“The Beguiled”, “The Big Sick”, and “The Hero”: Oscar hopefuls from the first half of 2017

As we move forward through the second half of the year, it’s worth looking back once more on the first half of 2017. The year has generally been considered to be light on awards type fare, though that’s not necessarily true. To be sure, nothing came out of the Sundance Film Festival and announced itself as a surefire Oscar player. The same can be said of the Cannes Film Festival, or at least in both cases, nothing that’s come into release yet. Still, if you look closely, there are contenders to be found. We’ll have to see if they hang on, but I collected a bunch to share with you today.

Here now are ten movies from the first half that could potentially contend for some Academy Award attention:

Baby Driver – This action flick from Edgar Wright is strictly looking below the line for any love. Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing are actually somewhat viable, depending on how the year goes. Beyond that, I don’t see it. Best Picture is a dream, even if it’s looking like a financial hit as well as a critical success.

The Beguiled – Many believe that Sofia Coppola’s latest is the biggest player of the first half bunch. Undeniably, it has the most across the board potential. I’m hesitant to say it has a realistic chance at a Best Picture nomination, but combine the possibilities there, in Best Adapted Screenplay for Coppola, and whomever from the cast jumps to the forefront, and above the line has some potential. Factor in some below the line love if voters flock to it and it’s one to keep an eye on…

The Big Sick – If not Coppola’s movie, then this romantic dramedy certainly represents the best of the first half lot, in terms of contending for a Best Picture nomination. It’s more likely looking at Best Original Screenplay, where it could even turn into a potential winner if things break the right way. Ray Romano could be a dark horse Best Supporting Actor possibility as well.

Get Out – Earlier this year, a fairly vocal cry went up for this horror film to be remembered come Oscar time. Frankly, it seems like Jordan Peele’s filmmaking debut is Best Original Screenplay or bust. If it manages to hang on, it would be a cool citation, but I’m inclined to suggest that bust is the most likely outcome…

The Hero – For my money, Sam Elliott deserves to be a Best Actor frontrunner for this career topping achievement. He definitely has a chance to score a nomination, as voters often love this type of performance. Beyond that, things are unlikely, though it does have a tune that could make a play for a spot in Best Original Song. Elliott in Actor though, that bears watching. Stay tuned there.

The LEGO Batman Movie – Of the animated releases so far this year, this spinoff seems like the frontrunner for Best Animated Feature right now. There could also be an Original Song to pad its stats, but Animated Feature, at least for a nomination, could be easily achievable. Beyond that? Unlikely.

Logan – The final Wolverine outing tugged at emotions that superhero outings rarely do. I can’t see it getting into Best Picture, but above the line, Patrick Stewart could at least make a run at a Best Supporting Actor nod. Below the line also could come into play. This one just wants to avoid pulling a Deadpool and teasing, only to be shut out at the end of the day.

Risk – In terms of documentaries, this look at WikiLeak’s editor-in-chief Julian Assange from documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras is a spiritual sequel to Citizenfour. It hasn’t been as universally beloved, but it does seem like the doc possibly to beat right now. The category is a hard one to get a read on, but bet against Poitras at your own peril.

Split – Similar to get out, a loud minority are pushing for James McAvoy to get Best Actor traction for this little thriller. He’s a huge long shot, but among first half releases, he probably got the most buzz for an actor outside of Elliott. Don’t expect much from this one, but honestly…who knows?

Wonder Woman – Another tech category or bust contender, don’t expect Patty Jenkins or the film itself to really hang on all year. In the tech categories, however, a slot or two could certainly happen. Whether it gets any noms or not probably depends on how Justice League and such does, so sit tight here in regards to this blockbuster…

Stay tuned to see if any of these films hold on until the end of the year!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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