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Oscars 2017: Your guide to the best picture nominees

Which films are up for cinema's most prestigious prize? Here's our guide to the movies nominated for best picture at the Oscars 2017

By Time Out London Film
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It's the biggest night in the film calendar, when everyone in Hollywood walks the red carpet, all praying that this will be the year they get their hands on one of those iconic, gold statuettes. There are luxurious goody bags, gallons of champagne and after-parties so star-studded they'd blind mere mortals like us. But really, the Oscars are about celebrating a year's worth of brilliant cinema. 

Which films are up for best picture in 2017? Here's our guide, including our Time Out film reviews, to the Oscar hopefuls, from 'La La Land' to 'Manchester by the Sea'. 

RECOMMENDED: Everything you need to know about the Academy Awards

Oscars 2017: best picture nominees

Arrival

3 out of 5 stars
Film Science fiction

There are plenty of smart ideas and bravura visuals in this maudlin, ponderous and slightly ridiculous tale of aliens coming to Earth, adapted from a Ted Chiang short story. But to enjoy the film's arresting musings on language, time and how much we can ever understand others, you'll have to close your eyes and ears to the wealth of schlocky hokum surrounding them.

Fences

4 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

Denzel Washington directs and stars in this powerful, respectful, occasionally shouty screen version of August Wilson’s 1983 play about an unhappy working-class African-American family in 1950s Pittsburgh. It’s muscular, solid, sturdy – all those things you expect from classic mid-to-late twentieth-century American drama. 

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Hacksaw Ridge

4 out of 5 stars
Film

After a decade-long absence, Mel Gibson returns to directing with a brutal war film that has a rousing tale of God-inspired heroism at its heart. 'Hacksaw Ridge' is the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), an army medic and decorated WWII soldier who was a conscientious objector, a position informed by his Christian faith. 'Hacksaw Ridge' is not subtle, but it is brutally effective, and it contains some of the most justifiably violent battle scenes ever committed to film. 

Hell or High Water

3 out of 5 stars
Film Thrillers

Ah, Texas: manly men, rusty trucks, desert skies, dusty streets, petty crime, giant hats and rampant gun ownership. This old-fashioned but enjoyable heist thriller rounds up all the creakiest cliches about America’s largest state into one handy package, then adds a dash of 21st-century politics for good measure. You’ve seen it all before – but hell, it’s worth seeing again. 

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Hidden Figures

3 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

As inspiring as the red glare of rockets heading into space, this huge-hearted crowd-pleaser has a sophisticated idea running through it: by and large, busy scientists don’t have time for racism or sexism. So it proved at Virginia’s Langley Research Center when, at the height of the 1960s space race (would ‘Space Race’ have been a better title?), African-American female mathletes were promoted to positions of critical importance to the Mercury programme, years before the flowering of the civil rights era. ‘Hidden Figures’ takes this underreported chapter of black history and makes it big, overplaying an already powerful scenario.

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Dale Robinette

La La Land

4 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

Young writer-director Damien Chazelle's soaring, romantic, extremely stylish and endlessly inventive 'La La Land' is that rare beast: a grown-up movie musical that's not kitschy, a joke or a Bollywood film. Instead, it's a swooning, beautifully crafted ode to the likes of Jacques Demy's 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' and Stanley Donen's 'Singin' in the Rain' that plays out in the semi-dream world of Los Angeles and manages to condense the ups and downs of romantic love into a very Tinseltown toe-tapping fable.

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Lion

3 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

British actor Dev Patel (‘Slumdog Millionaire’) is all grown up and back in India for this real-life tearjerker about Saroo Brierley, who as a five-year-old was separated from his family in rural India and later adopted by an Australian family. In the first half we watch as Saroo falls asleep in an empty train carriage and then accidentally travels over 1,000 miles to Calcutta. The film puts us up close to Saroo’s fear and sense of dislocation as he encounters various threats in the big city, from dangerous traffic to sexual predators. And it’s impossible not to melt in the presence of Sunny Pawar, who plays little Saroo. 

Manchester by the Sea

5 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

That’s Manchester, Massachusetts, a small fishing community that’s the setting for this devastating tale of buried trauma from American director and playwright Kenneth Lonergan (‘You Can Count on Me’). Lonergan’s film isn’t about rebounding as much as coping. That’s what makes ‘Manchester by the Sea’ so dark and courageous; it says that, for some people, there won’t be any moving on from grief. Casey Affleck gives a complex, brooding central performance as Lee, a Boston handyman and caretaker.

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best fall movies 2016
best fall movies 2016
Photograph: A24

Moonlight

5 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

The first miracle of Barry Jenkins’s exquisite coming-of-age drama ‘Moonlight’ – and this heartbreaker of a film is filled with miracles – happens around a kitchen table. We’ve already seen quiet, sullen Chiron (Alex Hibbert), a 10-year-old with frightened eyes, being chased by bullies. The two adults sitting around the table aren’t his parents (one of them is actually the drug dealer selling crack to Chiron’s addict mum), but somehow they know the exact words to say when the boy softly asks them, ‘Am I a faggot?’ 

All the 2017 Oscar nominees

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