Aw, that time of the year when Hollywood pats itself on the back.
Yes, movie awards season is in full mode, with the Independent Spirit Award nominations last week and the announcement this week of the Gotham Awards, the National Board of Review and the New York Critics Circle awards.
Settle in, because it’s gonna be a long, glittery, red-carpet road until the Oscars on March 4, 2018.
Here are movies that should do well during awards season, many with best picture Oscar nomination prospects:
▪ “Battle of the Sexes” – Emma Stone is fresh from her best actress Oscar win last year for “La La Land” but could be a lead actress contender again as Billie Jean King in this true story of the 1973 tennis match between her and ex-champ Bobby Riggs. (Will be released on digital Dec. 19; DVD/Blu-ray on Jan. 2)
▪ “Call Me By Your Name” – This could be this year’s “Moonlight,” and not just because it’s a gay coming-of-age story, but it is being showered with praise and already won best feature at the Gotham Awards. Expect acting nods for newcomer Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer, as well as director Luca Guadagnino, in this romance set in Italy as a 17-year-old boy bonds over his emerging sexuality with a handsome family visitor. (Hasn’t opened in Wichita yet)
▪ “The Darkest Hour” – This has prestige biopic written all over it, and Gary Oldman’s commanding performance as Winston Churchill will be front and center here for best actor. Many say he will be the one to beat. (Hasn’t opened in Wichita yet)
▪ “The Disaster Artist” – This chronicle of the making of “The Room,” widely regarded as the worst film ever made, is pulling off the impossible: making that film into art, as James Franco has already been nominated for best actor at the Independent Spirit Awards and won best actor at the Gotham Awards. (Hasn’t opened in Wichita yet)
▪ “Dunkirk” – Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic is still a viable contender for a best picture Oscar nomination, but it should really do well in technical categories such as cinematography, editing and sound. (Available on digital Sunday, Dec. 12; DVD/Blu-ray on Dec. 19)
▪ “The Florida Project” – This dreamy look at kids living in a low-cost motel on the strip leading up to Disney World may be too indie to ever make it to Wichita, but perhaps its massive acclaim will help. There’s also supporting actor Oscar buzz for Willem Dafoe as the motel owner/father figure to the kids. (Hasn’t opened in Wichita yet)
▪ “Get Out” – It’s not often that a film released in February is still thought of come awards season, but then again, this is no ordinary film. The racially inflected horror tale is also one of the year’s biggest hits and heralds director Jordan Peele as a great new talent. Expect acting praise for the film’s lead, Daniel Kaluuya, as well. (Available on all home video formats)
▪ “I, Tonya” – This at first seemed like a long shot, but Margot Robbie apparently whole-heartedly goes all-in as real-life disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, and it looks to be the best performance of her career, so acting nods may be in store. (Hasn’t opened in Wichita yet)
▪ “Lady Bird” – This has great Oscar chances in many categories, especially best picture, director for Greta Gerwig, lead actress for Saoirse Ronan and supporting actress Laurie Metcalf, in this look at the dysfunctional relationship between a teen nearing college and her overbearing mother. (Now showing at Warren east)
▪ “Mudbound” – The ensemble cast of this story about two men returning to life after World War II got special recognition from the Independent Spirit awards and the Gotham Awards. The film could have best picture legs, if people can get over it being a Netflix-distributed film. (Available streaming on Netflix)
▪ “The Post” – Talk about prestige – we have Steven Spielberg directing a tale about the Washington Post exposing a White House cover-up starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, who already have a total of eight Oscars among them. Still, this already won three awards from the National Board of Review: best film, actor for Hanks and actress for Streep. (Opening wide Jan. 12)
▪ “Phantom Thread” – Paul Thomas Anderson’s tale of womanizing dressmaker in 1950s London should earn acting accolades for Daniel Day-Lewis, especially since this is his (supposedly) final film before retiring from acting. (Opening wide in early Jan.)
▪ “The Shape of Water” – I can’t wait to see this, Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy about a mute woman who falls in love with a “merman”-type creature. It looks wonderfully dark and is getting showered with praise. Surprisingly, it didn’t get any Independent Spirit Awards nods, but star Sally Hawkins and the film’s lush-looking visuals should still get plenty of attention elsewhere. (Hasn’t opened in Wichita yet)
▪ “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – Frances McDormand is getting lead actress Oscar buzz as a mother angry over her daughter’s murder. Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson could get some acting nods, as well. (Now playing at Warren east)