It’s been a week of excitement in the film world, with NBR, NYFCC, and LAFCA all announcing their winners and nominees. We’ve started to officially get into Awards Season, and now the BFCA will cast their votes in the coming week. Meanwhile, it’s Academy Idol time here at Awards Circuit, and so far we’ve already delivered some surprising results. It’s time to dive into the Academy Idol 11 Top 13.
First up, Group 1 had some heavy hitters show up in the first round. Our overall vote leader in the Top 30 was Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” which continues to be a massive indie hit. Not far behind, “Call Me By Your Name” easily takes the next spot (it only had 5 fewer votes than “Ladybird”). The Paul Thomas Anderson fans came out in droves, and “Phantom Thread” takes the 2nd spot for original screenplay in the round. Last but not least, we have a superhero film in our top 13! “Logan” showed real strength and leapfrogged over “It” and “Star Wars” to join the top 13. It’s the first superhero movie since “Guardians of the Galaxy” to make the cut to 13. Yet it won’t be alone.
Next, Group 2 gave us another superhero film in the race. “Wonder Woman” easily cleared adapted, and becomes WB’s first superhero film in Academy Idol since “The Dark Knight” in Academy Idol 2. The film is hoping to repeat Batman’s success, which took him to a 2nd place finish. Our second film from the group is “The Shape of Water,” the newest work from auteur Guillermo Del Toro. The film hasn’t had as much success as many were expecting with early precursors, but it’s still early. Early release “Get Out” easily grabbed the 2nd original spot in the top 13 and is the first horror film in the competition since “The Cabin in the Woods” in season 6. Last up, Netflix jumps on the board with “Mudbound.” The streaming service also grabbed a spot in Academy Idol 9 with “Beasts of No Nation.”
Last up, Group 3 had some extremely close matchups. First up, “Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri” took a strong lead with only 1 less vote than “Lady Bird.” While critics have shunned the film so far, it’s clear it will be a fan favorite this season. Next up, “The Disaster Artist” took the top adapted spot in the group. The James Franco vehicle has been a favorite of cinephiles, and will likely only become more popular upon its release. “Blade Runner 2049” also grabbed an adapted spot, giving last year’s champion Denis Villeneuve a rare chance at repeating in Academy Idol. No director has won twice yet. Last up, Steven Spielberg’s powerhouse film “The Post” bullied its way into the last original spot in the group. After an incredibly strong showing at NBR, the film rocketed up the rankings.
With our 12 films set, we get one last wildcard film thrown into the race. We looked at the groups and identified a few that stood out. The readers opted out of “Darkest Hour,” “It,” and “Baby Driver,” from group 1. Group 2 was missing “I, Tonya,” “Florida Project,” and “Coco.” Group 3 left “Dunkirk,” “The Big Sick,” and “Thor: Ragnarok” on the sidelines. With so many good films to choose, the staff deliberated, and combined with the reader voter, came to the decision to save “Dunkirk” as our final film in the competition!
With our 13 films set, it’s time to start whittling down our contestants. This brings us to our first category of the season. We’ve had a few of the big nominations come out of the last week, so we’re going to start with the early precursors. We’re using LAFCA, NYFCC, NBR, and the Gotham Awards as benchmarks.