The greatest Oscar race in years?

The Golden Globes may have made their decision, but we are still in no way closer to determining which film is going to win Best Picture at the Oscars. In what has been a great year for movies, the current roster of front-runners suggest that this could be the greatest Oscar race in quite some time. The reason? None of them look like winning.

Dunkirk took an early lead in the polls in October, but has since regressed into “dark horse” territory – it’s expertly choreographed, but doesn’t have that timely political resonance other frontrunners possess. The Post, for instance, is perhaps the most worthy of the contenders: it’s directed by Spielberg, stars Streep and Hanks, and celebrates journalism in the face of corruption, blatantly alluding to Trump’s reign. And yet… it has been shut out of the awards so far. Spotlight won Best Picture two years ago; perhaps The Post is too similar, too soon?

Which, annoyingly, may be why Call Me By Your Name is sharing the same fate at the moment – it’s nothing like Moonlight, but with the Academy awarding an LGBT film last year, perhaps they feel that they’ve done their part; ignorant, yes, but considering the Academy’s demographic, not entirely out of the question.

Instead, they may look to the relevance of gender politics in this year’s Oscar contenders, considering the swarm of sexual allegations in Hollywood. And, refreshingly, most contenders feature female leads. Along with The Post, there’s Lady Bird, (a lovely film, but, to be glib, just a spruced-up Juno), the Shape of Water (it’s okay, I guess. Though I’m not sure the Academy would go for a woman-has-sex-with-fishman film – the genre’s still in its infancy), and Three Billboards (very enjoyable, until you sit back and think about all of its race-related problems).

Or, maybe, none of the aforementioned films will win, and instead Get Out will reign victorious. It’s arguably, along with Wonder Woman, the American film of 2017. But who knows? And, this late in the Oscar race, “who knows” feels wonderful to say. We’re at the final stretch, but in such an unpredictable race, it’s remarkably still anyone’s for the taking.


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