5 films to watch before the Oscars

The Oscars are quickly approaching, so watch these five movies that rank among the year’s best.

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Image by Ava Weinreis

by Joshua Badroos

Time is ticking for those hoping to catch up on some of the best in Hollywood. The Oscars will air on ABC at 7 p.m. on March 12.

Unable to make time for all 52 nominated movies? No worries. Local theaters such as The Main and Landmark’s Lagoon Cinema will show Oscar-nominated films for a limited time in anticipation of the event. Here are five essential films to see before the ceremony.

Everything Everywhere All At Once
Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert (Daniels) make their presence known in their shamelessly wild project, “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” “Everything Everywhere” is a firm fan favorite for this year’s Oscars and leads the pack with 11 nominations. The feel-good story of supporting actor Ke Huy Quan’s comeback has won Hollywood’s heart, and Michelle Yeoh stuns in a career-best that could land her the lead actress award. For Stephanie Hsu, the film’s breakout star, a nomination for her supporting role would be a win in itself. For a supposedly serious event, seeing any win from this electric cast and crew could be a live-television treat. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is now streaming on Paramount Plus.

TÁR
Todd Field made his first directorial appearance in 16 years with the harrowing psychological drama, “TÁR.” Cate Blanchett leads with a proper tour de force performance as the world-renowned virtuoso conductor Lydia Tár. The film’s structure is imposing, allowing audiences to dissolve into the intentional ambiguity of events surrounding the protagonist. With a runtime of 2 hours and 37 minutes, Field controls his tempo with finesse, creating a haunting atmosphere that earned TÁR six nominations. Cate Blanchett has swept best actress awards in the past, including earlier this month at the Golden Globes for TÁR. If Yeoh does not win best actress, expect Blanchett to pick up the statuette. “TÁR” is now available to rent on Prime Video.

The Banshees of Inisherin
Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy “The Banshees of Inisherin” boasts some of the most fulfilling screenwriting of last year. The “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” director hones in on the fictional Irish island’s beauty and the mundane lives of its inhabitants with an effort that earned the film nine nominations. Colin Farrell, who previously worked with McDonagh in 2008’s “In Bruges,” leads with a gentle performance of a man whose best friend suddenly wants nothing to do with him. A best actor win for Farrell could easily come true. The brilliant ensemble, including Brendan Gleeson (another “In Bruges” alum), Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan deliver on their complex characters in an intimate fashion, earning each one supporting acting nominations.

With McDonagh’s screenwriting win at the Golden Globes, a similar result could happen at the Oscars in the best original screenplay category. McDonagh previously earned nominations in that category for “In Bruges” and “Three Billboards” but has not yet clinched an original screenplay win. “The Banshees of Inisherin” is now available to stream on HBO MAX.

The Fabelmans
Steven Spielberg returned in 2022 with a semi-autobiographical drama about his filmmaking roots and mid-century Jewish family. Spielberg offers a highly intimate view of his upbringing to the audience, one that clearly resonated with Academy voters as evidenced by the film’s seven nominations. The highly personal direction paved the way for an eccentric performance from Michelle Williams, who earned a best actress nomination for her role as the titular family’s matriarch. “The Fabelmans” also earned a best picture nomination that might result in a win, but it will be more interesting to see if Steven Spielberg can earn a third best director win for his staggering ninth nomination in the category. “The Fabelmans” is showing at AMC Theaters in Inver Grove Heights. For Sammy Fabelman’s sake, see this one in theaters.

Decision to Leave
Park Chan-wook’s “Decision to Leave” is a devastatingly beautiful Korean film about a police detective’s peculiar relationship with a murder suspect. It also received zero Oscar nominations, which is a shame considering the film’s outstanding cinematography, screenplay and actress Tang Wei’s supporting role. Three years after “Parasite” nabbed the Oscars’ top prize in a historic win, the American awards show still has a long path toward properly representing foreign-language films, especially from the particularly forward-thinking South Korean market. Check out “Decision to Leave” for a textbook example of an infamous Oscars snub. “Decision to Leave” is now available to rent on Apple TV and Prime Video.