Tis’ the season and I am not talking about Christmas.
The following list features some films with awards potential that have yet to be released in Australia (but are due soon).
Following the powerful 2013 Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave, director Steve McQueen sets his stamp on the heist genre with Widows.
Co-written by McQueen & ‘Gone Girl’ author Gillian Flynn, Widows tells the story of a group of four women, who following the deaths of their husbands whilst failing to finish a heist, set out to complete their mission.
The film features a stellar cast including Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez & 2018 breakout star Cynthia Erivo.
Welcome to Marwen
Steve Carrell’s departure from comedic performances continues in the Robert Zemeckis directed surrealist-drama Welcome to Marwen.
Based on true events, Marwen tells the story of a war veteran (Carrell) who deals with the trauma of a vicious assault by creating a fantasy world made up of his own miniature creations.
Zemeckis once again demonstrates how visual effects can play a part in contributing to a story outside of spectacle with most of the cast, including Leslie Mann, Janelle Monae & Gwendoline Christie, featuring as animated versions of themselves that help Carrell during his recovery.
One part Toy Story (1995) and one part Sucker Punch (2011), the film looks to be a strong entry in the Carrell filmography.
Comedian & YouTube sensation Bo Burnham tackles growing up with his directorial debut Eighth Grade.
A breakout at the Sundance Film Festival, Eighth Grade focuses on the pressures faced by adolescents growing up in a generation that is not knowing of a time without smartphones & social media.
The film features a cast of relative unknowns who are sure to land some consideration during the awards season.
Director Yorgos Lanthimos is no stranger to strange films.
His films including 2015’s The Lobster (which received a screenwriting Academy Award nomination) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) pushed the boundaries in terms of conventional film-making.
His latest entry in his absurdist catalogue is The Favourite, which features a strong female cast including Olivia Colman, Emma Stone & Rachel Weisz as well as ducks, guns, & English patriarchy.
Undoubtedly and unashamedly mad, the film is sure to stand out amongst the other contenders.
Sorry to Bother You
The current political climate in America has influenced many filmmakers to produce experimental films that document the African-American experience with examples such as 2017’s Get Out and 2018’s Black Panther entering the zeitgeist of pop-culture.
2018 has seen two awards contenders deal with the inequality experienced by people of colour in America, by highlighting the difference in treatment when the individual gives themselves a ‘white voice’ over the phone.
While similar, both films take different approaches to explore this with the first, Spike Lee’s BlacKKKlansman, looking at the mistreatment of today through the actions following the civil rights movement, and the second, Sorry to Bother You, taking a satirical look at economical-discrimination.
The reviews of the latter have been polarising, with many liking and disliking the film for its darkly comedic and frankly bizarre tone.
Regardless, this is very much a player in the awards conversation and leaves many eagerly awaiting to see what is next from director Boots Riley.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Following her breakout role in 2011’s Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy’s career has largely been on the comedy side with dramatic performances in films such as St. Vincent (2014) still requiring a quasi-comedic nod.
Her starring role in the biographical-drama Can You Ever Forgive Me? looks to follow suit with McCarthy playing author Lee Israel; a woman who sustained a career by fraudulently penning letters and claiming they were written by deceased authors.
McCarthy joins the list of great comedians taking on serious performances with her supporting cast member Richard E. Grant (who starred in Logan and TV’s Game of Thrones) being an awards frontrunner for his performance.
The past few years have been stellar for Lucas Hedges, whose turn as a teen dealing with the loss of his father in 2016’s Manchester by the Sea earning him an Academy Award nomination at nineteen.
Joel Edgerton directs Hedges in Boy Erased, which tells the real-life controversial story of Hedges’ character and his experience in a conversion therapy camp after it is discovered he is gay.
The cast also features Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and singer-actor Troye Sivan, and if it’s like anything that Hedges has starred in before, is sure to be emotional.
Political biographies have historically been culprits of Oscar Bait (looking at you J. Edgar).
Hoping to buck this trend is Vice, which stars a fully committed Christian Bale as former American Vice President Dick Cheney and tells the story of Cheney’s influence on politics during the Bush era.
The film reunites writer-director Adam McKay with Bale following their acclaimed efforts in 2015’s The Big Short, along with Sam Rockwell, Steve Carrell and Amy Adams rounding out the rest of the cast.
Cue the inevitable shooting scene and it looks as though we have a contender!
People will be quick to label Green Book as the Driving Miss Daisy (1989) of 2018.
The film tells the story of a driver (played by Viggo Mortensen) chauffeuring noted Jamaican-American pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a tour throughout the 1960’s American South.
In a surprise detour from his comedy routes, Peter Farrelly (credits include 1998’s There’s Something About Mary, 2001’s Shallow Hal and 1994’s Dumb and Dumber) directs and co-writes this film.
Winning the audience award at the Toronto Film Festival, Green Book is set to be a crowd pleaser.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Having explored masculinity in African-American culture with 2016’s Moonlight, Barry Jenkins’ next directorial effort If Beale Street Could Talk tells the story of a young, pregnant African-American woman and her dealings with her partner’s incarceration.
From what is seen in the trailer, the film shows much poise and looks beautifully shot, which is the very least to be expected from the team that made Moonlight.
The cast is mostly comprised of unknown actors with the exception of Regina King, who won her third Emmy Award earlier in the year and has been labelled by some alongside Claire Foy as a frontrunner in the supporting actress category.
If the past few Emmy Awards are a precursor for anything, it’s that an Academy Award win for Netflix is inevitable.
This has been a cause for contention in Hollywood (looking at you Steven Spielberg), but you only need to look at the high-production standards of the Netflix film slate to see that their quality of films mirror that of anything else produced by a major studio.
Looking to make history and the inevitable destruction of the movie-going experience is the shot-in-black-and-white foreign drama, Roma.
The film is directed and written by Alfonso Cuaron (who won a Best Director Academy Award for 2013’s Gravity) and tells the story of a Mexican maid amidst the backdrop of 1970’s Mexico City.
Described as a love letter to Mexico, Roma looks to deliver big things on the small screen.