Award Season Movies: Looking Forward


Graphic by Raya Isenstein

Four upcoming films are discussed in the article: Frrom top left to bottom right–Kathryn Hahn, Madelyn Cline, Edward Norton, Leslie Odom Jr., and Kate Hudson in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Cate Blanchett in TAR Naomi Ackie in I Wanna Dance With Somebody Margot Robbie in Babylon

It’s officially the last quarter of the year! The last quarter of the year brings many excitements but one of the most fun is the start of award season! As large and small studios rush to get their films out before Oscar eligibility ends (December 31), moviegoers are treated to an array of new releases. Deemed “Oscar-Bait” season, these few months are when the theaters stop being full of big blockbusters and start showing more dramas and films by acclaimed directors. Some prime candidates for awards are already released (Everything Everywhere All At Once and Elvis being main examples), but most have a release date in the next two and a half months. Here is an inside look on the films that have very likely shots at being nominated for winning Oscars in this film season.

The Banshees of Inisherin: Dir. Martin McDonagh, October 21st (Searchlight Pictures)
Academy Award Nominee Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri) reunites with In Bruges collaborators Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Taking place during the Irish Civil War, Banshees tells the story of two friends who face dire consequences after one of them abruptly ends their relationship. Despite the premise, Banshees is a dark comedy and hailed as one of the year’s funniest movies.

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing

TAR: Dir. Todd Field, October 28th (Focus Features)
Starring Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (Don’t Look Up, Cinderella), TAR is a psychological drama about the power within the digital age. This fantastic film is easily a Best Picture nominee contender, and Blanchett is looking for another win for Best Actress.

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound, Best Editing

Black Panther Wakanda Forever: Dir. Ryan Coogler, November 11th (Marvel Studios)

The first major franchise/sequel movie on the list! This would not be here if the first one did not win multiple Oscars. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has not recently produced highly praised releases, but the Black Panther sequel may break that. Ryan Coogler is a phenomenal director, and the story has so much to take on with the passing of Chadwick Boseman. There’s a chance that just like the first one, it’s an absolute phenomenon that leads it to a Best Picture nomination, and it’s guaranteed to make money and get some tech category nominations, including Best Original Song for Rihanna’s first track since the release of Anti in 2016.

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Original Song

The Fabelmans: Dir. Steven Spielberg, November 11th (Universal Pictures)

Steven Spielberg has a new movie! Inspired by the true story of his childhood and relationship with his parents, The Fabelmans won the People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Again, Spielberg makes an utter crowd-pleaser that audiences and critics alike seem to love!

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor x2, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Editing

She Said: Dir. Maria Schrader, November 18th (Universal Pictures)

For sure, tackling a heavy subject, Maria Schrader’s She Said is the true story of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the journalists who exposed Harvey Weinstein for his crimes. Starring Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan, She Said debuted to raves at the London Film Festival. Critics are praising the performances and direction and how sensitively this important topic is treated. She Said is such an important film to have been made by a major studio and is sure to spark up plenty of much-needed conversations.

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery: Dir. Rian Johnson, November 23rd (Netflix)

The second sequel on the list, viewers are treated to the sequel to the hit mystery comedy Knives Out. Glass Onion once again follows detective Benoit Blanc solving a murder. Still, this time with a new group of eccentric figures, and the reviews are saying it’s even funnier than the first!. Despite being a Netflix film, Glass Onion is receiving a nationwide theatrical release and will be at most theaters for Thanksgiving week!

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Editing

White Noise: Dir. Noah Baumbach, November 25th (Netflix)

Another Netflix film receiving a theatrical release before it hits Netflix is the dark 1980s comedy White Noise starring Adam Driver. Some critics say White Noise is the funniest movie of the year and features some of the best writing, directing, and acting. It’s certainly not for everyone, being described as quite weird and off-putting at times, but this is sure to be a hit for fans of dark comedies or generally weird movies! White Noise hits Netflix on Christmas day.

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Original Song

Women Talking: Dir. Sarah Polley, December 2nd (Orion Pictures)

There is another film that’s taking a serious topic. Woman Talking is a film that was placed for People’s Choice at Tiff. Women Talking is an ensemble piece about a group of women in a religious colony that meet at night to discuss the mass sexual assaults happening within. Praised for its sensitivity, incredibly moving performances, and beautiful script, Women Talking is a critics favorite of the year.

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress x2, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Cinematography

Avatar: The Way of the Water: Dir. James Cameron, December 16th (20th Century Studios)

And the second sequel on the list (and probably the biggest). James Cameron’s Avatar is the highest-grossing movie at the box office, and it was arguably the runner-up for Best Picture in its year. While nothing is known about the sequel besides a vague trailer, a Visual Effects win is in its future. James Cameron is known for making hit after hit, and Avatar 2 he has described as his passion project. Again, while not much is known at the moment, watching how this film unfolds will be interesting.

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design

I Wanna Dance With Somebody: Dir. Kasi Lemmons, December 21st (TriStar Pictures)

What’s award season without a music biopic? Yes, Elvis is already out, but there’s usually so many of them. This Christmas, Whitney Houston gets the biopic treatment. I Wanna Dance With Somebody features Naomi Ackie as Whitney and is written by Bohemian Rhapsody writer Anthony McCarten. For fans of Whitney or just music in general, this is sure to be an electric and vibrant watch full of Houston’s iconic songs.

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Hair and Makeup

Babylon: Dir. Damien Chazelle, December 25th (Paramount Pictures)

And the final movie on the list is La La Land/Whiplash director Damien Chazelle’s new Hollywood epic. Babylon follows three important (fictional) figures in the 1920s film industry as they transition from silent to talking features. As the trailer suggests, the characters are extreme partygoers and deal with the price of fame and all those parties. Babylon features exceptional technical designs of Chazelle’s past works, and the grand scale of the film, it is sure to be getting a ton of craft nominations and possibly the most nominations of the year.

Awards Contention: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress/Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Hair and Makeup, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Sound