Potpourri - Best Picture Contender Trailer Roundup

Potpourri - Best Picture Contender Trailer Roundup

Haven't done a 'Potpourri' in a while, so I thought it might be worthwhile to do a roundup of some of the things that look like they might be in the Best Picture mix this year. While it's still early, we are in the thick of film festival season, and in recent years, the films that usually wind up making the cut are ones that made noise at festivals like Cannes and Venice. Here are a few such films and their cases for a Best Picture nod in February.

La La Land

Release Date: December 2, 2016

Damien Chazelle's follow-up to 2014's universally loved Whiplash is an original movie musical starring previous Oscar nominees Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The film has received rapturous reviews out of Venice and Telluride, which is usually a surefire sign of a contender. It is hard to imagine this one disappointing when it is released on December 2. 

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Release Date: November 11, 2016

Director Ang Lee can already be described as legendary, with a career that already includes two Best Director Oscars (Brokeback MountainLife of Pi). This latest addition to his filmography tackles the story of a young soldier returning home from war. Shot in 4K and 3D at 120 fps, it is groundbreaking from a visual perspective. If that 'style' is met with 'substance,' this should be near the top of everyone's Oscar ballots. 


Release Date: November 4, 2016

This quiet film is the latest effort from Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, MudMidnight Special) and the reviews out of Cannes were solid. Telling the story of the couple at the center of the Supreme Court case that made interracial marriage legal, it is said to feature a wonderful lead performance from Ruth Negga. With each of Nichols' films receiving near-universal praise, he is definitely on the cusp of a breakout. Don't be surprised if this film ends up being his Oscar coming out party. 

Manchester By The Sea

Release Date: November 18, 2016

While other films made bigger headlines out of Sundance, Kenneth Lonergan's film was always the one with the best reviews. Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams star in the family-themed drama that has some going so far as to call it a "Masterpiece." With a stellar cast and an awards-friendly release date, look for this one to make noise in several categories.


Release Date: October 21, 2016

If there is a theme to this list, it is that good reviews get you early mentions. Moonlight, the second feature by writer-director Barry Jenkins, currently has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 100 on Metacritic. While it's still early, those kinds of lofty reviews are definitely impressive. It sounds like it may be the critics choice this year, which could go either way as far as predicting a Best Picture nomination. 


Release Date: November 11, 2016

As perhaps the biggest outlier on this list, Arrival also represents the least sure thing. It stars Academy darling Amy Adams, but Oscar isn't always so friendly to sci-fi. The film is based on a well-received short story, so it could be the one 'genre' movie to make the cut, but reviews will be critical to get it over the hump. 

The Birth Of A Nation

Release Date: October 7, 2016

Last and definitely hardest to predict, there is The Birth Of A Nation. A record purchase out of Sundance, many would have once called this the surest bet on the list. But with writer-director Nate Parker's past circling the film now, its prospects are anyone's guess. It definitely seems to have taken a hit and Oscar sometimes shies from controversy, but Woody Allen and Roman Polanski (among others) have both won Oscars post-sexual assault allegations, so this one has to be labeled TBD for now. 


Release Date: September 9, 2016

Because it's Clint. 


There are of course many other films in the mix, but they either (a) are not as good of a bet as these or (b) they haven't quite given us a trailer yet. For now, we have to wait another month or so for the season to really heat up!


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