Oscars 2018: Our verdicts on the Best Picture nominees

Alys Key
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The ceremony kicks off tomorrow at 1am UK time (Source: Getty)

Tomorrow is the biggest night of the year for Hollywood, as the 90th Academy Awards takes place in Los Angeles.

The big prize of the ceremony, as ever, is Best Picture. City A.M.'s film reviewers have been hard at work checking out the nine films on the shortlist this year. Here's what they thought.

(Click or tap on the images to see them in full screen)

Click the film title to read the review in full.

Call Me By Your Name (5 stars)

For James Luxford, it's the performances that make this coming-of-age story a five star film: "Hammer nails Oliver’s elegant arrogance, while Chalamet perfectly captures what it’s like to be 17 and mixed up." Chalamet is also nominated for Lead Actor.

Darkest Hour (2.5 stars)

Dougie Gerrard was unimpressed with this Winston Churchill biopic's lack of interrogation of its subject: "The film’s narrative structure is ultimately obsequious and even a little half-arsed; we see Churchill falter, wracked by doubt and advised by cowards; but then he acts – he prevails. And we, the British people, all flat caps and stiff upper lips, prevail with him."

Dunkirk (5 stars)

Steve Dinneen was impressed by the presentation of war in Christopher Nolan's latest: "Nolan ensures there's no grandstanding, no scene stealing, just plausible portrayals of men pushed to the brink. Their bravery isn’t fetishised, these are ordinary people forced to do extraordinary things just to survive."

Get Out (5 stars)

"Horror movies have always explored our cultural anxieties – it’s a wonder we had to wait this long for Get Out," says Steve Dinneen. For Jordan Peel's debut, "the unseen terror is casual racism and the insidious force is cultural whitewashing".

Lady Bird (4 stars)

Greta Gerwig is only the fifth woman in history to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. Of her film Lady Bird, Steve Dinneen says: "Gerwig directs with the candour, sensitivity and knowing humour of someone mining their own experience. Her characters feel real, often crushingly so, their lives hard-lived, their struggles against poverty and their own histories quietly heartbreaking."

Phantom Thread (5 stars)

Paul Thomas Anderson had the task of making a film fit to be Daniel Day Lewis' retirement send-off. Has he been successful? Our reviewer says: "I was left with the impression that he really just wanted to make something beautiful and mad. He succeeds on both counts."

The Post (5 stars)

It is Meryl Sreep who really makes this film about the Pentagon Papers special for James Luxford. "Her Katherine is vulnerable, alone in a position she doesn’t particularly want, surrounded by men who don’t respect her." Tom Hanks is also on form, delivering "the kind of subtlety you only see from him when he works with Spielberg, and it’s a joy to watch."

The Shape of Water (4 stars)

"The story itself is a fairly straight-forward caper, in which Elisa and her neighbour plan to break the monster from its prison, and never quite lives up to the sumptuous visuals," says our review of this year's most-nominated film. "But it stars Hawkins on the form of her life, and that alone makes it unmissable."

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (3.5 stars)

Steve Dinneen was put on edge by the film's odd mix of dark subject matter and sense of humour. "You’re forever second-guessing yourself, wondering how a story about the aftermath of a brutal rape and murder gets away with so many laughs." Ultimately, it's the performances that are worth seeing: "The Rust Belt and its trappings are really just the backdrop against which McDonagh plays with his terrible, mesmerising toys. And when you have Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in your toy-box, that’s enough."

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