Best Movies of 2017 So Far and Premature Award Season Predictions
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Best Movies of 2017 So Far and Premature Award Season Predictions

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Best Movies of 2017 So Far and Premature Award Season Predictions
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2017 started off slow with in terms of box office hits, but then Wonder Woman, Spider Man: Homecoming, War For the Planet of the Apes, and Dunkirk topped the charts. Because of Christopher Nolan’s past success with The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception,Dunkirk is already getting early Oscar buzz. Movies released in the summer have a smaller advantage of getting nominated or winning awards with the exception of The Hurt Locker which beat Avatar to everyone's surprise. Richard Linklater's Boyhood was released in the summer, and got nominated for many awards. However, it lost to Birdman. Dunkirk, however, is not the only summer film that is on award season predictions lists. In fact, Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) has a new film coming out August 4th called Detroit starring John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Anthony Mackie (Falcon from the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Favorite Movies of 2017 So Far:

Maudie: I got the pleasure of seeing this film on my birthday with my mother. We both loved it. It was a very touching story about the creative art of Canadian painter Maud Lewis. The cinematography of Newfoundland, Canada is gorgeous. Sally Hawkins was incredible as Maud. Ethan Hawke did an equally impressive job. The make-up intended to make Maudie (Sally Hawkins) and Everett (Ethan Hawke) look older. Although it is early, I think Sally Hawkins should get nominated for best actress at the 2018 Academy Awards. Maudie was directed by Irish director Aisling Walsh who did a lot of TV directing.

The Big Sick: This was a very unique romantic comedy not just about accepting multicultural differences but developing one’s creative individuality. Also, I like how the film didn’t overemphasize Kumail and Emily’s cultural differences. I loved how Kumail and Emily (Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon) worked on their individuality before ending up together. You don’t see that too often in romantic comedies.

Baby Driver: Edgar Wright’s uses his unique style of camera movements seen in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, yet he also excels with unique sound editing and mixing. That being said, Baby Driver is not only visually striking but also an auditory masterpiece.

Dunkirk: This was a beautifully shot film. Throughout the whole movie, I wondered how the actors did not die of hypothermia while swimming in the water. I loved the music by Hans Zimmer. Additionally, the sound effects and editing flowed really well with Zimmer’s score. Particularly, the sound of the ticking clock in the background was striking.


Wonder Woman: Diana, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, portrayed by Gal Gadot is a naturally headstrong, persevering character. So-called “internet feminists” demand these characters in film and television. However, Diana’s strong willpower is certainly not forced because of her gender. Diana is not strong because she is female. Instead, she is strong because she was raised by the Amazons to become a warrior.

Early Award Season Predictions

NOTE: Please note that I am not interested in seeing all of these movies, nor do I think movies need to win awards in order to prove their value. In addition, I do not always trust Rotten Tomatoes. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I do not. Nevertheless, I do like to make predictions.

Call Me By Your Name-dir. Luca Guadagnino: This is the new film from the director of A Bigger Splash and I am Love. It is based on a novel of the same title by Andrew Aciman. Although not yet released, the film has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, that score could always drop.

  • Best Actor Armie Hammer
  • Best Actor or Supporting Actor Timothee Chalamet
  • Best Supporting Actor Michael Stuhlbarg
  • Best Director Luca Guadagnino
  • Best Adapted Screenplay James Ivory

Detroit-dir. Kathryn Bigelow: This is a film about the 1967 Detroit rebellion. The ffilm currently has a score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Best Actor John Boyega
  • Best Supporting Actor Anthony Mackie
  • Best Director Kathryn Bigelow
  • Best Original Screenplay Mark Boal


Downsizing-dir. Alexander Payne: This is a science-fiction comedy about a man who thinks his life will improve if he shrinks himself. The film stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Laura Dern, Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis, and Neil Patrick Harris. Alexander Payne previously directed Nebraska, The Descendants, Sideways, Election, and About Schmidt.

  • Best Actor Matt Damon
  • Best Director Alexander Payne
  • Best Original Screenplay Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor

Dunkirk-dir. Christopher Nolan: Again, it has the disadvantage of being released in the summer. Although well-received, many critics and movie-goers had one complaint. Many people argued that the characters were not well-developed being that the film focused more on the situation of war rather than the lives of the soldiers. Nevertheless, because of the positive reception with regard to visuals and audio, Dunkirk could definitely got nominated for the technical awards.

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Editing
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Original Score Hans Zimmer

The Florida Project-dir. Sean Baker: This is a film starring children. The Academy Awards sometimes nominate child actors, but they do not typically win. Of course, the exception to this rule was Anna Paquin's win for her performance in The Piano. Although this independent film will not receive a limited release until October, it already has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sean Baker's previous film credits include Tangerine and Starlet.

  • Best Original Screenplay Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch
  • Best Actor or Supporting Actor Willem Dafoe

Good Time-dir. Ben and Joshua Safdie: This film was part of the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival. Like Dunkirk and Detroit, Good Time has the disadvantage of being released in the summer. Nevertheless, it has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, so recognition is possible.

