The Definitive Guide to the Contenders for Best Picture at the Oscars

Best Picture at the Oscars is considered the biggest gong of the night. Back in January, the contenders were revealed; but if you haven’t had a chance to get caught up on the films that have been nominated, never fear! We’ll break it down for you so you’ll be able to keep up with the conversation.

Call Me by Your Name

Directed by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name has received huge critical acclaim, and is nominated for four awards at the Oscars. Adapted from the André Aciman novel, it stars Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet – Chalamet’s portrayal of Elio has gotten plenty of people talking, and it earned him a Best Actor nomination. The film details the romantic relationship between 17-year-old Elio, living in Italy, and his father’s American assistant Oliver. Call Me by Your Name has already bagged one award this season – it took home the BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman’s role as Winston Churchill has grasped film-goers across the globe, and Darkest Hour has six nominations at the Oscars this year. Aside from Best Picture, the Joe Wright directed film is up for Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Make-up and Hairstyling. Oldman is up for Best Actor and could definitely walk home with the statue; he’s already won leading actor awards at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the BAFTAs. Darkest Hour shows Churchill’s early days as British Prime Minster as Nazi Germany sweep across Western Europe.


Tipped as one of the best films Christopher Nolan has ever made, it’s no surprise he’s nominated for Best Director – his first ever Oscar nomination for directing – and Dunkirk for Best Picture. It’s in the running for eight awards in total, the second highest nominated. Dunkirk, as you may have gathered, depicts the Dunkirk evacuation in World War II. It was hailed as one of the best war films ever made, and is the highest-grossing World War II film – surpassing the brilliant Saving Private Ryan. Dunkirk picked up the BAFTA for Best Sound, and we suspect they won’t be empty-handed come the end of the Oscars ceremony.

Get Out

Jordan Peele is best associated with comedy shows, but his directorial debut is one of the most talked about and accoladed films of the last 12 months. Get Out is a horror film, looking at the issue of race as the main character Chris, a black man, learns a harrowing secret about his white girlfriend’s family. Daniel Kaluuya, who plays Chris, was named Rising Star at the BAFTAs, and he’s up for Best Actor at the Oscars. Get Out is also up for Best Original Screenplay and Peele is one of the five nominated for Best Director.

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig’s coming of age film is her solo writing and directing debut and she has nailed it! Lady Bird documents a 17-year-old high school senior and her troubled relationship with her mother. It’s in the running for five Oscars in total: Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for Saoirse Ronan, Best Director for Gerwig and Best Supporting Actress for Laurie Metcalf. It’s already gotten two Golden Globes to its name, for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy; Actress for Saoirse Ronan.

Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, was Daniel Day-Lewis’s final film before entering retirement. Day-Lewis plays a couturier, who falls in love with a young waitress – their affection and struggles are documented in the film. Phantom Thread is up for six awards at the Oscars; Best Original Score, Best Costume Design (which they won at the BAFTAs) and Thomas Anderson is in the category for Best Director. Day-Lewis earns a nomination for Best Actor, and his on-screen sister Lesley Manville is up for Best Supporting Actress.

The Post

Spielberg-directed The Post is up for just two awards at the Oscars; Best Picture and Best Actress for Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Katherine Graham. Graham was the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and The Post tells the true story of journalists at The Washington Post attempting to publish the Pentagon Papers. Streep is no stranger to the Best Actress category – in 1982 and 2011, she received the award for Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady, respectively.

The Shape of Water

The focus is firmly on Guillermo de Toro’s The Shape of Water, as it’s up for an astonishing 13 awards including Best Director, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. Del Toro has already received a Best Director award at the Golden Globes, as well as Best Original Score. Three BAFTAs were swept up for The Shape of Water – Best Director, Best Original Music and Best Production Design. Sally Hawkins plays Elisa Esposito, a mute who ends up falling in love with a humanoid-amphibian creature. Hawkins is up for the Best Actress award alongside Meryl Streep.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh’s film is cleaning up this award’s season! So far, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has taken home four Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Drama, as well as three Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for Frances McDormand, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for Sam Rockwell and Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother who rents billboards to call attention to the unsolved murder of her teenage daughter. It’s up for seven Oscars with both Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell up for the Best Supporting Actor gong.

So, there you have it! Each contender is strong in this year’s Best Picture category and we’ll have to wait until March 4th to find out who takes the statue home! Do you have old Oscar-winning DVDs lying around you no longer watch? Sell your DVDs to musicMagpie! Postage is FREE and you’ll receive payment the same day.