A Look at Some of the Top Oscar Best Picture Contenders in 2017 – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


  1. It’s the most unpredictable Oscar race in memory, with no clear frontrunner established and dozens of films vying for the top prize. We look at some of the films that could take home the gold.

All the Money in the World
Dec. 8 Sony
Kevin Spacey stars as tycoon John Paul Getty in this historical drama piece directed by Ridley Scott. The film explores the internal conflicts of the family in the wake of the kidnapping of Getty’s grandson. While the mother (Michelle Williams) would do anything to get her boy back, Getty’s priority remains his business and fortune.

Baby Driver
June 28 Sony
Edgar Wright struck gold with his audacious tale about a getaway driver who falls for a sweet waitress, only to get sucked into another dangerous heist. Whether one of the best-reviewed films of the year can translate into awards buzz remains to be seen, but it shouldn’t be underestimated.

Battle of the Sexes
Sept. 22 Fox Searchlight
Emma Stone and Steve Carrell reunite — and battle — as a dynamite duo in Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton’s adaptation of a truly inspirational tale. The dramedy, based on the real story of the 1973 tennis match between world champ Billie Jean King and ex-champ Bobby Riggs, depicts both the public, physical match and the private, personal battles that go consume them off-court.

Beauty and the Beast
March 17 Disney
The beloved fairy tale, already successfully adapted into an animated film by Disney, comes to glorious life in this colorful musical starring Emma Watson as bookish and beautiful Belle. The special effects are dazzling and the cast is impeccable. The worldwide gross of over $1 billion is nothing to sneeze at, either.

The Big Sick
Aug. 21 Amazon
“The Big Sick” has been the sleeper hit of the year ever since it premiered at Sundance. Based on Kumail Nanjiani’s real-life romance with wife and co-writer Emily V. Gordon, the story tells of a culture clash romance interrupted when Emily goes into a coma.

Blade Runner 2049
Oct. 6 Warner Bros.
In the follow up to Ridley Scott’s tech noir classic “Blade Runner,” Ryan Gosling assumes the role of “K,” a young man who discovers a long-buried secret. Harrison Ford returns as Rick Deckard, but leaves it to Gosling to shine brightest in Denis Villeneuve’s acclaimed sequel to the 1982 film.

Breathe
Oct. 13 Bleecker Street Media
Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with a heart-rending story of romance. Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy star as Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who, when Robin is struck with polio at age 28, refuse to let disease hamper their humanity. Instead, they dedicate their lives to helping polio patients.

Call Me by Your Name
Nov. 24 Sony Classics
The coming-of-age film, directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by James Ivory, covers themes of sexuality and Jewish heritage set in an 1980s Italian landscape. Starring Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg, the film should be a player across the board, with buzz for picture, director, screenplay and several actors.

Darkest Hour
Dec. 23 Focus Features
Gary Oldman gives a tour-de-force performance as Winston Churchill, drawing buzz as a front-runner for lead actor. The British war drama follows Churchill’s early days as prime minister as Hitler closes in on Britain in WWII. The supporting cast is outstanding, including Ben Mendelsohn and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Detroit
Aug. 4 Annapurna
Queen of recent historical drama, Kathryn Bigelow directs this fact-based crime story set in Detroit. During the 1967 racially charged riots that rattled Motor City, a group of rogue police officers act with deplorable motives, leading to lethal results. The film features impressive performances by John Boyega, Algee Smith and Will Poulter.

The Disaster Artist
Dec. 8 A24
How else can one commemorate one of the worst movies of all time than by making a movie about the making of that movie? James Franco becomes Tommy Wiseau, the man behind the cult favorite film “The Room.”

Downsizing
Dec. 22 Paramount Pictures
Just a little comedy starring Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, and Hong Chau, right? Wrong. Alexander Payne’s social satire, in which a man determines he’d live his best life by shrinking himself, has big ideas in mind.

Dunkirk
July 23 Warner Bros.
One of three films about the evacuation of the beach in France during World War II, Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed triptych featured non-stop action and fantastic performances by Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, and even Harry Styles. There were plenty of explosions for Nolan’s fan base and the film grossed $523.5 million worldwide.

The Florida Project
Oct. 6 A24
Heartbreaking humanity and saturated pastels anchor Sean Baker’s ode to youth in the Sunshine State. The vibrant work of Willem Dafoe, Bria Vinaite, and 7-year-old ray of sunshine Brooklynn Prince makes for an alluring rainbow.

Get Out
Feb. 24 Universal
Awards season might have gotten an earlier than usual start after “Get Out” premiered at Sundance in January and hit theaters in February. In his directorial debut, Jordan Peele’s interracial horror film opened to critical acclaim and strong box office numbers. |

The Greatest Showman
Dec. 25 20th Century Fox
“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else,” Hugh Jackman quips, in character as P.T. Barnum, at the end of the trailer for Michael Gracey’s story of wonder. The film is inspired by the imagination of the man who founded the Barnum
& Bailey Circus.

