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, and plans a full-on Oscar campaign, despite a limited theatrical day-and-date release.
Also rising to instant Oscar contention was Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name,” an elegiac summer love story set in Italy, between a vacationing teenager (Timothee Chalumet) and his father’s researcher (Armie Hammer). Sony Pictures Classics will hit the fall festivals with the critics’ darling.
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 is the Centerpiece gala at the New York Film Festival.
Also debuting at Cannes was director-prize-winner Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled,” which she adapted from the Thomas Cullinen novel and Don Siegel’s 1971 movie. The Civil War southern gothic is a summer arthouse hit for Focus Features.
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.”
Check out the (alphabetical) contenders below: No film will be deemed a front runner until I have seen it.
Sofia Coppola (“The Beguiled”)
Scott Frank and James Mangold (“Logan”)
James Ivory (“Call Me By Your Name”)
Virgil Williams and Dee Rees (“Mudbound”)
Brian Selznick (“Wonderstruck”)
Hossein Amini, Matthew Michael Carnahan (“The Snowman”)
Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves (“War for the Planet of the Apes”)
Helen Edmundson, Philippa Goslett (“Mary Magdalene”)
Hampton Fancher, Michael Green (“Blade Runner 2049”)
J. Mills Goodloe, Chris Weitz (“The Mountain Between Us”)
Michael Green (“Murder on the Orient Express”)
Lee Hall (“Victoria and Abdul”)
Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs (“Wonder Woman”)
Armando Ianucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows (“The Death of Stalin”)
Rian Johnson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”)
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (“The Disaster Artist”)
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber (“Our Souls at Night”)
John Pollono (“Stronger”)
Lynne Ramsay (“You Were Really Never Here”)
Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (“American Assassin”)
Aaron Sorkin (“Molly’s Game”)
Loung Ung, Angelina Jolie (“First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers”)