We’re nearing the end of the first half of the year and then before you know it, fall festivals will be here and the “quality” films will be plentiful. Observing this year compared to year’s prior, the upcoming “Oscar-bait” films seem to be quiet on the buzz side. Quieter than usual when we there have been films like “The Aviator,” “The Revenant,” or “Unbroken” to look forward to.
New trailers have piqued our interests for films like “Widows” from Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”), which admittedly on paper sounded like “Set It Off” 2.0. After watching the first clips, you can’t help but want to include the film, director, Viola Davis and either Elizabeth Debicki and/or Michelle Rodriguez in your latest Oscar Predictions. I sure did.
A teaser of a trailer dropped for “Beautiful Boy” from Felix Van Groeningen (“The Broken Circle Breakdown”) and showcased a very baity looking Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell. There’s no telling if the film will just be an acting showcase or be able to break out in a larger manner.
Yann Damage’s “White Boy Rick” got a nice cut trailer showcasing Matthew McConaughey and newcomer Richie Merritt in prominent roles. We’ll hope the film can transcend its “popcorn” looking demeanor and produce more than what may be on the surface.
Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” has people jumping in their seats based on its first reels where Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson looked downright spectacular. With DP Sayombhu Mukdeeprom back behind the camera, following his snub for “Call Me by Your Name,” this could be a bigger tech player than we’re expecting.
Chuckles were numerous for Jacques Audiard’s “The Sisters Brothers” trailer. It also showed that we could have a scene-stealer in Joaquin Phoenix and perhaps Riz Ahmed. Andy Serkis’ “Mowgli” showed itself as a force in Visual Effects while “The Happytime Murders” may just be for a select group of the internet, though we pray for more.
Words of “test screening” have popped up on various message boards, forums, and Film Twitter. “A Star is Born” is allegedly about to be a big player across the board including a supposed “Oscar-winnable” performance from Sam Elliott, who has never found Academy love despite “Grandma” and “The Hero” on his resume. The still officially untitled Dick Cheney biopic is supposed to be a “slam dunk” nod for Christian Bale but haven’t heard much else in the sphere. Annapurna Pictures tested it with the title “Cheney” though “Backseat” is still listed on IMDB, despite a representative claiming that is not the official title.
A New York audience full of critics were treated to “Hereditary” from newcomer Ari Aster and may produce a serious Oscar contender in Toni Collette, who is breathtaking and may deliver her finest work yet. In a perfect world, she doesn’t sit in this world alone, as co-star Alex Woolf enchants as her complex son.
Lastly, we look ahead to the remainder of the month that will close this first half. “Hotel Artemis” and “Ocean’s 8” look like fun though not exactly Oscar contenders. “Hearts Beat Loud” is hoping for a screenplay run while “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is looking to do much better than just a Documentary Feature nomination (Best Picture perhaps?).
The first set of eyes will be on “Incredibles 2” this week (with an embargo) while the rest of the month gives us popcorn summer flair like “Tag,” “Superfly,” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” Surely there are smaller things on the radar like Ben Foster (newly married) in “Leave No Trace” and Robert Pattinson in “Damsel” but we don’t expect much noise. “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” will pray to not be a generic, unwanted sequel, so until we officially get the word, we’ll remain muted on the subject.
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