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Here we are again. Another year, another list of films to keep an eye on as we approach the delightful season of fall releases. I realize that my main audience for these posts is probably-most-definitely-extremely niche (you know who you crazies are), but feel free to take what you want from this list. If nothing else, enjoy some fun movie trailers. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as it’s really hard to even guess what the frontrunners are going to be, especially before the ever-important September film festivals (Telluride, Toronto, New York & Venice). The best picture winner from last year, Green Book, wasn’t even really being talked about until after it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last September. But the following films seem to be the most talked about up to this point and many of them SHOULD make an appearance when the Oscar nominations are announced in January. Without further ado, here are some films to watch for, in order of current release date (the first two are already in theaters!): THE FAREWELL (July 12) I LOVED this film. It’s simple, but quite powerful. And I agree with everyone who is saying that Awkwafina is “a revelation”. Also, anyone who was in my Multicultural Health Communication class last year should be really interested in seeing this…handling important health issues can take on a whole new meaning in different cultures. Studio: A24 Nominations to watch for: BP (Best Picture), Original Screenplay, Lulu Wang (Director), Awkwafina (Best Actress), Shuzhen Zhou (Best Supporting Actress)
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD (July 26) This is classic Tarantino film-making. So fun, and a little shocking here and there. It’s MUCH better than The Hateful Eight, but doesn’t come close to touching Kill Bill (I am available to meet for a beer to discuss the ranking of Tarantino films at your earliest convenience). Studio: Sony/Columbia Nominations to watch for: BP, Original Screenplay, Quentin Tarantino (Director), Leonardo DiCaprio (Actor), Margot Robbie (Supporting Actress), Brad Pitt (Supporting Actor, probably)
PARASITE (October 11) The trailer for this film is, well, kinda strange. But everything I read about it says that the film is WAY better than the trailer makes it look. It was the winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or and people seem to be absolutely loving it. It’s no doubt going to be Korea’s entry for best foreign language film. Studio: Neon Nominations to watch for: BP, Best Foreign Language Film, Joon-ho Bong (Director)
JOJO RABBIT (October 18) I’m not a huge fan of satires (Hollywood sure seems to like them though!), but a film that focuses on a boy whose imaginary friend is Hitler…well, that should be pretty hilarious. Studio: Fox Searchlight Nominations to watch for: BP, Adapted Screenplay, Taika Waititi (Director), Scarlett Johansson (Supporting Actress)
HARRIET (Nov 1) Early talk is focusing on Cynthia Erivo’s performance and how this is a role of a lifetime (and would make her an EGOT if she won!). She’s been the early frontrunner for Best Actress for several months already, but so was Glenn Close last year until the night of the awards, and that didn’t pan out well for her. Studio: Focus Features Nominations to watch for: BP, Original Screenplay, Kasi Lemmons (Director), Cynthia Erivo (Actress), possibly Janelle Monae (Best Supporting Actress)
AERONAUTS (Nov 1) I don’t know much about this film other than the general plot, but with who’s involved (Tom Harper directing and a reunion of Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones), I’d bet on it making some waves this Fall. Studio: Amazon Nominations to watch for: BP, Screenplay, Tom Harper (Director), Felicity Jones (Actress), Eddie Redmayne (Actor) FORD V. FERRARI (Nov 15) I’m not huge on this one. Although it’s been a real front runner for the last several months, it seems like it’s starting to fall a bit in the rankings. However, it’ll no doubt receive a boost when it premieres in Toronto and Damon and Bale definitely have the chops to keep it in the running. Studio: 20th Cent Fox Nominations to watch for: BP, James Mangold (Director), Matt Damon (Best Actor), Christian Bale (Best Supporting Actor)
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (Nov 22) Tom Hanks playing a real-life hero of children everywhere? How can this NOT be great?!? Studio: Sony/Columbia Nominations to watch for: BP, Adapted Screenplay, Tom Hanks & Matthew Rhys (from what I can tell, it’s still unclear who would be best actor and who would be best supporting actor)
UNTITLED CHARLES RANDOLPH PROJECT (probably will be called FAIR AND BALANCED) (December 20) Plot: “A few women decide to take on Fox News boss Roger Ailes and the toxic male culture he presided over.” I haven’t heard much about this film, but with this topic and this cast, I don’t think I should ignore it at this point. Studio: Lionsgate Nominations to watch for: No idea! But the cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Allison Janney, Connie Britton 1917 (Dec 25) As a war film with a lot of talent, this one looks ripe for numerous Oscar nominations. This movie has Oscar winners behind all the big tech categories (Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume, Sound, VFX) so it could very possibly be a strong contender in A LOT of categories. Studio: Universal Nominations to watch for: BP, Original Screenplay, Sam Mendes (Director)…not sure which acting roles will be pushed for nominations, but Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch could be players here. Pretty much all technical categories.
JUST MERCY (Dec 25) A civil rights drama with a superb cast. It was recently moved up from its original January release date to compete this awards season. Studio: Warner Bros Nominations to watch for: Michael B. Jordan (Best Actor), Brie Larson (Supporting Actress), Jamie Foxx (Supporting Actor) LITTLE WOMEN (Dec 25) Greta Gerwig follows up 2017’s hit Lady Bird with one of my personal favorite stories of all time. I can’t even guess how many times I’ve seen the 1994 version (enough times to randomly quote it all the time with my sisters, for sure). With a proven director and a stellar cast, I’m hoping it lives up to expectations! Studio: Sony/Columbia Nominations to watch for: Adapted Screenplay, Saoirse Ronan (Best Actress), Florence Pugh (Supporting Actress) Not a trailer, but a first look:

