Movies That Are Already Getting Oscar Buzz

by Jessica Hickam
Aug 24, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. ET

It's hard to believe that we're already rounding the corner on yet another Oscar season. I have high hopes for this year's nominees, especially given the Academy's slow but sure efforts to stop snubbing minorities and women. This year, the Oscars could make waves like no other year before. We're seeing a diverse spectrum of films getting buzz, from women leading films in directing, writing and producing to better representation for minorities and the LGBT community in storylines and in casting.

Of course, that's not to say the Oscars aren't lacking in those classic, iconic names either. Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis and George Clooney all have their hats in the ring, too. But a new, fresh wave of filmmakers is heading our way.

It's time to make your list of must-see movies. There are quite a few this year that deserve a spot on the list.

1 /15: 'Dunkirk'

1/15 :'Dunkirk'

The Academy does have a history of slightly overlooking Christopher Nolan's work, but Dunkirk is a different sort of film for the director. With its brilliant acting and historical context, it could make waves at the Oscars if the studio can manage to keep the conversation alive until voting.

2 /15: 'Wonder Woman'

2/15 :'Wonder Woman'

The world needs to see a superhero movie recognized, and what better time to start than with the superhero movie that was groundbreaking for women? The Academy has a notorious reputation for snubbing women in the top categories, especially directing. If they actually get it together this year, not only will Wonder Woman get a Best Picture nomination but Patty Jenkins will also get a nom for Best Director.

3 /15: 'The Beguiled'

3/15 :'The Beguiled'

Back to tooting the horn for women: Sofia Coppola deserves to have her name thrown into the mix for The Beguiled. I'm not sure if she'll necessarily win this year, but her movie about a girls' school taking in a wounded Union soldier during the Civil War is absolutely not one to ignore.

4 /15: 'Mudbound'

4/15 :'Mudbound'

This film, which stars Garrett Hedlum and Carey Mulligan, made major waves at Sundance this year, especially for the performance. It's about two men who return home from World War II only to deal with a different sort of battle while working on a rural Mississippi farm. If Netflix were to receive a nomination, it would be the first for the studio, despite the acclaim Beasts of No Nation received in 2015.

5 /15: 'The Florida Project'

5/15 :'The Florida Project'

Combining the innocence of childhood with the harsh world of the adults struggling around children, The Florida Project follows a 6-year-old girl's summer living in a motel with her mother. The trailer is enough to make you cry, plus the film comes from Sean Baker, the same guy who brought you the 2015 iPhone-shot masterpiece Tangerine.

6 /15: 'The Big Sick'

6/15 :'The Big Sick'

Personal and unique, The Big Sick is definitely one to look out for on your Oscar ballot this year. Its co-writers are real-life couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who took a trying experience in their relationship and transformed it into a romantic comedy with the help of producer Judd Apatow. 

7 /15: 'Call Me by Your Name'

7/15 :'Call Me by Your Name'

This flick has the potential to be the Moonlight of the 2018 Oscars. It follows a teen who forms a bond with an older man, played by Armie Hammer, and further opens up the LGBT conversation with a sensual story about first love.

8 /15: 'The Papers'

8/15 :'The Papers'

This is Meryl Streep's Oscar contender for the year so, obviously, it'll get nominated. But it isn't just Streep who will assure this movie's success. The Papers has an all-star cast in Tom Hanks, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon and Sarah Paulson. Oh, and did we mention it's directed by Steven Spielberg?

And check out this synopsis: "A cover-up that spanned four U.S. presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government. Inspired by true events."
Oscar bait for sure.

9 /15: 'Darkest Hour'

9/15 :'Darkest Hour'

This film could be the biography of the year, like Lincoln or Ray. Gary Oldman plays Winston Churchill, and his transformation is breathtaking. Darkest Hour takes place in the days after Churchill became Prime Minister as he attempted to negotiate a peace treaty with Nazi Germany. 

10 /15: Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson project

10/15 :Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson project

The final project for Oscar darling Daniel Day Lewis ahead of his announced retirement pairs him with six-time Oscar-nominated director and writer Paul Thomas Anderson, so this is a film to watch for. It is set in 1950s London and is about a dressmaker commissioned to design for high society and royalty. This film is supposed to be released at the end of 2017, but rumors of delays in editing have some wondering if it'll be out in time to be an Oscar contender. 

11 /15: 'Suburbicon'

11/15 :'Suburbicon'

George Clooney. Need I say more? This is his directorial film of 2017, and he got big-name friends such as Matt Damon and Julianne Moore to join him on the project. Suburbicon is about a community that is rattled following a home invasion.

12 /15: 'The Shape of Water'

12/15 :'The Shape of Water'

Guillermo del Toro is back! His films are always slightly offbeat, but that's what makes them so magical and worth the nomination.

Check out the synopsis for his latest: "An otherworldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment."

Yeah, I'm in.

13 /15: 'Goodbye Christopher Robin'

13/15 :'Goodbye Christopher Robin'

Rumor has it that Goodbye Christopher Robin has the potential to be this year's Finding Neverland. It tells the story of author A.A. Milne's life and the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh, his son C.R. Milne. Led by Margot Robbie and Domhnall Gleeson, this film has been getting buzz for a while now.

14 /15: 'Logan'

14/15 :'Logan'

An unconventional Academy pick, but superhero films could finally be getting their due at this year's Oscars. Plus, Logan wasn't your typical comic book film. It was gritty and real — Hugh Jackman at his best. Not to mention that Jackman was matched by his young co-star Dafne Keen and, of course, Patrick Stewart. I'm personally rooting for this one.

15 /15: 'Detroit'

15/15 :'Detroit'

The Academy loves timely films like Detroit, and they also love director Kathryn Bigelow, the woman behind other Oscar standouts like Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker. Maybe this will finally be the year of the female director, not just because we need more female directors but because these women have rightfully earned their place.