Award Season / Movies

16 Early Oscar 2018 Nomination Contenders

As 2017 comes to an end, the 2018 Awards Season is just getting started.

A month ago (October 19) to be exact, Oscar ballots went out to Academy members to choose nominees for its annual award show. Here are 16 movies that have the potential to earn a nomination for the big show.

Dunkirk

It seems like almost an afterthought that this movie came out this year, but Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster World War II had some of the best reviews of the year and should at the very least secure a Best Picture and Best Director nomination.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This Martin McDonagh dark comedy just released in theaters on November 10 but already comes with some heavy praise. Billboards won the prestigious Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival, an achievement eight of the last ten Best Picture winners have accomplished. The film looks like a lock for Best Picture and Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Director. Sam Rockwell could also earn his first nomination Best Supporting Actor while Woody Harrelson could also pick up a nomination in the same category. The indie flick should also score a Best Original Screenplay nomination.

The Shape of Water

Guillermo Del Toro’s latest won’t arrive in theaters until December 10, but picked up the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival and was runner-up for the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins), and Best Original Screenplay are all well within reach.

Get Out

While most Oscar contenders tend to release between October and December, Jordan Peele’s film surprised everyone in January with $175 million at the domestic box office. That, along with the performances and overall message in the film, are enough to propel it along into Awards Season. The film will look to contend, oddly, as a Comedy at the Golden Globes. While those nominations won’t be announced until December 12, we can look for the film to potentially contend for Best Picture, Best Director (Jordan Peele), Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), Best Supporting Actress (Allison Williams), and Best Original Screenplay.

Wonder Woman

A film 76 years in the making, Wonder Woman burst onto the big screen this year and lassoed $820 million worldwide. The superhero film has a few things going for it – some of the best reviews of the year, the highest grossing  female-directed movie ever, and more importantly its overall theme of feminine strength in a time when there is a push to spotlight more female filmmakers in Hollywood. Wonder Woman could contend for Best Picture, Best Director (Patty Jenkins) and possible earn Gal Gadot a Best Actress nod. Her turn in carrying Justice League helps that cause as well because without her in that movie… yikes.

Lady Bird

This Greta Gerwig directed film earned steady rave reviews during it’s September festival run that it should be considered a dark horse for a Best Picture nomination. Best Director, Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf), and Best Original Screenplay are also potential nominations.

Battle of the Sexes

Emma Stone and Steve Carrel front this timely and well-liked film. Stone, who is fresh off her Best Actress win from last year’s La La Land should score another nomination here while Carrel continues a streak of big screen (live action) excellence that could earn him a nod. Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay are also possible.

Darkest Hour

Told from the perspective of Winston Churchill, this is essentially Dunkirk flipped to the British POV. Gary Oldman transforms into Churchill so seamlessly that he should be a lock for a Best Actor nomination while Joe Wright is likely to pick up a Best Director nomination.

I, Tonya

This one looks to dominate the acting categories. Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding and Allison Janey as her domineering mother are an absolute lock for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nominations, respectively. Janey in particular could run away with the Best Supporting Actress awards in the run up to Oscar night. Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay are also in consideration here.

Blade Runner 2049

While it stumbled at the box office, the sci-fi sequel should earn cinematographer Roger Deakins another nomination. Whether or not he’ll win is another question. Deakins is 0-for-13 thus far after being nominated for films like The Shawshank Redemption, True Grit, Fargo, Unbroken, No Country for Old Men, and Sicario. Deakins has earned an Oscar nomination every year since 2013.

Molly’s Game

Never bet against Jessica Chastain during Awards Season. Even in a stacked lead actress category, Chastain is always a contender and early reviews from this movie state that she’s never been better. Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay are potentials here as is a Supporting Actor nomination for Idris Elba.

Stronger

Here’s one of those films that goes the traditional route in looking to score Oscar nominations. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as real-life Boston marathon bombing survivor Jeff Baum in this David Gordon Green directed drama. Both men are potential Oscar nomination candidates while Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black fame could earn a Supporting Actress nomination.

Breathe

While Andy Serkis’ directorial debut could earn him a Best Director nomination, star Andrew Garfield seems close to a lock for a Best Actor nomination in this heartfelt drama. The Crown star Claire Foy could push herself into the Supporting Actress crowd as well if enough voters warm up to her.

Last Flag Flying

Steve Carrel leads this Richard Linklater directed drama about Vietman vets exploring life in 2003. Both could earn nominations while Bryan Cranston is a dark horse for a Supporting Actor nod.

War for the Planet of the Apes

Another Planet of the Apes movie means another opportunity for voters to snub Andy Serkis, right? Or perhaps this is the year that Serkis is given a ceremonial nomination for his cumulative body of work in the trilogy. A dark horse for Best Actor nonetheless.

The Beguiled

Could we possibly have multiple female Best Director nominees in 2018? Sofia Coppola’s sixth film earned her the Best Director Award at Cannes earlier this year (only the second time a woman has won that award) and the film is distributed by Focus Features who has managed to earn multiple acting awards over the years. That means stars Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst could be looking at nominations as well. Best Adapted Screenplay is also in contention here.

The 2018 Oscar nominations will be announced January 23.

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