What to say about these five Oscar-tipped films

Be the first to tell your film-loving friend about these Oscar contenders.

By Simon Lewis.

All the most Oscar-worthy films are released between now and February so as to be fresh in the Academy’s minds at Awards time, which means now’s the perfect time to see something special on the big screen with that friend who loves to chat about a movie for hours afterwards.

Here are five such films, and some tips to help those chats along...

1. Ingrid Goes West

Your friend: Why are we going to see this?

You: Because it’s the first great satire of the Instagram era.

Women jealously obsessed with their girlfriends are a Hollywood staple, whether played for laughs as in Bridesmaids or for shocks as in Single White Female. The clever twist here is that it sympathises more with the stalker than the stalkee, a sickeningly popular Instagram influencer played by Elizabeth Olsen. Our anti-heroine Aubrey Plaza latches onto her as a way of starting a new life as a superficial West Coast hottie after messing up back East – and whether we want her to succeed goes to the heart of our #nofilter age.

Knowledge to drop: Sitcom graduate Plaza, famous for her ‘resting bitch face’, says her dream role is Catwoman.

Out 17 November.

2. Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool

Your friend: Why are we going to see this?

You: Because it’s from the guy who wrote Control and Nowhere Boy (Matt Greenhalgh), and he has a knack for making real life feel mythical.

In the 70s, struggling young English actor Peter Turner had an affair with ageing American actress Gloria Grahame (think a less famous Marilyn Monroe). They had a brief affair and later, when she fell ill, she came to recuperate at his parent’s. That’s the true story behind this brilliantly acted drama, with Jamie Bell and Annette Bening as the odd couple. But what everyone’s talking about is the gorgeous way it blends the present with flashbacks, and domesticity with dreams.

Knowledge to drop: You might not have heard of Gloria Grahame but you’ve seen her in Christmas favourite It’s A Wonderful Life (she’s the girl who has a childhood crush on Jimmy Stewart’s character).

Out 17 November.

3. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Your friend: Why are we going to see this?

You: Because it’s a twisted modern version of a Hitchcock thriller.

From The Talented Mr Ripley to The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, we love films where people take in guests who turn sinister. Here, it’s Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman as doctors nurturing the son of a man who died on Farrell’s operating table. Up-and-coming Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos doesn’t play things straight, and there are religious undertones to this tale of a man who plays god versus a boy acting the devil.

Knowledge to drop: Lanthimos also directed The Lobster – the one where Colin Farrell had to find a girlfriend within 45 days or be turned into one.

Out 3 November. Get The Killing of a Sacred Deer tickets and times. 

4. Call Me By Your Name

Your friend: Why are we going to see this?

You: Because ‘people having life-changing experiences in sun-drenched villas’ is a much underrated genre.

This lyrical movie of homosexual awakening is no Brokeback Mountain, says its star Armie Hammer – who plays an academic falling in love one hot summer in Italy. He says there’s no big deal these days about straight men playing gay lovers. It does have three things in common with Ang Lee’s triple Oscar-winning love story, though: it’s beautifully shot, lingers in the memory and is certain to make A-list stars of its two leading men, Hammer and the young Timothée Chalomet.

Knowledge to drop: Writer James Ivory (with partner Ismail Merchant) pretty much invented the UK indie film industry and, in Maurice, put gay love front and centre nearly two decades before Brokeback Mountain.

Out 27 October. Get Call Me By Your Name tickets and times. 

5. Suburbicon

Your friend: Why are we going to see this?

You: Because it’s got all the hallmarks of a great Coen brothers story, plus some Oscars special sauce.

Suburbicon sees two Oscar-winners (Matt Damon and Julianne Moore) directed by double Oscar-winner George Clooney from a script by quadruple Oscar-winners Joel and Ethan Coen. There’s a fair chance they know what they’re doing. Like the Coen brothers classic Fargo, it sees a mousey middle aged guy (Damon) getting implausibly entangled with criminals and killers, this time in the supposedly idyllic setting of a new-built 1950s suburb. In keeping with the current acting trend, Julianne Moore plays identical twins – although things don’t go so well for one of them.

Knowledge to drop: This was actually one of the first things the Coen brothers ever wrote, just after their 1984 debut Blood Simple.

Out 24 November.