By Michael Donelan, E23 Reporter

Over the past year, mainstream and independent studios released some of the best films of recent memory. From intimate indies to Hollywood blockbusters, here are my five favorite movies of last year.

1. “Call Me By Your Name”

“Call Me By Your Name” is by far one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. Every shot, every sound and the phenomenal performances by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer are all done with such tenderness and care that it makes the film a must-see. Taking place in 1983 Italy, the film tells the love story between Elio (Chalamet), whose family hosts an exchange student every summer, and Oliver (Hammer), the American exchange student who goes to Italy to study with Elio’s father. Like 2016’s “Moonlight,” “Call Me By Your Name” is an LGBT coming-of-age story. I would not be surprised if both Chalamet and Hammer won Oscars for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, along with the film winning Best Picture.

2. “Lady Bird”

“Lady Bird” is the story of a girl named Christine who names herself Lady Bird to assert her independence in her life. The film, starring Saoirse Ronan, shows her relationship with the important people in her life, such as her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein), various boyfriends such as Danny (Lucas Hedges) and Kyle (Timothée Chalamet) and her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf), during her last year of high school. “Lady Bird” is a very fresh take on the teen movie and features many strong women. This is Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, and it deservedly received critical acclaim. I expect “Lady Bird” to be a strong contender for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Picture and Best Director.

3. “The Shape of Water”

Guillermo del Toro always has a knack for making wonderfully strange films like “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Crimson Peak.” “The Shape of Water” is no different. Set during the Cold War in 1960s Baltimore, Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a mute woman who spends her days sleeping and her evenings working as a cleaner alongside Zelda (Octavia Spencer) in a government lab. When an amphibious man is brought into the lab after being captured in the Amazon River, Elisa immediately takes a liking to him. After discovering that the head of the lab, Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), plans on killing the man for dissection, Elisa plans a dangerous escape so that she can save the man who she loves. “The Shape of Water” has been described as an adult version of “Beauty and the Beast,” and that is very accurate. Sally Hawkins is a likely Best Actress nominee along with Octavia Spencer as Best Supporting, and I expect nominations for Best Picture and Best Director.

4. “Wonder Woman”

After several critical flops, DC came through with an action-packed and heartfelt film. “Wonder Woman” tells the story of Amazon warrior princess Diana (Gal Gadot). Diana meets war pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) when he crashes his plane near her hidden magical island, and she agrees to return with him to help fight in World War I. “Wonder Woman” was the very first female-led superhero movie in the post-cinematic universe era, and hopefully it paves the way for many more. Gal Gadot played Diana so well, with equal levels of grace and badassery, that the film became both a critical and commercial success.

5. “The Florida Project”

“The Florida Project” is a very delicate but also very heavy film depicting the lives of people who are often overlooked. Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) is a young girl living with her trouble-making mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) in a motel just blocks from Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The motel, managed by the caring Bobby (Willem Dafoe), is home to many people in Halley and Moonee’s situation. Moonee spends her days roaming around with her friends Jancey (Valeria Cotto) and Scooty (Christopher Rivera) while Halley does whatever she can to get money to take care of Moonee. Director Sean Baker does a great job of highlighting the lives of these people, and the film maintains a level of childlike innocence throughout. “The Florida Project” is most likely going to be nominated for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Dafoe.

I am anxious to see how the Oscars play out on March 4 as there are many great contenders this year. If this next year is anything like last year in terms of movies, I am very excited to get back to the theaters this year.

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