  • Best Actor Robert Pattinson
  • Bed Editing
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing

Happy End-dir. Michael Haneke: Foreign films typically do not sweep awards other than in the Best Foreign Language Film Category. However, Michael Haneke received recognition in the 2012/2013 Oscar Season when he was nominated for best director for Amour, which won best foreign language film that year. Unfortunately, however, he lost to Ang Lee for Life of Pi. Additionally, his past season, Isabelle Huppert was nominated for her role in Elle this past awards season, so maybe the Academy will nominate her again.

  • Best Director Michael Haneke
  • Best Actress Isabelle Huppert
  • Best Actor Jean Louis-Trintignant
  • Best Supporting Actor Mathieu Kassovitz
  • Best Foreign Language Film


The Killing of a Sacred Deer-dir. Yorgos Lanthimos: This film won Best Screenplay at this year's prestigious Cannes Film Festival (tied with Lynne Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here.) Lanthimos' previous film The Lobster was nominated for Best Original Screenplay this past year, but lost to Manchester By the Sea. Lanthimos and his screenwriting partner Efthymis Filppou are well known for their pitch dark humor. IMDb categorizes this as a Drama/Horror/Mystery, but I am sure there will be scenes of darkly comic relief.

  • Best Actor Barry Keoghan
  • Best Supporting Actor Colin Farrell
  • Supporting Actress Nicole Kidman
  • Best Director Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Best Original Screenplay Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou

Maudie-dir. Aisling Walsh: Again, this is a film with the disadvantage of being released in the summer. Then again, the film was critically acclaimed, so it might have a chance.

  • Best Actress Sally Hawkins
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Make-Up

Mother!-dir. Darren Aronofsky: Any film with Jennifer Lawrence receives Oscar buzz let alone Hollywood attention. Aronofsky's previous film Black Swan won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Actress, Natalie Portman, so critics will definitely be drawn to this film. Little is known about this film other than that it is about a couple disrupted by guests. The teaser trailer shown before Dunkirk did not show anything but a black screen and the actor names. Some dialogue was heard, but not a lot. If you look on IMDb, there are no photos of the film. Likewise, Darren Aronofsky has no pictures of production on his Instagram page. Darren Aronofsky must not want to give away spoilers. He probably wants his audiences to enter the theater blind. The absence is information about the film is a major reason why I want to see it.

  • Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence
  • Best Actor Javier Bardem
  • Best Director Darren Aronofsky
  • Best Original Screenplay Darren Aronofsky
  • Best Supporting Actress Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Best Supporting Actor Ed Harris


The Papers-dir. Steven Spielberg: Any film with the name Steven Spielberg on it gets Oscar buzz, at least before they come out. Last summer, Spielberg's film The BFG was a flop at the box office. However, Bridge of Spies was pretty well-received and surprisingly won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor-Mark Rylance.

  • Best Actor Tom Hanks
  • Best Actress Meryl Streep
  • Best Supporting Actress Carrie Coon
  • Best Director Steven Spielberg
  • Best Original Screenplay Liz Hannah and Josh Singer


Phantom Thread-dir. Paul Thomas Anderson: Paul Thomas Anderson, previously known as PT also collaborated with Daniel Day Lewis on the film There Will Be Blood, which Lewis won the Academy Award for in the 2007/2008 season. Phantom Thread is a biopic about Charles James, a British fashion designer. Anderson has previously directed loose/semi-biopics. Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) in Boogie Nights was loosely based off of a real-life porn star named John Holmes a.k.a. Johnny Wadd. Similarly, Lancaster Dodd, Philip Seymour Hoffman's character in The Master, is loosely based off of L. Ron Hubbard.

  • Best Actor Daniel Day Lewis
  • Best Supporting Actress Lesley Manville
  • Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Best Original Screenplay Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Cinematography


The Shape of Water-dir. Guillermo del Toro

  • Best Actress Sally Hawkins
  • Best Director Guillermo Del Toro
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Editing
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Cinematography

The Square-dir. Ruben Ostlund

  • Best Actor Dominic West
  • Best Supporting Actress Elisabeth Moss
  • Best Director Ruben Ostlund
  • Best Original Screenplay Ruben Ostlund

Suburbicon-dir. George Clooney

  • Best Director George Clooney
  • Best Original Screenplay Joel and Ethan Coen
  • Best Actor Matt Damon
  • Best Actress or Supporting Actress Julianne Moore
  • Best Supporting Actor Oscar Isaac

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri-dir. Martin McDonagh

  • Best Actress Frances McDormand
  • Best Supporting Actor Woody Harrelson
  • Best Director Martin McDonagh
  • Best Original Screenplay Martin McDonagh


Wonderstruck-dir. Todd Haynes

  • Best Director Todd Haynes
  • Best Actress Millicent Simmonds
  • Best Adapted Screenplay Brian Selznick
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