Oscar Contenders – Part 1: Honourable Mentions

by Simao Vaz

If you are anything like me, the Q4 of the year is the most exciting period of the calendar in terms of release dates. This is when the studios are ready to bring out the big guns for their Oscar campaigns, when the festivals have previewed future films and awards buzz is now real. Q4 means the Academy Awards are almost here.

But, whilst is interesting to speculate who will win this year’s golden statues, today I propose a different exercise: if the ceremony were to happen next week, who would come out on top? More often than not, films released outside the specific “awards’ season” window get overlooked by the Academy (and everyone else, really…) when it comes to consideration. This is, perhaps, due to the fact that the best films of the year all come out around this time of the year, but 2017 has been a little different as some films have been creating a buzz since as far as January! So, with that in mind, welcome to the WMMOW Awards! (working title…)

First, a bit of house cleaning, I’ll be following the Academy’s rules, so my consideration are of films that were released in US cinemas between January 1st and October 15th 2017. Secondly, whilst I consider myself to have seen a reasonable amount of films this year, I haven’t seen all the films this year. Thirdly, whilst I try to have an objective view towards how films are made, they are, to their core, pieces of art that affect different people in different ways so this is, ultimately, a personal article. Now that we’ve done all the paperwork, let’s crack on!



Gerald’s Game – Netflix

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Director: Mike Flanagan
Staring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood
Producer: Trevor Macy

Yes, Gerald’s Game breaks rule number one as, being distributed by Netflix, it’s a film which didn’t have a theatrical release, however it’s still worth mentioning as this is the best Stephen King adaptation of the year (sorry IT…) and counts with Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood at their best, it also has what might just be one of the most gruesome scenes of the year which will stay with you for a long long time.

Baby Driver – Sony

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Director: Edgar Wright
Staring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James
Producers: Nira Park, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner

Arguably one of the biggest and most surprising hits of the Summer, Baby Driver can be classified as the first of its genre, as in the action-musical genre. Edgar Wright’s script is sharp and fast-paced, much like the astounding directing of Baby’s driving stunts. The film allows itself some breathing space with the love story of Baby and Deborah in which we witnessed some of this year’s best on-screen chemistry between Ansel Elgort and Lily James.


The Beguiled – Focus Features

Director: Sofia Coppola
Staring: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Colin Farrell
Producers: Youree Henley, Sofia Coppola

Leaving The Beguiled out of the list of nominees was quite difficult. I distinctively remember saying, upon finishing it, that “the Oscar race starts here” as Sofia Coppola’s slow-burning thriller had left me floored with its incredible performances, beautiful cinematography and cruel story. Ultimately, this an masterfully well crafted film that has something to say about the society of 2017, despite being set in 1864.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – The Nominations 
What do you think? 

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