FILMS THAT HAVEN’T BEEN GIVEN A RELEASE DATE YET (thanks, Netflix), but are likely to come out this fall:

THE POPE Jonathan Pryce is one of the clear front runners in the acting categories right now and is considered a sure bet for a nomination, but Anthony Hopkins could snag one as well. Studio: Netflix Nominations to watch for: BP, Jonathan Pryce (Actor), Anthony Hopkins (Supporting Actor) THE IRISHMAN (rumor is maybe Nov 27??) Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino…these names alone should get you excited. This is a clear front runner for best picture, and many other awards, already. Studio: Netflix Nominations to watch for: BP, Adapted Screenplay, Martin Scorsese (Director), Robert De Niro (Best Actor), Al Pacino (Best Supporting Actor), Joe Pesci (Best Supporting Actor), Anna Paquin (Best Supporting Actress), Cinematography
MARRIAGE STORY This film hasn’t been screened by hardly anyone at this point, but everyone is talking about it and the talk is VERY GOOD. Right now, it’s looking like it will hit all four big festivals next month (including being the Centerpiece Film for NY). Roma went to all four festivals last year and went on to win 3 Oscars. Studio: Netflix Nominations to watch for: BP, Original Screenplay, Noah Baumbach (Director), Adam Driver (Actor), Scarlett Johansson (Actress), Laura Dern (Supporting Actress) THE LAUNDROMAT Meryl Streep is in this film; thus, it is worthy of consideration. Fin. Studio: Netflix Nominations to watch for: Meryl Streep (Lead or supporting? The jury is still out on this one.) UNTITLED TODD HAYNES PROJECT (possibly called DRY RUN) People keep putting this one on their lists, but I really don’t know much at all about it. There’s very little actual information about the film available at the moment. Studio: Focus Features Nominations to watch for: Too much unknown about this film, but I’ll make some guesses…BP, Todd Haynes (Director), Anne Hathaway (Best Supporting Actress)


The following four films have important acting roles to watch, but don’t really seem to have much more going for them. JUDY (Sep 27) Studio: Roadside Attractions Nominations to watch for: Renee Zellweger (best actress)
PAIN AND GLORY (Oct 4) Studio: Sony Classics Nominations to watch for: Antonio Banderas (one of the current frontrunners for best actor)
THE LIGHTHOUSE (Oct 18) The trailer for this film is CRAZY. But never count out Willem Dafoe, who’s been on fire for nominations these past few years. Studio: A24 Nominations to watch for: Willem Dafoe (Best Supporting Actor)
LUCY IN THE SKY (no release date yet) Studio: Fox Searchlight Nominations to watch for: Natalie Portman (Best Actress)
Other films that have a good shot at being nominated are Avengers: Endgame(VFX is almost a guarantee, but will the Academy honor the 11-year Marvel saga by nominating Endgame for best picture? And could Robert Downey Jr. snag a nomination for his beloved portrayal of Tony Stark?!?) and Us(Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out, featuring a great performance by Lupita Nyong’o), which both came out earlier in the year. And of course, there’s Star Wars: Episode IX coming out around Christmas, which could get some technical nominations. My way early hot take: Mark Hamill is NOT nominated for his performance. And don’t get me started on Cats. Sure, the production design looks fantastic, but I’m predicting this film to be more of a dud than anything else. Don’t get me wrong; I am SO looking forward to watching Jennifer Hudson belt out Memory, but everyone knows that’s the only interesting part of the entire show. Everything seems a little all over the place right now but after the festivals next month, we should have a much clearer picture of the front runners. So that’s it for now! If you made it to the end, I’m impressed. Anything you think is missing?