Oscar predictions often hit the internet in late October and early November, so here we are. While there are still many films yet to be released that could prove to be strong contenders at the awards show, the year has been filled with surprising movies that might make Oscar history. From superheroes entering the mix to comedy star turned writer/director Jordan Peele entering the fray, the Oscars competition so far seems to be filled with underdogs who have proved their chops by generating Oscar buzz very early on in the year. Today we’ll be taking a look at the biggest categories at the awards and the surprising contenders that might make Oscar history.
Last year we had the likes of La La Land and Moonlight, both of which deserved to have their names read (although the fact that La La Land was accidentally announced as the winner will live on in infamy for years to come). So far this year, the top contender for Best Picture seems to come from legendary director Guillermo del Toro with his film The Shape of Water. However, there are also four surprising films being touted as high contenders for the Best Picture award.
1. Get OutFrom the acclaimed comedy duo Key and Peele’s Jordan Peele came the most poignant, terrifying, social commentary in recent memory. When it was announced the famed comedian would be writing and directing a horror movie, many people were skeptical he would create a good product. However, those skeptics were proven so, so wrong. Get Out is a phenomenal movie and Peele’s directing and writing shined throughout. There’s no surprise with the critical acclaim the film received that its generated a lot of Oscar buzz, what is surprising is the fact that a horror movie is even being seriously discussed for the award. However, what Peele succeeded in doing was creating a film that elevated an entire genre to a new level. The film is also socially relevant and its political and social commentary took center stage without sacrificing any of the elements that make a movie successful. Additionally, Jordan Peele seems set to nab his first Oscar nominations for the film’s stunning original screenplay and his powerful directing. Being nominated for such high honors on his very first outing as a director would be sure to catapult the promising diector’s career and that is something we should all be excited.
2. LoganThe superhero relatively new one, with the “golden age of superhero films” starting in 2000 with the release of X-Men. However, most of the superhero films that have been released would never be considered for an Oscar. They are fun, well-made movies (for the most part), but blockbusters at the scale won’t ever be serious contenders and there are very few superhero films that have had incredible filmmaking attributes worthy of generating Oscar buzz. Logan is not one of those films. Logan is a character study at its heart and a deeply intimate one at that. The journey the titular character, played by Hugh Jackman, goes on is heartbreaking and his interactions with Sir Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier and breakout star Dafne Keen’s Laura were genuine and gave the film a sense of realism. Logan was the first film of the season to have screeners sent to Academy members, so clearly, Fox feels like they have a potential Bear Picture winner on their hands. The question here isn’t whether or not Logan is Oscar-worthy, as it is an amazing piece of art and the demanding performances from its stars brought it to life, the question is whether or not it’ll be able to overcome the genre barrier and become the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture. In addition, Patrick Stewart is being talked about as a possible nominee for Best Supporting Actor and I wouldn’t be surprised if Marco Beltrami’s minimalist score made the shortlist as well.
3. The Big SickWhile the other two movies names above would make firsts by overcoming genre barriers, The Big Sick would make history for other reasons if it managed to take home the Oscar. While Manchester by the Sea earned Amazon its first Academy Awards (Casey Affleck for Best Actor as well as Best Original Screenplay) last year, it lost the biggest prize to Moonlight; The Big Sick seems to be the top contender to earn the streaming service its first Big Picture win. The film would also make history for its nomination by being the first film from a Pakistani creator to earn such an honor. Kumail Nanjiani not only co-wrote the film but he also co-starred in it with his co-writer Emily V. Gordon, in fact, the romantic comedy is based on their real-life romance. It’s also worth noting the film as a high chance of being nominated for Best Original Screenplay which would be another first for a Pakistan native and would be a positive step forward in recognizing women at the award shows.
4. Wonder WomanThis year’s superhero films were really on another level and that is apparent in the fact that two superhero films from vastly different studios are being highly talked about as contenders for Best Picture. While I’m not sure Wonder Woman really stands a chance at a Best Picture due to the incredibly difficult competition, it would make history for being the first superhero movie to earn a Best Picture nomination. The movie is, however, a big contender in other categories. Patty Jenkins seems to be a front-runner for Best Director, which would mean she would join a very small group of women who have been nominated for the award and if she won she would only be the second woman to do so and the first since 2010, when Kathyrn Biglow won for The Hurt Locker. Best Picture and Best Director seem to be the most likely awards, aside from technical ones such as sound editing and special effects, the film is a contender for. Rumor has it that Warner Bros. is planning a huge campaign to get those nominations to be a reality. It would be huge for Patty Jenkins to be recognized for her contribution to the industry, as she already made history by holding the record for the highest grossing movie directed by a woman, and getting the Academy to recognize a comic book movie in such a way (something even Christopher Nolan failed to do with The Dark Knight) would be a massive feat.
Although the Academy Awards are still several months away and there are several possible contenders that haven’t hit screens yet, it looks to be a surprising year. With the possible inclusion of not one, but two comic book movies, a horror movie written and directed by an African-American (along with the largely African-American cast), and a film written and starring a Pakistani, the Oscars are going to be something many fans of the entertainment industry should keep an eye on this year. We’ll have to wait and see how these movies compare to the other possible nominees, the field of which is richly diverse and competitive, but I’m confident we’re in for quite the ride come awards season.
What do you think? Will any of these films earn nominations in the big categories? Or will the Academy stick to more traditionally Oscar-worthy films? Let us know in the comments below!