Now that the Golden Globes have come and gone, the 2019 awards season for the crowning of last year's best movies is finally upon us, with Oscar nominations soon to be released and major news outlets trying their hand at Oscar predictions. Even the Academy Awards can be a total bore if you've never heard of, let alone seen, most of the movies taking home prizes, so behold a list of 2018's most compelling critical darlings, just in time to keep yourself pumped when one of these wins Best Picture.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
"The Favourite" is a period piece set in old England showing an outright absurd and comedic battle for Queen Anne's favor between a servant (Emma Stone) and the Queen's close friend (Rachel Weisz). If you're turned off by historical drama, keep in mind "The Favourite" is not historically accurate, though it is enjoyable satire. The movie's gaining buzz right now specifically for its starring performances, with Olivia Colman's performance as the Queen winning her a Golden Globe quite recently.
Check if "The Favourite" is showing in a nearby theater or wait for a digital release sometime soon.
A Star Is Born
"A Star Is Born" is a Bradley Cooper-directed film about the heart-pleasing romance between an established country musician (played by Cooper himself) and an aspiring singer (Lady Gaga) as it struggles from the pressures of fame. Cooper delivers one of the best performances of the year, but its Gaga's astounding breakout performance that has critics betting on her for Best Actress. Regardless, the movie is fantastic and features what I insist is the best soundtrack of 2018.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" follows the real-life story of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), lead singer of the band Queen, as the band finds unparalleled success and struggles with internal conflicts. The movie had a lukewarm reception from most critics upon release, but it has seen a surge of Oscar buzz since winning the Golden Globe for Best Drama. Rami Malek's performance is a definite stand-out, and pretty much everyone that sees it praises the film's renditions of Queen's top hits.
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
Genre: Action-Adventure, Comedy
Admittedly, "Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse" has just about no chance of being nominated for Best Picture, and the reasons should be obvious. For one, it's a kid-friendly animated superhero film. It's also much more likely to take home the award for Best Animated Feature, and it certainly deserves it. It's the best Spider-Man film I've ever seen, and it just might be my absolute favorite animated movie too. "Into the Spiderverse" is worthy of all the recognition in the world, and if it can't have that, you should at least try catching it at your local theater.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Genre: Drama, Crime
"If Beale Street Could Talk" is the next film from Barry Jenkins (director of 2017's Best Picture, "Moonlight") and you can tell Jenkins is back for more gold. It tells the story of a couple in 1970s Harlem whose picturesque romance is derailed when one is arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Even the premise screams relevant social commentary despite its historical setting. "If Beale Street Could Talk" is being heralded for its stellar performances and moving score, so check it out if you're in for a moving movie.
"Roma" is being called the best-looking movie of 2018, and you can watch it on Netflix right now! It's acclaimed director Alfonso Cuaron's latest feature, and it tells the follows a year in the life of a middle-class family's maid in 1970s Mexico. This time, Cuaron makes it personal: the family in "Roma" is a portrayal of his own, and the protagonist is a reflection of the maid who practically raised him.
The movie's being called a masterpiece, and while it's amazingly shot and directed, it is fairly slow pacing-wise, meaning it's not everyone's cup of tea. I'd still recommend "Roma" if you're a fan of stunning cinematography and subtle storytelling; yes, the film's black and white and told in Spanish (with subtitles), but its story will impact you just the same.
But first, the synopsis: a worried father (Steve Carell) does whatever he can to save his son (Timothee Chalamet) and his family from his son's meth addiction. If you couldn't tell, it's undeniably heavy. Still, the tearjerking scenes between father and son make the film stand out as one of the most touching of 2018, and it's great to see Steve Carell excel at such a demanding, serious role with his long history of comedic performances. "Beautiful Boy" deserves your attention, and seeing as it's accessible to practically everyone, you have no excuse to miss this train of emotions.