An Idiot’s Guide to the Academy Awards

Various actors at a previous Academy Awards show
By: Morgan Thomas | Opinion Editor
January 16, 2018

With the dawn of award season upon us, marked by the Golden Globes just a few weeks ago, us mere peasants start again, like many previous years before, to gain interest in celebrities and their most recent accomplishments. The dozens of award shows that occupy this season work to give celebrities recognition of their accomplishments by none other than their fellow rich and famous.

If you’re anything like I am, this season marks the time in which I am now able to sit at home on weekend nights, using these shows as an excuse to not socialize with my less rich and famous peers. If you’re anything unlike me, however, you use these events as times to gather with friends and family to see people you don’t know win awards for movies you haven’t seen and songs you’ve never heard.

One of the most famous and prestigious of these glorious award shows is the the Academy Awards (also known as The Oscars), where the most talented and serious actors, directors, and the like gather to pat themselves on the back for the hard work and billions of dollars they’ve spent in order to make a movie about a janitor that falls in love with a fish alien (yes, this is an actual movie). Thousands of people across America tune in to watch, but a large percent of these viewers are often unaware of most of the movies being honored until their names are called (even though no one would like to admit it).

So if you would like to appear knowledgeable and cultured in front of your friends at your next neighborhood Oscar party, then you are going to have to do some research. Below, I have compiled a list of movies that are most likely to be mentioned at the Academy Awards, to which you can turn to your friends and respond with a comment on how the film’s director did a fine job in capturing the main actor’s inner truth and whatnot.

The Big Sick

Contrary to popular belief, this is not a movie about the spread of The Great Flu of 2014 at your local elementary school. Instead, to many viewers’ relief, it focuses on an interracial couple in modern society. When one of the main characters contracts a mysterious illness, her significant other is forced to face the rest of her family. This is a heartfelt movie about clashing cultures, family drama, and of course, love. Watch this movie with your family if you want to see your father cry and mother laugh harder than you ever thought humanly possible.

Call Me By Your Name                                                                                                                            

The title, when first read, would throw anyone off, I must admit. It raises several questions, some that senior, Chloe Waugh isn’t sure she wants the answer to. She asks, wearily, “Why would I call someone else by my name? Isn’t there a reason that I was given a name and everyone else was given their own as well? If everyone just started calling other people by their own name then there would be so many legal issues involving stolen identities. It just sounds like madness to me.” Well, Chloe, I have to say, you bring up valid points, but no need to fear. This movie has nothing to do with identity crises or anything near that. Based on a novel by André Aciman, this movie sheds light on the LGBT community, putting all heteronormative movies to shame. It is a beautiful tale of love, loss, and self-discovery. Who knows, maybe you might even learn a little something about yourself after watching this movie, and its this: no matter what gender or sexuality you identify with, Timothée Chalamet is the most beautiful human being you will ever lay eyes on.

Darkest Hour                                                                                                                                                

Not to be confused with the movie, The Finest Hour, starring Chris Pines as a dashing sailor, Darkest Hour focuses on the more British things in life, following the life of Winston Churchill after he becomes Prime Minister of England during World War II. The title only has a one word difference, but the Rotten Tomatoes score has a 21 percent difference which is quite apparent when comparing the two movies. Although most of us wish that Chris Pines was in this movie, Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Churchill makes you glad that this movie was not just one hour of complete darkness (which is what I originally experienced when I accidentally walked into the wrong theater at the movies only to find out an hour later that the theater I was sitting in was just a vacant storage closet with the lights turned off).


Two words: Harry Styles.

Lady Bird

Centered around an outspoken girl going through her senior year of high school, dealing with her complicated relationship with her mother, Lady Bird is not the tale of the revolutionary uprising of female poultry against their patriarchal fowl counterparts in a triumph of womanhood and birdhood (a movie that no one realizes they want, but desperately needs). “A classic and relatable story” says Lily Maranto, a senior at San Clemente High School. When asked why she believed she related to the movie so much Maranto enthusiastically exclaimed, “Well… I am a girl, I am a senior in high school, and I have a mother.” Doesn’t she just have the deepest insight? I think someone has the potential to be a movie critic in the future. This movie, like so many others on this list, has the potential to play you right in your heartstrings, opening the floodgates of your eyes commonly known as tear ducts, making you realize that you can actually feel something once more. An added bonus: this movie also has Timothée Chalamet in it, playing the starring role of eye candy yet again.

The Shape of Water                                                                                                              

Conveniently debuting during the newest controversial question that continues to tear American families apart to this day, “Is water wet?” this movie does not answer that question, but rather brings up yet another question that haunts me every night, “What shape is water?” To answer this, I would say look it up on Google because there are more pressing questions this movie brings up. One of those questions being, “What did I just watch?” Now, you may think this question implies that this is a bad movie, but that is not the case. The movie is actually well-done with a stellar acting job by the talented cast. However, that does not mean that it will take you a few days to completely grasp the events that actually transpired in that movie. You know the movie I was talking about earlier about the janitor that falls in love with a fish alien? Yep, this is the one. I told you it was real.

The movies I discussed above are just a few of those considered for nominations this March. Below are other movies that you should consider watching if you have more time on your hands and would like to impress your friends to an even greater extent with your knowledge of movies that will most likely become forgotten and obsolete by the next Academy Awards:

  • Get Out
  • Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
  • Mudbound
  • The Florida Project
  • The Post
  • Phantom Thread
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Wonder Woman

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