenders, as well as where you can watch them for some last-minute cramming:
Dunkirk is an intense re-telling of Operation Dynamo, the successful evacuation of over 300,000 British soldiers trapped on a French Beach by Nazis during World War II. The film was one of the biggest box office hits of the year and is nominated for the eight awards tonight, including Christopher Nolan for Best Director, Best Picture, and a number of technical categories. Dunkirk is available to purchase and rent in all formats including DVD.
Lady Bird is a coming-of-age drama of a young woman in Sacramento circa 2002. The movie tells the fraught and relatable story of a mother and a daughter struggling to get along over the course of a year. The film is writer Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut for which she became the fifth ever woman nominated. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf are nominated in each of the Actress categories and the film is nominated for a few other awards, including Best Picture. Lady Bird is available to rent or buy on Digital platforms.
Get Out was one of the most talked-about movies of the year and tells the story of Chris, an African-American man visiting his girlfriend’s white family. The premise sounds familiar until the movie takes a turn into thriller/horror territory. Director Jordan Peele became the first black director to be nominated for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture on any one film. It is also his first film. The movie is available to purchase or rent in all formats, and is streaming on HBO Go.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri follows the story of a grieving mother challenging the local police who have been unable to solve her daughter’s murder. The movie takes a controversial look at race and privilege in America, mostly through actor Sam Rockwell’s role, for which he is the favorite for Best Actor. The movie is also nominated for Best Picture and six other awards. The film is available to rent or buy on all platforms.
Finally, The Shape of Water is about a mute woman who falls in love with a strange aquatic being that is held prisoner by the U.S. government during the Cold War. Director Guillermo del Toro is the favorite to win Best Director and the film is a strong contender for Best Picture and a number of other awards, including Best Score, on the show tonight. The Shape of Water is available on digital streaming platforms.
Tonight, it’s almost certain those five movies will win the biggest awards of the night, so a last-minute cram may help you understand what all the fuss is about when they’re accepting their statues.
I’m Evan Rook.