Oscars: Read Hollywood Reporter's Reviews of the Best Picture Nominees

6:50 AM 1/22/2019

by Allison Crist

From 'Black Panther' to 'The Favourite,' here's what The Hollywood Reporter's film critics had to say about the pics competing for the movie industry's most coveted honor.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Tuesday morning announced its nominees for the 91st Oscars ceremony, and The Favourite and Roma led all films with 10 nominations each.

Six other movies made the cut for best picture, including A Star Is Born and Vice, which scored eight noms apiece. Black Panther followed with seven mentions, while Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody each picked up five. BlacKkKlansman, which earned Spike Lee his first director Oscar nomination, is also up for best picture.

Whether you haven't seen all of the nominated films or just need a refresher, The Hollywood Reporter has rounded up all of its reviews for the eight movies nominated for best picture this year. Read what THR's film critics had to say about each film, below.

  • 'BlacKkKlansman'

    David Lee/Focus Features

    An incredible true-life story told in a boisterously exaggerated way, BlacKkKlansman is certainly Spike Lee’s most flat-out entertaining film in quite a long time, as well as his most commercial. Telling the tall tale of a rookie Colorado Springs cop who, in cahoots with a Jewish member of the force, successfully infiltrated the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, the director takes the shenanigans to almost cartoonish levels of humor at times but makes sure to hit home with countless examples of cultural and political racism, some of which have been surmounted but many of which still afflict the nation today. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.

  • 'Black Panther'

    Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    With uncanny timing, Marvel takes its superheroes into a domain they've never inhabited before and is all the better for it in Black Panther. There's no mistaking you're still in the Marvel universe here, but this entry sweeps you off to a part of it you've never seen: a hidden lost world in Africa defined by royal traditions and technological wonders that open up refreshing new dramatic, visual and casting possibilities. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.

  • 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

    Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

    Extra incisors — that's how a young Freddie Mercury, played with magnetism and breathtaking physicality by Rami Malek, explains his four-octave vocal range to prospective bandmates. The moment arrives early in Bohemian Rhapsody, a film that doesn't share Mercury's surfeit of incisors; it has none. Which is not to say this conventional, PG-13 portrait of an unconventional band offers nothing to chew on. Or that it doesn't acknowledge the tale's darker facets. It does, ever so lightly, all the while fervently emphasizing what's sweet and upbeat about it. Someday another feature about Queen might go deeper. That might or might not make for a better movie. Who says every rock 'n' roll biopic has to wallow in Behind the Music confessionals? Read the rest of Sheri Linden's review here.

  • 'The Favourite'

    Yorgos Lanthimos/Twentieth Century Fox

    Any film whose cast credits include “Fastest Duck in the City,” “Wanking Man” and “Nude Pomegranate Tory” — the latter featured in a raucous parlor game that begs to become a recreational sport for frustrated British liberals — is never going to be a prim and proper period piece. Nor for that matter is any work directed by the most audacious filmmaking talent to come out of Greece in decades, Yorgos Lanthimos. His fabulously entertaining tragicomedy, The Favourite, is a juicy power tangle connecting three women in the royal court of early 18th century England, played by a divine trio that bounces off one another with obvious relish. Read the rest of David Rooney's review here.

  • 'Green Book'

    Patti Perret/Universal Studios

    Green Book is almost a contradiction in terms, a feel-good buddy comedy-drama featuring an elegant black musician and his white driver on tour in the pre-integration South of 1962. Arriving in the wake of any number of edgy cinematic takes on racial issues, this Universal release represents a very middle-of-the-road liberal approach to a story that pretty much could have been told anytime since the 1960s. Distinctive and amusing turns by Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali make Peter Farrelly’s first solo feature outing a lively and likable diversion. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.

  • 'Roma'

    Courtesy of Netflix

    Blessed with an exceptionally acute sensitivity to the things of life, Roma is a memory film of unusual beauty that pushes to the foreground what is commonly left in the background. Alfonso Cuaron’s long-aborning, autobiographically inspired drama impressionistically re-creates the titular Mexico City neighborhood circa 1970-71, but concentrates less on kids than on the sometimes confounding behavior of the adults around them. An immersive bath in some of the most luxuriantly beautiful black-and-white images you’ve ever seen, this is the work of a great filmmaker who exhibits absolute control and confidence in what he’s doing. He takes an unsentimental, unexpectedly dispassionate view of convulsive family issues, which are placed in the greater context of specific Mexican social matters and the march of time. This immaculate drama from Netflix could score equally well with upscale art-seekers and general Spanish-speaking audiences. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.

  • 'A Star Is Born'

    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

    There's a lot to love in Bradley Cooper's entertaining remake of A Star is Born, including his convincing portrayal of a hard-drinking country rocker in some electrifying concert scenes, and the captivating debut in a big-screen leading role of Lady Gaga as the singer-songwriter whose career he launches, only to watch it quickly eclipse his own. The first-time director's grasp of pacing could be improved and the overlong movie can't quite sustain the energy and charm of its sensational start. But this is a durable tale of romance, heady fame and crushing tragedy, retold for a new generation with heart and grit. Read the rest of David Rooney's review here.

  • 'Vice'

    Annapurna Pictures

    There's smart, there's wicked smart and then there's Adam McKay smart — the latter of which is on full display in Vice, a scorchingly audacious and dark tragicomedy about the man who, the film argues, became the most powerful and dangerous vice president in the history of the nation. Trim Christian Bale brilliantly morphs into the potato-ish frame of Dick Cheney in a nervy high-wire act of a film that relates, with merciless humor, the odyssey of a thoroughly unpromising young man who slowly but surely thrust greatness (in his own mind) upon himself by shrewdly playing his cards over several decades. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.