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Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Five films to watch before Oscars night (and how to watch them)


We are five days away from this year’s Oscars ceremony. If you still haven’t figured out which films you want to brush up on so you can sound smart at your friend’s watch party, here’s five films to check out before Sunday night.

“La La Land”

This year’s Oscar darling scored 14 nominations, tying with the record set by “All About Eve” and “Titanic.” Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Directing are just some of its nominations, along with two Best Original Song nominations. Stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling also each nabbed a nomination for Best Actress and Best Actor.

The story follows two dreamers, aspiring actress Mia and jazz pianist Sebastian, as they struggle through rejection and the show business of Los Angeles. With vivid colors and backgrounds, along with upbeat music, “La La Land” evokes an era of Hollywood long gone, all while taking a look at what it means to achieve your dreams here and now.

“La La Land” isn’t yet available digitally or on DVD, but is still showing at the Cobb Theatre.

“Hidden Figures”

One record “La La Land” didn’t take – the highest grossing Oscar nominee of the year. It got beat out by “Hidden Figures.” Based on a real story, the film follows three female African-American mathematicians working to help NASA win the space race in the 1960s as they deal with the sexism and racism in the organization’s segregated facilities.

The film is in the running for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Actress Octavia Spencer is up for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Dorothy Vaughan, a mathematician who became the first African American woman to be a supervisor at Langley Research Center.

“Hidden Figures” is also not released for home viewing, but is still playing at the Cobb Theatre.


“Moonlight” follows the life story of an African-American boy named Chiron as he grows up in Miami dealing with poverty and drugs in his neighborhood, and his journey to discover himself and accept his sexuality.

The film has been praised by critics for its screenplay, direction and subject matter and won the award for Best Drama last month at the Golden Globes. This weekend, it’s up for seven awards including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score along with a Best Director nom for Barry Jenkins.

You can buy the movie on iTunes for $15.


When 12 alien ships land on earth, the U.S. government sends linguistics expert Louise Banks, played by Amy Adams, to try and find out why they’re here and how to communicate with them. It’s up to her and her physicist Ian Donnelly, played by Jeremy Renner, to figure out if these visitors are a threat or not. The film lives in its sci-fi genre using non-linear storytelling elements like flashbacks and flashforwards to reveal the reason behind the extraterrestrial visit.

“Arrival” isn’t necessarily the frontrunner for any major award this weekend, but it is the only sci-fi film nominated for Best Picture this year. The film is also up for seven other Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography.

You can rent it on iTunes for $6 or buy it for $15.


Usually one of the easiest Oscar races to predict, the award for Best Animated Feature Film tends to go to the nominee with the biggest box office success. This year’s front runner is Disney’s “Zootopia.”

The tale follows a bunny from the country named Judy Hopps who moves to the big city of Zootopia to become the city’s first bunny cop. The film was praised for the way it tackled complex social issues like racial profiling and made over $1 billion worldwide.

There’s a lot of drama on this year’s Oscar nominee’s list, as there usually is, so as you’re buffing up on your film knowledge before this week’s awards ceremony, take a breather and watch something fun.

Plus, unlike the other films, you won’t have to pay to watch this one. It’s on Netflix. 

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