Watch These Movies Before The Rimcast Oscars Preview Extravaganza Or Risk Feeling Like A Real Out-Of-The-Loop Nerd

Oscars Movie Preview-1.png

Oscar nominations were revealed this week, which means it's time to catch up on everything you didn't bother seeing in theaters so you can participate in discussions of "buzz" and contribute to the "momentum" certain nominees have heading into the show on March 4. "I loved The Shape of Water, sounds like it's really gaining steam," you'll say to a co-worker, who will nod in agreement then parrot the same notion to her husband that night on their way to the cinema. Buzz snowball created.

No one knows how the Academy will vote, of course, especially when it comes to this year's Best Picture category. But it's fun to see as much as we can, talk about the movies with our friends, and root for our favorites while snacking on fancy homemade hors d'oeuvres on a Sunday night. Rim and AB will (attempt to) catch 'em all before our big Rimcast Oscars preview extravaganza the last week in February. You have one month.

Must-Watch

The nine Best Picture nominees are the bare-minimum. We can't guarantee our discussion of these will remain unspoiled. If we do spill some plot details, we'll be sure to say "spoiler alert" right after so you know it was a spoiler and an accident on our part. Sorry in advance.

Darkest Hour

Focus Features

Focus Features

Nominations (8): Best Picture, Lead Actor (Gary Oldman), Cinematography, Production Design, Makeup and Hair, Costume Design
Watch: In theaters now

After wins at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, Gary Oldman (the bad guy In The Fifth Element) appears to be the favorite for Lead Actor. At the very least he deserves some sort of award for smoking 400 cigars over seven weeks without disintegrating into a pile of ash.

Oldman's Churchill might be in every frame of Darkest Hour, which is definitely a top-three movie about the Dunkirk evacuation from 2017.

Dunkirk

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

Nominations (8): Best Picture, Director (Christopher Nolan), Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design, Original Score
Watch: Amazon, iTunes

Worth watching in theaters if possible. There isn't much in the way of dialogue, which is okay because folks I didn't come to hear Tom Hardy talk!! Just kidding he's a great actor and this is a great movie.

Get Out

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Nominations (4): Best Picture, Lead Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), Director (Jordan Peele), Original Screenplay
Watch: HBO

The surprise smash of 2017. Thankfully the Academy doesn't try to separate genres in categories, so there's no more discussion of "What even is Get Out, really?"

Lady Bird

A24

A24

Nominations (5): Best Picture, Lead Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf), Director (Greta Gerwig), Original Screenplay
Watch: In theaters now

I've yet to see this one myself. My crotchety old spirit animal, Tony Kornheiser (who walks out of about 30% of the movies he sees in theaters) adores Lady Bird, so that's enough for me to have sky-high expectations. 

Phantom Thread

Focus Features

Focus Features

Nominations (6): Best Picture, Lead Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville), Director (Paul Thomas Anderson), Original Score, Costume Design
Watch: In theaters now

Do not believe Daniel Day-Lewis when he says he's retiring from acting. Phantom Thread is not his last movie. It's probably not even his last Paul Thomas Anderson movie. This is just his first step in a bold new style of method acting: actually changing his identity. Six months from now he'll be walking around Hollywood in full costume saying things like, "Daniel Day-Lewis? Never heard of him." 

The Post

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Nominations (2): Best Picture, Lead Actress (Meryl Streep)
Watch: In theaters now

Watergate stuff is really hot in the streets right now. Books, podcasts, documentaries, and this, an Important Movie About Journalism. Led by the AARP All-Stars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Bob Odenkirk, many people are saying The Post is "Avengers for old people."

The Shape of Water

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Nominations (13): Best Picture, Lead Actress (Sally Hawkins), Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins), Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Director (Guillermo del Toro), Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design, Original Score, Costume Design
Watch: In theaters now

The Shape of Water, about the love shared by a mute woman and some sort of river creature during the Cold War, received more nominations than any other movie this year.  To my knowledge, it is not based on a true story.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Nominations (8): Best Picture, Lead Actress (Frances McDormand), Supporting Actor (Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell), Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Original Score
Watch: In theaters now, on Amazon Feb. 13

If Frances McDormand takes home the award for Lead Actress, as is expected, one can only hope the guys in the ABC truck aren't as fast and loose with the censors as the folks broadcasting the Golden Globes.

Call Me by Your Name

Sony Pictures Classics

Sony Pictures Classics

Nominations (4): Best Picture, Lead Actor (Timothée Chalamet), Adapted Screenplay, Original Song
Watch: In theaters now

Somehow I've heard a lot about this movie without discovering much about the plot. It sounds like these two fellas are in love, so I'm excited to see how that plays out. Plus the mid-80's fashion very much appeals to my senses. Rolled jorts are about ten times classier than the hemmed nonsense my generation has been putting up with for years. 

