2018 releases that are award front runners
From the mainstream to the off-beat, here are the year's best films
- Published 21.12.18, 6:39 PM
- Updated 21.12.18, 9:30 PM
- 3 mins read
A Star is Born
Director: Bradley Cooper
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga
This deeply affecting love story between an alcoholic musician (played by Cooper) and a young singer (Lady Gaga) that he mentors ticks many boxes — poignant romance, underdog story and relationship tale — making for one of the year’s most watchable films. Cooper is very good, both as director and actor, but Lady Gaga is even better. A film with strong award-season buzz.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy
The trope of using personal focus to tell the story of a momentous event in the history of mankind — Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to land on the moon — worked well for this Damien Chazelle film that won praise from critics and cinegoers. Will the La La Land combo of Chazelle and Ryan Gosling again spell magic at the big awards?
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Cast: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa
Gravity man Alfonso Cuaron has scored with this intimate, semi-autobiographical portrait of the life and times of a Mexican family in the 1970s and the relationship they share with their live-in housekeeper. Roma has been unanimously praised for its visually rich technique (it’s entirely filmed in black-and-white) and its soaring story that is at once moving and surprising. The best bit? You don’t have to wait for it to hit theatres — Roma is streaming on Netflix right now!
Director: Spike Lee
Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace
Spike Lee’s prowess as a storyteller with a voice is evident in this award favourite that is based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth and tells the story of Stallworth (John David Washington) as an African-American detective in the 1970s who sets out to expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. What works? The way Lee uses history to comment on what’s happening in the world today, racism to divisive politics, and all-round strong performances from its cast.
Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali
This well-acted drama, with some superb chemistry between Mortensen and Ali, pushes all the right buttons. It’s a road film, a buddy drama with a heart-warming, feel-good tone.
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell
A lot has already been said about Christian Bale’s astounding transformation to play former US vice-president Dick Cheney. What makes Vice a fave at the awards? An electrifying act from Bale and moments of biting wit and high drama that make for some riveting viewing.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Director: Barry Jenkins
Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Colman Domingo, Diego Luna
He struck pay dirt with Moonlight two years ago and Barry Jenkins is looking to do a repeat with this moving tale of an African-American woman who pulls out all the stops to get her husband’s name cleared in a criminal offence. Jenkins scores by making his film as much a political statement as it is a tale of love, survival and humanity. Regina King, as Sharon Rivers, is the pick of the actors.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone
The action in this extremely watchable period film unfolds in 18th century England where a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) has her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governing the country in her place. However, equations change when a new servant named Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives on the scene. The Favourite has won praise for the sterling performances from its ensemble cast, with Colman gaining strong buzz for an Oscar nod. The crisp dialogue and unexpected twists and turns in the plot are the other winners.
Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Cast: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet
It may have bombed at the box office but is fast gaining award-season momentum, especially for a moving act by youngster Timothee Chalamet. This family drama looks at the relationship between a father (Steve Carell) and his drug-addict teenage son. The uplifting story and evocative acts help gloss over the film’s bumpy bits.
Only A Star Is Born, Green Book and First Man have had theatrical releases in India