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 took the critics’ darling to the fall festivals.
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.
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 Rian Johnson could enter the fray with the return of Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Check out the (alphabetical) contenders below: No film will be deemed a front runner until I have seen it.
Scott Frank and James Mangold (“Logan”)
Armando Ianucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows (“The Death of Stalin”)
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”)
Sofia Coppola (“The Beguiled”)
Hampton Fancher, Michael Green (“Blade Runner 2049”)
Michael Green (“Murder on the Orient Express”)
Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs (“Wonder Woman”)
Rian Johnson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”)
Richard Linklater and Darryl Ponicsan (“Last Flag Flying”)
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (“The Disaster Artist”)
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber (“Our Souls at Night”)
Lynne Ramsay (“You Were Really Never Here”)
Aaron Sorkin (“Molly’s Game”)