Annnnnd we’re back. It’s been a few (oh so quiet) months since our last edition of Oscar Beat, but 2017 is already halfway over, which means it’s time to start getting back into awards season gear. I know, I know—it’s too early! But the fall film festival circuit will be here before you know it, launching frontrunners, setting off conversations and controversies, and we’ll be full speed ahead all the way through the Oscars ceremony next March.
So before things get hot and heavy, I wanted to take a minute to look back on the first half of the year and consider which films—if any—might be in the awards conversation to come. One thing of particular note this year is that the game has changed (and the players aren’t the same).
The most recent Oscars ceremony saw tried-and-true prognostication tactics fall one right after another, and with the Academy adding a record-number of voters this year with even more diversity, by the time the next voting period rolls around 20% of the Academy will be made up of voters added in just the last three years. That’s a massive sea change, and could signal more Moonlight-sized surprises ahead. So while movies from the first half of the year have a much harder time sticking in the Oscar conversation, the old rules may very well be out the window.
The likeliest contender at this point is Get Out, writer/director Jordan Peele’s wildly successful “social thriller” that tackles racism with wit and tact. It’s one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, and even if it doesn’t break through to the Best Picture race, I’d be surprised if Peele wasn’t a contender for Best Original Screenplay. It’s one of those films that everyone has seen, everyone loves, and—most importantly—has something to say about the world we live in.
There’s also The Big Sick, which is currently expanding its limited release weekend-by-weekend, bolstered by positive reviews. The romantic comedy hails from writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who wrote the story based on their true-life stranger-than-fiction story about their courtship. It’s admittedly early in the year, but I’d say the film is a potential contender for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, and should be one for Best Actor (Nanjiani) and Best Supporting Actress (Holly Hunter) as well. The Academy usually doesn’t go crazy for romantic comedies, but this could be an exception.Read More...
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