Every year the Academy determines the best films of the year by nominating up to 10 of them for Best Picture … but most often, the lineup looks like a roundup of the most devastating and emotional films released in the last 12 months.
Of course, not all of this year’s Best Picture nominees are guaranteed to make you sob in public (and if you do, we’re not judging) but if you’ve got a limited amount of tissues at your disposal, consult this list before you catch any last-minute showings — guaranteed to test your crying limits.
9. GET OUT
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is guaranteed to cause plenty of reactions — fear, laughter, discomfort, general suspicion of all middle-aged, benevolent-seeming white couples, and a desire to never drink out of a teacup again — and while it’s possible that you may shed a tear or two, you’ll be too busy sitting at the edge of your seat to get too choked up. Although never discount the impact of the single, paralyzed tear running down Daniel Kaluuya’s face.
8. THE POST
Most common side effects of watching The Post include a desire to subscribe to as many newspapers as possible, buying a wardrobe full of gold-embroidered caftans and starting every conversation with a dramatic pronouncement about changing the world while holding your glasses to your cheek. The amount of tears shed, however, depends on how strongly you feel about Meryl Streep making triumphant speeches.
7. PHANTOM THREAD
If you’re Jennifer Lawrence, Phantom Thread will make you cry over how much you don’t want to watch it. If you’re a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson, it will make you cry over the impact of the storytelling and craft on display. If you’re a Daniel Day-Lewis fan, you’ll probably be pretty emotional about it being his final film, and if you’re only in it for the fashion, it’s the gorgeous costumes that will make you all choked up.
6. DARKEST HOUR
Sure, you might find it hard to imagine crying over a movie about Winston Churchill — after all, you’ve seen The Crown already and you know the story — but there is one scene in the film, when the Prime Minister asks for advice from the common people that will fill you with emotion. As one PEOPLE staffer said, “It made me proud to be British … and I’m not actually British.”
5. LADY BIRD
Are you, or have you ever been a teenage girl? How about the mother of a teenage girl? How about simply a human being with a heart and soul who walks this earth? Well, then bring the tissues, because Lady Bird is like a gut-punch right in all of your angry, hormonal, desperate post-teenage emotions. (Seriously, they should use the prom dress scene to determine whether or not people are sociopaths.)
4. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI
Yes, the primary emotion conjured up by this film (and obviously the most intense one displayed on screen) is anger, but the moment where Frances McDormand’s Mildred confronts her ex-husband while he’s on a date? That’s the moment that won her the Golden Globe. And the SAG Award. And possibly also the Oscar.
What, you think you’ve seen every single World War II epic ever made? Well, you’re not prepared for Dunkirk, and the heartbreaking, panicking feeling of watching a beach full of scared young boys face down certain death. (Also, there’s the possibility that Harry Styles’ cheekbones will bring you to tears, but those are a very different kind of tears.)
2. THE SHAPE OF WATER
It’s hard to decide which moment in The Shape of Water made us most verklempt: Watching Richard Jenkins’ devastating conversation with the pie-shop guy, seeing the Amphibian Man be tortured by Michael Shannon at his most menacing, the way Octavia Spencer risks everything to help her friends, or every single heart-wrenching moment that Sally Hawkins is on-screen. Oh, god, we’re getting emotional just thinking about it …
1. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
We have just one sentence for you: Timothée Chalamet crying in front of the fireplace. If you’ll excuse us, we need to go lie face down on the floor and sob for a little while, because we’re still not over this film.
The Oscars will air live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday, March 4, at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.