2017 Best Picture Nominees Ranked

So I was given the opportunity to watch all of these movies in one weekend. Thanks to the great Justin Brock, I was tipped off that the local theater was having an event that allowed you to pay $32 and come to all nine of the best picture nominees across a weeks time, so from Friday night to Monday night I managed to watch all of the movies. Here is my ranking of them!

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9. Fences

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I don’t really have a lot to say about this play-turned-film. It was very slow and at times a uninteresting. While Denzel and Viola Davis put in great performances, the lack of an interesting film couldn’t make up for it. I can see how this would work well as a play, but there just wasn’t enough put into this to make it feel like a movie rather than a play. I see why it was nominated, but I probably wouldn’t have nominated it.

8. Manchester By The Sea

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This was one of, if not the saddest movie I’ve ever watched. There was not a silver lining in sight throughout the whole thing, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges both put in great performances as a Uncle and Nephew trying to figure out what to do after Lukas’ father dies. The film deals with grief and moving on in such an odd way. Both Casey and Lukas show almost no emotion throughout the film. They are clearly disconnected due to tragedy and loss, though there is only one scene where I felt like I was allowed to have an emotional response to what was happening(the freezer scene). Any time I would start to feel like I wanted to cry, I would see the reaction of the actors and feel like maybe I’m feeling the wrong things. Perhaps it was done this way as a testament to how everyone deals with grief differently, but for me it just took me out of it a bit too much. Great movie but I had to put it lower due to this.

7. Hidden Figures

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Honestly, I was taken aback by how much I liked this movie. I expected it to be a very preachy film rather than just showcasing the amazing things these women did. I was very wrong because I loved this film. I was completely invested in these characters, and that is completely due to the wonderful performances and great character development. Even though I knew things would work out(considering this actually happened), I was still anxious to see how things were going to work out for them.

6. Hell Or High Water

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If I’m being completely honest, I really want to put this film higher on my list. I loved this movie, I just don’t think I can truthfully say that it is better than the other films. This movie blends the genres of a western and a modern crime film, which is nothing that hasn’t been done before, however its just done in such a way that I ate up! The movie is carried with such a comedic tone that I was just completely enthralled. It honestly felt like a more comedic No Country For Old Men. Jeff Bridges is wonderful as always, bringing his own comedy into play, and Chris Pine puts in a great performance as one of the bank robbers. The real highlight of the movie is the third act when during the last robbery, the tone of the movie shifts and the director makes it clear that he is willing to go places we didn’t think he was willing to go.

5. Lion

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This was a great movie. Literally my only gripe was the first act. While Sunny Pawar did very well as a very young actor, I did not LOVE the opening section of the movie. I do believe that it was all vital to the film and to making the final act as impactful as it was, but while it was happening I did not love it. As soon as Dev Patel enters the film however, holy cow was he beautiful. I mean IT was beautiful.. yeah thats what I meant. Its the only film that I actually cried in, and that’s worth something in my book. I will say however the music that played during the section about the real people was just wrong. Immediately all of the emotion I had felt was taken away, but at this point the movie was over so I’m not letting that take away from this film.

4. Moonlight

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Holy cow was I shocked by this movie. I had heard good and bad about it before hand, so going in, I was unsure. The first thing that needs to be said is that I felt so much emotion for Chiron. I cared so much for him and the things that he was going through. My heart broke for him. All three actors were wonderful, but the middle actor(Ashton Sanders) was the one that did it for me. He expressed so much emotion through his expressions and just the way he carried himself. That was the hardest part of the movie for me and I just loved it. Each of the actors played off of each other perfectly, knowing that they were all different, but the same person. I would also be remiss to not mention the closing shot of the film. It was a beautiful picture to end on.

3. Hacksaw Ridge

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You know, I totally get why everyone hates Mel Gibson. He acted like a racist idiot and deserves what he gets, but man does he make good movies. I don’t think he will win best picture or director because I don’t know if Hollywood is ready to forgive him, but this was a great first step. There is so much about this movie that just worked for me. The cast was literally perfect. Andrew Garfield put in the performance of his career, and I don’t know who’s idea it was to cast Vince Vaughn in this film, but somebody give that guy and Oscar! Vaughn brought just the right amount of comedy to this film to keep it grounded and to show that it wasn’t taking itself TOO seriously. While the material is tough, the slight comedy in the first hour is slowly preparing us for the horrors of war that are about to be faced. War is depicted as gritty and real, as expected from a man like Mel Gibson. I honestly need to rewatch both this and Saving Private Ryan again cause I’m not sure at this moment which I like better.

2. Lala Land

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Okay now before you bite my head off hear me out. Lala Land was the second to last of the films that I saw. Once I saw it I put it at my number one above a movie that I didn’t think would be overtaken. This movie was just beautiful, and thats coming from a guy who hates musicals. I think that one of the things that connected me to this films was that I am a musician. There was some sort of connection to Goslings character that I couldn’t explain. Honestly, I think that the final act of this film is one of the best of all time. I saw it coming, but I saw it coming because it was what needed to happen. The final lingering glance was so tough but so beautiful, I can’t believe that I didn’t cry. The only reason it isn’t number one is because while this movie was great and I loved it, my number one really feels like my kind of movie. So without further adieu….

1. Arrival

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Sorry to be crass, but after this movie, I just sat on the toilet and thought. I felt this strange looming over me for the next forty minutes. This movie deals with so many heavy topics, such as grief, loss, and even time travel, and it manages to do it all well. While this is a movie about aliens coming to Earth, the sci-fi really isn’t overbearing, it is more of a theme I felt. The whole movie is gorgeous, Amy Adams is wonderful(and gorgeous), and the twist is perfect. It breaks my heart that Amy Adams wasn’t nominated for best actress. Without spoiling anything, the film manages handle one of the traps that time travel movies seem to always fall into. This movie was perfect and wonderful. Absolutely one of my favorites of all time!

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