It’s that time of the year again, award season, where each and every award counts when it comes to the race for that glorious Academy Award at the start of the new year. Still, undoubtedly the most monumental of prizes for any filmmaker. Nevertheless, over recent years the Oscars have been known for their exclusions of movies that appeal to wider audiences or are too engrossed in their respective genre. Movies such as The Dark Knight recieved barely any attention, and even The LEGO Movie didn’t score a nod in 2014. Despite both being major critical and box office successes.
However, with this year’s incredible rise of high quality genre movies and the invitations to new members in an effort to promote a more diverse and young academy board, prove that maybe this is the year where a superhero film is nominated for Best Picture and a Netflix Original is nominee sits right there beside in contention.
So far, the only film to break the mold has been Peter Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings trilogy, still the only fantasy film to win Best Picture, Lord of the Rings received countless nominations for two years until it took the clean sweep in 2003, winning 12 Academy Awards. When in year’s following, Inception and The Dark Knight were shunned. District 9 became a rare gem back in 2009, Blomkamp’s low budget sci-fi mirrored racism in South Africa and scored 4 nominations, inlcuding Best Picture and Best Screenplay.
We wouldn’t have phrases like #OscarSoWhite and ‘Oscar-bait’ if the academy weren’t doing something wrong – surpisingly, they answered straight away with Moonlight, the first LGBT film to win Best Picture, with cast and crew that mostly consisted of black people. It was a good year all round actually, Bradford Young (Arrival) received a nod for Best Cinematograpghy and Joi McMillon (Moonlight) for Best Editing.
This year marks something a little different for once, we’ve got female Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig in contention as well as another LGBT film, Call Me By Your Name up for a possible Best Picture win. But it’s the genre films that have really surprised us all with their remarkable quality and superb skill behind the camera. So, can Logan really be an Oscar nominated X-Men film? Will Jordan Peele’s horror Get Out get the attention it deserves even though it focuses on modern racism, with white people as the antogonists?
For your consideration:
Blade Runner 2049, War of The Planet of The Apes – Sci-Fi
BLADE RUNNER 2049 was one of the best reviewed movies of the year, both director Denis Villenueve and cinematographer Roger Deakins have been nominees in recent years. With it’s poor box office, some of that hype has been limited, but it’s chance of at least winning cinematograpghy is still in high hope. Deakins, in his 70s now, has been nominated 13 times in the past. And Blade Runner 2049 is his best show yet.
WAR OF THE PLANET APES, admittedly is a bit of a long shot, notwithstanding it’s an excellent film in all departments. For some reason it’s two previous films never broke the ‘serious’ award barrier, as this is the third – maybe, just maybe, it’ll pull off a Lord of the Rings?
LOGAN, Wonder Woman – Comic Book
LOGAN, opened at the Berlin Film Festival earlier in the year, in recent news so is Wes Anderson’s next film Isle of Dogs. That ‘s already high praise in itself. Logan is a real, hard hitting film that rightly takes itself very seriously with a grounded tone. James Mangold’s been nominated in the past and the two leads Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart acted as if their careers were about to end.
Like War of the Planet of the Apes, WONDER WOMAN, is a long shot. If anything, I’m hoping Patty Jenkins and the iconic superhero receive praise. They broke a boundary that needed to be broken and did it well. Wonder Woman hardly reaches the heights of any other films in contention though, and that CGI battle at the end was a slick reminder that this is a creation of DC cinematic universe.
The Shape of Water – Fantasy
Guillermo Del Toro has been one of the most famous directors of recent years, but he hasn’t exactly been making his best movies. Pacific Rim barely broke even and Crimson Peak was a bit of a dud. The buzz surrounding THE SHAPE OF WATER and it’s award’s release date gives us signals that Del Toro is back to his best. It’s constantly on everyone’s lists as a contender and it finally recieved more love at Venice winning the Golden Lion and LA Film Critic’s where it won 3 awards including Best Director for Del Toro.
Mudbound, First They Killed My Father – Netflix Originals
MUDBOUND, still hasn’t had a theatrical release but you can watch it on Netflix right now. And that’s the catch, Netflix’s Original is directed by Dee Rees, a black woman with a strong vision and is shot by Rachel Morrison as well as edited by Mako Kamitsuno. That’s three women in contention for those categories Best Director, Best Cinematograpghy and Best Editing. Netflix has been given some praise with their short documentaries of late, while their TV series are certainly rising up the ranks with an astounding 91 Emmy nominations and 20 wins this year, Netflix can’t be ignored much longer.
FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER hasn’t been on anyone’s radar as a serious contender, but Angelina Jolie is a Cambodian citizen and the movie can qualify in the international section. Meaning there’s a good chance First They Killed My Father can score a nomination and even go on to win, considering it recieved good praise and didn’t have to rely on box office returns.
Get Out – Horror
Finally, there’s the big one. Jordan Peele’s GET OUT. There was talk for a while, but not the Oscar kind of talk. Until, Get Out scored nominations for Best Film and Best Screenplay at the Gotham Awards, well known for their similar results to the Oscar’s in the previous four years. It’s resuming headway too, picking up more nominations and wins, Get Out even topped Empire’s Best Films of 2017 list. Jordan Peele’s genius social commentary has had no trouble staying fresh in audience’s minds, but Blumhouse recently re-released the film – forcing Academy members to acknowlegde it’s heavy presense.