It wasn’t until the Venice Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival back in September that eventual Best Picture contenders “Moonlight” and “La La Land” premiered and made their way onto everyone’s radar. It’s too early to make any bets on next year’s race for the Academy’s top prize. What we do know: some of the best filmmakers working today have new movies coming out in 2017, which Oscar watchers will track closely.
Sundance debuted Luca Guadagnino’s critically hailed “Call Me By Your Name,” which Sony Pictures Classics will push hard with audiences and voters. The other darling of the Sundance Film Festival, true romance “The Big Sick,” is a well-mounted crowdpleaser with an impressive cast. So is Dee Rees’ “Mudbound,” but it remains to be seen if Netflix can drive a non-documentary Oscar campaign.
Hitchcockian sleeper hit “Get Out” from writer-director Jordan Peele could go the distance despite its horror genre.
Cannes broke out Best Director-winner Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” starring prize-winner Nicole Kidman, Sean Baker’s slice of poverty row “The Florida Project,” starring discovery Brooklynn Prince and Willem Dafoe, and Todd Haynes’ ambitious silent/sound tapestry “Wonderstruck,” starring Julianne Moore, along with Lynne Ramsay’s hardboiled hitman drama “You Were Never really Here,” starring Best Actor-winner Joaquin Phoenix.
On June 2, Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” opened to $103 million with rave reviews and instantly entered the Oscar race with strong performances from Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, as well as technical achievements. The Academy directors could lean into Jenkins’ accomplishment.
Previous Oscar contenders Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Kathryn Bigelow, Christopher Nolan and Alexander Payne will all release new efforts. And indies James Kent (“Testament of Youth”) and Daniel Destin Cretton (“Short Term 12”) are set to raise their profiles with anticipated follow-ups.
Photo Credit: James Mangold
While fans of “Deadpool” were disappointed when it failed to register with Oscar voters, they have a second chance with another R-rated Marvel breakout, “X-Men” spin-off “Logan,” marking the end of Hugh Jackman’s incarnation of “Wolverine.” The Academy can be snobby about these things, but director James Mangold brought depth, storytelling and style to the comic-book superhero genre. Going in, who thought “Mad Max: Fury Road” would score ten nominations and six wins?
A list of early possibilities is below. No film will be deemed a frontrunner until I have seen it.
“The Big Sick”
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Battle of the Sexes”
“The Current War”
“The Glass Castle”
“Goodbye Christopher Robin”
“Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson”
“Victoria and Abdul”
“You Were Never Really Here”