Oscars Preview: 30 Movies to Watch Before the Nominations Come Out!

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Sully, Promotional Image, via Warner Brothers


What it’s about:

Sully is a biographical film about Chesley Sullenberger, a pilot for US Airways. One day, in January 2009, Sully boards Flight 1549 from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, expecting the flight to be routine. But three minutes in, the plan strikes a flock of birds, and both of the engines are disabled. Sully, as the captain, deduces that the plane cannot make it back to the airport without crashing. He makes the decision to land the plane on the Hudson River, and safely and successfully executes the difficult landing, saving the lives of everyone on board. But that’s just the beginning of the story.

Sully soon discovers after the fact that the National Transportation Safety Board is considering classifying the emergency landing as pilot error, which would end his career as a pilot. He must fight to prove that his decision was valid, and that the lives on the flight could not have been saved otherwise.

Major Players:

Four-time Best Director nominee and one-time winner Clint Eastwood directed the film, while relative newcomer Todd Komarnicki wrote the script. Sully is played by two-time Best Actor winner and five-time nominee Tom Hanks. The cast is rounded out by Aaron Eckhart as Jeffrey Skiles, three-time Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Lorraine Sullenberger, and Anna Gunn as Dr. Elizabeth Davis 

What the Critics are Saying:

Sully is currently at an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, which amounts to a high amount of acclaim from critics and audience. Critics are particularly lauding the direction and Hanks’s performance. Vulture’s David Edelstein calls Hanks “excellent,” while Monohla Dargis of the New York Times says Eastwood is “very good at his job.” But many reviewers have several points of criticism, including the stereotypical nature and inherent predictability of the movie. The Atlantic’s Christopher Orr writes, “This is a movie, after all, in which the happy ending is evident from the beginning, a story in which we know that any and all dangers will be averted without harm…Where is the narrative tension supposed to come from?”

Possible Nominations:

Best Picture, Best Director (Eastwood), Best Adapted Screenplay (Komarnicki), Leading Actor (Hanks), Supporting Actor (Eckhart)