Oscar Contenders Line Up At Tropic

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

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To get ready for Tropic Cinema’s annual Academy Awards festivities, here you’ll find a handful of Oscar contenders for your perusal. I’m betting you’re one of those moviegoers who likes to see as many nominees in advance as possible, right?

Then you will want to see Moonlight despite what may sound like a downer topic, the life of a gay drug dealer. But trust me, there’s a reason it won this year’s Golden Globe Awards as Best Motion Picture – Drama and is up for an impressive eight Oscars nominations including Best Picture. St. Louis Post-Dispatch says, “Basking in this ‘Moonlight’ is one of the cinematic joys of the year.” And ABC Radio adds. “This is a remarkably good movie about one man trying to find love and his place in the world.”



20th Century Women stars Annette Bening as a free spirited single mother. Written and directed by Mike Mills, this reminiscence based on his boyhood is up for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Total Film declares, “Acting honors go to Bening, but it’s Mills’ wit and originality that make this story-lite dramedy shine.” And Empire Magazine calls it, “An insightful and, on occasion, laugh-out- loud piece of filmmaking. Artfully shot and structured, while its warmth and wit shine as brightly as the Californian sun.”



Hidden Figures is holding over, the true story of African American “computers” who worked on America’s early space program. It’s up for three Oscars, including Best Picture. Tribune News Service sees it as “An assertion of humanity and civil rights that is pure cinematic nourishment for soul.” And Wall Street Journal sums it up: “The film hews closely to the facts in important respects, and evokes the outrages of the Jim Crow era, as well as the feverish competition of the space race, through the fascinating work of its extraordinary heroines.”



Lion stars Dev Patel in this true story of an Indian boy adopted by an Australian couple, who as a young man finds his way back to his original family by using Google Earth. This drama’s up for six Oscars, including Best Picture. Washington Post describes it as “a complex movie, with its profound themes of home and identity, and its tonally disparate halves.” And El antepenúltimo mohicano finds it to be “one of the most beautiful and inspiring films of the year.”



As for those short films nominated for Oscars, here’s your chance to see them in two sittings — Oscar Shorts Live Action and Oscar Shorts Animated. That will dazzle the eye, and the brain. Reeling Reviews observes, “It’s clear what kind of message the Academy is sending when one looks at their nominees for short documentary, three of which are about immigrants and refugees, another about rescue efforts in Syria…” And Film School Rejects muse, “Could birds be Pixar’s good luck charm for the animated short Oscar?”

Start marking off the days on your calendar. Oscars are near.


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