Oscar® season is in full swing at Fandor (and the rest of the universe)! While we fill in our ballot on who will take home the Oscar® this year, previous nominations and wins honored by the Academy® can’t help but come to mind. We know the rules: only one Oscar® per category. But what if all of the nominees are worthy? To that effect, Fandor presents remarkable Oscar®-nominated films to watch before and after the 90th Academy Awards® which will unfold on Sunday, March 4th. And the Oscar® goes to...


Top 5 Staff Picks


1. In the Bedroom

(Only on Fandor for the month of March)

Nominated at the 2002 Academy Awards® for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Adapted Screenplay. This melodrama starring Sissy Spacek, Marisa Tomei, Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl, and William Mapother is a masterclass in acting. In a small town, a separated woman and a younger man back from college are in love, and despite his parent’s apprehensions and an abusive ex-husband, the couple is determined to make it work. When tragedy strikes it hits hard, catapulting the family into a world of pain. Director Todd Field creates a slow moving grief that leaps off the screen and pushes you deep in your seat.


2. Hotel Rwanda

Set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide of the Tutsis by Hutu militia, this is the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who took in more than 1,000 refugees, providing them shelter at the Hôtel des Mille Collines. Don Cheadle stars as the man who risked his own life and the lives of his family in this historical drama directed by Terry George. Cheadle’s heartbreaking and powerful performance earned him a nomination for Best Actor at the 77th Academy Awards®, while his co-star and on screen wife, Sophie Okonedo, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Terry George and Keir Pearson were nominated for Best Original Screenplay.


3. Bullhead

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Academy Awards®, Bullhead is a Belgian drama steeped in darkness. Matthias Schoenaert captivates with a powerful performance as Jacky, a cattleman whose family cattle business makes a practice of injecting beef with hormones to fatten the meat. When he gets mixed up with the local “hormone mafia,” it reignites Jacky’s haunted past. In his feature debut, director Michaël R. Roskam comes out swinging and the result is a grim and torturous story of cruelty. 


4. The Man with the Golden Arm

Otto Preminger directs Frank Sinatra as Frankie Machine, a recovering drug addict just out of a hospital, six months clean and ready to turn his life around. Committed to starting a new career as a jazz drummer, he is roped back into dealing cards for a small time poker game run by a manipulative man named Schwiefka. Navigating around—or rather breaking—the Production Code restriction on the representation of drugs, Preminger clearly depicts heroin use, releasing the film without the seal of approval from the Motion Pictures Association of America. The Man with the Golden Arm garnered Sinatra a nomination for Best Actor at the 1955 Academy Awards®.   


5. The Phone Call

Sally Hawkins, nominated for Best Actress for her role in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water this year at the 90th Academy Awards® (rooting for you Sally), stars in this short as Heather, a compassionate helpline phone operator. When she receives a phone call from a man in distress—the voice of Jim Broadbent—Heather attempts to offer support. This time in a speaking role, Hawkins’ facial expressions and intensely composed emotive performance are remarkable. She is able to create a richly affecting experience. Winner of the 2015 Academy Award® for Live Action Short Film, this twenty minute movie is yet another example of Hawkins’ incredible craft.

More nominees? Watch the full Spotlight “And the envelope, please?”