The 2017 oscar nominations are incredibly dull. The line-up probably has not been worse in recent memory. As you go through previous year’s films, you will find a usually diverse group: distinct stories in different times told in different ways. This year, many of the films blend together. The primary story of 2017 is that of the downtrodden dealing with their frustrations. The 2017 protagonist is a poor, discriminated man with a bad childhood, who the audience is supposed to feel sorry for (but not entirely, because that would be too cliché). It is uninspiring to watch, unimaginative for the viewer, and ultimately unsatisfying. Because these films do not have plots, they always end unexpectedly, without much closure or catharsis. The intellectual payoff from two hours of intellectual pretentiousness is unrewarded. The perfect example is Fences, which is a conversational epic on the life of a poor, black man who builds a fence despite not having anything worth taking. The film is most respectable for a few excellent scenes with good acting (it was originally a play). But it ends up chronicling one man’s every vice and folly with seemingly no focus. Unfaithfulness, mental illness, feminism and racism - all the hot topics of the day seem to make an appearance. In Moonlight, a man deals with being poor, black and gay. In Manchester by the Sea, a poor janitor from a poor little town deals with the past. Hidden figures is a sputnik-era story about discriminated black women. From a few decades prior comes to the story of Hacksaw Ridge, on a pacifist WWII hero. From the modern era, Lion is about an Indian searching for his long-lost poarents, Arrival is an intellectual's Independence Day, and Hell or High Water is about an unlikely duo of poor bank robbers. The role of parent-children relationships play a significant role in many films: Hacksaw, Fences and Moonlight showcase how bad parents leave an impression on children; Arrival, Lion and High Water have "responsible" or protective parents as major narratives. The best film among a bunch about first world problems is the one set in the third world: Lion is thoroughly uplifting despite being a story of extreme misfortune. Of course in a field of sombre and cerebral films, it won't be surprising if the Academy picks the one I need not mention, the crowd-pleasing, straightforward, bundle of pure joy.