Oscar Nominees 2018 List: How To Pretend You've Seen All the Nominated Films

You've been invited to an Oscars party. Yay! But you haven't seen one of the nominated films. Boo! But it's OK: we've got you covered. With our cheat sheet, you can can easily convince fellow partygoers that you've seen them all. Toss off these comments and you're guaranteed to sound like the ultimate movie geek (or person with no life). At the very least, you will get a laugh.

Kumail Nanjiani in 'The Big Sick' (2017). Amazon Studios/Lionsgate

The Big Sick

Nominated for: Best Original Screenplay.

The gist: The funny, poignant and true story of how actor Kumail Nunjiani (Silicon Valley) met his wife, Emily Gordon. The romantic comedy was written by Nunjiani and Gordon, and Nunjiani plays himself; Zoe Kazan plays Emily.

Talking points:

  • "It made the romantic comedy genre interesting again."
  • "For once the woman in the coma gets screen time."
  • "I never thought I would laugh so hard at a 9/11 joke."
  • "Remember when everyone predicted that Holly Hunter would get nominated?"
  • "No, seriously, Ray Romano? Snub!"
Timothée Chalamet (left) and Armie Hammer in 'Call Me By Your Name.' Sony Pictures Classics

Call Me By Your Name

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Timothée Chalamet) and Best Original Song ("Mystery of Love," by Sufjan Stevens).

The gist: An Italian-American teenager (Timothée Chalamet) falls in love with his dad's older student assistant (Armie Hammer), who is staying in their northern Italy home for the summer in the 1980's. They do get together and sex is had—between Chalamet and Hammer, and Chalamet and a ripe peach.

Talking points:

  • "I don't know what was sexier—the scenery or the sex."
  • "Timothée Chalamet won't win, but he should be for that final scene."
  • "It was about accepting desire and sexuality as a point of beauty, rather than shame." (Cinephiles love that kind of heady-sounding statement.)
  • "The peach had a bigger part in the book."
  • "It was good, but I think I prefer James Ivory's earlier work..."
Focus Features

Darkest Hour

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Gary Oldman), Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Cinematography.

The gist: Gary Oldman is British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he grapples with whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler during the early years of World War II.

Talking points:

  • "It's the same story as Dunkirk, only less innovative and more boring."
  • "Gary Oldman was good, but the prosthetics and fat suit did most of the work."
  • "It's not even historically accurate: That scene where Churchill's stalled in the Underground carriage? Never happened!"
  • "This is some kind of Churchill-aissance we're in the middle of, huh?" (Background: John Lithgow played the PM on the first season of The Crown, and Brian Cox suited up as Churchill in the 2017 biopic Churchill.)
From left: Dave Franco as Greg and James Franco as Tommy, attending the premiere of "The Room" in 'The Disaster Artist' (2017). A24

The Disaster Artist

Nominated for: Best Adapted Screenplay.

The gist: Brothers James and Dave Franco recreate the making of The Room—the so-bad-it's-good 2003 cult movie. James directs and stars as eccentric director Tommy Wiseau; Dave playes Wiseau's best friend and The Room star Greg Sestero (the movie is based on Sestero's 2013 memoir of the same name).

Talking points:

  • "That Judd Apatow cameo was brutal."
  • "That Bryan Cranston cameo was hilarious."
  • "I totally think the tank-top-and-bucket-hat look is primed for a comeback."
  • "Oh, bye James." (Because Franco's chances at a best actor nomination were dashed by sexual misconduct allegations. The riff on The Room's "Oh hai, Mark" will either connect or fall flat—just like The Disaster Artist!)
FROM LEFT: Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead and Aneurin Barnard in 'Dunkirk.' Warner Bros. Pictures


Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Christopher Nolan), Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography.

The gist: An intense World War II movie about the infamous evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk, France. There are three storylines, told in non-linear fashion.

Talking points:

  • "Yes, it's a war movie, but it's also, like, a subversion of the war genre."
  • "Per usual, couldn't understand a word Tom Hardy said, or even see his face for most of the film. But boy was he great!"
  • "The out-of-sequence timeline thing lost me."
  • "At least it tried something new!"
  • "Harry Styles—was he a Backstreet Boy?"
florida project
Willem Dafoe and Brooklynn Prince in the film "The Florida Project." A24

The Florida Project

Nominated for: Best Supporting Actor (Willem Dafoe)

The gist: A 6-year-old girl named Moonee (played by newcomer Brooklynn Prince) lives in a rundown motel outside Walt Disney World with her prostitute, drug addict mother. Dafoe plays the empathetic motel manager.

Talking points:

  • "The juxtaposition of childhood innocence and crushing poverty was heartbreaking."
  • "I don't know, Willem Dafoe is great and all, but would I really feel comfortable trusting the saftey of kids to the Green Goblin? On the other hand, he was Jesus once, so..."
  • "It was robbed for Best Picture."
  • "Brooklynn Prince was robbed! I haven't seen an acting debut that good since Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon."
  • "Seriously, it was basically robbed of everything."
Get Out
Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris Washington in the 2017 horror/comedy satire 'Get Out.' Universal Pictures

Get Out

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Jordan Peele), Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya) and Best Original Screenplay.

The gist: A horror film starring Daniel Kaluuya (Black Mirror) as a young black man invited to the rural home of his rich white girlfriend's family. But something's not right....The film manages to be funny and a powerful indictment of racism in America.

