Many people in Hollywood would be loathe to admit it, but having Donald Trump in the White House has actually been a real boon for awards season this year, if for no other reason than the simple fact that troubled times and great art often go hand in hand. And while most of this year’s Academy Award-nominated films were already shot long before Trump assumed power, many of them have taken on new layers of meaning in light of the current divisive political landscape.
Best Picture nominees The Shape of Water, The Post, Get Out, and Darkest Hour clearly benefited from their sly, artful commentary on the times we live in today, but even big popcorn films like Wonder Woman, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Monster Trucks play differently these days as well. And if you think that’s exciting, just wait till that first crop of award season films produced during the Trump administration start rolling out next year. It’s gonna be yuge!
That said, this year’s Oscar nominees are nothing to sneeze at and the good news for frequent flyer film fans is that several of them are already playing in-flight. So, if you’re looking to catch up on some of this year’s buzziest titles before the big night (the Academy Awards air 4 March on ABC) look no further than the shiny screen on the seatback in front of you.
Best Picture nominees:
The Shape of Water may have taken home the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA) award last month and it’s director Guillermo del Toro might be a virtual lock for a Best Director prize – especially since Billboards helmer Martin McDonagh wasn’t even nominated! – but Academy voters will have a hard time not awarding an Oscar to this darkly funny and all-too timely drama about revenge, police brutality, and the deeply flawed and deeply human shades of gray that color our American existence. Nominated for seven Academy Awards, Billboards is now playing on select American Airlines, United, Delta, and Cathay Pacific flights worldwide.
Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, Editing, Cinematography, and Original Score, Christopher Nolan’s powerful, starkly beautiful take on the little known (at least in the states) evacuation of Dunkirk would be the film to beat in any other year. But, as mentioned above, 2017 was no ordinary year, so, unfortunately, Dunkirk’s chances of taking home a slew of richly deserved little golden guys seem slim. Dunkirk is now playing on select Air France, Emirates, and Delta flights worldwide.
Last year Moonlight took home a Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) award for Best Original Screenplay and went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. If that tradition holds, then writer-director Jordan Peele (Keanu) – who won this year’s WGA award for Best Original Screenplay and the Director’s Guild of America’s (DGA) Best First-Time Director (Feature Film) award in the same week – appears to be on track for some major Oscar love on the big night. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including a Best Actor nod for Black Panther’s pitch perfect Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out is now playing on Singapore Airlines.
Best Animated Film:
Although Best Animated Feature front-runner Coco isn’t technically playing on inflight entertainment screens just yet, it is currently available for purchase as a digital download (and is well worth the price!) so, preload it onto your PED of choice and keep a box of Kleenex handy for that doozy of an ending. Truly beautiful stuff all around!
The Boss Baby
Although I personally wasn’t able to sit through this surprise nominee for Best Animated Feature in its entirety, my eight-year-old daughter assures me it is quite charming. And Baby was recently nominated for six Annie Awards for animation, so, clearly, it can’t be all bad. The Boss Baby is now playing on select British Airways and Japan Airlines flights worldwide.
Billed as the world’s first oil painted animated feature, Loving Vincent captures the troubled life of Vincent Van Gogh in the vivid, dreamlike style of his paintings. Already nominated for close to 50 major prizes this award season, Vincent – which is now playing on select Air France flights worldwide – might not take the top prize this year at the Academy Awards, but it looks to be a fairly dazzling movie going experience all the same.
Other High-Profile Nominees:
Also playing on several airlines right now is director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, which is sure to clean up in all five of the technical categories it is nominated in (including Best Cinematography), and Baby Driver, which scored three richly deserved Oscar nods, including one for Best Editing.
Manchester by the Sea – which took home Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor honors – changed everything. That could spell good news for Netflix’s Mudbound, which is nominated for four Oscars, including Mary J. Blige for Best Supporting Actress; and Amazon Studios’ The Big Sick, which scored a Best Original Screenplay nod. Both movies are playing on a number of carriers and, no doubt, passenger PEDs in-flight, as we speak.
And finally, though I thought Kong: Skull Island was easily one of the worst movies of 2017, the film received an Oscar nod for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, and was recently ranked as one of the top-ten most-watched films on Qantas (behind the apparently unstoppable The Boss Baby!) and, is still playing on Air Canada, Qatar Airways, Iceland Air, and Air New Zealand.
So, even if Kong goes home empty-handed, that big prehistoric ape is clearly this year’s IFE VIP on the road to Oscar.