In this year’s battle of the auteurs, expect to see Wes Anderson’s animated “Isle of Dogs” (April 13, Fox Searchlight) contend against long-overdue Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” (May 18, A24), “The Big Short” director Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” (December 14, Annapurna) starring a beefy Christian Bale, and “Gravity” Best Director-winner Alfonso Cuaron’s return to Mexico, 65 mm black-and-white drama “Roma” (Netflix) which broke out at the fall festivals.
Another Netflix entry, Tamara Jenkins’ Netflix Original “Private Life,” scored raves at Sundance and New York festivals, but could get lost in the fall shuffle.
Buzz is building for Yorgos Lanthimos’ royal-court dramedy “The Favourite” (November 23, Fox Searchlight), starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz, partly because the always off-beat Lanthimos didn’t originate the script. It played Venice and Telluride before opening the New York Film Festival.
Toronto breakout “Green Book” could land a slot, for its adept 60s two-hander between a sophisticated concert pianist (Mahershala Ali) and the New York bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) hired to drive and protect him on the road in the Deep South, based on a true story.
If all goes right, Sundance breakouts Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade,” July 13, A24) and Boots Riley (“Sorry to Bother You,” July 6, Annapurna) could benefit from a younger and more diverse Academy membership. They could also push into contention such hit genre films as Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” (June 8, A24) and John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” (April 6, Paramount) as well as Karyn Kusama’s festival breakout “Destroyer” (Annapurna).
Remember, no film will be deemed a frontrunner until I have seen it. Lists are in alphabetical order.
Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade”)
Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (“The Favourite”)
Paul Schrader (“First Reformed”)
Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly (“The Green Book”)
Wes Anderson (“Isle of Dogs”)
Adam McKay (“Vice”)
Boots Riley (“Sorry to Bother You”)
Ari Aster (“Hereditary”)
Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (“Destroyer”)
Tamara Jenkins (“Private Life”)
John Krasinski, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck (“A Quiet Place”)