If You Have Time

If you care enough about the secondary categories and have already seen the movies above, the next six are worth your time (in no particular order). 

Mudbound

Netflix

Netflix

Nominations (4): Supporting Actress (Mary J. Blige), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Song 
Watch:
Netflix

Likely shut out of the Best Picture conversation because most people saw it on Netflix (it was barely available in theaters, and only made so to satisfy these award requirements), Mudbound features at least seven big-time performances. Still, it's a tough pill to swallow, and not because of its 134-minute run time. 

The Big Sick

Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios

Nominations (1): Original Screenplay (Kumail Nanjiani, left, and his wife Emily V. Gordon)
Watch: Amazon Prime, iTunes

An adorable, hilarious, feel-good comedy rooted in the real-life story of Nanjiani and his wife, Emily. Probably the best comedy of the year, if only for the funniest 9/11 joke since 9/11.

I, Tonya

Neon

Neon

Nominations (3): Lead Actress (Margot Robbie), Supporting Actress (Allison Janney), Film Editing
Watch: In theaters now

Tonya Harding maybe ordering a hit on her figure skating rival (and teammate!) Nancy Kerrigan might be the most breathtaking real-life-drama-without-truly-grave-consequences story of the television era. Yes, we're doing Tonya Harding image rehabilitation now. Please try to keep up.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

Nominations (1): Lead Actor (Denzel Washington)
Watch: In theaters now, on Amazon Jan. 30

I know almost nothing about this movie. Honestly, I don't even know what the "esquire" suffix means. I think he's a lawyer? In the 70's? I don't know, it's Denzel. Sign me up.

Blade Runner 2049

Sony/Warner Bros. Pictures

Sony/Warner Bros. Pictures

Nominations (5): Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design, Visual Effects
Watch: Amazon, iTunes

Yours truly is a huge fan of the original Blade Runner, so it's possible I've overrated the sequel. On the other hand, I did not. It's long, but worth the journey. Spectacular visuals, as they say, and incredible sound. See it on a big TV with serious speakers and no ancillary light in the room. Don't even consider watching it during the day.

The Florida Project

A24

A24

Nominations (1): Supporting Actor (Willem Dafoe)
Watch: In theaters now, on Amazon Jan. 30

The Florida Project is apparently the biggest Best Picture snub this year. At least according to this lady at Newsweek.

If You Want All Your Bases Covered

The Disaster Artist

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

Nominations (1): Adapted Screenplay
Watch: In theaters now

If you really want to see The Disaster Artist, it's worth watching the abysmal The Room first. (But you didn't get that link from me.) The recent allegations against James Franco almost assuredly eliminated more potential nominations for this movie: Not since Borat has the winner of the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy not been nominated for Leading Actor at the Academy Awards. Rarefied air, indeed.

All the Money in the World

TriStar Pictures

TriStar Pictures

Nominations (1): Supporting Actor (Christopher Plummer)
Watch: In theaters now

Plummer won't win Supporting Actor, but after removing Kevin Spacey from the film entirely and re-shooting his scenes a month before the release, everyone involved with this movie deserves some sort of award. Plus it's got Michelle Williams, who is enough of a draw on her own.

Molly's Game

STXfilms

STXfilms

Nominations (1): Adapted Screenplay
Watch: In theaters now

Little comparison for all you sports fans out there: Idris Elba is the Joe Thomas of acting. Everyone loves him, he almost always knocks his roles out of the park, but he's consistently involved with disappointing movies. Is Molly's Game one of those films? I don't know, I haven't seen it yet. But I stand by my analogy. 

Coco

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Nominations (2): Animated Feature, Original Song
Watch: In theaters now

The only animated movie featured here. Fun fact: Coco is the first film with a nine-digit budget to feature an all-Latino cast, which is kind of amazing. Related: Latinos make up 18% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 23% of movie ticket sales in 2017. I'm no businessman, but it seems like it might be good business to represent that group a little more in the movies. Anyway, Coco centers around the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos for all my high school Spanish superstars out there. De nada.

Baby Driver

TriStar Pictures

TriStar Pictures

Nominations (3): Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
Watch: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes

Loaded with really fun action driving scenes and great music, Baby Driver was one of the surprise hits of 2017. Ansel Elgort is adorable and somehow gives the best performance in a movie with Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx. Just kind of hold your nose when Kevin Spacey is on the screen and you'll have a great time.

Logan

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Nominations (1): Adapted Screenplay
Watch: HBO, iTunes

Hey, just FYI, this movie is pretty dang violent! But it's fun violence, if you know what I mean. Logan is the final chapter of Wolverine's story, and is just the second installment in the X-Men franchise to have an R-rating. A rewatchable worthy finale.

