Thousands of years from now, humans will break forth from their gold shells and shower future generations with hot takes about ‘La La Land.’
We get it: There’s too much content.
You’re binging 17 shows and way behind on podcasts and since when were there so many Best Picture nominees and when was the last time you read a book? We in the media biz are here to help, starting with your 2017 Oscar cheat sheet.
Whether you’ve seen them all or just *couldn’t* get to it, here’s the lowdown on this year’s Best Picture nominees, along with what to say at your Oscar party so you sound smart and informed.
The poster for Barry Jenkins’ ‘Moonlight’
TL; DR: Moonlight is this year’s "_____ was robbed." Barry Jenkins’ poignant and poetic look at the life and identity of a young queer man, Chiron (played at different ages by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes) is breathtakingly beautiful and and heartbreaking in the same swoop.
Party take: Moonlight was robbed!
The implausible true story of Saroo Brierley (a very grown-up Dev Patel) begins with him stranded on a train as a 5-year-old and that is when Sunny Pawar will steal your heart. If you haven’t seen the movie, search Pawar on Google, and if that doesn’t have you grabbing your coat and ditching work early to catch the next showing, you were always a hopeless case. Brierley is adopted by an Australian family, grows up, gets hot and uses Google Earth to track down his birth mother.
Image: usa today
This is the film that should be mandatory for film buffs and also in science and history classrooms around the nation. Figures tells the story of black women performing crucial calculations for NASA in the 1960s and, you know, casually saving lives and paving the future of the space program.
Party take: History is like, so flawed (and then watch the conversation switch to politics).
Image: johnny tarajosu/courtesy of fox
Amy Adams, the new Leo DiCaprio, may not be up for a Best Actress statue this year, but she carries this film about a linguist who helps human communicate with an alien race that lands on Earth. Considering the multitudes of alien films in Hollywood history, Arrival is brilliantly fresh in not introducing us to bipedal aliens who speak perfect English (sorry not sorry, Mr. Thor).
Party take: A wan smile for Amy and learn to diagram a sentence to impress your friends.
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, both nominated for acting awards, give jaw-dropping performances as Troy and Rose Maxsen in a gripping adaptation of August Wilson’s 1983 play, in roles that they both also performed (and won Tonys for) on Broadway in 2010.
Party take: "Denzel is winning Best Actor in an upset, I can just feel it." (Pssst, it won’t be that much of an upset, but everyone at your party probably thinks Casey Affleck is going to win, so you’ll sound smart.)
Amazing Andrew Garfield or not, Hacksaw will always be the movie that got Mel Gibson nominated for multiple awards in 2017. The World War II drama is based on a documentary about Desmond Doss (Garfield), a pacifist embroiled in the Battle of Okinawa.
Party take: Use words like "gritty" and rave about Garfield, turning it back to works you’ve seen as evidence that his accolades are well-deserved. Avoid talking about Gibson (or watch the conversation switch to politics again).
Manchester by the Sea
New England in winter is a very appropriate place to be sad.
2016 was quite a year for death, which made Kenneth Lonergan’s devastating examination of grief all the more resonant. As in real life, there are moments of surprising levity amid the loss, and relationships that strengthen as others suffer.
Party take: Quote the above word for word and you’ll expertly dodge any mention of Casey Affleck, if only for a moment.
Hell or High Water
In another year, this Western heist movie about two brothers who rob banks could’ve run away at the box office and with plenty of awards. Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster make a compelling crew and there’s even a revenge storyline to keep you hooked.
Party take: Honestly, it probably won’t come up.
La La Land
Hey, have you heard of this movie about two beautiful people who fall in love while chasing their dreams in the City of Stars? The classic combination of song, dance and sultry scenery is Hollywood catnip and a pile of golden statues are all but in the bag.
Party take: We’re over it but also omg look at Ryan’s suit Emma is gorgeous Stonefield for life THAT ENDING THO.