- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri:
A dark, stark, character-driven film from acclaimed dark comedy specialist Martin McDonagh. Three Billboards follows a mother tormented by the lack of closure from the brutal murder of her young daughter, and her conflict with the small town she lives in to push for justice. Watch for brilliant performances from Frances McDormand in the lead role and a frighteningly genuine turn by Sam Rockwell in his portrayal as an incompetent, conflicted policeman.
- Darkest Hour:
Watch this for Gary Oldman’s depiction of Churchill with refreshing candor, casting the immense man as a vulnerable, relatable figure. Churchill battles with his demons within himself and in his administration as he overcomes the odds to become the figure history remembers. Oldman shows him to be a man of many facets, full of bravado and then suddenly surprisingly emotional.
- The Shape of Water:
Original, new, and consistently eccentric. Guillero del Toro, master of fantasy and monsters, pulls our heartstrings with a surprisingly deep story of a mute woman developing a deep, unique bond with a mysterious beast held in a government laboratory. Brilliant acting, photography, and storytelling holds together an unusual film which still maintains mainstream appeal.
- Get Out:
Immensely popular and immediately definitive, and to not give the twist away, Get Out reimagines the unknown evil in the haunted house, making it one of the best horror movies of the millennium. Jordan Peele stuns in his directorial debut, with nods to his comedic past with asides which provide both levity and enhance the sense of the film’s surrealism. Daniel Kaluuya also furthers his claim as one of Britain’s best young actors with a subtle performance which holds up to constant camera close-ups.
- Call Me by Your Name:
A tender tale of first love, two young men fall precociously in love over a summer set against the beautiful backdrop of Lombardy, Italy. The film is calculated, intentionally smoothly calibrated and immensely watchable. The film is full of color and joy, while masterfully setting the viewer up for emotional devastation. The dark horse for these awards, this is the most notable small budget to come out this year.