Happy Election Day America! It’s officially awards season in the world of cinema as nominations have now opened for the Academy Awards. Throughout this month the ballots will be submitted deciding which films will vie for the coveted trophies in early 2019, but which movies that we’ve seen so far deserve to get a nod? Well that’s the theme for my list today. Not every Oscar hyped movie has been released for our viewing just yet, but many films containing Oscar worthy elements have already had their theatrical run so today I’m going to look at quality movies that were released prior to Halloween of 2019 that I personally believe deserve to be at least mentioned in Oscar conversations. These are my picks for the Ten 2018 Movies (So Far) That Deserve Oscar Buzz.
For this list I picked ten movies that I believe deserve to be considered to Oscar nominations that have ALREADY been released to the masses prior to Halloween of 2018 as the ballots were sent out for nominations during the month of October so that means any forthcoming movies or films that have only been released in certain markets or at film festivals won’t be seen here since we, the people at large, have yet to get our own looks at these pictures to make our own judgement.
I did decide to focus specifically on the Oscars for this countdown. This is a very subjective list, but I picked out films that I personally believe to be deserving of a nomination in one or more categories when the Oscars are announced in the coming months. Not all of these films are deserving of Best Picture however. Some may have made this list for a single performance or category while the ones that landed higher on the list are deserving of more numerous and prominent award consideration in my eyes. Also just because I think these movies deserve the nominations doesn’t necessarily mean I believe they deserve to win. I made sure to add what categories in which I believe the movies should be nominated along the way.
So, with that said I haven’t seen every film in 2018 or even every film currently receiving Oscar buzz so I’d like to know from you: what movies released to theaters so far in 2018 do you believe deserve award season consideration? Let me know in the comments below and also feel free to let me know if you agree with my opinions on who deserves some awards season love. I’d love to hear your thoughts on who deserves the statuette next year. So, let’s get to it. On with the show!!!
10. “Incredibles 2” (Best Animated Feature)
Starting off this list is one of the most obvious picks and one of the most successful movies of 2018, “Incredibles 2” which looks to follow up its predecessor with a nod in the Best Animated Feature category. It’s pretty much a shoe-in that this animated gem will get the nomination since many called it on par if not better than the first film which took the coveted statuette at the Oscars in 2004. If it were to win “Incredibles 2” would be the second sequel movie (after “Toy Story 3″) and the eighth Pixar movie to win the Best Animated Feature Award. It would also continue Disney’s dominance in the category dating back to 2011 when “Rango” became the last non-Disney animated movie to win the honor. In fact, “Rango” is the only non-Disney movie to win the award since “Happy Feet” won in 2006. It would also be the third nomination and potential win for Brad Bird who directed the original “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”. This isn’t the only animated movie on this list though, but we’ll get to that soon enough.
9. “The Wife” (Best Actress)
“The Wife” may feel like a good old-fashioned Oscar bait film by design, but there’s one aspect of this grounded story of female empowerment that should truly receive some much deserved Oscar buzz and that’s the performance of the great Glenn Close. Close, who’s already earned six Academy Award nominations but no wins, became an immediate favorite for an Oscar nomination for Best Actress when this film premiered earlier this year for her portrayal of a wife who finally finds the inner strength to defy her husband on the night of his being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. In a day and age where feminism and the #MeToo movement are both hot topics of discussion Close provides a performance worthy of praise by supporting the empowerment movement without sacrificing the humanity of her character and the required subtlety of such a role. If she were not to be nominated it would be criminal and if she does get the nod, I’d put her as a heavy favorite to contend for the win.
8. “Isle of Dogs” (Best Animated Feature)
The Best Animated Feature category looks like it will be quite competitive during the 2019 ceremony and the biggest competition we’ve seen for “Incredibles 2” so far is the stop-motion masterpiece “Isle of Dogs”. Written and Directed by Wes Anderson, who himself has earned three original Screenplay Academy Award Nominations, a Best Picture Nomination for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and a Best Animated Feature nomination for “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, it’s safe to say this filmmaker, one of the most respected in modern cinema, is overdue for a win. Could he do it with “Isle of Dogs”? Well, like I said Disney has dominated the category for a long time and it would take some work, but I do think “Isle of Dogs” will provide heavy competition for “Incredibles 2” as well as other soon-to-be released potential nominees like “Ralph Break the Internet” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”. Regardless it deserves a nomination so look to see Wes Anderson add to his award nod count this winter.
7. “Tully” (Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress)
Of all the films on this list “Tully” seems to be the one that is the most divisive when I look at other predictions for the Oscars, but for me I think this movie deserves so much more love and respect than its limited release allowed for earlier this year. When I reviewed the film, I called it an early Oscar contender and credited Charlize Theron for her in-depth and committed performance as a mother dealing with a mid-life crisis when a night nanny comes into her life to help take care of her children. I stand by that claim these many months later but I’m going to add to that a hopeful nod for Best Original Screenplay. Diablo Cody has made a career of showing an understanding for real-life themes and earned a best Screenplay Oscar for her work on 2007’s “Juno”. In my opinion “Tully” is not only up to par with “Juno” but in many ways even better so in my personal opinion anything less than a nomination for her work on one of my favorite movies of 2018 so far would be criminal.
