The first few months of the year usually don’t have much to offer in terms of critical masterpieces when it comes to movies. There might be some good “popcorn flicks” in the form of action movies, sequels, and comedies, but critics tend to save most of their excitement for the second half of the year. More and more, it’s the fall and early winter season that provides a year’s most critically acclaimed movies, and therefore the same year’s Academy Award contenders.
But 2017 could be an exception to this rule. The early months of this particular year have proven to be unusually strong at the theaters, and while it’s still unlikely that anything that’s already come out will factor into the Oscars, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Let’s look at a few of the early candidates.
Beauty And The Beast
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST did quite well for an adaptation of such an iconic Disney film. It stuck pretty tight to the animated original and featured a well-chosen cast of stars who could sing about as well as they acted. It probably won’t be snagging any major Academy Award hardware beyohttp://trieste.io/site_links/edit/4214036nd the visual and audio award—unless Emma Watson finds herself in the Best Actress conversation. Watson actually had the inside track on the lead role for LA LA LAND at one point before ultimately deciding to do this one instead, so there would be a certain poetry to it if indeed she received a nomination. Emma Stone wound up winning Best Actress for her work in LA LA LAND.
LOGAN seems an unlikely Oscars contender, but there appears to be a general consensus that it’s more than just another superhero movie. A nomination for Best Picture is probably still a long shot, although we should remember that DEADPOOL received a fair bit of buzz for the same honor before ultimately falling short. Nevertheless, there is already speculation that Hugh Jackman could earn a nomination for Best Actor, both for his outstanding work in the movie and as recognition for his 17 years at the core of the X-Men franchise.
This horror/comedy is a lot of people’s pick for the best film of 2017 so far, and while it certainly doesn’t look like the typical Oscars nominee, it would seem to have a chance. Just last year some platforms making predictions for various film and sports events speculated that 2016’s #OscarSoWhite controversy could lead to more consideration of African-American filmmakers and actors, and 2017 brought a great deal of progress in diversification. If that trend should continue, GET OUT might have a real shot. Though to be clear, it’s good enough to get a nomination with or without this kind of consideration.
John Wick: Chapter 2
This is probably the least likely project on the list to get a Best Picture nod, but again, that DEADPOOL chatter makes you think. JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 was an exceptionally tight, impressive action film, and was practically drooled over by critics. It would still need to be a weak year for a movie like this to land an Oscar nomination, but it doesn’t seem to be out of the realm of possibility.
The Lost City Of Z
Finally, there’s THE LOST CITY OF Z, which is another long shot, but one that could gain steam if it turns out to be a mediocre year. This project came out of nowhere to become one of the most highly regarded films of the first half of the year, and it would definitely make for an unusual contender.
We’ll see in another 10 months or so if any of these movies factor into the award season conversation. Right now they seem to have a better shot than your average late winter and spring releases, and if the rest of the year is half then movie-goers will be in for a treat.