Mar 22nd, 2017, 10:00 PM

Premature Predictions: The Oscars 2018

By Safian Ado-Ibrahim
Image Credit: Sundance Institute
Which movies should we pay attention to in anticipation of the next award season?

Now that the Oscars 2017, and all the ramblings that came along with it, are finally over, we're back at the beginning of the award season cycle. And while many of us are still letting remnants of the buzz created simmer, there are already many worthy contenders to keep an eye on for next year. It's early, surely. But we live in times of ephemeral interests and, in any case, it gives you the opportunity to be "the one that saw it first" amongst your friends. These predictions for Best Picture and Best Director are obviously just that—predictions, but it is always fun to speculate.

Best Picture

"Dunkirk" 

Christopher Nolan is one of the industry's strongest products, having a portfolio that boasts movies such as "Memento", "The Prestige", "The Batman Trilogy", and "Interstellar;" however, only one of his films has made it to Best Picture: "Inception." His new film, "Dunkirk," centers around allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium and France that are surrounded by the German army on the beaches of Dunkirk and evacuated in Operation Dynamo between 26 May and 4 June 1940, during the early stages of World War II. Based on true events, there's nothing the academy loves more that a patriotic war spectacle and Christopher Nolan is a fine choice to paint that picture.

"Mudbound"


Image Credit: Steve Dietl

Mudbound is a 2017 period drama directed by Dee Rees, with a script written by Virgin Williams based on the novel Mudbound by Hilary Jordan. Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war. This film created quite the buzz at Sundance, and it was recently announced that Netflix bought it for $12.5 million. While some have suggested that this kills its hopes for awards, Netflix now has an Oscar for a similar documentary entitled "The White Helmets;" as a result, there are few doubts that this will be a serious contender come next year.

"Call Me By Your Name"

Luca Guadagnino's adaptation of AndrĂ© Aciman's novel about the affair between an older male (Armie Hammer) and a young American boy in Italy was one the most critically acclaimed film at the Sundance festival and has become a favorite amongst viewers. It has received raving reviews and boasts a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. With the recent success of the initially unknown festival darling, "Moonlight," the doors have been further opened to other LGBT films of its kind.

VERDICT: And the winner is Dunkirk. Directed by Christopher Nolan, with cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema and scored by Hans Zimmer, this wartime piece sounds like the perfect set up.

Best Director

Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name


Image Credit: Simone Comi/Rex Shutterstock

Although he is a relatively unknown name—even to the more Eurocentric and alternative crowd—which could work against him, the momentum and buzz that his film "Call Me By Your Name" has developed are undeniable. As the membership of the directors' branch in the academy has shifted from a more conventional group in recent years, there is a possibility that this will act as an advantage for the director.

Paul Thomas Anderson, Untitled Project


Image Credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images

Having won two Oscars in 2008 for the masterpiece that is "There Will Be Blood" and boasting six nominations, the director is back and teamed up once again with the brilliant Daniel Day-Lewis. Their latest untitled story will revolve around the fashion world around Europe in the 1950s, but that's all the information that has been released. It is clear that Day-Lewis has a penchant for being a strong contender for awards, and the period piece that their next project is shaping up to be will surely get the attention of voters. 

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk


Image Credit: © TM & DC Comics. 2008 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. 

Surprisingly, Christopher Nolan has never been nominated for Best Director, but "Dunkirk" provides a great opportunity for him to put an end to that. By shooting the film on a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large format film stock, Nolan continues to push for the continued use of film in an increasingly digital industry. He will also have a strong cast at his disposal with Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance taking part. If it looks as good as it does in the trailer and is of an even higher standard of a Nolan film, then this could be his time.

Dee Rees, Mudbound

There has never been a black filmmaker to win Best Director. While Barry Jenkins and Steve McQueen were both nominated, they lost out to other candidates. However, a black woman has never even been nominated for the award. With "Mudbound" this could all change. There is very little known about the director but she has two other movies that were very good in "Pariah" and Bessie" respectively. Kathryn Bigelow is the first, and only, woman to win the Best Director award, but imagine if "Mudbound" and Kathryn Bigelow's project get nominated. It is a very big 'if' and I doubt the academy would prove that 'progressive.' Still, it would be fantastic to see another woman win it.

VERDICT: It seems like Paul Thomas Anderson has the best shot— extra points for his partnership with Daniel Day-Lewis. It's all a guessing game, but if they can produce something like "There Will Be Blood' again? You've got it.