6. “Annihilation” (Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay)
I know a lot of people didn’t exactly love this science fiction masterpiece that was an early contender for my personal favorite film of 2018 but “Annihilation” really is deserving of more respect and in my opinion should receive several Oscar nominations. The original score is a trippy, creative and memorable science fiction piece that I still listen to just for fun to this day and being based on a novel I do believe the film deserves an Adapted Screenplay nod especially since after reading the book myself I can say the film is much less pretentious and much more entertaining and even more insightful than the source material. There are many other projects that will surely be in the running for the honor so I don’t actually expect it to happen, but one can dream. Finally, and the most obvious award the film will probably get nominated for, is visual effects and I’ll be damned if this movie doesn’t have a good shot to win that honor. This film is absolutely gorgeous and if nothing else deserves at least a nomination in the category.
5. “A Quiet Place” (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay)
“A Quiet Place” was an early hit in 2018 dominating the box office and receiving rave reviews along the way for its unique story and creativity. While a lot of times mainstream hits like this aren’t as beloved at the Academy I think “A Quiet Place” is one of those films that deserves to break that trend. The original screenplay certainly deserves to be recognized even if by nomination alone and, since the Oscars nearly added a Popular Film achievement award this year, if they want to show respect to movies the masses actually DO go out to see in droves this would be the perfect kind of movie to throw a Best Picture nomination to. If nothing else John Krasinksi and real-life wife Emily Blunt deserve nominations for Best Director and Best Actress as they both gave their all to make this project happen. Krasinski might deserve a Best Actor nod but I don’t think he’d deserves it over other contenders.
4. “BlacKkKlansman” (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay)
Spike Lee is a master filmmaker but surprisingly has few Academy Awards with only two nominations (for Best Original Screenplay and Best Documentary Feature) and an honorary award in 2015. It’s about time he got his due credit with this incredible biopic about a real-life black cop who went undercover (with the help of a white officer) to infiltrate the KKK. “BlacKkKlansman” should earn Lee credit as a director, an award he is overdue to at least earn a nomination for, and is plenty good enough, especially in the modern era, to earn a Best Picture nomination. As the movie is based on the memoir of its main character, Ron Stallworth, I think the adapted screenplay deserves a nomination too which would give Lee, Kevin Willmott, Charlie Wachtel and David Robinowitz some due credit for their great adaptation of a real-life story. I’m going one step further than a lot of other predictions though by also touting the deserving performance of lead actor John David Washington, son of multi-Oscar winner Denzel Washington, who proves in this movie that talent runs in the family.
3. “Black Panther” (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, & Best Original Song Among Others)
If there’s any movie that can break Marvel’s Oscar curse it’s “Black Panther” which is, so far, the biggest hit of 2018. While Marvel’s other big 2018 hit film “Infinity War” was considered for this list for special effects it’s “Black Panther”, which was more character focused and less spectacle, that has become the favorite to earn Marvel it’s first slew of major nominations. I think it’s about time the Academy recognizes that superhero movies are legit. The nominations I think it deserves include Best Picture, Best Director for Ryan Coogler and Best Supporting Actor for Michael B. Jordan for his portrayal of one of Marvels’ best villains to date in Eric Killmonger. As a comicbook adaptation it certainly deserves credit for Adapted Screenplay and there’s a slew of other technical awards where it should shine as well. So yeah I would hope that “Black Panther” doesn’t get snubbed and actually receives the credit fans and critics seem to believe it has rightfully earned. Oh, and let’s not forget the original song “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar that became the artist second top ten hit on the Hot 100 for 2018 and should earn an Original Song nomination.
2. “A Star is Born” (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, & Best Original Song Among Others)
“A Star is Born” has become the early Oscar darling of 2018. The third remake and fourth overall version of the film, this movie has earned incredible acclaim from both fans and critics for its direction, performances and original songs which I believe will all rightfully deserve Oscar love when the big ceremony comes around next year. Of course, a music-based movie also deserves nods in the two big sound categories and while I personally thought the filming style wasn’t completely flawless the cinematography and film editing were more than worthy of some Oscar buzz. However the big categories “A Star is Born” deserves to be included in are of course the Best Picture and Best Director honors as well as the acting categories. The previous three versions of the story all received Academy Award nominations but none have ever earned the Best Picture nominations while the 1937 version did received a Best Director nomination. I think there’s some overdue love for this classic cinematic story in store for the 2019 awards and if “A Star is Born” were to win it would be the first remake of an American property and second remake overall to ever take home the top statuette of the night.
1. “First Man” (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, & Best Adapted Screenplay Among Others)
“First Man” has quickly become a favorite among critics and industry experts to be an award season must-see and with good reason. It’s a downright astounding look at Neil Armstrong and his journey to becoming the first man on the moon with a screenplay, set design, editing, cinematography, mixing, visual effects and music score all worth Oscar nominations in my opinion. It’s an absolutely marvelous cinematic experience balanced by amazing performances from the likes of star Ryan Gosling and supporting actress Claire Foy who should each earn well-deserved nominations for their work on the film. The two most notable awards though should be Best Picture and Best Director. Damian Chazelle earned the honor in 2017 for “La La Land” becoming the youngest person to win that award and while his musical tribute to Hollywood may have lost out to “Moonlight” for Best Picture many believe “First Man” has the potential and opportunity to take home the night’s biggest honor in 2019, myself included.