The Films We Can't Wait To See In 2019
The time frame studios have in which to submit their films for shiny awards means that, despite the fact we're approaching the end of the year, we're also slap bang in the middle of Big Film Season.
Already released in 2018 to great acclaim are Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's reimagining of A Star is Born, Damien Chazelle's Ryan Gosling-fronted retelling of the space race First Man, and Alfonso Cuarón's devastating portrait of domestic life in Mexico City in Roma.
Pencils at the ready, these are the films to brush up on before 2019.
A period drama with Olivia Colman as mad Queen Anne and Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as the ladies of the court who compete for her attention and try to manipulate her, The Favourite has become, well, the favorite of award season with five Golden Globe nominations.
It comes from Yorgos Lanthimos, the director who bought us The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, though anyone fearing anything bizarre and high concept as those two may be relieved to hear it's a more conventional film, and one with plenty of humor. Could this be a chance for Colman, arguably Britain's most gifted actress, to win big?
With a performance that is bewitching and repulsive, in Queen Anne Colman creates a figure who audiences will not so much love to hate, but find themselves begrudgingly adoring for her eccentric whims. Whether lobster racing in her bedroom, bathing in mud or letting her army of pet rabbits loose in the castle, Anne makes The Favourite a filthy and fun adventure.
Chronicling a boy's spiral into meth addiction with endless loops of relapses, Beautiful Boy is told through the eyes of David (Steve Carell), a father who watches his son, Nic (Timothée Chalamet) as he falls into addiction. It's a grueling watch, and perhaps not one for date night, as David laments seeing the son “thought he knew inside and out” disappearing in front of his eyes.
Beautiful Boy comes from Brad Pitt's Plan B studio who have had a string of Oscar successes including 12 Years a Slave, The Big Short, and Moonlight. Chalamet last year earned a Best Actor nomination for his performance in Call Me By Your Name in which he perfectly conveyed the pain of young love and tenderness of sexual awakening.
While Carell feels a little wooden playing the desperate father, Chalamet is the trembling heart of the story who makes you worry about taking your eyes off him for a second. It is believed the young actor will be put forward for Best Supporting Actor, perhaps a category he could fare more strongly in though he's earned a Best Actor nod at the Golden Globes.
Mary Queen of Scots
Saorise Ronan and Margot Robbie—both 2018 Academy Award nominees for Best Actress—battle for dominance in this retelling of estranged cousins Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth. When Mary returns from France to Scotland her claim to the English throne puts Elizabeth at risk and their two different religions threaten civil war.
With the two woman trying to reach peace with one another but pitted as enemies by the men who betray them, it's a timely look at the way women in power are, and always have been, treated. Plus there's plenty of enjoyment to be had from seeing the contempt they treat the men try to double-cross them with.
The film has been snubbed by the Golden Globes but Robbie has received a Screen Actor's Guild nomination for her beguiling turn as Queen Elizabeth. In a understated performance Robbie has captured the stoicism of the woman who gave up love and motherhood and over the years withdrew into dedicating herself solely to ruling.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Another Plan B production, this time from Moonlight writer and director Barry Jenkins (why change an award-winning formula?). A love story set in 1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is adapted from a James Baldwin novel of the same name. When 22-year-old Fonny (Stephan James) is falsely accused of rape, he is imprisoned causing his 19-year-old fiancée Tish (KiKi Lane) to fight to free him before the birth of their first child.
Following something as beloved as Moonlight is a tall order but Beale Street manages to make your heart ache in a similar and yet new way. James and Layne are both impressive, as is Regina King as Tish's mother. It's a film which glows with love and pain and features gorgeous colors and costumes as well as serving as a timely criticism of the skewered justice system in America.
Perhaps Jenkins will actually get to make a proper Best Picture speech... so long as Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway aren't presenting again.
"I can handle the more mundane jobs," Dick Cheney says in the trailer for Vice while president Bush looks confused and chews on a chicken leg. "Overseeing bureaucracy, military, energy, and err foreign policy".
