My Picks for Awards Season 2017 - Arrival, La La Land & More!

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It's October which means awards season is starting to begin - studios are releasing their prized possessions of films to the mainstream audiences that have been circulating the film festivals all year long. Some films have already had their premieres so we already have an idea on which ones are definitely contenders (you would be surprised how many usual awards contenders have fallen at the hurdle of reviews this year). The jury is still out on many of them but the talent involved all points in the right direction. Even though films released during awards season don't necessarily have mainstream appeal, they generally are interesting to watch as they are refreshing to all of the blockbusters the rest of the year has provided. In this post, I will highlight which contenders for 2017 I have my eye on and which ones I cannot wait to see!

Arrival
This film is sure to be a contender and likely a big winner when it comes to the ceremonies early next year. Arrival holds 100% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of posting - this is a very promising film. The film is directed by one of my favourites, Denis Villeneuve - he has directed films such as Sicario and Prisoners which are both films that had a big impact on me, the former being my favourite film of 2015. The cast is also hopeful - Amy Adams is the lead and she always makes an appearance during awards season, maybe this year she will get best actress? The supporting cast includes Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. Renner isn't usually the type of actor to choose these types of films so maybe he could surprise with an impressive dramatic performance? Here is IMDB's synopsis of the film - "A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications". So Arrival is also a sci-fi film - definitely unusual for an awards contender which will also make it come across as pretty refreshing. I have actually tried to stay away from watching the trailers for this film as I am already sold on the concept and the talent involved - I can't wait to see it. Arrival hits UK Cinemas November 11th

La La Land

The film that has been making the biggest impression at all the film festivals it has gone to is by far La La Land. This film has a lot of buzz around it and I'm not surprised! It's from the director of Whiplash (a big winner a couple of years ago), Damien Chazelle. The film stars Emma Stone (someone who I used to really like but hasn't made the best career choices recently) and Ryan Gosling. To top it all off, La La Land is also a musical! - another refreshingly different awards contender! La La Land currently holds a 96% approval rating which is another promising sign. Here is IMDB's synopsis of the film - "A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles". Now this is a film that I have been watching all of the trailers for and I have already fell in love with it - the cinematography looks absolutely beautiful and the singing sounds good too. I just hope there are some catchy songs and they're not all slow ballads but that's only a minor worry. La La Land hits UK Cinemas January 13th (too long). 

Hidden Figures

This is the first film on the list that we don't have an idea on whether it is good or not - it hasn't premiered yet but all the signs point to a critical success. Since The Birth of a Nation was kind of brought down, Hidden Figures is definitely the solution to #OscarsSoWhite - I firmly believe, even though they're all female, there could be numerous nominations for this film in the best supporting/leading actress category. So why I am looking forward to this? Well, it stars Taraji P. Henson who I love in Empire, she plays my favourite character and has won an Emmy for it, she is that good! The film also stars Oscar winner Octavia Spencer. The film is directed by Theodore Melfi - this is only his second feature length project - the first was 2014's St Vincent which was met with a warm reception. Melfi may not have the previous success of the other directors on this list but that doesn't mean he doesn't have it in him to produce a big awards contender. Pharrell Williams has also scored the film which means it's also going to feel very hip and funky - that style definitely works in the trailer. I am definitely backing Hidden Figures - here is IMDB's synopsis - "A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program's first successful space missions". Hidden Figures hits UK cinemas February 24th (way too long). 

Collateral Beauty

This is wild card really as I really liked the trailer for this film but I know it had quite a mixed response as the concept and set up is quite out there and hard to realise through film. However, I thought it was pretty clever and like the film's set up. Here is the film's synopsis on IMDB - "An advertising executive encounters three mysterious figures who encourage him to move on from the past". Collateral Beauty has a stellar cast featuring Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren. All of those actors are known for producing high quality work and are familiar faces when it comes to awards season. Smith was a big part of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy last year when he was not nominated for Concussion, will the academy right a wrong this year? The film is directed by David Frankel who has made films such as The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me and Hope Springs - he doesn't really fit in with typical awards criteria but we also have a sci-fi and a musical in contention so maybe the rise of the light-hearted director could happen as well. Even though I am looking forward to the film, I do feel like it will fall at the final hurdle and be met with a cold reception. Collateral Beauty hits UK cinemas December 30th. 

In Dubious Battle
Unfortunately, the chances of this film being a contender are pretty slim but it's still in the 2017 awards race so I'll include it even though this is probably the only time you'll hear about it. In Dubious Battle stars and is directed by James Franco and is a John Steinbeck adaptation. However, the main reason it appears on this list is that it stars Selena Gomez as Lisa London who has actually been praised for her performance. However, in general, initial reviews for the film have been pretty weak as it holds just 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. Here is IMDB's synopsis of the film - "An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s". Hopefully I will still find something to like in the film even if it isn't the best. In Dubious Battle is yet to receive a release date. 

Passengers

This one is also kind of a wild card but it fits the criteria of the annual mainstream sci-fi films that makes an impact during awards season - we've had Gravity, Interstellar and The Martian...Passengers is sure to join the list. The film's first trailer was incredible and definitely looks like Titanic is space! The cast is perfect - Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are arguable the biggest actors working in Hollywood today so it's great to see them in the same film. The only hurdle they have to overcome is whether they have good chemistry but if the trailers are anything to go by, it looks like they do! The script has also been on the Blacklist for a while which means it must be of a good standard if so many people wanted it to be made! Here is IMDB's synopsis of the film - "A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early". The film is also directed by Morten Tyldum who did The Imitation Game which was a big awards contender - another promising sign. The visual effects look stunning, the script is highly desired, the director has made quality films before and the casting is perfect - what more could Passengers need? Even if its not a huge contender in the main categories, it certainly will be in the technical ones. Passengers hits UK cinemas December 23rd. 

So there are my top 6 picks for awards season 2017 - some of them are already almost guaranteed to be nominated as they have been met with a warm reception but the jury is still yet to choose a 
verdict on the others. Remember this list is my personal choice - even though films like Arrival and La La Land will probably appeal to all, films like In Dubious Battle may only appeal to people like me (because it's not meant to be very good). Only time will tell but I'm sure this is going to be a very exciting awards season! 

What films do you think will be awards contenders this season? - COMMENT BELOW

See You Soon!

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