This year’s strongest Oscar contenders are a mix of established veterans and rising stars. Previous Best Picture Oscar contenders Christopher Nolan, Joe Wright, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Steven Spielberg are back in the race with World War II original blockbuster “Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.), with eight nods, “Darkest Hour” (Working Title/Focus Features), starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill with six, period romantic drama “Phantom Thread” (Annapurna/Focus Features) with six, and Pentagon Papers newspaper saga “The Post,” with two, respectively.
The Sundance Film Festival in January debuted Luca Guadagnino’s critically hailed gay romance “Call Me By Your Name,” which Sony Pictures Classics pushed with audiences and voters after bringing it back to fall film festivals. The other darlings of Sundance, true romance “The Big Sick,” was a well-mounted summer crowdpleaser with an impressive cast, while smart Hitchcockian sleeper hit “Get Out,” from WGA-winner Jordan Peele, has campaigned to rise above its horror roots.
New to the Best Picture club are fall festival entries “Lady Bird” (A24), written and directed by Greta Gerwig, and two movies from Fox Searchlight, Martin McDonagh’s incendiary portrait of an angry woman (Frances McDormand) railing against her small-town sheriffs’ department (Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell), which won four Golden Globes including Best Drama and the SAG Ensemble Award before scoring seven Oscar nominations and five BAFTA wins, and Guillermo del Toro’s charming romantic fable “The Shape of Water,” about a cleaning lady (Sally Hawkins) in love with an exotic merman (Doug Jones). The movie took home the PGA, DGA and Critics Choice awards and lead the Oscar nominations field with 13.
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“Call Me By Your Name”