The 10 Movies You Need to See Before Awards Season

The 10 Movies You Need to See Before Awards Season

With Hollywood hyping just about every movie released this time of year, it's hard to know which flicks to prioritize. Here are our picks for what not to miss during that precious holiday downtime.

With Hollywood hyping just about every movie released this time of year, it's hard to know which flicks to prioritize. Here are our picks for what not to miss during that precious holiday downtime.

Text: Jake Viswanath

La La Land

The charming musical flashback that everybody is raving about this season, La La Land stars the perfect cinematic duo Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as an aspiring actor and singer who end up becoming exactly what they need to motivate each other. Complete with dazzling dance scenes and surprisingly great vocal performances from Stone and Gosling, the musical may be the best choice for your family’s Christmas night at the theater.

Manchester By the Sea

Executive producer Matt Damon had a hand in creating this heartwarming drama. Damon’s best friend-in-law Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a janitor who is assigned guardianship of his nephew Patrick after the sudden death of his father. Devastating performances from Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges make this film an absolute must-see.

Arrival

An all-star cast including Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whittaker leads this sci-fi mystery about a team of investigators who attempt to communicate with new extraterrestrial creatures on Earth. Will this be the movie that finally gets Amy Adams her rightful Oscar? Let us hope.

Lion

Dev Patel makes his biggest return to awards season since Slumdog Millionaire with this inspiring film about Saroo, a man who attempts to find his birth family twenty years after getting lost from them at five years old. Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman also give award-worthy performances in what is one of the year’s best tear-jerkers.

Nocturnal Animals

Amy Adams has a second shot at awards season glory with her role in this Tom Ford-directed film. Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal start in this dramatic thriller about an art gallery owner who discovers her first husband’s new manuscript in the mail, forcing her to confront some dark truths about herself. Being his second directorial effort, Ford has proved once again that perfect fashion design is not his only forte.

Moonlight

Moonlight is one of those beautiful socially conscious films that only come around once in a great while. The film is divided into three chapters as a young man experiences all the emotions that come with falling in love and accepting his sexuality. An ensemble cast of newcomers and singer Janelle Monaé make this film a fascinating and wonderfully emotional watch.

Fences

The legendary Denzel Washington and Viola Davis star as a black couple living through tense times in the 1950s. Considering the important ongoing conversation about racism today, the film is a poignant take on how a black family tried to keep afloat while handing the decade’s tense race relations, and a necessary watch for those who want to keep the conversation going.

Jackie

Natalie Portman gives a stunning and dedicated portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in the self-titled biopic, a dark horse contender for awards nominations. The movie follows Jackie in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s death, having to juggle child and funeral duties on top of preserving her husband’s prestigious legacy and establish her own noble reputation.

Loving

The romantic drama stars Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton as Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple who must fight for their marriage rights and make their way back to their home state of Virginia after getting arrested for miscegenation. Despite the tough times that lie ahead in the USA, this uplifting film reminds us of the progress that we’ve made so far with legalizing basic human rights and encourages us to fight on.

Hidden Figures 

Pharrell Williams executive produced this kick-ass drama about the secret brains behind one of the biggest operations in NASA history. Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Hensen, and Janelle Monaé star as Dorothy Vaughn, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson, the three intelligent women who help John Glenn become the first American astronaut to make a complete orbit around the Earth, making it an empowering watch for every woman and girl.

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