Sundance broke out Dee Rees’ post-World War II epic “Mudbound,” a script of sweeping ambition and detail adapted by Rees and Virgil Williams from the Hilary Jordan novel. Netflix picked up the movie for the Sundance 2017 record of $12.5 million, booked it at fall film festivals and is mounting a full-on Oscar campaign, despite a limited theatrical day-and-date November 17 release.
Also rising to instant Oscar contention was Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name,” an elegiac summer love story written by James Ivory. Set in Italy, the old-fashioned romance is between a vacationing teenager (Timothee Chalumet) and his father’s researcher (Armie Hammer). Sony Pictures Classics took the critics’ darling to the fall festivals to continued acclaim.
Cannes introduced Todd Haynes’ cinematic tour-de-force “Wonderstruck,” adapted by Brian Selznick from his own graphic novel, which intercuts two periods, the 20s and the 70s, in silent black-and-white and color with sound. The film was the Centerpiece gala at the New York Film Festival.
Courtesy of STXfilms
With global blockbuster “Logan,” Scott Frank and director James Mangold crafted a last Wolverine movie for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart as an emotionally moving, human-scale family drama. Another franchise hit could register with writers, Mark Bomback and writer-director Matt Reeves’ layered action-adventure “War for the Planet of the Apes.” And writer-director Rian Johnson could enter the fray with the return of Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Writer-director Angelina Jolie and Cambodian memoirist Loung Ung adapted her true Khmer Rouge survival story in “First They Killed My Father” (Netflix), the well-reviewed Cambodian entry for the foreign-language Oscar. And Oscar perennial Aaron Sorkin adapted skier-turned-poker-wrangler Molly Bloom’s bestseller “Molly’s Game” for his entertaining directorial debut.
Check out the (alphabetical) contenders below: No film will be deemed a frontrunner until I have seen it.
Scott Frank and James Mangold (“Logan”)
James Ivory (“Call Me By Your Name”)
Angelina Jolie and Loung Ung (“First They Killed My Father”)
Aaron Sorkin (“Molly’s Game”)
Virgil Williams and Dee Rees (“Mudbound”)
Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves (“War for the Planet of the Apes”)
Sofia Coppola (“The Beguiled”)
Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs (“Wonder Woman”)
Rian Johnson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”)
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (“The Disaster Artist”)
Brian Selznick (“Wonderstruck”)