Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Quick Rundown of Trailers for Potential Oscar Season Front Runners

Scene from Suburbicon
Once again, I apologize for being a little quieter than normal on this blog. While I have been doing regular coverage, I haven't quite given attention to the plethora of great and promising trailers that came out in the wake of the upcoming Oscar season. This is why I have decided to do a round-up of 14 trailers that, if nothing else, look to have some form of promise whether it be in acting, writing, or any technical field. It's likely that a few of these will be duds, but trying to guess who the surprise victors are always fun. The following trailers show promise and, if nothing else, show just how intriguing the next few months will be.


After having a great debut at Cannes, director Todd Haynes' latest looks to be an even more ambitious achievement than his previous film Carol. With a great cast that includes last year's Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Manchester By the Sea), this film looks to be one of Amazon Studio's big awards contenders. From the dazzling first trailer, it looks like this film will at least provide something to talk about, if not continue Haynes' recent winning streak. Even if the trailer doesn't quite get at what this film is, there's plenty of, ahem, wonder in what is seen.

Darkest Hour

Along with the recent success of The Crown, it seems like Winston Churchill is going to be everywhere. That may include Oscar season, as he's played by Gary Oldman with a strict and authoritarian stance on the war. There's plenty of scenes here that show the potential charisma of his role, and he definitely has a knack for the accent. If nothing else, it is directed by Joe Wright, who is one of the best at creating engaging period pieces. While he hit a bit of a snag with his previous film Pan, he may be back in the Oscars game with this World War II drama.

Call Me By Your Name

There were few films out of this year's Sundance Film Festival with as much buzz as this love story. Directed by Luca Guadagnino (who did last year's entertaining A Bigger Splash), the film looks to have a potential Oscar turn for the underrated Armie Hammer, as well as newcomer Timothee Chalamet. Only time will tell if the indie film can outdo last year's Sundance breakout The Birth of a Nation and make it to Oscar night. Even then, the signs are looking good, as the surprise win for Moonlight suggests that The Academy is more than ready to recognize the great gay love stories of our time.

Blade Runner 2049

Okay, this may be a long shot in terms of getting a Best Picture nomination, or even any acting or writing spots either. However, there is room for a few surprises with this sequel to the iconic sci-fi film. For starters, it features last year's Oscar nominees Ryan Gosling (La La Land) and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) working together on a film that, if nothing else, looks like it deserves a Best Cinematography nomination. Only time will tell how good it is, but Villeneuve's track record has been very impressive over the past few years. One can only hope that his winning streak continues.


The team-up of this movie is infectious already. Oscar winner George Clooney directs a script by Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen starring Oscar winner Matt Damon in what looks to be a dark comedy. The star studded cast looks to have brought their A-Game with them, and has possibly produced one of the funnest movies of the fall. If it's as good as this trailer and The Academy has a sense of humor, then maybe things will end up looking pretty well for the gang. It might even get Damon another nomination - this time for a film that is an unequivocal comedy instead of a mislabeled one like The Martian.

The Disaster Artist

Few studios have done an incredible job of potential stunt nominations quite like A24. It only makes sense then that they would bet big by exploring the story of the worst movie ever made - according to a generation, at least. The specific focus is on James Franco, who plays filmmaker Tommy Wiseau as he makes The Room. In some ways, this has an aura of also being the modern Ed Wood, which could end up doing pretty well for Franco and crew on Oscar night. For now, it at least has a pretty funny teaser trailer that shows you how ridiculous it was to make The Room into a reality.


Not much is known about the latest from director Darren Aronofsky's latest yet. However, it does have a really strong marketing campaign so far. Who could forget the poster of Jennifer Lawrence having her heart ripped out of her body in an eerily elegant style? Aronofsky did wonders for Natalie Portman with Black Swan, so the odds of this potential melodrama could end up getting Lawrence her second Oscar nomination. Even if that's not the case, it at least had one of the most jarring teasers around. Who said being short was an issue if you're sonically unnerving?

Goodbye Christopher Robin

While the success didn't quite pan out for Saving Mr. Banks, you can't leave out a biopic for authors of beloved children's literature. While there hasn't been too much in marketing, the few trailers that have been seen at least look to have a sentimental core that explores the story of how Winnie the Pooh came to be. It's still unclear if the film will go the route of the more successful Finding Neverland or the Mary Poppins origin story, but at least it looks to capture the essence of what makes the books so iconic in the first place.


A few years ago, Selma received an uproar after it failed to receive a lot of Oscar nominations. This type of logic would dictate that the odds of this film standing a chance are stronger, if just in watching to see how good it is. Speaking as Chadwick Boseman is going to have a great 2018 with Black Panther, this could be part of his ascendancy. Considering the importance of Thurgood Marshall in American History, the chances of this receiving a lot of attention is definitely going to be high. That is, of course, if it's more than a conventional period piece.

The Glass Castle

It won't take long to discover if this movie has what it takes to stay in the Oscar conversation (it opens this month). The only real hurdle it faces is the curse that is August releases. While The Help managed to beat expectations, very few films have stood a chance in this time slot. Even then, it stars Oscar winner Brie Larson (Room) teaming up with Short Term 12 collaborator Destin Cretton, it looks to see her playing a women with an intriguing charisma alongside Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson. There hasn't been a ton of buzz yet as to whether this film is great, but at least the trailers make it look like one of the best movies in recent weeks that doesn't have a blockbuster budget.

The Shape of Water

There are strong odds that, if anything, this film will get a few technical nominations. Even then, it's hard to not expect more when dealing with Guillermo Del Toro. Almost all of his films (almost) are eye popping marvels that show the potential of cinema. This film looks to be one of his weirdest and most exciting yet. Even if this film fails to get much traction, it at least has plenty of promise to be the perfect Fall movie for fans of horror that is more than scary, it's also very beautiful.


It seems like the early 60's are alive and well right now. Following last year's Oscar-nominated Jackie is this film from director Rob Reiner about President Lyndon Baines Johnson. With Woody Harrelson playing the president, it at least has the appeal of being another period piece movie. Even if the first trailer doesn't hold much promise, it does stand a chance of being the surprise comeback for Reiner: who has sort of faded in the past 20 years to making mediocre-to-terrible comedies. It all depends on if he's still got the knack for great empowering stories. There have been surprises in the past by people. Maybe this will be it for Reiner.

First They Killed My Father

With exception to documentaries, Netflix is really lagging behind Amazon Studios for top tier Oscar nominations. It then makes sense why they would bet big on the latest from director Angelina Jolie. Considering that her previous film Unbroken failed to get too many nominations (but still got some), she does have some clout and could elevate a depressing story into one of the most talked about movies of the year. That all depends on how Netflix releases the film. Considering that they dump content in droves almost every week, it will be hard to keep track of it on streaming services without some buzz. Here's hoping that they build it right.

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

In related news, this summer's Wonder Woman is currently starting up an Oscar campaign. It's incredible to think that a superhero film would stand any chance for any non-technical award. Yet this film is a decent long shot in the same way that Goodbye Christopher Robin is. The story of how the original Wonder Woman came to be could produce interesting fodder with some breakout stars - or be just another odd drama about a curious moment in pop culture. There's going to be surprises this fall, that's for certain. The only question is what they will be. 

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