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An early look at next year’s Academy Awards

By JACOB TRASK

It’s the middle of March and we’re three weeks removed from the 2018 Academy Awards, which means it’s time for me to start predicting which film will win the Oscar for Best Picture in 2019. It’s a ridiculously premature investigation, but as an avid cinephile, it’s impossible for me to forgo information about what could potentially be the best films of the year. This year, the research was more than than worth it, because 2018 looks like it could one of the best film years of the decade. Here are four movies that I think will lock down nominations for Best Picture next spring.

FIRST MAN

At 32 years old, Damien Chazelle made Academy Award history by becoming the youngest person to win the Oscar for Best Director with his film La La Land. The film dazzled audiences with help from Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, and a fantastic script written by Chazelle himself. This year, Chazelle is back for more nominations with a riveting, historical drama called First Man, which tells the story of Neil Armstrong’s trip to the Moon. Chazelle is teaming up with Gosling once again, who will play Armstrong. The film is set for an October release, which means Chazelle and Gosling will both be gunning for the Oscars.

BEAUTIFUL BOY 

Beautiful Boy is the perfect storm for a potential critically-acclaimed drama. The film is adapted from a biographical novel by David Sheff, a previous meth addict who, over several years, witnessed his son, Nic, struggle through the same addiction. Sheff will be played by Steve Carrell, who faces a true challenge in his darkest role since his Academy-nominated performance as John Du Pont in Foxcatcher. Nic will be played by breakout sensation Timothee Chalamet, who starred in two best picture-nominated films in 2017, and received a Best Actor nomination for his performance in Call Me By Your Name. The duo is hard to imagine on the screen because of Carrell’s significant background in comedy and Chalamet’s recent deep performances, but based on Carrell’s previous work in dramatic films, I think the two could create an extremely poignant chemistry. Beautiful Boy will be a film to pay attention to.

IF BEAL STREAT COULD TALK

 

Director Barry Jenkins established himself as one of Hollywood’s best young talents with his Oscar-winning Best Picture Moonlight in 2016. This year, he’s back with an even more exciting concept. Jenkins will direct an adaption of If Beale Street Could Talk, a novel by civil rights legend James Baldwin. The book tells a story of two African-American lovers in 1970s Harlem who find themselves in a life-threatening situation when the husband, Alonzo, is falsely accused of rape. The movie will feature a predominantly black cast, and will be another huge step for black recognition in Hollywood. With Jenkins at the helm, it’s hard to imagine the film won’t see a hefty share of Oscar nominations.

MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS

Best Actress nominees Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie will team up this year in Mary, Queen of Scots, a historical drama directed by Josie Rourke. The film will be based on John Guy’s biography, My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots. Minimal information has been released about the film’s plot, but it will definitely count on its two lead performances to drive it toward Oscar nominations.

The Oscars are a whole year away, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if one of these films falls under the radar before the end of the year, but all of them are potential heavyweights. Their competitors will begin to reveal themselves in the coming months, and hopefully they will make next year’s Oscars an exciting battle.

If I had to guess 11 months ahead, I would say that If Beale Street Could Talk will win the Oscar for Best Picture. I am a huge fan of Barry Jenkins and would love to see him tuck another Oscar under his belt, but any of these films could be the best of the year.

Tune in February of next year on some night in February at like at 8 p.m. to see if I’m right.

Jacob Trask can be reached at jacob.trask@theminaretonline.com

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