I saw eight out of nine Best Picture nominees before they were even announced! The only one I didn't see in the theater was Hell or High Water, but was able to get it from Redbox the other night. Last year, I loved every movie that was nominated. I have mixed feelings this year with two movies I just wasn't into at all.
Arrival I wasn't even interested in seeing this movie, but a bunch of friends loved it and Amy Adams was getting all sorts of praise, so I went. I saw it pretty late, probably right before it was about to leave theaters, and I'm glad I did. Although the ending was super cheesy I was totally entertained and invested throughout the film. I'm really glad I saw it on the big screen.
Fences Full disclosure, I fell asleep twice in the beginning! And then there was a power outage and even though an usher came in and told us it'd only take a minute to get the movie going again, I considered leaving. The film is based on a play and it feels like a play and I'm a musical kind of girl. I'm glad I stayed though. The dialog was outstanding and the second and third acts were much better than the first. And then Viola Davis packed an emotional punch and I cried until the end of the movie. She deserves every single award.
Hacksaw Ridge I usually like to see war movies, but this was another one that didn't pique my interest until friends raved about it. I think Andrew Garfield did a great job playing Desmond Doss, but it wasn't my kind of movie. For a topic so heavy, it felt simple and even a little like a made-for-tv movie. Well, except for the super gory battle scenes, which may have been the bloodiest I've ever seen. I don't know, I just didn't walk away from it really feeling anything.
Hell or High Water I have to admit that I'd never even heard of this movie until the Oscar announcements. After Moonlight's 99%, it has the highest rating (98%) on Rotten Tomatoes, but it was my least favorite movie of the bunch. I think the cast was fantastic and liked the characters, but the modern-day western (or any western for that matter) just wasn't my cup of tea.
Hidden Figures I really hate that the general population didn't know about this story! I read Rise of the Rocket Girls last summer and from what I can remember, black women were hardly mentioned. The movies is engaging from start to finish, Henson, Spencer, and Monae were perfection, and the whole thing just felt like a breath of fresh air. I went to a Tuesday morning showing and the theater was packed. It was so good that the audience clapped at the end. (Yay! But don't do that.)
La La Land I was so looking forward to this one! I gathered my friends for a birthday celebration at a Mexican restaurant and then saw this afterward. (I had two double margaritas and was a little tipsy at the theater. Oops!) I liked the movie just fine, but didn't OMG love it. The songs were catchy, it was very visually appealing, I fell in love with Gosling's character Sebastian, and liked the ending. But it wasn't the most amazing thing I'd ever seen and out of this bunch, it's not even in my top three. I think it was hyped up too much. However, this is definitely the one I'd watch again, but that's probably because it's not a drama.
Lion I felt like I watched two different movies, but both were equally good. The story, although it's completely true, could have been just another feel-good movie of the year, but it was done in such a way that it felt more important than that. It was real and sad and scary and uplifting all at the same time. Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar were excellent as Saroo.
Manchester by the Sea This was another movie that felt refreshing and real. I appreciated the funny moments as much as the sad ones and I ugly cried during Affleck's quick scene with Michelle Williams. It was well acted by all involved and really well written, but something was off with the pace for me. I also thought the score was way too loud. It was probably just me, but I found it very distracting.
Moonlight This was the second movie I saw and I found myself comparing the dozens of movies I saw afterward to it. It's my favorite by far. I spent days thinking about it. It was heartbreaking, raw, personal, honest, expertly acted, and beautifully shot. It's an important film that didn't feel like it was shoving it's message down my throat. I really loved it.