With the start of Venice Film Festival and the premiere of Damien Chazelle’s new film First Man, the 2018 Awards Season has officially begun. In the next two months, a series of big film festivals will take place, including Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York. From now on, you will be hearing about Oscar prospect surprises and disappointments. We are already seeing initial reactions to some of the biggest movies of the year. Read below for some insights into this year’s Awards Season…
First Man is first big film of the fall to premiere. The Neil Armstrong biopic premiered yesterday, and it has been praised as a spectacular film with a great amount of depth. The film was directed by Whiplash and La Land Land’s director Damien Chazelle and stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, and Claire Foy in a supporting role as Armstrong’s wife. From both the critics and audience reactions and its future showings in other festivals, it is clear the film is one of the Awards Season favorites.
Just a day after First Man premiered in Venice, the film festival screened Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favorite, two other films with vast awards prospects. Roma is Cuaron’s follow up to the greatly acclaimed and popular Gravity and Children of Men. Roma has already established itself as one of the Awards Seasons front-runners, and it could very easily be the first Netflix film to get a Best Picture nomination. It is an intimate film shot in black and white in Mexico, and it is partially autobiographical. Roma has managed to dazzle all the critics that saw it at Venice, garnering extremely positive reviews, with a current score of 97 on Metacritic. The Favorite is Lanthimo’s follow up to the Academy nominated The Lobster (Best Original Screenplay) and Dogtooth (Best Foreign Film). The film stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz, and also premiered to highly positive reviews, with critics praising its delicate balance between tragedy and black comedy with some horror undertones. Both Roma and The Favourite will also be shown as part of Telluride Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.
Other highly anticipated films to premiere at Venice are: Bradley Cooper’s debut film A Star Is Born starring himself and Lady Gaga; the Coen Brother’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs starring James Franco, Liam Neeson, and Zoe Kazan; and, Luca Guadagnino’s new film Suspiria starring Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, and Chloe Grace Moretz. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs will premiere in the US on October 4th (at NYFF56), A Star Is Born will premiere on October 5th and Suspiria on November 2nd.
Other potential Oscar contenders will be featured at Telluride and Toronto film festivals. While Venice and Toronto are bigger international film festivals, Telluride has proven more influential for the Awards Season due to the presence of more American press and an American audience. Moonlight premiered there and even if it didn’t screen at Venice, it generated enough buzz to stay in the conversation from September through February and snatch away the trophy from more-popular La La Land. It’s also important to keep in mind that films that play well for European audiences might not play well for American audiences. For example, last year’s Downsizing opened at Venice with positive reviews, only to tank later when it premiered in the US. Some of this year’s films with Awards potential are:
If Beale Street Could Talk
Director: Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Based on a James Baldwin novel
Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Diego Luna, Finn Wittrock
The Old Man & the Gun
Director: David Lowery (A Ghost Story)
Cast: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, and Casey Affleck
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Lucas Hedges
The Front Runner
Director: Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons
Director: Karyn Kusuma (The Invitation, Girlfight)
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Tatiana Maslany