Best Picture Nominees -- Arrival

We are rapidly speeding toward the Academy Awards, which take place in 11 days on Sunday, February 26. Nine films are vying for the top prize this year, but only one can win. In my series reviewing the contenders today I look at an unconventional drama that uses aliens to speak to the human condition.

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, and Michael Stuhlbarg
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Total Nominations: Eight
Nominated For: Best Picture, Best Director (Villeneuve), Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Heisserer), Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing
About: Beginning this week, and carrying into next week, I am presenting the final four Best Picture nominees, and the ones I think are the biggest contenders. Call "Arrival" my wild card pick. It's still a long-shot to win Best Picture, but I think there's a chance. Last year I thought another Villenueve film, "Sicario," was one of the best, but it was snubbed by the Academy. This year, both "Arrival" and its talented director are in the mix. Sadly star Amy Adams, who was incredible in "Arrival" and "Nocturnal Animals," was passed over. So "Arrival" is the only Best Picture nominee without a single acting nominations, which isn't a great sign for its chances. But its story is so powerful, and the film is so unique, I think it has a shot. That's why it got eight nominations. I think the best chance for "Arrival" to take home hardware is likely in the technical categories. It has a good shot at recognition for Cinematography for Bradford Young, and I think it could win the sound awards. Sound is such a key component for this film, and often those awards go to a serious Best Picture contender. In the end, I don't think "Arrival" will take home the big prizes, but I think it will take home something. And I think it will be a film that will be remembered and revered long after Oscar season is over.
Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language
Verdict: Four stars out of four
Where to See It: "Arrival" is now playing nationwide.


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