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by Kyle Sanders
Lights, camera, Oscars! It's time for the 90th Annual Academy Awards, highlighting and celebrating the best films 2017 had to offer. This year's nominees range from basketball legend Kobe Bryant to Mother of French New Wave Agnes Varda, and feature a diverse Best Director category, a first time nomination for a woman in Best Cinematography, and a record-breaking 21st nomination for Meryl Streep, the most nominated actor in the Academy's history.
And this year's list of Best Picture nominees is no different, representing a multitude of different genres and directed by a varied group of talented filmmakers. This year, I accomplished a goal I had previously been unable to complete: seeing ALL Best Picture nominees prior to the telecast. For those of you not as awesome as me, here's a rundown of all Best Picture contenders to catch you up before the awards are handed out!
Like its predecessor, Call Me By Your Name draws comparisons to Brokeback Mountain, as it is a literary adaptation about a budding romance between two men that screams Oscar gold. Substituting the cold Wyoming wilderness for the sweltering summer heat of Italy, Luca Guadagnino's direction highlights the palpable attraction between teenager Emilio and grad student Oliver, beginning as a friendship that gradually builds into something much more. The chemistry between Best Actor nominee Timothee Chalamat and co-star Armie Hammer is almost as smoldering as the sun drenched Italian countryside and the subject matter never falters into tragedy. The melancholic mood is set by the dreamy soundtrack composed by Sufjan Stevens (who scored a much deserved Best Original Song nomination). Like Brokeback Mountain, the tender love story is anchored well with the lead performances, but the "ick factor" regarding the forbidden love between a man and a teenage boy could hinder the film's chances of winning.