As another year draws to a close and we wonder where the time went, we find ourselves facing the last few weeks of the year. And with that, comes another awards season and the films that go along with it. As expected, there are some pretty interesting films on the way for fans to anticipate.
Whether they’re based on true stories, acclaimed books or original concepts, 2017 is far from over and it’ll be interesting to see which of these live up to the hype or plummet at the sheer weight of expectations.
Whether or not you buy into the prestige of the whole awards season, there’s a still lot to enjoy from returning titans and new talent. With predictions already starting for who will take home the gold at the Oscars and the many awards leading up to it, everyone will surely have their own picks and favorites.
We rank the most anticipated films still to come, mostly leaving out blockbusters like “Star Wars” as they’re already on the radar and have built fever anticipation.
15. Wonder Wheel
Release Date: 1 December 2017 (USA)
Still knocking out films at a surprising yearly rate, the 81-year-old Woody Allen shows no signs of slowing down. And while many look down on this workmanship as having an overall impact on the quality of his films (it does), if anyone can pull it off in this day and age it’s an old school legend like Allen.
The Plot: Set in a 1950’s Coney Island amusement park, four people’s lives intertwine: Ginny, a former actress working as a waitress; Humpty, Ginny’s carousel operator husband; Carolina, their estranged daughter hiding out from gangsters; and Mickey, a handsome lifeguard who dreams of becoming a playwright.
Starring Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple and Jim Belushi, “Wonder Wheel” has “Midnight in Paris” feels. Premiering at the New York Film Festival, Winslet has been praised for her performance and named another contender for Best Actress in this year’s overcrowded category.
While Allen’s films can be hit or miss, “Wonder Wheel” is looking to lean more towards hit even if the major talking point right now is Winslet’s performance.
14. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Release Date: 17 November 2017 (UK), 29 December 2017 (USA)
First “My Week with Marilyn” and now “Film Stars Don’t Live in Liverpool”, the British surely do have some interesting true-life stories of meeting Hollywood actresses.
The Plot: Based on Peter Turner’s memoirs about his relationship with Oscar-winning actress Gloria Grahame in 1978 Liverpool. The relationship between a legendary femme fatale and her younger lover becomes more meaningful as their passion gets tested by life.
Starring the underappreciated but always consistent Annette Bening and Jamie Bell, “Film Stars” looks like a quiet affair with just enough laughs, warmth and sadness that British films balance so well.
Playing as a love story between an upcoming actor and legendary actress, it’s also a latter-day biopic Grahame as she faces her returning cancer and sad death in England’s Liverpool.
Praised for the honest and relaxed performances as well as the chemistry between Bening and Bell, Paul McGuigan’s film will hopefully find an audience when it’s released.
13. Lady Bird
Release Date: 3 November 2017 (USA), 1 December 2017 (UK)
The multitalented Greta Gerwig arrives with her directorial debut which has received an overwhelming acclaim from festivals and critics.
The Plot: Laurie Metcalf stars as Marion McPherson; a strong-willed, opinionated California nurse who works tirelessly to keep her family afloat after her husband loses his job, while maintaining a turbulent bond with her daughter who’s just like her, played by Saoirse Ronan.
Receiving a standing ovation at its Toronto International Film Festival premiere, scoring 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and getting every critic’s panties in a knot, “Lady Bird” is perhaps the most acclaimed film on this list.
Gerwig’s directing and writing has been praised as confident, creative and intimately-epic, while Ronan’s and Metcalf’s performances have been singled out as well. “Lady Bird” could be this year indie surprise hit.
It’s a film that has to be seen to exactly know what all the fuss is about. Whether audiences will agree with critics remains to be seen but it will probably end up as critic’s favorite film this year.
Release Date: 17 November 2017 (Netflix)
While the debate rages on about whether films should be available for streaming before reaching cinemas and the festival circuit, “Mudbound” has already made enough noise at Sundance ahead of its Netflix release.
The Plot: Based on Hillary Jordan’s novel of the same film, Carey Mulligan stars as a mother who has relocated with her children to her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm. While trying to adapt to their new home, the family has to deal with racism and a family member returning from World War II.
Directed and co-written by Dee Rees who could be the first black woman to take home the directing Oscar if the film makes it to the nominations. Netflix has tried and failed to get their films nominated at the Oscars before, but this may change with “Mudbound”. Rees’ indie breakthrough has been making a buzz on the festival circuit since Sundance where Netflix acquired it.
With critical praise aimed at its directing, performances, writing and Rachel Morrison’s cinematography (another Oscar favorite), “Mudbound” will be a talking point next whether it’s nominated or not. We’ve already mentioned the tight Best Actress race. The real highlight is women getting more opportunities to make films, not just directing but in other departments as well.
11. Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Release Date: 10 November 2017 (USA)
Dan Gilroy’s second directorial effort after “Nightcrawler” sees him teaming up with an afro-wearing Denzel Washington and Colin Farrell for a legal drama, set in the criminal court system.
Plot: Roman J. Israel is an idealistic, introverted liberal lawyer who lands at a cutthroat firm where he finds his ideals tested.
Horrible title aside, it seems that “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” is the complete opposite of “Nightcrawler”. Where “Nightcrawler” shined a light on the darker side of the television industry, “Roman” looks at the blurred lines of the legal system. Instead of an immoral protagonist who’s willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead, here we have an idealistic esquire struggling to stay true to himself.
Reviews have been mixed on the film with some finding it uneven and all over the place while praising the performances of Washington and Farrell. But based on its star power and the reputation of Gilroy’s first picture, it won’t struggle to find an audience willing to give it a chance.
Release Date: 22 November 2017 (USA)
Pixar’s second film this year sees the animation giant trying something different and musical. Much has been said about the studio’s struggle to match up to their former glory days but it sure isn’t from a lack of trying.
Plot: Young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician just like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz, despite his family’s generation-old ban on music. Miguel soon finds himself in the Land of the Dead and journeys to unlock the truth to his family’s history.
Based on the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead, “Coco” sees Pixar venturing out into different cultures. With a concept that seems like a mix of Pixar’s own “Ratatouille” and Hayo Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away”, it’ll be interesting to see if they pull it off.
9. The Disaster Artist
Release Date: 1 December 2017 (initial), 8 December 2017 (wide) (USA)
Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 film “The Room” has been called the “Citizen Kane of bad films” or “the greatest bad movie ever made.” It has amassed one of the biggest cult followings this side of the 21st century and a string of theories and memes.
Plot: The James Franco-led “The Disaster Artist” looks to show us exactly how this “masterpiece” came to be. The film is based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Greg Sestero (who starred in the actual film) and Tom Bissell. Featuring an ensemble cast and numerous cameos (including Wiseau), the film looks to be a major ball.
The December release date indicates that it’s not all comedy, with Franco comparing it to “Boogie Nights” and “The Master”. No doubt the positive reception from critics and the standing ovation at South by Southwest premier played a hand.
Franco seems to be a shoo-in this awards season, not just for his acting but directing as well. It’s no secret that the Academy Awards loves films about films, but what they’ll think of a good film about a bad film remains to be seen. What we’ve seen from the trailers shows Franco nailing Wiseau’s character and mysterious accent to perfection.
Judging by its source material and promotion, there’ll be some comical, heart-warming and bizarre scenes in one of the most anticipated films of the year.