Cinemas have been saturated with incredible and compelling films this year. That trend looks to continue into awards season, as a slew of great movies make their ways to theaters, many of which should be in Oscar conversation. Which of these should you put on your calendar? These are the potential Best Picture winners we’re most looking forward to.
Wildlife stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jerry Brinson and Carey Mulligan as Jeanette Brinson, a husband and wife living in 1960s Montana. After Jerry loses his job as a professional golfer and decides to become a forest fire fighter fighting blazes near the Canadian border, Jeanette and her son, Joe (Ed Oxenbould), are forced to fend for themselves. Only, Jeanette’s self-involvement and self-determination make it so she’s not a very attentive mother. As Joe is forced to be an adult and take care of both he and his mother, he gets to observe just how bleak the situation between his parents really is.
Boy Erased isn’t just any coming-of-age teen drama. It’s about Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges), a teenage boy and son of a Baptist pastor in a small Southern American town, and how he’s outed as gay to his parents at just 19 years old. Eamons is forced to attend a gay conversion therapy program in lieu of being cast out of his family and risking losing the support of his friends and church, but things go terribly for the young man—as you’d expect. Nicole Kidman plays Nancy Eamons, Jared’s mother, and Russell Crowe plays Marshall Eamons, Jared’s father. It’s a brutally honest look at the horrors of gay conversion therapy and the difficulties of being a closeted gay teenager. It started making the rounds after premiering at Telluride Film Festival back in September, and it’s definitely heavily favored among critics.
What is probably going to be one of the most successful films of the year, Bohemian Rhapsody is also making some pretty serious waves in the awards community. It stars Rami Malek as a young Freddie Mercury, and tells the story of how Queen rose to prominence, along with some of the trials and tribulations the band faced early on, while transitioning into stardom, and after Freddie Mercury fell ill. The world is eagerly awaiting the film’s November 2 release, and it’s been rumored to be a major Best Picture contender for months.
Let us be clear: Widows is a crime drama/thriller with an all-female lead cast and centers around a dangerous and lucrative heist. However, it is not in the same vein as, say, Ocean’s 8. It’s tough, gritty, well written, and wonderfully acted, and stars Viola Davis as Veronica, Michelle Rodriguez as Linda, Elizabeth Debicki as Alice, a group of women who are forced by local crime boss Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) to pick up where their husbands left off after they’re all killed in a hail of gunfire after botching the job and being cornered by police. The film was written and directed by Steve McQueen, made famous by his work on 12 Years a Slave and Shame. It was well received in the Toronto International Film Festival last month, and there are plenty of people talking about it.
First, what we love about Green Book—and why we think it’s an exceptionally viable contender—is it’s based on the intense true story of Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), an incredible jazz pianist who rose to prominence in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and his driver, Frank Anthony “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), a fast-talking, blue collar, Italian-American, and wholly undereducated rough-and-tough from The Bronx. The two forge a bond and become good friends as they protect and work with each other while touring through the segregated American South in the 1960s. The trailer looks absolutely unbelievable, and we think it has a definite chance at bringing home some statues.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Based on the acclaimed fifth novel from famous American author James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk stars KiKi Layne and Stephan James as Tish Rivers and Alonzo ‘Fonny’ Hunt, a young black couple living in 1970s Harlem. Things seem to be going wonderfully until Fonny is falsely accused of rape and imprisoned. As if that weren’t bad enough, Tish also discovers that she’s pregnant. If Beale Street Could Talk tells the story of how Tish worked against time—and the racist laws who put her lover behind bars—to free Fonny from his confinement. From the trailer, we can see this movie is incredibly powerful and very well acted, and we’re excited to see it on November 30, when it hits theaters.
It seems Clint Eastwood is only getting better and sharper with age. He returns to direct and star in Mule, where he plays Earl Stone, an 80-something-year-old man who’s broke, alone, and on the brink of losing his home. When Stone is offered a driving job, he figures the work is easy enough and will allow him to get himself out of the hole he’s in. That is, until he discovers he’s just become a drug mule for a Mexican cartel. Despite the clear danger, Stone continues on with his work, attracting the attention of both his bosses and the DEA because of his talent for the job. As Stone’s money issues disappear and his harmful past begins to weigh on him, he understands he must try to right the wrongs of there before the law catches up with him.
The Big Short writer Adam McKay teams up with Christian Bale again to tell the story of how Dick Cheney finagled his way into becoming Vice President of the United States of America. Vice’s incredible story is compelling and shocking. However, where it really shines is its cast, which features the likes of Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell, Amy Adams, Steve Carrell, Eddie Marsan… the heavy hitters go on and on. With McKay’s direction and writing, the star-studded acting, and the incredible true story behind it, we think Vice might take the show this year.