Talking points:

  • "Usually the Academy hates horror. Did you know The Shining got snubbed?"
  • "It's funny and subversive but it has a shot thanks to the Academy's expansion of voters."
  • "Not a comedy."
  • "Not a horror film."
Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) after landing the triple axel in I, TONYA, courtesy of NEON

I, Tonya

Nominated for: Best Actress (Margot Robbie), Best Supporting Actress (Allison Janney) and Best Film Editing.

The gist: A black comedy starring Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding, the U.S. figure skater who was famously linked to the attack of rival skater Nancy Kerrigan in 1994, and Allison Janney as her abusive mother.

Talking points:

  • "I rooted for Margot Robbie, but not for Tonya Harding."
  • "People are saying the film is pro-Tonya. But it doesn't excuse her behavior, it simply provides context for it."
  • "Janney's in an abusive mother face-off with Lady Bird's Laurie Metcalf!"
  • "Allison Janney deserves every award. Give one to the bird, too."
  • "I, too, was once lauded for my counterterrorism expertise in a travel magazine."
Saoirse Ronan in the new film 'Lady Bird'
Saoirse Ronan stars in the film "Lady Bird," written and directed by Greta Gerwig. A24

Lady Bird

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director (Greta Gerwig), Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf) and Best Original Screenplay.

The gist: A bittersweet coming-of-age film starring Saoirse Ronan as a high school senior attending a fancy Catholic high school in Sacramento, California, despite her family's financial troubles. The film's heart is in the strained but loving relationship between Lady Bird and her mother, played by Laurie Metcalf.

Talking points:

  • "It just perfectly captures teen angst."
  • "Even if you're not a teenage girl, you can relate to the film because every character is thought out and complex."
  • "Greta Gerwig is only the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director. "
  • "I can't forgive her for trying to make 'Crash Into Me' by the Dave Matthews Band seem cool."
  • "It really made me rethink the pose I'm striking by reading Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States."
Steve Dietl/Netflix


Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress (Mary J. Blige), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Original Song.

The gist: Two soldiers, one black and one white, return home from World War II to farm a poor area of rural Mississippi. The two become friends, despite intense racial tension between their families.

Talking points:

  • "Dee Rees was snubbed for Best Picture and Best Director."
  • "The Academy hates Netflix films."
  • "Did you know that Rachel Morrison is the first woman to ever be nominated for Best Cinematography?"
  • "Mary J. Blige is the first person to be nominated in the Best Original Song and an acting category in the same year!"
  • "Mary J. Blige is the Cher of the new millennium."
Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread
Daniel Day-Lewis in "Phantom Thread." Focus Features

Phantom Thread

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson), Best Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville), Best Original Score and Best Costume Design.

The gist: Daniel-Day Lewis plays fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock, who in 1950s London dresses the wealthy and date-and-drops young muses. This pattern gets disrupted by Vicky Krieps, the model who is determined not to be tossed aside.

Talking points:

  • "This is Daniel Day-Lewis's last role. Don't they have to give him the Oscar?"
  • "This film was just stuffed full of homages to other directors, like Stanley Kubrick and Jonathan Demme."
  • "I hope you were all watching the clothes, because I couldn't take my eyes off the passion!"
  • "Needed more Jar Jar Binks."

The Post

Nominated for: Best Picture and Best Actress (Meryl Streep).

The gist: Meryl Streep plays Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks is executive editor Ben Bradlee in this film set at the moment the paper decides to publish the Pentagon Papers, the secret government report acknowledging the hopelessness of the Vietnam War.

Talking points:

  • "History really does repeat itself. Could anything be more timely as Trump disparages journalists?"
  • "Meryl was amazing, obviously. But only two nominations? Fake news!"
  • "Bob Odenkirk and David Cross have scenes together! Do you think Spielberg is a Mr. Show fan?"
  • "That scene at the end, it's like The Post is the Rogue One for All the President's Men."
Sally Hawkins and her fish lover in "The Shape of Water." Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Shape of the Water

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Director (Guillermo del Toro). Best Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins), Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Production Design.

The gist: Sally Hawkins plays a mute cleaning woman who works at a top secret research facility where a humanoid amphibian is kept captive. Yes, there's cross-species sex.

Talking points:

  • "Guillermo del Toro makes bestiality beautiful!"
  • "Sally Hawkins gives such a evocative performance, you forget she doesn't speak."
  • "Del Toro's best film since Pan's Labyrinth."
  • "Who knew fish could dance?"
  • "I draw that line at killing cats, even if it's a fish."
Frances McDormand in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." Fox Searchlight Pictures

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress (France McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score.

The gist: Frances McDormand plays a mother whose daughter was raped and murdered, but the culprit was never caught. She shames the local police sheriff (Woody Harrelson) by erecting three inflammatory billboards, demanding an arrest, and finds an unlikely ally in a racist cop (Sam Rockwell).

Talking points:

  • "It was so satisfying to see Frances McDormand unapologetically angry in the year of #MeToo."
  • "Frances is a lock for Best Actress."
  • Is there anything Sam Rockwell can't do?
  • "It's wild to see this movie become a meme, with people shaming politicians IRL with their own three billboards."
  • "Show of hands: how many at this party of actually saw Three Billboards?"
Oscar Nominees 2018 List: How To Pretend You've Seen All the Nominated Films | Culture