While we may be a few months away from most of Hollywood’s biggest award shows, it's never too early to peg Oscar frontrunners. We took a look at some of this year's buzziest offerings and narrowed it down to eight films that we're betting make an appearance during awards season. And remember, if you want to see all this year's contenders, now's probably the time to start catching up on the following films.
Adapted from James Baldwin’s acclaimed novel of the same name, If Beale Street Could Talk is currently being called one of the year’s most “extraordinary” films—and it’s easy to see why. The latest effort from Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins, the film follows a pregnant woman named Trish (KiKi Layne) as she fights to clear her fiancé Fonny (Stephan James) of a crime he did not commit. Given the film’s warm reception at the Toronto International Film Festival, it seems as though we have a Best Picture contender, as well as a probable Best Director nod for Jenkins, and even a Best Actress nomination for newcomer Layne on our hands.
It’s no secret that we (and almost everyone else) loved A Star Is Born. Following a grizzled rockstar named Jackson Maine who takes a young songwriter named Ally Campana under his wing, A Star Is Born is a story of love, ambition, and addiction. Plus, not only did it prove that Bradley Cooper has some serious directing chops and that Lady Gaga can truly do it all, but it was also just a damn good and surprisingly nuanced update of a story almost as old as Hollywood itself. Expect nods for Cooper, Gaga, and, of course, that chart-topping soundtrack.
Currently being called “one of the best films of the year,” Widows looks to be a big contender for Best Picture and Best Director nods, as well as a potential Best Actress nomination for Viola Davis. Following the story of four, yes, widows as they attempt a heist following the deaths of their criminal husbands, Widows is garnering strong critical buzz. Co-written by Sharp Objects’ Gillian Flynn and directed by Steve McQueen—who previously won three Academy Awards (including one for Best Picture) for his landmark film,12 Years A Slave—Widows has one of the most formidable behind- and in-front-of-the-camera teams we’ve ever seen.
When Black Panther was released in February, it sparked a huge cultural conversation and a ton of speculation about its potential to become the first superhero film to ever be nominated for an Oscar. The story of T’Challa and his fight to keep his sovereignty as king of Wakanda became one of the year’s biggest box office sensations. After the Oscars introduced a controversial Best Popular Film category, it seemed Black Panther was a shoe-in for an award, but, following an intense backlash, the category’s introduction has been postponed. However, we think the film is still strong enough to get Best Picture and Best Director (for Ryan Coogler) nods. Also, consider this our big push for the scene-stealing Michael B. Jordan to receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
Similarly to Black Panther, Hereditary is creating some serious buzz thanks to its genre bias-busting potential. Centering around a woman named Annie (played by the brilliant Toni Collette), Hereditary is a disturbing, bizarre story of demons and haunting family legacies that is sure to leave you absolutely chilled. And while horror doesn’t usually register at the Oscars (with the notable recent exception of Get Out), the elevated nature of the film has some anticipating its inclusion. And we're rooting for a Best Actress nod for Collette’s career-defining performance.
The internet’s boyfriend, Timothée Chalamet, continues his Oscars domination into this year with his starring role as Nic Sheff, whose methamphetamine addiction threatens to tear him and his father, David (Steve Carrell), apart. Based on the memoirs of the real-life Sheffs,Beautiful Boy has received overall mixed reviews, but near-total consensus that another Best Actor nomination is in the cards for Chalamet.
With a slew of glowing preliminary reviews, ROMAis acclaimed director Alfonso Cuarón’s most personal work to date and may be the film that finally gets Hollywood to take streaming services seriously. Set in 1970s Mexico City, the Spanish-language film is a semi-autobiographical retelling of Cuarón’s upbringing and his close relationship to his family’s housekeeper, from whose perspective the film is told.Set to premiere in December on Netflix, it’s currently being eyed as the film to bring the platform some critical shine from legacy award shows thanks to potential Best Picture and Director nominations.
Earlier this year, BlacKkKlansman debuted to much critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival—taking home the prestigious Grand Prix Award. The latest from legendary director Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman was inspired by the true story of former Colorado Springs policeman, Ron Stallworth. With the help of his white partner, Flip Zimmerman, Stallworth ended up infiltrating the KKK and eventually became the leader of the group's local chapter. Hailed as a timely mirror of current events, it's a heavyweight contender that's already poised to garner nominations for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.