Blade Runner 2049
Call Me By Your Name
The Florida Project
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Other Contenders - Battle of the Sexes, I Tonya, Mudbound, Phantom Thread, The Big Sick, Logan, The Greatest Showman, Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Big Sick, Downsizing, Wonderstruck, Last Flag Flying, Coco, Detroit, Stronger, Molly's Game, Stronger, The Beguiled, Victoria and Abdul, mother!, War for the Planet of the Apes, Breathe, Murder on the Orient Express, Marshall, First They Killed My Father, Wind River
Commentary - As always, I start with ten, knowing that things can change. There are a few at this point I think are slam dunks. First, is Dunkirk, whose summer release will not hamper its ability to woo Oscar voters. I would also add Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water, Joe Wright's Darkest Hour, and Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Shape of Water is the director's film with style, Darkest Hour is the historical biopic that voters love, and Three Billboards is this year's surprise contender who will ride its Toronto audience award all the way to Oscar glory. Smaller projects like The Florida Project, Call Me By Your Name, and Lady Bird, are hoping to join the list of small indies that have become Oscar staples. Blade Runner 2049 may not be a box office hit, but I think that the directors and the tech folks will elevate it the way they have Mad Max and Arrival in recent years. The Post is the one big contender we really don't know yet, but Steven Spielberg + Meryl Streep + Tom Hanks = Oscar gold until we see otherwise. Finally, Get Out is the little film that could. It is not at all a typical Oscar movie, and this does make me nervous. But if it continues to retain its buzz, it could be the big surprise of this season. On the outside are some potent contenders though. Battle of the Sexes was deemed "crowd pleaser", but that is exactly why I think it is a bigger contender than folks are giving it credit for. These type of historical, crowd-pleasing biopics often find their way into this race (see Hidden Figures, The Help and The Blind Side for examples). I, Tonya is biting and gaining attention, Mudbound is in if Netflix plays their cards right, The Big Sick is heartfelt, Phantom Thread has all the right pieces, Stronger is emotional, and The Greatest Showman is the lurking contender I am keeping my eye on. The big guys like Star Wars, Coco, Planet of the Apes, and Logan are once again fighting for a slot, and the mixed contenders like Downsizing, Wonderstruck, mother!, Victoria and Abdul, Marshall, Wind River, and Last Flag Flying are hoping that they still have enough passionate voters to sneak in.