This Sunday, Hollywood’s most famous actors and filmmakers will don their finest attire, pose for the paparazzi, and collect gift bags with worth tens of thousands of dollars at the 90th annual Academy Awards ceremony. The list of best picture nominees includes some films where food is prominently featured in key scenes. Here are Eater’s picks for the best culinary moments from the Oscars frontrunners.
Get Out isn’t a food movie, but the scene where Allison Williams, as love interest Rose Armitage, eats Froot Loops sure is terrifying.
Sitting cross-legged on her childhood bed, after shit has decidedly hit the fan for her boyfriend Chris, played by best lead actor nominee Daniel Kaluuya, Rose munches on loops, one at a time, washing them down with obsessively precise staw-pulls of milk as she listens to “Time of My Life” on her headphones. The glass and the bowl are set on a tray, leaving Rose’s hands free to search for top NCAA prospects from her laptop. Above her we see an array of photos of other... exes. (I’d explain just how devastating this double reveal is, too, but ~spoilers~.)
The film’s director and writer, multiple Oscar nominee Jordan Peele, sees the scene — a last minute addition to the movie — as a glimpse into Rose’s true self. “It’s more interesting if she actually is kind of an actress herself and goes back to a different version of herself so she can bring home the bacon,” he told the L.A. Times.
”It drives home the point that she has stalled developmentally at the age that she started doing the job,” Williams told Business Insider. “She still dresses somewhat androgynous, she’s totally meticulous, total control freak. She has her teddy bear and Froot Loops and milk.”
This is the scene that catapults Rose into the pantheon of iconic movie villains. It’s so utterly strange, so mechanical, and such a jarring interruption to the movie’s climactic action sequence. Who the hell eats cereal this way? What’s with the ’80s music? How many times has she done this after bringing a boyfriend home — and how many more times will she?
Coming soon after the full scope of the family business is revealed, Rose’s bizarre cereal eating cements her status as cold, unfeeling terrorizer and hunter — it’s not for nothing that soon after seeing Rose engage in her unsettling nighttime snack routine we see her ready to fire a long rifle at the one who got away. — Hillary Dixler Canavan
Call Me By Your Name
When people talk about Luca Guadagnino’s gorgeous coming-of-age story Call Me By Your Name, the first point of conversation is almost certainly the peach scene. Without getting into some lovingly erotic detail, the scene features Timothée Chalamet as Elio pushing the pit from a full, ripe peach (carefully cultivated by the family gardener) and using it to pleasure himself. Shortly after, houseguest/lover Oliver (played by Armie Hammer) finds him out, and jokes about eating the peach. It’s a little odd and a little sexy.
But food in Call Me By Your Name runs deeper than that one scene. Set against the lush summertime Italian countryside, the family exclusively dines al fresco in the film. Almost all scenes with Oliver, Elio, and both parents take place at the dining table for breakfast and lunch over soft-boiled eggs, jugs of fresh apricot juice, and, yes, home-grown peaches. Each meal is a beautifully uncomplicated picture of a happy family, with the secret of the two young men’s relationship hidden in plain sight from Elio’s mother and father. — Adam Moussa
The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water, this Oscars season’s most-nominated film (with 13 nominations total, including for best picture, best director, and best actress) is a visually stunning fairy tale with a familiar-by-now plot: A mute woman named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) falls in love with a man-fish creature (Doug Jones) in Cold War-era Baltimore. In director Guillermo del Toro’s hands, the result is a complete and complex world, lush in green tones that sometimes echo the sterility associated with the era, and at other times add a shade of romance.
And in a deft touch, del Toro uses food to inject a sense of the uncanny. Elisa and her friend/neighbor Giles (played by Richard Jenkins) often meet over slices of electric-green Key lime pies, a ritual that sweetly reveals the depth of their friendship while also serving as an excuse for Giles, who is gay, to flirt with an attractive young male server at the local pie shop. The subplot ends in heartbreak for Giles: His crush rejects him harshly, and the pie’s neon green filling amplifies the idea that Giles’s attempt at romance, at least through 1960s norms, is considered by some to be just as “unnatural” as Elisa’s more fantastical bid to celebrate love. (The fantasy is broken even further when a black couple is denied service at the retro-cute pie shop: Fish-men might walk the earth, but segregation and the racist policies of mid-20th century America are very much alive.)
At the end of Shape of Water, Elisa and her partner receive their fairy tale ending (of sorts). For Giles, he loses his close friend Elisa and is presumably left alone with a fridge full of solitary, glowing slices of pie. — Erin DeJesus
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread has been hailed, by many publications, including this one, as one of the best food movies in ages — and it is, particularly thanks to the scenes in the kitchen. Not only does this space serve as a place of pleasure but it’s also a place of war. From the moment the viewer meets renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (played by the great Daniel Day-Lewis), it becomes clear that he is in control, but it’s in the kitchen where his lover Alma (Vicky Krieps) gains the upper hand.
After Alma poisons Reynolds’s tea with mushroom shavings and nurses him back to health (this is how you earn the love of another human being, folks), the two get married. However, as time passes, Reynolds feels his work is severely affected by Alma’s presence and their marriage. So how does Alma respond? By poisoning him again — this time with a mushroom omelette. Reynolds is able to deduce what she has done to him so he chews, swallows, and says, “Kiss me, my girl, before I’m sick.”
It is in this scene, one of the last in the movie, where it becomes clear that this is what their relationship will forever be like: Reynolds will have control until Alma decides it’s her turn, and that’s when she’ll break out the mushrooms, nurse her “hungry boy” back to health, and be loved in return, in the way she sees fit. It’s twisted and 100 percent thrilling. — Esra Erol
An early scene in Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age drama involves the main character Christine (AKA Ladybird, played by Saoirse Ronan) and her BFF Julie (Beanie Feldstein) munching on communion wafers as they lie on their backs and talk about pleasuring themselves. The scene ends when a classmate discovers them in the room and complains about their snack choice, to which Lady Bird responds, “They’re not consecrated.”
This scene perfectly sets up the tone of this film, and particularly all of the scenes that involve the Catholic school. Catholicism is a part of these teenagers’ lives, but Lady Bird and Julie don’t take the religious aspects of their education very seriously, and the friends find any opportunities that they can to feel connected to each other and comfortable with themselves — even if it means hiding in the sacristy with the communion wafers for a bit.
A distant runner up to this scene is when Lady Bird’s dad, played by Tracy Letts, suggests they eat a bag of Doritos in the car to celebrate the fact that she landed on a college waiting list. — Greg Morabito
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