I, Tonya
Dec. 8 Neon/30 West
The story of one Olympic figure skater sabotaging another by hiring someone to break her leg sounds far-fetched, so star Margot Robbie can be excused for thinking that the story of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan was a work of fiction. The comedic drama explores the 1994 scandal and Harding with a fresh and humanizing eye.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Oct. 20 A24
This follow-up picture to director and screenwriter Yorgos Lanthimos’s 2015 film “The Lobster” is already making waves for its dark allegorical subject matter and won for screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival.

Lady Bird
Nov. 3 A24
Writer and director Greta Gerwig enlists Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan to portray a complex mother-daughter relationship in this achingly sincere comedy. Since it debuted at Telluride, the film has been set for critical darling status and will surely win over more hearts upon its release.

Last Flag Flying
Nov. 3 Amazon
Starring Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Lawrence Fishburne, “Last Flag Flying” follows a man who enlists his Vietnam veteran buddies to transport his son home for burial after he died in Afghanistan.

Logan
March 1 Century Fox
Yes, it’s an “X-Men” movie, but the finale to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is so much more. Jackman and Patrick Stewart play shadows of their former superheroes, attempting to shepherd a young mutant — who also happens to be Logan’s daughter — to safety.

The Meyerowitz Stories
Oct. 13 Netflix
Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, and even Adam Sandler are all receiving praise for their performances in Noah Baumbach’s latest about an estranged family that gathers to celebrate their father’s artistic work.

Molly’s Game
Dec. 25 STX Entertainment
High praise has emerged for Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of the hard-to-believe, but absolutely true, story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier turned FBI target who operated the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game.

Mudbound
Nov. 17 Netflix
Directed by Dee Rees with a script written by Rees and Virgil Williams based on the novel, the Sundance hit tells the story of a family who relocated to rural Mississippi and finds itself trying to cope with social and racial issues.

Murder on the Orient Express
Nov, 10, 20th Century Fox
The 1974 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery scored six noms, winning for supporting actress Ingrid Bergman. Kenneth Branagh has filled out his ensemble with a lineup that includes Penelope Cruz and Judi Dench.

Phantom Thread
Dec. 25 Focus Features
Daniel Day-Lewis enters the couture world of 1950s London in what may be his final role, as he recently announced his retirement. He reteams with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, who directed him to an Oscar in “There Will Be Blood,” to play a man commissioned to design for members of high society and the royal family.

The Post
Dec. 22 20th Century Fox
Steven Spielberg’s timely historical drama stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, and chronicles the battle between journalists and the government in publishing the Pentagon Papers.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Nov. 10, Columbia Pictures
Denzel Washington returns to the race as a lawyer who learns unsettling facts about his own firm in this latest from writer-director Dan Gilroy.

The Shape of Water
Dec. 8 Fox Searchlight
Director Guillermo del Toro’s latest has opened to high praise, winning the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The romantic fantasy film stars Sally Hawkins, whose performance has garnered particular attention, as a mute woman who falls for a creature in the laboratory where she works.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Dec. 15 Disney
Though best picture Oscar buzz for “The Force Awakens” failed to produce a nomination, one shouldn’t count out the “Star Wars” series as the recent sequels/prequels have delivered on critical raves and, obviously, box office.

Stronger
Sept. 22 Roadside Attractions
Jake Gyllenhaal soars as Jeff Bauman, a real-life survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing who lost both legs. More than just a feel-good survival story, “Stronger” explores the harsh realities of the event and the aftermath of his sudden celebrity and demonstrates another strong turn by Gyllenhaal.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Nov. 10 Fox Searchlight
Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy (and Toronto
Film Festival winner) follows a woman who uses three billboards to condemn the police after her daughter is murdered and months later no arrests have been made.

Wind River
Aug. 18 The Weinstein Co.
Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, who was nominated for an Oscar for writing 2016’s Hell or High Water,” “Wind River” stars Jeremy Renner as a tracker for the Fish and Wildlife Service who teams with FBI agent Elizabeth Olsen to solve the murder of a young Native American woman.

Wonder
Nov. 17 Lionsgate
There’s unlikely to be a dry eye in the house when director Stephen Chbosky (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”) brings R.J. Palacio’s beloved book to the big screen. Jacob Tremblay stars as a 10-year-old boy with a severe facial disfigurement who attends school for the first time. Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Mandy Patinkin are among the strong supporting cast.

Wonderstruck
Oct. 20 Amazon
Todd Haynes blends two stories of children who run away seeking family — one set in the silent movie era of the 1920s, the other in the colorful world of the 1970s. The result is a haunting, beautiful story that features standout performances by young actors Oakes Fegley and Millicent Simmonds, plus a Lillian Gish-inspired turn by Oscar winner (and Haynes muse) Julianne Moore.

Wonder Wheel
Dec. 1 Amazon
Woody Allen’s latest tale is set on Coney Island and stars Justin Timberlake as an aspiring writer torn between a married woman (Kate Winslet) and her stepdaughter (Juno Temple). As with many Allen vehicles, it features a star turn by its leading lady.

Victoria & Abdul
Oct. 6 Focus Features
Stephen Frears and Judi Dench partner again in this delightful, little-known story of Queen Victoria’s friendship with her Indian server. Dench again essays the role of the queen with an imperiousness that is matched only by her vulnerability. ”



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