Ashley Menzel’s 2018 Oscar Contenders for the Best Picture
This year has been a weird year in film with some of the most highly anticipated films doing terribly, and some real underdogs outshining their big budget counterparts. After attending SXSW, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and AFI Fest, many films are swirling around in my head, but these are the few that stick out as potential Best Picture Oscar Nominations.
The frontrunner films are the ones that I believe to be sure bets for a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
Dunkirk fits the bill for a multitude of reasons from the fact that it’s a Christopher Nolan film, shot in 70mm and IMAX, and the fact that it is a war drama with spectacular visuals. While I found the story to be lacking, you can’t deny the positive buzz surrounding the film.
War for the Planet of the Apes
Another film that came out swinging was War for the Planet of the Apes. The stunning visuals and emotionally riveting story combined with incredible special effects are likely to land this film on the Best Picture nomination ballot.
The Darkest Hour
Another phenomenal war-time drama featuring the story of the rise of Winston Churchill has enough clout on its own to generate buzz and add in a stellar and transformative performance by Gary Oldman, you can’t deny The Darkest Hour has huge Oscar potential.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Martin McDonagh brings back his dark comedic style headed by Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. An extremely relevant and topical film, it is sure to make a lasting impression on the audience, including Academy members.
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro certainly knows how to create a world all his own and continues that success with The Shape of Water. The dark and enchanting fairytale tells a classic story with an adult twist. The beauty and atmosphere created in the film are only surpassed by the riveting performance by Sally Hawkins.
While the film hasn’t screened yet for many, the names attached to it have put it high on everyone’s radar and Oscar expectations list. Directed by Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep automatically gets you on the shortlist for the Oscars. Who knows? We could all be very disappointed and wrong, but it isn’t likely.
On the Cusp:
These films have the potential for a nomination based on some indications in the media and buzz on social media.
The Florida Project
A festival darling, The Florida Project has won the hearts of many and may find itself among the indie entries for the Oscars. I didn’t connect with the film, but I think the buzz and excitement generated by others may indicate a possible nomination.
A big win for females throughout film Wonder Woman smashed records and managed to delight fans the world over. The film is meticulously stunning and beautifully crafted from beginning to end. For these reasons, we could see a surprise nomination for the film come award season.
Call Me By Your Name
Another festival darling, Call Me By Your Name has been championed by many on social media as THE film to see this year. There are many beautiful scenes in the film that could earn it a nod.
Hail Mary Films:
While I love these three films, I don’t know if they will be nominated.
A spectacular film by Aaron Sorkin that is as witty as it is sharp and exciting. Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba knock it out of the park in this incredible film. I don’t know if the film will win a nomination, but we can all hope.
A bit of a dark horse, Lady Bird from first time feature director Greta Gerwig, is a touching coming of age film about a girl’s last year of high school. The humor and emotion are refreshing and honest and deserves to be among the films mentioned come awards season.
Stronger seems like the film to be nominated for Best Picture. It has a great star, an inspirational story, and stellar performances, but for some reason, I’m not sure if it will take its place among the Best Picture nominations this year, despite feelings earlier this year.