The Academy Awards will be handed out on March 4. Are you caught up on the major nominees?
Many of the nominated films are still going strong in theaters, notably the monster movie/romantic drama “The Shape of Water,” which leads this year’s class with 13 nominations and will open in Spokane this weekend; the polarizing “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” with seven nominations; and “Lady Bird” with five nominations. “Phantom Thread” (six nominations), “Darkest Hour” (six nominations), and “The Post” (two nominations) are still expanding and “Call Me By Your Name” (four nominations) should get a second wind. All of these still can be found on Spokane-area screens.
A number of nominated films, including two that are nominated for best picture (“Dunkirk” and “Get Out”), are already available to watch at home.
Here’s an easy guide to what you can see and how you can see them.
Now on pay-per-view / VOD / DVD
Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” (2017, PG) is a dramatization of the British army’s evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, with the help of civilian ships ferrying soldiers across the English Channel, as an epic experimental film with minimal dialogue, juggled timelines and intimate scenes that share the experience of the soldiers and civilians. Nominated for eight Academy Awards including best picture, directing and cinematography.
“Blade Runner 2049” (2017, R) accomplishes a near-impossible feat: it creates a world as visionary and visually entrancing as the original. Ryan Gosling stars as the next generation Blade Runner and Harrison Ford returns as Deckard, but the true star is cinematographer Roger Deakins, who earned on of the film’s four Oscar nominations.
Dame Judi Dench plays Queen Victoria once again in “Victoria and Abdul” (2017, PG-13), based on the true story of the monarch’s friendship with a young Indian clerk (Ali Fazal). Two nominations in craft categories.
“Loving Vincent” (2017, PG-13), nominated for best animated feature, tells its story in the style of the artist’s paintings.
“Mudbound” (2017, not rated), Dee Rees’s drama of two families – one white, one black – living and farming in the poverty of the Mississippi Delta in the 1940s, takes on knotty issues of race and racism in our recent past in a story of family and sacrifice. It went directly to Netflix after playing films festivals but still picked up four nominations, including one of actress Mary K. Blige, and the history-making nod for cinematographer Rachel Morrison, who became the first female director of photography to earn a nomination.
Alec Baldwin voices “The Boss Baby” (2017, PG) in the animated comedy based on the illustrated book by Marla Frazee. It’s a nominee in the animated feature category.
Netflix is a major supporter of original documentaries and it has three documentary feature nominees: “Icarus” (2017, not rated), which digs into the Russian sports doping conspiracy and cover-up; “Last Men in Aleppo” (2017, not rated), a profile of the work of the search and rescue organization White Helmets in Syria; and Sundance award winner “Strong Island” (2017, not rated), a look at the flaws in the criminal justice system.
It also has the documentary short nominee “Heroin(e)” (2017, not rated), about the opioid epidemic in West Virginia
Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan star in “The Big Sick” (2017, R), the hit indie comedy by Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon based on the strange, true and dramatic story of their courtship. Produced by Amazon Studios, it picked up a nomination for its original screenplay.
Documentary nominee “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” (2017, not rated) looks at the only U.S. bank indicted for mortgage fraud related to the 2008 crisis.
“Get Out” (2017, R) is a smart and witty mix of social satire, modern horror and savvy commentary on race in modern America. The directorial debut of Jordan Peele earned four nominations, including best picture, best director and best actor for Daniel Kaluuya.
“Logan” (2017, R), starring Hugh Jackman in his final screen appearance as X-Men hero Wolverine, shows that superhero movies can tell a human story. It picked up a nomination for its screenplay.
You can watch the animated short nominee “Dear Basketball,” inspired by the poem by Kobe Bryant, at Go90, and documentary short nominee “Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” a portrait of artist Mindy Alper, on YouTube.
Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. His reviews of streaming movies and TV can be found at http://streamondemandathome.com.
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