Everything to Watch Before the 2018 Academy Awards

While awards season kicked off a couple of weeks ago, last week's release of the 2018 Oscar nominations means the season is officially in full swing. In case you've been living under a rock the past few months, here's a quick rundown of all the must-see films that are likely to win big at this year's Academy Awards.

The Shape of Water 

Source

Leading the race with 13 nominations, The Shape of Water is the movie everyone has been talking about this year. Guillermo Del Toro's fantasy drama won the Producers Guild Award, making it a strong contender for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. For the past two years, the PGA has strayed from the Academy Awards in terms of Best Picture winners (awarding The Big Short and La La Land instead of Spotlight and Moonlight). However, the momentum The Shape of Water has received thus far makes it a favorite for Best Picture. 

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins), Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Best Director (Guillermo Del Toro), Best Original Screenplay, Production Design, Cinematography, Costume Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Score and Editing

Dunkirk

Source

In second place with 8 nominations is Christopher Nolan's summer blockbuster that depicts the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II. Nolan is a frontrunner for Best Director for his extremely technical and directorial accomplishments in his action thriller featuring Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Harry Styles in his breakout role. Dunkirk's powerful soundtrack, intertwining storylines and sequenced storytelling will keep you on edge until the end. This is the first Oscar nomination for Christopher Nolan, who has previously directed "Intersteller," "The Dark Knight" and "Inception."

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Christopher Nolan), Production Design, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Score and Editing

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Source

Frances McDormand has already scored awards at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Critics Choice Movie Awards for her depiction of a grieving mother who rents three billboards to call attention to her daughter's unsolved murder. This black comedy is also in the running for Best Picture, but has received some backlash for its depiction of racially-motivated police brutality that could affect its potential to win big. Since the Academy is still dealing with the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, this backlash could cost Three Billboards Best Picture. 

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson), Best Original Screenplay, Original Score and Editing

Call Me By Your Name

Source

A fellow Best Picture nominee, Call Me By Your Name depicts teen Elio's coming-of-age romance with his father's academic assistant, Oliver. Even if Call Me By Your Name doesn't win big at this year's Academy Awards, Timothée Chalamat is definitely a young actor to watch. 2017 was a huge year for Chalamat, with major roles in Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird and Hostiles. How this film didn't score a nomination for Cinematography or Best Soundtrack is a mystery, because the picturesque Italian countryside paired with Elio's piano expertise perfectly sets the tone for this film.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Timothée Chalamat), Best Adapted Screenplay and Original Song ("Mystery of Love")

Get Out

Source

The layers of hidden meaning and metaphors in this horror film by Jordan Peele of "Key and Peele" earned a 99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Get Out, which came out in the beginning of 2017, tells the story of an interracial couple who get wrapped up in a bizarre cult that kidnaps black men for dark purposes.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), Best Director (Jordan Peele) and Best Original Screenplay

Lady Bird

Source

This coming-of-age drama starring Saoirse Ronan, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy, just surpassed Toy Story 2 as the best-reviewed film of all time on Rotten Tomatoes. Director Greta Gerwig is the only female nominated for Best Director, and her nomination marks the fifth time in history that a woman has been nominated for Best Director.

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Director (Greta Gerwig) and Best Original Screenplay

The 90th Academy Awards will air on ABC on March 4 with Jimmy Kimmel returning as host.