After the initial rush of Roma, First Man, and The Favourite, the second batch of films have landed a lot softer and not had quite the same impact.
In Venice, Mike Leigh's latest Peterloo bowed to incredibly mixed responses. It looks like it will still be a contender in the technical categories, but I think that the writing and directing slot that seems to be reserved for Leigh will go to someone else this time around. Some critics think it is fantastic, but also the same number of critics think it is overly long, dry, and a bore to sit through.
Luca Guadagnino hit it big last year with Call Me By Your Name, but I do not think that his remake of Suspiria will bring him the same level of attention. Like Peterloo, the overall reviews are not bad, but incredibly polarizing. Some are labeling it as a masterpiece, others complete trash. This reminds me a big of mother! last year, which means that while it might find an audience and a cult following, awards attention might elude it.
Telluride's original premieres so far have not had quite the same buzz as Venice. The Front Runner, Jason Reitman's film about Gary Hart, is getting moderately positive notices, particularly for Hugh Jackman and Vera Farmiga. Unless the general audience likes it better, and some of the later releases turn out to be less than stellar, I don't know if this film will take off in the awards race.
One of the films I was really looking forward to was Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased. The term I would use for its first reactions is warm. Not glowing reviews, but not bad ones either. The reviews seem to indicate that there is a lot to like about this film, particularly the cast. But almost every reviewer said they were hoping for more in terms of the story. I still think this one is timely, and could find a bigger following outside of the festival folks. At the least, expect its cast to be in the mix for acting categories.
Nicole Kidman has two roles this year which are earning praise, the second one coming from Destroyer. The film is not getting as much attention as her performance however. I think that, from the looks of it, it might be too much for Academy voters, but could help propel her to a double nomination, or at least help boost her supporting bid in Boy Erased.
The one exception to these softer landings is The Old Man and the Gun. If this is, in fact, Robert Redford's last film, then I could see a huge push to get him an acting Oscar, which he has never won. The reviews are great so far, and the buzz is already on the rise.