Well here we are, folks: the first wave of awards fare is upon us. A barrage of biopics and dramas have begun tooting their horns in the hopes of piquing the interests of Academy voters far and wide. Don’t worry though – there are still plenty of other choices if that’s not your thing.
If you’re already missing the superhero blockbusters from earlier in the year, Marvel takes a decidedly darker turn with Venom, starring Tom Hardy. If you want something to get you in the mood for Halloween, then what better film than, um… Halloween, which sees classic scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis return to the slasher franchise that launched her career. On the other hand, Bad Times At The El Royale promises a fun-filled thriller about seven mysterious strangers who meet at a rundown, retro hotel. Or you could choose a more sombre evening with The Hate U Give, a drama that uses the intricate discussions surrounding police brutality to give a new spin on coming-of-age tropes. But of course, there’s plenty more to look out for this month.
Blindspotting – 5th October
Perhaps the least well known of this bunch, Blindspotting has been a passion project a decade in the making, with breakout Hamilton star Daveed Diggs co-writing, producing and starring with his long-time collaborator Rafael Casal.
With just three days left of his probation, former felon Collin (Diggs) is trying to keep his head down. But when his loose-cannon of a best friend Miles (Casal) starts stirring up trouble, Collin can’t help but step in – even if he is still haunted by a truly terrible incident he happened to witness.
Having premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to much acclaim, there’s no denying that this is proof enough of Diggs’ and Casal’s talents. While it may not be the easiest watch, this will certainly be intriguing.
A Star Is Born – 5th October
In his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper hopes to revitalise this 80-year-old story for a new generation – no easy task, given the film’s previous incarnations’ (in 1954 and 1976, starring Judy Garland and Barba Streisand, respectively) polarising responses.
Ally (Lady Gaga) is a down-on-her-luck wannabe singer-songwriter, embittered by the fact that she may well be beyond the industry’s “sell by” date. However, her fortunes appear to be changed when she meets Jackson (Cooper), an established, though somewhat disenchanted, performer who can promise her the success she so desires. But when her star starts rising beyond his own, tragedy looms close behind.
There are various factors gunning for this film to be the favourite of this awards season. Firstly, while it may have been pipped to the post by Moonlight, the critical darling La La Land definitely borrowed from this story, so it’s reasonable to think that A Star Is Born could follow in its footsteps. Secondly, having premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in August, and then made the rounds at various other festivals, the movie has consistently received rave reviews – with particular credit going to Gaga’s performance. Then again, it’s still early in the season; there’s plenty of time for this star to become a supernova.
First Man – 12th October
Speaking of La La Land, Damien Chazelle (its director, and the youngest to ever win the Oscar for Best Director) returns with a biopic about Neil Armstrong – an interesting choice, given Chazelle’s penchant for musicals and allusions to Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Set in the lead up to that fateful Apollo 11 mission in 1969, Chazelle decides to take a raw, focused look into the genuine threats of danger and harm that came with sending a human to the moon, and the effect of the ensuing whirlwind of press, fame, and new responsibilities on the family at the centre of it all.
Ryan Gosling reteams with Chazelle, playing the famously reserved Armstrong opposite Claire Foy as Janet, Armstrong’s first wife. While reviews so far have been kind, I do wonder whether this will meet the high standards that we have come to expect from Chazelle. Whatever your opinions may be regarding his previous films, there’s no denying that they have been unique and enthralling in their own rights – so how will this more traditional, straight-forward biopic compare? I suppose we’ll have to watch it to find out.
Bohemian Rhapsody – 24th October
Of course, because it’s awards season, we don’t just get one biopic this month – we get two!
This one sees Rami Malek (the Emmy-winning star of Mr Robot) playing the iconic Freddie Mercury, and follows his generation-defining success with the band Queen and his later battle with AIDS.
In all honesty, I was initially sceptical about this movie. Bohemian Rhapsody has had a troubled production, with initial director Bryan Singer being fired two weeks before principle photography ended (reportedly due to bad behaviour and disagreements with Malek), and replaced by Dexter Fletcher. But the trailer at least does suggest that there’s still hope yet – maybe it could be this award season’s hidden gem.
Featured image courtesy of Georgia Butcher.
Image use license here.