14 fall movies getting Oscar buzz
Fall is officially upon us and with it comes the unofficial start to the Oscar season.
Some films debut to rave reviews throughout the year, but studios save their true contenders for the fall. Fall movies will be fresh in the minds of the voters at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when it's time to cast ballots.
Here's a look at some of the movies coming out soon getting lots of Oscar buzz:
“Ad Astra” (Sept. 20)
Director James Gray, whose last film, “The Lost City of Z” debuted at 2016’s New York Film Festival, often makes uncommonly pensive dramas featuring fully fleshed out characters and detailed plotting, so it’s no surprise that his latest offering, “Ad Astra,” garnered such strong reviews out of the Venice Film Festival last month.
In the movie, Brad Pitt plays Major Roy McBride, a renowned astronaut and introverted loner brought in to investigate a strange – and top secret – phenomenon that has begun to worsen and threatens all life on Earth.
“Judy” (Sept. 27)
We don’t hear too much about Renee Zellweger anymore, but her recent performance as Judy Garland in Rupert Goold’s “Judy” may just turn the tide.
Adapted from Peter Quilter’s play “End of the Rainbow,” “Judy” revolves around the winter of 1968, when Garland performed in London for a five-week run of sold-out shows before her untimely passing in June 1969 at 47.
Early reviews out of the Toronto International Film Festival tout Zellweger’s performance – and her singing – as award-stealing cinema.
“Joker” (Oct. 4)
Perhaps no film has received more buzz this fall than “Joker,” from director Todd Phillips. Joaquin Phoenix stars as the titular enigmatic madman.
While much of the discussion has revolved around the brutality and realism of the violence on screen, just as much has revolved around Phoenix’s acting.
Co-written and directed by Phillips, “Joker” follows Arthur Fleck, an aspiring comedian in Gotham City, before he became the world’s most famous villain. Rejection and mental illness spur on a descent into madness in an indifferent, cruel society.
Phillips, best known for directing comedy classics like “The Hangover” and “Old School,” is stepping into territory not seen since “A Clockwork Orange” and “Taxi Driver” terrorized the world of cinema in the 1970s. If early reviews from fall festivals are any indication, this movie may well pay off, for him and for audiences.
“Parasite” (Oct. 11, Limited)
Bong Joon-ho is arguably South Korea's best-known director, although he only recently experimented with English language films (“Snowpiercer,” “Okja”). He’s resisted several offers to direct more blockbuster fare in lieu of creating original pictures, like this year’s “Parasite.”
In the movie, impoverished Kim Ki-taek and his unemployed family become involved with the affluent Park family in a lucrative – and impersonated – business scheme, only to have an unexpected incident further complicate their deception.
Early reviews compare Bong’s fable to Jordan Peele’s “Us,” another home invasion farce, although those same critics at the Cannes Film Festival, in which Bong won the Palme d’Or, thought Bong improved upon the concept. It may be the frontrunner in the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards early next year.
“The Lighthouse” (Oct. 18, Limited)
“The Witch” was a disturbing horror folktale when it debuted in the Sundance Film Festival in 2015, but it also introduced the world to Robert Eggers and his unquestionable skills as both writer and director. Needless to say, his follow-up, “The Lighthouse,” is riding high expectations.