Sunday marks the 85th telecast of the Academy Awards, and over 50 films are nominated across the 24 categories. No matter which end up bringing home the iconic Oscar, we scoped the list and came up with 8 movies worth watching, even after award season is over.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Director
Centered on the love between a husband and his dying wife, Amour is quiet and steadfast. Without the sweeping romance or grand gestures, you’re left with the realness of his devotion, and we can’t help but find the ending more beautiful than tragic.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Editing
Sadly, our hometown hero Ben Affleck was snubbed in the Director category, but his adaptation of the true story of an FBI agent sneaking out a group of Americans from Iran during the hostage crisis is a nailbiter, even though we (presumably, if we paid attention to history) know how it ends. We’re especially impressed how the whole film feels like a vintage photo, with that 70s/early 80s orangey hue.
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay
Adapted from a stage play, Beasts of the Southern Wild is part social commentary, part fantasy. We love 6 year-old Hushpuppy’s defiant courage as her forgotten bayou community is threatened with flooding and ancient aurochs.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Sound Mixing, Production Design, Cinematography, Makeup, Costume Design
So you’ve probably heard that this iteration of the classic musical is different because the actors sing live every take. It’s frankly amazing, and Hugh and Anne’s performances deserve all the awards. Ever. Of all time. You most likely know what happens, but it’s wise to still have 3 boxes of tissues ready and waiting.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Sound Mixing, Production Design, Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing
Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis are an Academy 1-2 punch, and though this could’ve just been Oscar bait, the film is beautifully shot, darkly lit as if by oil lamp. Day-Lewis is spot on as our 16th prez, but we really love Sally Field as Mary Todd and especially Tommy Lee Jones’s loud and witty Senator Stevens, who fiercely fights for total equality.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Editing
Not your typical rom-com, we follow along as love blossoms between two damaged people. Jennifer Lawrence is one of our fave actresses, and her depressed Tiffany is the perfect foil to Bradley Cooper’s bipolar Pat.
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress
Though the Academy didn’t give it much love, we adore this film about a 38 year old who spends much of his time in an iron lung, hires a sex surrogate to lose his virginity. We think John Hawkes was snubbed; his portrayal of Mark never encourages sympathy, but instead makes you hope he gets the girl. Helen Hunt’s nuanced performance is well worth her nod for Supporting Actress.
Nominated for: Best Animated Film
The animated category had lots of good ones this year, but Wreck-It Ralph is our winner. The tale of a video game villian who just wants to be a hero brings us back to our days of Ms. Pacman and mall arcades. The actors were perfectly cast and included pretty much all of our fave people from TV: John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Mindy Kaling.
Images: Copyright Les Films du Losange, Warner Bros, Universal, Dreamworks, The Weinstein Company, Fox Searchlight, Disney