Let's start with Best Picture, according to The Academy official rules, when voting takes place, the voter must take into consideration "the effectiveness, creative substance and relevance to the dramatic whole, and only as presented within the motion picture." Typically, The Academy votes within their branch, directors vote in the best director category, actors vote within their category and so on. All members of The Academy are asked to submit their choice for Best Picture by listing their top five choices in order of preference. It gets a lot more detailed, you can check out the official voting rules 90th Academy Awards of Merit here.
Past winners in this category have been Moonlight Spotlight, Birdman, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The Artist, The King's Speech, The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, The Departed, Crash, Million Dollar Baby, The lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Chicago, A Beautiful Mind, and Gladiator. Those are just from the last 16 years, who will be the newest addition to the list come March 4?
This film is a coming of age story of 17-year-old Elio (Timothèe Chalamet) in 1983 Italy who falls in love with his father's research assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer). A man he forms a bond with over his emerging sexuality and their Jewish heritage.Darkest Hour
Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill, the newly appointed British Prime Minister in his early days of World War II. Churchill must decide to negotiate a peace treaty with Nazi Germany or stand firm for the freedom of a nation. All while facing an imminent invasion of Nazi forces sweeping through Western Europe and his own party plotting against him.Dunkirk
A deeper look at World War II, Christopher Nolan takes the story to the front lines into a pivotal moment, the evacuation of allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France of Dunkirk.Get Out
Jordan Peele's lauded directorial feature debut about a young African-American, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) meeting the parents of his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) on a weekend getaway. He quickly finds that things aren't exactly as they appear.Lady Bird
Another coming of age film starring Saoirse Ronan as the titular character who faces her senior year of high school while navigating a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother.Phantom Thread
Daniel Day-Lewis plays a renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock in 1950's post-war London when his life is disrupted by love in the form of a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vickey Krieps).The Post
Known as the Pentagon Papers, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) the first female publisher of a major American newspaper along with Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) decide to publish in The Washington Post a cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents which ignites a clash between the press and the government.The Shape of Water
This film takes place in the 1950's Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a lonely soul who forms a unique bond with a top secret amphibious creature in the lab she cleans.Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
In order to get the local police to solve the murder of her daughter, Mildred (Frances McDormand) decides to become a very large thorn in the side of the police, doing all she can to get their attention.
Some of those helming the Best Picture nominees are also nominated for taking the lead in bringing these stories to life.
"Dunkirk," Christopher Nolan
"Get Out," Jordan Peele
"Lady Bird," Greta Gerwig
"Phantom Thread," Paul Thomas Anderson
"The Shape of Water," Guillermo del Toro
And it's no surprise that those performing in the aforementioned pictures are also being admired for their talent in those films. Denzel Washington's grabs a nod from The Academy for his performance as a defense attorney in Roman J. Israel, Esq. Margot Robbie also grabbed a nod with her performance in I, Tonya about the disgraced figure skater, Tonya Harding.
Timothée Chalamet, "Call Me by Your Name"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Phantom Thread"
Daniel Kaluuya, "Get Out"
Gary Oldman, "Darkest Hour"
Denzel Washington, "Roman J. Israel, Esq."
Sally Hawkins, "The Shape of Water"
Frances McDormand, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Margot Robbie, "I, Tonya"
Saoirse Ronan, "Lady Bird"
Meryl Streep, "The Post"
The Academy made some fun Twitter videos featuring stars to explain each category in thirty seconds or less.
"Blade Runner 2049," Roger Deakins
"Darkest Hour," Bruno Delbonnel
"Dunkirk," Hoyte van Hoytema
"Mudbound," Rachel Morrison
"The Shape of Water," Dan LaustsenOrginal Screenplay
"The Big Sick," Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
"Get Out," Jordan Peele
"Lady Bird," Greta Gerwig
"The Shape of Water," Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," Martin McDonagh
"Call Me by Your Name," James Ivory
"The Disaster Artist," Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
"Logan," Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
"Molly's Game," Aaron Sorkin
"Mudbound," Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
"The Boss Baby," Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
"The Breadwinner," Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
"Coco," Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
"Ferdinand," Carlos Saldanha
"Loving Vincent," Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh WelchmanYou can get a full list of all those nominated including all the technical categories and others not mentioned here.