Oscar-Worthy Releases of December 2017

December is finally here and so is the end of 2017. In the film industry, most look to this month as being the time when the next year’s Oscar contenders shine. Though there are many other worthy films that came out earlier this year, these are the newest competitors for the 2018 awards season to see later this month. 

Darkest Hour – December 8

Gary Oldman’s interpretation of Churchill has been getting so much Oscar buzz that he is a shoe-in for a Best Actor nomination. Taking place immediately before WWII, Darkest Hour depicts Churchill’s efforts to slow the impending war from happening. Churchill, however, must decide whether he wants to negotiate with the Nazis or follow his own values and rally his new nation. Oldman’s complete transformation into Churchill is uncanny and, because of it, it might finally get him the Oscar he has deserved for so long.

The main contender in Darkest Hour is definitely Oldman in his portrayal of Churchill. Though it’s going to be a tight race for Best Actor, he has been a frontrunner for quite some time.

The Disaster Artist – December 8

Similar to Tommy Wiseau’s participation in The Room, James Franco directed, produced, and starred in The Disaster Artist, a film based on the making of the infamously bad movie, The Room. Departing from the rest of this list, The Disaster Artist is a comedy, which might bring some variety to the Best Picture nominee list. Though it might not immediately be seen as a true contender because of its genre, it has been noted to be a dark horse in the race, meaning this film might just surprise everyone in its success during next year’s awards season.

The Disaster Artist has been receiving a lot of attention, especially towards James Franco, in recent independent award ceremonies. This could be his chance to receive nominations for not only Directo but also Best Actor.

 The Shape of Water – December 8

Guillermo del Toro’s newest film received tons of praise in its festival debut and continues to garner love from critics. The Shape of Water is an unconventional love story between a mute named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and a sea creature who is in danger from the evil Strickland (Michael Shannon). Though a fantasy – a genre that does not always get enough appreciation during awards season – del Toro’s consistently fantastic art direction is bound to get recognition from the Academy. The Shape of Water’s outpour of critical acclaim puts it in the front-runner’s spot and could be the first fantasy since Return of the King to receive the biggest award of Oscar Night.

For some reason, there has been a lack of nominations for The Shape of Water, much to the dismay of many critics. Nevertheless, the film could still shine not only in the directing and acting nominations – particularly for Hawkins and Shannon – but also in the technical awards like Best Original Score, Art Direction and Visual Effects.

Call Me by Your Name – December 22

Many critics have already noted Call Me by Your Name as being the next best coming-of-age classic. An LGBTQ romance, Call Me by Your Name has the potential to break boundaries once again for the LGBTQ community, as Moonlight did earlier this year. It follows seventeen-year-old, Elio (Timothée Chalamet), in Italy during the summer of 1983. During his time there, Elio meets and eventually falls for an American named Oliver (Armie Hammer), his father’s assistant. Its fantastic casting and beautiful cinematography have also been receiving non-stop critical acclaim, making this film a force to be reckoned with.

So far, Call Me by Your Name has been extremely successful in the awards circuit. Chalamet is the one to beat for Best Actor, as he continues to be celebrated by critics. Call Me by Your Name and Lady Bird is the two front-runners for nearly any award this upcoming year, as both coming-of-age stories have proven themselves as the most worthy competitors of the year.

The Post – December 22 (Limited; Wide Release: January 12)

Merely by saying it’s a Steven Spielberg film starring both Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep indicates an Oscar contender. The Post is a film about the Watergate scandal and the Washington Post’s involvement in the release of the tapes. Streep plays Kay Graham, the country’s first female newspaper publisher, and Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, an editor at the newspaper, as they both work together to form a battle with the government. With his past repertoire of biopics, Spielberg proves, again and again, to do no wrong in this genre. Along with a stellar cast and highly relevant subject matter, The Post is looking to be a major competitor in next year’s Oscar race.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to say that Spielberg has the opportunity to grab a Directing nod and Streep and Hanks to grab their own acting nominations. Though there haven’t been any screenings as of yet, their credibility due to their past credits allows a great probability for nominations their respective categories.

Phantom Thread – December 25

Yet another great film collaboration, this time in the form of director and writer Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis, gives Phantom Thread a high probability of being a nominee. Exploring a topic seldom seen in film, the film takes place after WWII in London where a famous fashion designer named Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), who becomes his muse and eventually disrupts his day-to-day life due to his infatuation. Day-Lewis never seems to fail in his impeccable delivery as an actor and he doesn’t cease to amaze both audiences and critics. Since this might possibly be his final role as an actor, it would be ludicrous to think he would fall short of people’s high expectations. With such a great director also attached, Phantom Thread will be a tough film to compete against.

Anderson’s track record in past Oscar ceremonies would say that he is guaranteed a writing nomination and Day-Lewis always seems to wow the critics. Since reviews have not been released yet, other categories are less certain. However, based on reputation alone, it is apparent that there will be more to be had for Phantom Thread.

With so many great films both throughout the film and in this upcoming month, it might be overwhelming to catch up on all of the contenders.

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