25 new films to look out for this awards season

Barry Jenkins, Damien Chazelle and Yorgos Lanthimos all look like early contenders for major awards.


Lillian Crawford


We may be more than halfway through 2018 but, judging by the recent autumn festival programme announcements, there’s still plenty of cinematic delights to savour between now and the 91st Academy Awards. Ahead of the Venice and Toronto film festivals, now generally regarded as the most important Oscars launchpads, we’ve compiled a list of 25 of our most anticipated upcoming releases. These aren’t necessarily the films we think will pick up major honours this awards season, more an indication of what we expect to be in contention. Let us know what you’re most looking forward to @LWLies

1. A Star Is Born

Released 5 October

If you had to guess what Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut would be, chances are it wouldn’t be this. It will be the third remake of the 1937 William A Wellman romantic drama, following in the more musical footsteps of George Cukor’s 1954 version starring Judy Garland, and the Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson-starrer from 1976. Casting himself in the lead alongside Lady Gaga, it looks like it will be very hip-and-happening indeed.

2. First Man

Released 12 October

For his hotly anticipated follow-up to La La Land, Damien Chazelle has picked up a Neil Armstrong biopic for his latest Oscar bait. The director will be reunited with Ryan Gosling in the lead role as NASA agonises just how to get him on the Moon. The film will also star Lukas Haas as Michael Collins – hopefully he will deliver a great performance so people will stop forgetting his name at pub quizzes.

3. The Sisters Brothers

Eta late 2018

Palme d’Or-winner Jacques Audiard is bringing us his first English language feature this year, based on the novel by Patrick deWitt. Dubbed a western dark comedy, the film will focus on John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix as the titular siblings hunting down a prospector who has stolen from their boss. The best thing is, he’s being played by Rutger Hauer.

4. The Other Side of the Wind

Released 2 November

An Orson Welles film being released in 2018 feels very strange indeed, but good things come to those who wait. And those lucky few who have already seen it are enraptured, with The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson giving it a rave review. Coming to Netflix in November, we’ll get to see John Huston and Peter Bogdanovich starring in this mockumentary spoof of Michelangelo Antonioni. Don’t rule out Welles receiving a special posthumous award for this one.

5. Peterloo

Released 2 November

Anything new film from Mike Leigh is cause for excitement, and the revered British director will be hoping to build on the success of 2014’s Mr Turner with his latest historical drama. The film arrives in time for the bicentennial of the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, which left some 700 peaceful protestors killed or wounded. Rory Kinnear and Maxine Peake will be the familiar faces in the rambunctious crowd.

6. Widows

Released 9 November

Lynda La Plante was the defining voice of 1980s crime drama, and her British TV series has inspired Steve McQueen to direct a present-day update. The plot centres on four women whose husbands are killed in a failed heist which the widows then decide to complete themselves. McQueen has teamed up with Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn, and has put his faith in the very capable hands of Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo.

7. If Beale Street Could Talk

Released 30 November

Barry Jenkins, the director behind 2017’s Best Picture-winner, Moonlight, returns with an adaptation of the eponymous 1974 James Baldwin novel. Following a woman from Harlem’s battle to clear the name of her fiancé after he is accused of rape, the film stars Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Dave Franco and Diego Luna. Only time will tell if Jenkins can replicate his historic success, but we wouldn’t bet against it.

8. Roma

Eta late 2018

Following the massive success of 2013’s Gravity, Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón returns home for an autobiographical family drama shot in black-and-white. Recently announced as the centrepiece of the New York Film Festival, Roma focuses on middle-class domestic life in 1970s Mexico City.

9. Suspiria

Released 2 November

After the effervescent Call Me by Your Name, director Luca Guadagnino is indulging his sadistic streak with this remake of Dario Argento’s giallo classic. Suspiria stars Tilda Swinton as the dance academy’s Madame Blanc, with Chloë Grace Moretz and Dakota Johnson providing support. At CinemaCon earlier this year audiences were reportedly left nauseated by some graphic preview footage. Here’s hoping it lives up to the original.

10. Boy Erased

Released 2 November

Based on Garrard Conley’s harrowing memoir, this is the second film of 2018 (along with Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post) concerning a Christian community forcing their children to go through conversion therapy. Joel Edgerton’s follow-up to The Gift stars Lucas Hedges as repressed teenager Jared, with Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe playing his parents. Hopefully it will pack a powerful punch, and raise further awareness of a deeply troubling issue.

11. White Boy Rick

Released 7 December

Yann Demange follows up ’71 with a crime-drama about a teenage undercover FBI informant who was arrested for drug-trafficking in the 1980s. The film stars Jennifer Jason Leigh and Matthew McConaughey alongside Bruce Dern and Bel Powley, with  Darren Aronofsky on producing duties. Newcomer Richie Merritt plays the juvenile kingpin, whose remarkable story has to be seen to be believed.

12. The Old Man and The Gun

Released 7 December

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and A Ghost Story writer/director David Lowery is trying his hand at true-crime with Robert Redford in tow. Selling itself on the absurdity of it being about, well, an old man with a gun, the film tells the story of Forrest Tucker’s last heist, as recorded in a 2003 New Yorker article by David Grann.

