Typically speaking, the Oscar races don’t really start until fall /autumn. There are exceptions of course, particularly when it comes to smaller awards dealing with visual and audio effects. But for the most part, summer movies are for the box office, and fall/autumn and winter releases are for the award shows.
Nevertheless, before we head into the more serious movie season it can be fun to look back at some of the summer projects that might surprise us by making an impact on the Oscars and other major award shows early next year. It’s a little bit early for specific predictions, but here are a few summer releases we could see circling back around come award time.
This is probably the top Oscars contender among 2017’s summer releases. Christopher Nolan doesn’t always get a ton of love from major award shows, even if he directed Heath Ledger to his famous posthumous win for Best Supporting Actor as the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight.’ But ‘Dunkirk’ is a different kind of Nolan movie. It’s not an ambitious brain-teaser like, say, ‘Inception,’ ‘The Prestige,’ or ‘Interstellar.’ Rather, it’s a brutally real depiction of one of the most daring missions of World War II: Britain’s rescue of some 300,000 troops from a beach surrounded on all sides by German forces.
The film was extremely well received by critics, and would seem to have the stuff to compete for a number of Oscars. Interestingly enough, it didn’t give enough of a spotlight to any one actor to be in play for the major acting awards (though one could possibly imagine Mark Rylance snagging a Best Supporting nomination). But if it’s not nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at least, it’ll be a surprise.
It’s really pretty amazing what DC’s done with the character of Wonder Woman. A few years ago she was something of a relic in comic lore, and now she’s a pop culture icon. In addition to the new movie, she’s the subject of a prevalent slot arcade in circulation online. Characters from pop culture make frequent appearances in these games, and while we’ve yet to see one with actress Gal Gadot’s likeness, the game is as prominent as any other superhero slot reel. We’ve also already learned that there will be a sequel to ‘Wonder Woman.’ And who would bet against Wonder Woman costumes dominating the upcoming Halloween season?
It’s rare for superhero movies to factor into major award discussions – but then again, we just mentioned that Heath Ledger won an Oscar for playing the Joker in a Batman movie. Nothing about ‘Wonder Woman’ is quite as impressive as that performance, but this is an important film in its own right, and it did very well with critics. We could end up seeing a Best Actress nomination for Gadot, as well as a Best Director nod for Patty Jenkins.
This was one of the more hyped movies of the summer, and unlike so many other summer blockbusters in recent years, it delivered. Edgar Wright is known for a somewhat eccentric style; he favours surprising comedy, carefully selected soundtracks, and over-the-top action, and all three come together to make ‘Baby Driver’ a very interesting project. Renowned critic Richard Roeper called it one of the most entertaining thrill rides of the year, or this decade, and he’s not alone. Critics adored ‘Baby Driver.’
That it’s good enough to factor into award discussions doesn’t seem to be up for debate. What’s tricky, however, is figuring out which actual awards it could conceivably be up for. Wright could well get recognized in the Best Director category, and there’s a chance for a Best Picture nomination as well. But as with ‘Dunkirk’ it’s hard to imagine any one actor being in the running for an award.
‘The Big Sick’
This is probably the biggest long shot on the list, but it’s a title you should at least keep in mind if you’re the sort of movie fan who gets into award season. ‘The Big Sick’ looks and feels more like an indie darling than the sort of movie that racks up major recognition. Then again, it may also be the year’s best comedy, and it’s not entirely unheard of to see stripped down indie comedies win awards. ‘Little Miss Sunshine,’ ‘Juno,’ and ‘Silver Lining Playbook’ come to mind as movies on a similar tier that were taken more seriously than most of their counterparts.
Best Picture is a stretch, but a nomination wouldn’t be a complete shock. The one to watch for with ‘The Big Sick’ is probably Best Original Screenplay by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. Though even with this award, it’s probably more likely to win at the Golden Globes, where it will stand out in the musical and comedy category.
Expect ‘For Your Consideration’ appeals to really start coming thick and fast over the next few months.