Kong: Skull Island

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

Nominations (1): Visual Effects
Watch: HBO Go, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play

A great monster movie ("creature feature" for all you olds) with fabulous special effects and a surprisingly big-name cast (Tom Hiddleston lookin' like a snack, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jason Mitchell, John C. Reilly). Grab the popcorn and make sure you finish it before the first grisly death.

War for the Planet of the Apes

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Nominations (1): Visual Effects
Watch: Amazon, Google Play

Maybe the most surprising movie development over the last ten years is the fact that the re-re-boot of the Planet of the Apes franchise is both critically acclaimed and visually groundbreaking. War is the third installment and the best-reviewed yet. 

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Nominations (1): Visual Effects
Watch: Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play

You can't recapture the vibe and surprise of the first Guardians of the Galaxy. And rest assured, they did not! Zoe Saldana appeared disinterested this time around, and the creators relied a little too heavily on another great soundtrack. By that I mean, an awesome, nostalgic song can trick you into thinking a bad scene is actually good. Do not fall for this trickery! That said, you should watch this because it's fun and it's still Guardians and it's on Netflix.

Beauty and the Beast

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Nominations (2): Costume Design, Production Design
Watch: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play

Yours truly has never really been a big Beauty and the Beast guy. This movie, while good, didn't do much to change that. Though I will say the Ariana Grande/John Legend version of this song has been stuck in my head since March. Tale as old as tiiiiiiiimmmeeee....

The Documentaries

At the moment, there are two nominated documentary features I can vouch for, neither of which are very fun. 

Icarus

Netflix

Netflix

Nominations (1): Best Documentary Feature
Watch: Netflix

Uncovers a massive, state-sponsored Russian doping scandal that dates back at least to the 1960's. Spoiler alert: Olympic competition ain't what it appears to be.

Last Men in Aleppo

Netflix

Netflix

Nominations (1): Best Documentary Feature
Watch: Netflix

Be forewarned: Last Men In Aleppo is heart-wrenching and graphic. There are no interviews or news clips, just raw footage of ordinary citizens rescuing people from the rubble of collapsed buildings. A similar documentary, The White Helmets, won Best Documentary Short last year.

Other Movies Not Nominated But Still Worth Watching

If you've seen all the movies above ... well congratulations I guess? Please go outside and get some fresh air. After your eyes (and soul) have recovered, check out these other good-ass movies while you wait for the Oscars.

Chadwick Boseman wearing an elegant tie in Marshall. | Open Road Films

Chadwick Boseman wearing an elegant tie in Marshall. | Open Road Films

Will Poulter and Anthony Mackie in Detroit. | Annapurna Pictures

Will Poulter and Anthony Mackie in Detroit. | Annapurna Pictures

Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene in Wind River. | Acacia Entertainment

Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene in Wind River. | Acacia Entertainment

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. | Warner Bros. Pictures

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. | Warner Bros. Pictures

Detroit
Watch:
Amazon, Google Play

Surprisingly snubbed across the board. Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) directs, and John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, John Krasinski and Anthony Mackie each deliver gripping performances. Poulter (just 24 years old!) is particularly chilling.

Wonder Woman
Watch:
Amazon, iTunes, Google Play

A monster smash blockbuster starring Gal Gadot (of mild Fast & Furious fame, if The Rock would just stop hogging the screen), Cchris Pine, and the indomitable Robin Wright. The best thing DC has going at this point.

Wind River
Watch:
AmazonGoogle Play

Pulse-pounding murder mystery thriller set in rural Wyoming on the Wind River Native American Reservation. Grislier than one might expect. Jeremy Renner runs the show. Directed by the same guy who wrote Hell or High Water and Sicario

Brigsby Bear
Watch:
AmazonGoogle Play

You know those weird sketches with Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett at the end of Saturday Night Live? Brigsby Bear is like an hour-and-a-half-long version of one of those, only sweeter and more coherent.

Logan Lucky
Watch: 
Amazon, Google Play

Not your ordinary Steven Soderberg heist movie. It's star-studded like the others (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank, Daniel Craig, and a distracting Seth MacFarlane), but more low-key and sweet. Not many laugh-out-loud moments, but clever enough to make you smile.

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Watch:
Netflix

Adam Sandler made a not-bad movie, which deserved school cancellations and parades in the streets.

Marshall
Watch: Amazon, Google Play

Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up, the upcoming Black Panther) as Thurgood Marshall. Well-reviewed, but not a box office success.

Battle of the Sexes
Watch: 
Amazon, Google Play

Emma Stone and Steve Carrell. Based on the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973.

John Wick 2
Watch: 
HBO Go

Just as entertaining and flashy as the first, though probably a notch below in quality. I've no interest in convoluted plots in my John Wick movies. Just get to the pew pew pew.