"Yeah, right. I like that," Bush says nodding slowly.
Coming from dark comedy expert Adam McKay (The Big Short), Vice stars Christian Bale as former VP Dick Cheney, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, and Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld. The biopic charts Cheney's ascent from the early days of the Nixon White House to becoming 'the most powerful Vice President in history.'
Vice leads the charge going into the Golden Globes with six nominations including acting nods for Bale as Cheney, Rockwell as Bush, and Adams as Lynne Cheney. The actress has undergone a body transformation to play Lynne and cinema circles are speculating that Adams could finally take home an Oscar for her performance after five nominations. Whatever it wins, the comparisons to a certain more recent puppet president are inevitable.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Melissa McCarthy trades her comedy stripes for a more serious role in the true story of Lee Israel, an author who falls on hard times and turns to forging the letters of celebrities and prominent writers.
Encouraged by eccentric new friend Jack, played with typical gusto by Richard E. Grant, her forgeries take on a life of their own as their imaginations run wild. McCarthy has embodied Lee Israel both physically and emotionally and the comedy actress showing she can tread the line between comedy and drama has impressed audiences. Though Grant and McCarthy have acting nominations at the Golden Globes, there's no telling if this will predict the Oscar nominations given that the Academy doesn't divide films into drama and comedy categories.
Mahershala Ali's follows his Oscar-winning performance in Moonlight with the real story of a tour of the deep south Jamaican-American pianist Don Shirley (Ali) took with his driver, former bouncer Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) in the 1960s.
As well as receiving a standing ovation at London Film Festival in October, Green Bookwon the prestigious People's Choice Award at Toronto International Film Festival—an award whose previous winners include Oscar successes Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, La La Land, and 12 Years a Slave.
It's currently sitting on five Golden Globe nominations with including Ali and Mortensen's performances which both balance comedy and candour. Audiences have loved its positive energy but, as Three Billboards was accused of, it has been criticized treating racism as something that can be packaged into a feel good film. An issue which might see it lose out on the big Academy Award wins.
Toy Story 4
Where other childhood gems are best left firmly in the past, Pixar have managed to keep the Toy Story franchise alive, developing the characters and storylines without solely relying on its nostalgic allure.
The fourth instalment will pick up where the third left off with Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) happy after being re-homed to toddler Bonnie. They soon meet Forky (Tony Hale), a spork toy who they go on a new adventure with meeting old friends as well as new characters voiced by Jordan Peele and Keanu Reeves. We're tentative about a plot which revolves around a fork-spoon hybrid but we'll give Pixar the benefit of the doubt.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
The ninth and (supposedly) penultimate directorial outing for Quentin Tarantino focuses on Los Angeles in the summer of 1969, with the murder of Sharon Tate and her friends by Charles Manson’s cult of followers serving as a backdrop to the story.
Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio play two old Hollywood western actors with DiCaprio playing "Rick Dalton, former star of a western TV series" and Pitt "his longtime stunt double, Cliff Booth."
The insanely A-list cast also boasts Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Damian Lewis, Emile Hirsch, Lena Dunham, Timothy Olyphant, Tim Roth, and Damon Herriman as Charles Manson. It's set to be a big year for serial killers with a film and documentary on Ted Bundy hitting the big and small screens. Tarantino has been at pains to explain Manson is not the central role in the film, but knowing his penchant for a dark villain we're sure Manson will be a major talking point.
The Woman In the Window
Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Wyatt Russell, and Brian Tyree Henry make up the impressive cast for this thriller based on the A.J. Finn novel of the same name. In it agoraphobic child psychologist Anna Fox becomes the witness to a crime while spying on her neighbors. After becoming obsessed with the truth of what she has seen, Anna wrestles with the decision of whether to inform the police.
The novel saw widespread critical acclaim from horror experts like Steven King and joins a long list of recent female driven thrillers such as Gone Girl. Adams this year appeared in a TV adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects to critical acclaim, so fingers crossed this will yield similarly impressive results.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.