And the Oscar for Best Poster goes to …

Dim the lights and grab the popcorn because tonight Hollywood is bringing its best and brightest stars of yesterday, today, and tomorrow into your home to tell you who you should have voted for! That’s right, it’s Oscar night!

Ever since the Academy decided to include a staggering nine nominees for Best Picture, and since nobody wants to spend, at best, $90 to see them all, I’m more than happy to offer to you, my dear readers, a quick recap of the nominees.

Ok, slight hiccup in the plan: I have seen none of the Best Picture nominees. But I HAVE seen every Best Picture nominee’s poster; that should be enough.


Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker star in this belated sequel to “Flight of the Navigator” as a team of scientists charged with capturing the wayward shape-shifting spaceship as it combs the desert looking for its former navigator (played by former star and current Canadian inmate Joey Cramer) by changing its shape into a giant contact lens.

Chances for Best Picture: Slim. The Oscars never cotton to sci-fi movies, and I don’t see Paul Reubens’ name anywhere on this poster. How are you going to have Max the Spaceship talk without the original voice? For shame, Hollywood.


Denzel Washington stars as John Fences, a lovable taxi driver from the old neighborhood. With his wife, played by Viola Davis, by his side, John Fences navigates through the highs and lows of this American life with the ease and aplomb of a man who has earned the right to wear that cabbie hat. Filmed in black and white for increased awardability.

Chances for Best Picture: None. Viola Davis is on the left of Denzel Washington on the poster, yet Denzel Washington’s name is on the left of Viola Davis’ name. Stop doing that! I know they aren’t the only offenders, but it is incredibly annoying! Yes, that is enough to deny the movie an award.

“Hacksaw Ridge”

Attempting to claim the world record for “longest fireman’s carry” an unnamed Army medic in World War … 2(?) … earns the coveted title of “Hacksaw” after carrying a wounded solider through quite a bit of fog and delivering him to a Civil War era doctor for surgery. Filmed on location in the past, as no actors are listed on the poster.

Chances for Best Picture: Bad. No actors listed on the poster, but you know what IS on the poster? “From the acclaimed director of ‘Braveheart’ and ‘The Passion of the Christ’.” That’s Mel Gibson! Are they trying to hide that the movie was directed by Mel Gibson? Then why list two of his biggest movies? They might as well have said “From the acclaimed director you vaguely remember making some hateful comments, but, come on, ‘Lethal Weapon’ still holds up, right?”

“Hell or High Water”

Chris Pine and Ben Foster star in this gritty reboot of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” since their A-list alternatives of Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling were unavailable. These two downtrodden fugitives walk the high plains of America with dusty duffle bags, dingy clothes, rusty automatic weapons, and a song in their hearts. With Jeff Bridges as Mufasa.

Chances for Best Picture: Why is everything brown in movie posters these days? Video games too; everything is just a sea of dull sandy colors expanding to the horizon. Might win.

“Hidden Figures”

Four female astronauts are bombarded with cosmic energy during a mission. When they returned to Earth they develop new super abilities. Their commander went public with her new powers, was driven mad by the fame and responsibility, and became the infamous supervillain The Figure. This is the story of the other three astronauts, who use their powers only for good, and work only in the shadows. In honor of their once-great commander they call themselves the Hidden Figures

Chances for Best Picture: The Academy never lets sci-fi movies win. You’d have to be some kind of period-piece movie with a relevant social message to have a good chance at winning.

“La La Land”

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone dance their way across a fantasy version of Los Angeles where you can actually see the stars at night instead of a sky dulled by giant, illuminated billboards for “La La Land.”

Chances for Best Picture: None. Gosling’s name is above Stone’s picture, Stone’s name is above Gosling’s picture. Award denied.


Dev Patel stars as a man destined to use Google to look up the best Instagram filters he can find … then adds a ton of lens flare. Based on a true story and a corporate promotional deal with Google.

Chances for Best Picture: Zero. I’m sure it’s a good movie, but I hear the Academy still uses Bing.

“Manchester by the Sea”

Oh, here we go. Another movie about white people sitting around learning to come to terms with things. This time around Casey Affleck learns to deal with “life” while leaning against a car. Also featured: denim jackets, forlorn looks, Michelle Williams in a flannel, and a bunch of birds. 100 minutes of nothing happening, roll credits.

Chances for Best Picture: Zero. The Academy’s website lists Matt Damon as a producer. I’m pretty sure this whole “Manchester by the Sea” thing is an elaborate prank on Casey Affleck by old buddies Matt Damon and BatFleck. And comedies never get Best Picture.


Rushed into production following the artist’s death “Moonlight” tells the tale of a young Prince as he works his way up the ranks to become one of the greatest musicians of all time. Shot in three parts the movie follows Prince as a young man, as a pop sensation fighting against unfair treatment by Warner Music, and then finally later in life as a reclusive genius. You can tell the movie is about Prince because otherwise there would be no Earthly reason to use that much purple in a movie poster.

Chances for Best Picture: Good, but first the Academy must purify itself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or