13. The Miseducation of Cameron Post

7 September 2018

Appropriate Behaviour director Desiree Akhavan brings us a beautiful, spirited critique of conversion therapy. Finally taking on a role worthy of her talent, Chloë Grace Moretz plays the titular teen who is sent to an evangelical Christian camp after being caught making out with another girl in the backseat of her car. American Honey’s Sacha Lane co-stars.

14. Ad Astra

Released 11 January 2019

Tommy Lee Jones is jetting off to Neptune, and Brad Pitt is hot on his tail. It’s a sci-fi premise we’ve seen a thousand times before, but it will interesting to see which direction The Lost City of Z director James Gray takes it in. He has cited Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ as a key influence, so if we’re in for an deep space remake of Apocalypse Now, sign us up.

15. The Favourite

Released 1 January 2019

This looks to be the wildest offering yet from Greek writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos. Set during the reign of Queen Anne, the film places Olivia Coleman at the centre of a raging battle between the favoured women of her court, played by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. Expect plenty of laughs and not a lot in the way of historical accuracy.

16. Welcome to Marwen

Released 11 January 2019

The 2010 documentary about model artist Mark Hogancamp, Marwencol, is fantastic, so a Hollywood biopic directed by Robert Zemeckis has piqued our interest. Steve Carell portrays Hogancamp on his road to recovery following an assult, through to the meticulous construction of a World War Two era model village. Told through a combination of live-action and animation, the film also stars Eiza González, Diane Kruger and Gwendoline Christie.

17. Beautiful Boy

Released 18 January 2019

Steve Carell has certainly been busy. In Beautiful Boy he plays David Sheff, the father of Nic (Timothée Chalamet), in the English-language debut of director Felix Van Groeningen. The story explores a parent’s heartbreak as he tries to help his son on the path to recovery from crippling drug addiction.

18. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Released 1 February 2019

After the delightful The Diary of a Teenage Girl, director Marielle Heller is back with a biographical drama based on the life of American author-turned-criminal Lee Israel. Melissa McCarthy is in the lead as a struggling journalist who starts selling forged letters by dead writers and celebrities. Hopefully we’ll get to see a different side of the comedy actor, and a return to form for co-star Richard E Grant.

19. On the Basis of Sex

Released 8 February 2019

Who doesn’t love a Supreme Court drama? Apparently director Mimi Leder is a fan, especially of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who played an instrumental role in the removal of state gender discrimination. The famed Justice is played by Felicity Jones, hoping to channel the motivational strength of her Jyn Erso into a silver-tongued lawyer. Kathy Bates also stars along with Armie Hammer as Jones’ on-screen husband.

20. Colette

Released 25 January 2019

The first film directed by Wash Westmoreland following the death of his husband and co-director Richard Glatzer, Colette is the story of a French ghostwriter fighting for recognition. Starring Keira Knightley as the titular Colette and Dominic West as her celebrated husband, the film will depict her Bohemian experimentation and creative liberation following the success of her ‘Claudine’ novels.

21. Backseat

Released 21 December

Having put his Anchorman days firmly behind him with 2015’s Oscar-winning economics drama The Big Short, Adam McKay is helming another political satire this year. This time he has taken Dick Cheney as his subject, as played by Christian Bale, the Vice President to Sam Rockwell’s George W Bush. There are plenty of other exciting names in the cast list, including Amy Adams and McKay regular Steve Carell.

22. Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Released 22 March 2019

For his latest comedy, Richard Linklater has chosen to adapt a Maria Semple novel about Bee Branch and the search for her mother, as played by Cate Blanchett. It’s a typically starry ensemble, with Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, Billy Crudup and Laurence Fishburne all popping up on Emma Nelson’s journey. We ranked Everybody Wants Some!! as the best film of 2016 – no pressure on Linklater, then.

23. Greyhound

Released 22 March 2019

Following the publishing of his short stories, Tom Hanks is continuing his writing endeavours with the screenplay for this World War Two drama. Hanks is also set to star as Commander Ernest Krause, the leader of an international convoy of 37 Allied ships that were pursued across the North Atlantic by German U-boats. This is the second feature from Get Low director Aaron Schneider, who won an Oscar for his 2003 short film, Two Soldiers.

24. The Nightingale

We loved Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut, The Babadook, so we’re pretty ecstatic that her follow-up has been selected in official competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival. This time it’s back to Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) circa 1825, where Aisling Franciosi’s Clare is seeking revenge against the people who killed her family. Along with an Aboriginal outcast, played by Baykali Ganambarr, there should be plenty of gothic thrills ahead on the pair’s journey through the interior.

25. Us

Released 15 March 2019

Last year saw a rise of genre films at the awards ceremonies, with Jordan Peele’s feature debut Get Out setting up high hopes for the writer/director. His next project, planned for early 2019, is a thriller starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss. And that’s pretty much all we’ve got to go on for the time being – don’t divert your eyes from this space.

Published 26 Jul 2018

Tags: Adam McKay Alfonso Cuarón Barry Jenkins Damien Chazelle Jacques Audiard Jordan Peele Luca Guadagnino Mike Leigh Mimi Leder Orson Welles Robert Zemeckis Steve MCQueen Yorgos Lanthimos

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