Indie darling Greta Gerwig made her solo directorial debut with a touching dramedy inspired by her own life, and its resounding critical and commercial success has seen her unofficially crowned as one of the film figures of the year. Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, made Rotten Tomatoes history thanks to its rapturous reviews, and critics across America have rewarded it across the board. Lady Bird is a very easy film to love, and sometimes voters just want to choose the film they liked the most rather than play politics with their choices. Distributors A24 (who also distributed Moonlight) will be hoping to replicate last year’s Oscars success, and Gerwig could very well become only the fifth woman in history to be nominated for Best Director.
The Disaster Artist
If you had told anyone this time last year that one of 2017’s best reviewed and hotly hyped films would be a biopic of the making of The Room directed by and starring James Franco, the chances are you’d have been laughed out of the room. After premiering to stellar reviews at South by Southwest, The Disaster Artist, based on the book by Greg Sestero, became a surprise hit for A24, alongside Lady Bird. While the film may not be as polished or sharply crafted as other front-runners, it’s a funny, strange love letter to the movie-making business, and the Academy are absolute suckers for films about films.
Of all the prospective nominees, Steven Spielberg’s historical drama based on the Washington Post’s acquirement of the Pentagon Papers is probably the only one that truly fits the traditional mold of “Oscar bait”. Indeed, with a cast that includes Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and basically every character actor from prestige TV of the past decade, it’s hard to overlook how much The Post seems like it was tailor-made to win awards. But don’t let that put you off: Spielberg and company have pulled off this cerebral drama with real verve and landed its stars some of their best reviews in years. The Post is also a prescient effort, with the director open about wanting to make a film that spoke to the importance of freedom of the press in the Trump age. That could go over very well with Oscar voters and in such a jam packed year, The Post has potential to be a consensus pick.
The Shape of Water
Only Guillermo del Toro could make a Cold War drama about a mute janitor who falls for (and has incredible sex with) an amphibious creature being held captive by the US government and turn it into one of the year’s most celebrated films. The Shape of Water is a true passion project for the director and that love has spread across audiences, including those who have previously been cynical of del Toro’s efforts. Films like this don’t tend to gel with Oscar voters – it’s too weird, too genre, hard to categorize, the whole fish-man sex thing – but The Shape of Water has incredible support behind it and could signal the kind of Oscar love del Toro hasn’t seen since Pan’s Labyrinth. With more Golden Globe nominations than any other film this year, don’t rule it out.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh already has an Oscar under his belt for one of his short films, but the critically acclaimed director and playwright has seen his career reach new heights thanks to the success of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The black comedy, starring Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell, won the top prize at the Toronto Film Festival and has six Golden Globe nominations under its belt. This is a film with strong support across the board, although it could be a controversial winner as many critics have discussed its questionable handling of race and gender issues. Still, it’s a sharp comedy with dramatic punch and some of the year’s most celebrated acting, and that’s always counted for something with the Academy.
What films do you think will be nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars? Are there any that we missed out or choices you feel were wrong? Let us know in the comments.
- All the Money in the World (2017) release date: Dec 25, 2017
- Call Me By Your Name (2017) release date: Nov 24, 2017
- Dunkirk (2017) release date: Jul 21, 2017
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) release date: Nov 10, 2017
- Get Out (2017) release date: Feb 24, 2017
- Lady Bird (2017) release date: Nov 10, 2017
- The Shape of Water (2017) release date: Dec 01, 2017
- The Post (2017) release date: Dec 22, 2017
- The Disaster Artist (2017) release date: Dec 08, 2017
- I, Tonya (2017) release date: Dec 08, 2017