Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Heather's Essential 2019 Oscar Nominated Movies

I believe I've mentioned Jarrett and I have a yearly Oscar bet. It started in 2014, when we had been dating a few months. Jarrett already had his own plan to watch a lot of the nominees for years before we met and I just kind of joined in and turned it into this fun things we do now. The premise is to watch as many Oscar nominated films as we can, usually prioritizing the main categories (Best Picture, the acting categories, directing, and screenplay are my top ones, plus foreign language if we have time. Then we make predictions and whoever wins buys the other one dinner of their choice.

While this is really fun, it's also about 4 weeks of intense movie watching. I'm talking like, 6-7 movies each weekend and 1-2 during the week if we have time. Plus all these movies are usually 2+ hours long so it's a huge time commitment. They are also really emotional and I end up crying or just feeling a lot of feelings, which can be a lot to deal with. On the other side, I also see a lot of really great movies that aren't always released in theaters close to me, or at least not for very long. Because of this, I wanted to recommend the movies I felt were totally worth checking out, some of my favorites of the year.

Disclaimer: I did not see every single movie nominated for an Oscar this year. I did watch all of the Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, & Best Original Screenplay. I hit a few from other categories, but didn't watch nearly enough foreign language films, which are usually my favorites, or documentaries or shorts, both live action and animated. These recommendations are based only on the movies I saw and my personal feelings about them.

The Favourite

Come for the gorgeous sets, costumes, intrigue, & humor. Stay for Olivia Coleman's winning performance as Queen Anne

In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.


This is one you will want to put your phone down for. It's gorgeously shot & the story wraps you up. My hands down #1 pick of this Oscar season, maybe even the year so far. 

A year in the life of a middle-class family's maid in Mexico City in the early 1970s.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy does a fantastic job of playing an unlikeable character with compassion and a touch of humor, but it doesn't feel like you are watching her play another one of her go to characters. 

When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Oof. This one might snag my #2 spot on my favorites list. Heartbreaking and timely, this story of love and family is one that I cannot stop thinking about. 

A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.

The Wife

Glenn Close shines in this movie. You will not be able to handle all the reaction shots that she absolutely nails. Every scene is a master class in acting. 

A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

First Reformed

The one movie I cannot get out of my mind. Just when I thought I knew where this movie was going, it changes and takes my breath away. 

A minister of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.


If a movie about racism was going to win Best Picture this year, it should have been this one. You will laugh and then sober up real quick when you realize these issues are still plaguing us in 2019. 

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

A Star is Born

I thought I would hate this and actually loved it. Lady Gaga steals the show and Bradley Cooper surprised me in the best way. Hold on to your butts for the performance of "Shallows" y'all

A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

I saw this in theaters with my nephew and it was so good and fun and made me cry unexpectedly. 

Teen Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man of his reality, crossing his path with five counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat for all realities.

Black Panther

Not only is this in my top 10 of 2018, it pulls off something no other Marvel movie has managed to do: win awards. 

T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

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