Oscar Hopefuls

I love the Oscars. I’ve seen every Best Picture nominee since the ‘90s, and I wait with baited breath for the prestige movie season to begin every Fall.

I’ve always been fascinated by the way that movies are branded through poster design. When you hear people talk about Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (above), the image that is conjured in your mind is usually not Jimmy Stewart or Kim Novak, but Saul Bass’s poster.

The branding informs the audience so much about the essence of the movie, but is often overlooked as an essential part of the whole.

Best Picture nominations were announced this morning, and each year, I do a personal ranking of the nominees I liked the best. This year, I have also ranked each film’s official poster, from worst to best.

9. Dunkirk—Striking image, hackneyed wordmark.

8. The Shape of Water—Points deducted for the fish scale background texture.

7. The Post—I like the texture of the steps, but I could do without Meryl and Tom’s last names being prioritized over the title of the movie.

6. Darkest Hour—Simple and effective.

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri—Great palette, and I like the use of painterly typography.

4. Lady Bird—The gothic font is a stark contrast to the modern story. The only poster without a photograph.

3. Phantom Thread—Elegant images and tones that evoke a very specific time and place.

2. Get Out—Daniel Kaluuya’s terrified eyes say so much.

1. Call Me By Your Name – Captures the early ’80s feel of the movie in a new and refreshing way.