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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

1917 is a one-shot war film directed by Sam Mendes. The movie has had a total of 10 Oscar nominations. Those nominations are: the Academy Award for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, Best Makeup, and Hairstyling.

1917 is the frontrunner to win big during Hollywood’s biggest night. Why? It surprised pretty much everyone by winning Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Director at the Golden Globes. It then proceeded to win big in other awards’ ceremonies like the Director’s Guild Awards and the Producers Guild Awards.

I ‘m not a fan of war movies. My preferred genres are pretty much everything except war movies. I decided to give it a chance. Since it won big at the Golden Globes and it was premiering Puerto Rico that following Thursday, I promised myself to see what the hype was about.

I ended up being incredibly surprised by this film, mostly by its one-shot aspect (it’s my favorite type of camera work!). We interrupt this regularly scheduled broadcast for an important message: what’s a one-shot? As the name suggests, a one-shot or continuous shot feature film is a full-length movie filmed in one long take by a single camera or manufactured to give the impression it was.

It’s not the first time a movie has done this. The first time this technique was used was by Alfred Hitchcock for his movie Rope (1948). Although it’s not a common style, whenever a director takes it upon themselves, it receives a lot of acclaim. In 2015 Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s Birdman employed the technique. The film when on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Screenplay. It was nominated for a total of 275 awards during the 2015 season. The technique has also been used in television in series like The Haunting of Hill House and I, Robot. Clearly, it’s a technical aspect that is widely celebrated. My question is: does it automatically deserve the award for Best Picture just because it’s a one-shot movie?

1917 was a really good movie, and at times I get annoyed that I liked it as much as I did. Because, if you take away the technical aspect of it, it’s just a regular war film. There’s nothing innovative about it. The characters are interesting. Though the viewer gets minimal time with them, it was enough to know them perfectly. The plot is not anything new: two soldiers have to deliver a message before it’s too late. The action sequences and the cinematography are constructed impeccably. The cinematographer is done by Roger Deakins, who also did the cinematography for Blade Runner 2049 (one of my favorite movies) for which he won the Oscar. As for 1917, I had a fun time watching it. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and in awe of the stunning cinematography, but I just think that there are other movies that are worthy of the big award. 

By now, it’s clear that Sam Mendes is set to win the Academy Award for Best Director. While, personally, I was rooting for Bong Joon Ho, I think he deserves the recognition for how he constructed this movie. I am positive that 1917 will win most of the technical categories, like Best Cinematography and Best Sound Mixing. I don’t think it should win Best Picture (it lacks in the Best Screenwriting category!). Best Picture should absolutely be a balance of everything and check all the boxes.

Even then, it’s the Oscars after all. Anything could happen and it could end up winning Best Picture. While I wouldn’t be mad because I do think it’s a good movie, I would be disappointed.


Now, watch the trailer, watch the film and make your own opinion!


Gabriela is currently an English Major at the University of Puerto Rico. When she isn't reading fantasy books, she can be found writing them. She is a Vegetarian Hufflepuff that loves zombie fiction, an irony in itself. An aspiring filmmaker, she one day dreams of winning an Oscar for her films.