Oscars: Read THR's Reviews of All 9 Best Picture Nominees

6:48 AM 1/23/2018

by Farnoush Amiri

What The Hollywood Reporter's film critics had to say about 'Lady Bird,' 'The Post,' 'Call Me by Your Name' and more.

LADY BIRD - Still 2 - Saoirse Ronan and Beanie Feldstein -Publicity-H 2017
Courtesy of Merie Wallace/A24

Nominations for the 90th annual Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning, and The Shape of Water leads the pack with 13 mentions.

Other top nominees were Dunkirk with eight, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with seven nominations, Phantom Thread and Darkest Hour both with six apiece, and Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird with five, including best director.

Haven't seen all the movies yet? Not to worry. The Hollywood Reporter has rounded up all of our reviews from the nine films nominated for best picture this year. Read what our critics had to say about each movie below, and watch the trailers for all nine movies here.

  • Call Me by Your Name

    There is a scene toward the end of Call Me by Your Name, Luca Guadagnino’s intimate and piercingly honest adaptation of Andre Aciman’s superb novel, in which a graying university professor in Italy sits down with his puffy-eyed, 17-year-old son for an unexpected talk. Dad quotes Montaigne’s famous phrase about his special friendship with Étienne de La Boetie. His son, who has been very smart academically for some time but only recently experienced an important emotional growth spurt on his way to adulthood, understands that his father is referring to his offspring’s “special friendship” with the handsome, 24-year-old intern from the U.S. who stayed with them for the summer and has just returned home. Read the rest of Boyd van Hoeij's review here.

  • Darkest Hour

    Conveniently arriving in the wake of one of the biggest and best-received films of the year, Dunkirk, Darkest Hour shows what was simultaneously going on in the halls of power on the other side of the Channel while Britain’s armed forces were on the verge of being wiped out in May 1940. Recovering from the fiasco that was Pan, director Joe Wright has made a snappy and straightforward crowd-pleaser that focuses on new Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s mighty efforts to rise to the occasion of rescuing his country from the appeasers and defeatists in Parliament and stirring the public to defiance of Adolf Hitler. Subtle and nuanced the film is not, but Gary Oldman’s robust performance will help put it over as a solid performer upon its Nov. 22 release. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.

  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk is an impressionist masterpiece. These are not the first words you expect to see applied to a giant-budgeted summer entertainment made by one of the industry's most dependably commercial big-name directors. But this is a war film like few others, one that may employ a large and expensive canvas but that conveys the whole through isolated, brilliantly realized, often private moments more than via sheer spectacle, although that is here, too. Somber, grim and as resolute in its creative confidence as the British are in this ultimate historical narrative of having one's back to the wall, this is the film that Christopher Nolan earned the right to make thanks to his abundant contributions to Warner Bros. with his Dark Knight trilogy. He's made the most of it. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.

  • Get Out

    One of the most satisfying thrillers in several years, Get Out proves that its first-time director, Key & Peele co-star Jordan Peele, has plenty of career options if he should grow tired of doing comedy in front of the camera. Moreover, its timing couldn't be better, as it exploits racial fears that have become substantially more potent (not to mention more comprehensible for many white Americans) since the events of Nov. 8. Fans of K&P (RIP) may have had unrealistic hopes for Keanu, the duo's debut feature vehicle, which underperformed when released last April. But behind the camera, Peele has delivered an unquestionably commercial genre film that should buy him a lot of leeway for future projects. Read the rest of John DeFore's review here.

  • Lady Bird

    Snappy, spirited and shot through with the pangs and pleasures of leaving childhood behind, Lady Bird is a sharp-witted solo first feature by actress and now writer-director Greta Gerwig. The film abounds with pinpoint insights into its mildly rebellious heroine's hunger to shed the restraints of home and Catholic school and bust into an independent life, and does so with a wealth of keenly observed detail. Modestly scaled but creatively ambitious, it succeeds on its own terms as a piquant audience pleaser. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.

  • Phantom Thread

    Arriving almost as if in a time capsule from the early 1950s, Paul Thomas Anderson's exquisitely idiosyncratic Phantom Thread extends an invitation into an exclusive cocoon occupied by card-carrying eccentrics who demonstrate that all is fair in love and the world of haute couture. Less grandiose than the writer-director's last three features, as well as more precision-controlled, this is a melodrama of love, desire and gamesmanship among three control freaks played out in a veritable hothouse in which the winner will be determined by who wilts last. More unconventional and downright weird on a moment-to-moment basis than it is in overall design and intent, it's a singular work played out mostly in small rooms that harks back to psychological melodramas of the 1940s/'50s but hits stylistic notes entirely its own. Anderson's ardent fans will be the first in line, while others will be drawn to see star Daniel Day-Lewis in what he has announced will be his final film appearance. We can all hope he one day changes his mind. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.

  • The Post

    An unofficial prequel to All the President's Men some 41 years after the fact, The Post stirringly dramatizes the tale of how The Washington Post and its equivocating owner rose to the occasion by publishing the Pentagon Papers in June of 1971. Punchy and quick-pulsed, it's a fine example of that now-rare species, the big-city newspaper melodrama.

    Commercially speaking, it's a fair question to ask how many people under 40 will be drawn to a tale rooted in such quaint realities as manual typewriters, daily deadlines, midnight print runs and reporters sneaking down to the street to use a pay phone so they won't be overheard speaking with confidential sources. And how many of them even know what the Pentagon Papers were? The answer is, a good number more will now. The spectacle of real characters played by Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks standing up to a craven, mean-spirited president should resonate with many viewers of all ages, signaling a robust commercial career for this fast-paced true-life thriller. Read the rest of Todd McCarthy's review here.

  • The Shape of Water

    Stepping away from his big-budget studio work on Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak to return closer to the more artisanal territory of his memorable early Spanish-language films The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro delivers pure enchantment with The Shape of Water. A dark-edged fairy tale as lovingly steeped in vintage movie magic as it is in hypnotic water imagery, this captivating creature feature marries a portrait of morally corrupt early-1960s America with an outsider tale of love and friendship molded by a master storyteller.

    Centered on an exquisite performance from Sally Hawkins that conveys both delicacy and strength, this is a visually and emotionally ravishing fantasy that should find a welcome embrace from audiences starved for imaginative escape. Read the rest of David Rooney's review here.

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    The roadside billboard is an iconic feature of the Americana landscape, with quaintly illustrated graphics welcoming travelers, offering hot coffee, comfort food and a warm hotel bed, or bidding farewell to those departing, often with a folksy "Y'all come back now"-type sentiment. There's no such reassurance in the tattered signage standing abandoned in the morning mist in the opening shots of Martin McDonagh's blisteringly funny and richly textured third feature, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Instead, they loom like desolate memories of a time of prosperity and happiness, suggesting a Walker Evans image of a Great Depression highway to a place beyond hope. Read the rest of David Rooney's review here.