This year's films were truly one of a kind. From tackling serious social problems to putting monumental scenes of history onto the big screen, the diversity and vast array of topics these films covered was empowering and revolutionary. However, there is one thing that can sew all of the coming of age, first love, and heroic moments together: food. Whether it was the focal point or a simple one-liner, the intertwining of food and film helped the artful masterpieces of Hollywood relate to the bigger picture of the human condition.

So as this year's awards season came to an end with the Academy Awards this past Sunday, here's a look at the iconic culinary moments in the most outstanding, prolific, and award-winning movies of 2017.

Call Me By Your Name

Now if you've heard anything about this movie, chances are you have also heard of the peach scene. I would be remiss if I didn't mention this coming-of-age climactic moment in Luca Guadagnino’s gorgeous movie. Without going into too much detail, actor Timothée Chalamet, who plays Elio, uses a ripe peach to pleasure himself amidst the lust and excitement of a sensual summer fling. As I mentioned, every Q&A, interview, and blog post can tell you anything and everything you want to know about the societal and pop-culture references of the scene. However, this moment also provides tremendous insight into the implications of food and it's role in the entirety of the film. 

Enveloped in the luscious fields of the family's orchard, it's clear from the first few minutes of the movie that food not only sustains the Northern Italian family, but rather is a way of life. Nearly every shot that includes Elio, his parents, and the grad student/houseguest/lover Oliver all together, is centered around the dinner table, thus showing the role of food and it's power to unite all people together.

However, the peach scene's frank and unique atmosphere allows the audience to gain insight into a deeper meaning of Elio's character development in the film. As the 17-year old explores himself and the world around him, it is very meaningful that he uses the peach, a symbol of his family, his community, and his childhood lifestyle, as a tool to progress into the world of adulthood.

All in all, the culinary moments in Call Me By Your Name not only conjure up the audience's appetite for fresh and aromatic fruits plucked from the trees of Northern Italy, but it also serves as an instrument to illustrate the important character development, coming-of-age moments, and the delicate world of love.


Dunkirk, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, racked up a total of 11 awards this season, ranging from Critic's Choice for Best Editing to Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing. However, beyond the 106 minutes of sitting on the edge of our seat action, there were a few brief moments of relief from the horrors of war. Attempt after attempt to escape the looming death imposed by the enemy's bombs, the movie's characters are finally safe, and the audience is able to take a deep breath and sit back. 

Aboard the rescue boat, the first and only site of food is introduced. While the men pile into the ship, they are able to grab a bite to eat with the side of safety. However, as expected, this solace doesn't last for long, as the movie is thrown back into full-throttle and the soldiers must once again stand in the face of death. Yet, this moment of safety intertwines food and comfort into a package of reassurance that all will be right with the world.

Beatriz at Dinner

While Beatriz at Dinner didn't receive as much attention at the Academy Awards or many other standard award shows, the film is both sensitive and serious as the cast addresses the looming stereotypes and biases towards immigrants in today's society. As you can probably guess by the title, this movie was centered around a dinner with the rich and elite in Los Angeles. However, unlike the other films, the role of food in this stunning movie can be both divisive and a source of unity.

Beatriz finds herself in a rather uncomfortable situation where she is incidentally invited to the dinner, yet she feels quite alienated at the table. While some could argue that the act of dinner brings two very diverse and opposing parties together, the conclusion is far from a happy ending. Invigorated by the pain and heartbreak inflicted on her hometown in Mexico, coincidentally by one of the guests Doug Strutt, Beatriz's peaceful character is reluctant to lash out at the despicable man.

If food were to never bring the two together, then perhaps Beatriz would not have taken her own life. However, because this culinary moment occurred, she was able to answer life's question and ultimately fulfill her destiny, thus exemplifing the importance of the food's role. Overall, Beatriz at Dinner is a complex drama that brings up important conversations, while still utilizing the unity and peacefulness of food, touching the hearts of all who watch it.


Nominated for 20 awards, and Heartland Film's "Truly Moving Motion Picture", it's no surprise that Wonder swept the nation with its message of kindness and courage. Many of the scenes where the main character, August, had to overcome tremendous social barriers were set at school. Crowded areas like the hallways or the cafeteria can be daunting for anyone, especially for those outside the conformist boundaries set by middle-school social cues. However, the cafeteria and food as a whole in this movie represents friendship, compassion, and standing up for whats right.

As a new student at the school, August inevitably sat by himself initially. However, as the character's relationship with peers Jack and Summer grew, the cafeteria became a place of safety and peacefulness. The role of food and the cafeteria also acts as a gauge for August's development. While the two best friends went through a rough patch, the middle schooler resumed the initial loneliness at the lunch table. All in all, the food scenes within this touching film demonstrate not only the character's development but also serve as a reminder to conquer hate with courageousness and never-ending love.

Lady Bird

As one of the most praised movies of this awards season, it's no surprise that Lady Bird's frank, yet in-depth, perspective on the life of Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson features a few of the iconic food scenes of this year's films. However, these relatable and down to earth moments aren't as explicit as Call Me By Your Name or Beatriz at Dinner. Instead, these one-line mentions of everyday brands appear in everyday actions, not some over-produced Hollywood scene.

The subtle mentions of eating a bag of Doritos after being waitlisted to her dream school in New York, or the two BFF's snacking on some communion crackers break the norms of the environment, but also allow the audience to relate and be a part of the action on screen. Overall, the discrete food scenes are impactful in expanding the reach of the coming-of-age drama to the screens of Academy members and average Americans alike.

These films recognized throughout this year's award season not only stood for all that's right in the world but also brought awareness to the power of food and culinary moments in our everyday lives. No matter the age, background, or social status of humans, we all share one commonality—dependence on food. It's the matter of how we share, how we care, how we love, and how we eat with one another that shows the true side of our humanity.