Your Definitive 2018 Awards Season Watchlist

What do I mean when I say “Awards Season?” I mean any film that could be considered in the conversation for Oscars. Will all of these earn nominations? No. But this is what I plan to see/have seen and will update it with my reviews, when applicable.

Each title links to the film’s IMDb page, so click it if you want a more robust synopsis than I provide.

(In order of release date)


Private Life

image credit: filmcomment.com
  • Why should we watch? Hard to know where to start but A) It’s on Netflix, so: accessibility, B) Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti are so brilliant together, and C) It’s about infertility, which hits close to home (and not in a guilty-pleasure-way but in a this-is-super-legit kind of way.
  • Seen it? Yes and I’ll watch it again and again.

Black Panther

image credit: thestranger.com
  • Why should we watch? I don’t know yet, because I don’t watch superhero movies unless Christopher Nolan directs them, but I already know I love Michael B. Jordan and everyone freaking loves this, so I’ll give it a try.
  • Seen it? No, but it’s on Netflix, so I will have it on in the background while I wrap presents some day soon.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

image credit: hartford.com
  • Why should we watch? Everyone has said to, so I will. It’s a Documentary about Fred Rogers. My son’s favorite thing is Daniel Tiger, so apparently I owe a lot of his happiness to Mr. Rogers. I’m not sure I want to cry though, so I’ve been putting it off.
  • Seen it? No, see above re: tears

Sorry to Bother You

image credit: rollingstone.com
  • Why should we watch? I’m truly not sure what it’s about, other than a telemarketer in an alternate reality but as for why to watch: did you watch the Teddy Perkins episode of Atlanta? If not, go watch that (and the whole series). If yes, Lakeith Stanfield is in this sooo…
  • Seen it? No, it’s on my short list though.

Eighth Grade

image credit: newcityfilm.com
  • Why should we watch? OMG, this came out of NOWHERE for me. Who is writer/director Bo Burnham let alone the star, Elsie Fisher? Well now I know. Elsie Fisher plays a super normal 8th grader finishing up her school year. This is infinitely relatable, so real and raw; everyone please see it yesterday. Burnham, a comedian, apparently is also a wildly talented writer/director.
  • Seen it? YES
  • My review

BlacKkKlansman

image credit: pelhamexaminer.com
  • Why should we watch? Because this is a crazy, true story about a black man who infiltrated a local KKK branch in Colorado in the 70s. And also because Adam Driver is in it.
  • Seen it? Yes.

A Star is Born

image credit: thedailybeast.com
  • Why should we watch? TWO DEBUTS: Lady Gaga on the big screen and Bradley Cooper behind the camera! We get to see Ally’s (Lady Gaga) rise to fame alongside the already-famous Jackson Maine (Cooper), and all the struggles that fame entails.
  • Seen it? Oh yes, but I wasn’t emotionally ready. Would I ever have been?
  • My review

First Man

image credit: abc.net.au
  • Why should we watch? Because Damien Chazelle made another movie and sometimes we get to have nice things. It’s a biopic on Neil Armstrong, focusing on the years leading up to (and then climaxing with) his 1969 moonwalk.
  • Seen it? Yes, it’s stunning.
  • My review

Beautiful Boy

image credit: zig.com
  • Why should we watch? Timothée Chalamet is hot as Hades right now and I think we’re all here for Steve Carell’s dramatic roles. And let’s all commit to honoring honest portrayals of addiction (like this one, which is based on real life memoirs) OK?
  • Seen it? No, and I’m worried it’ll be put off til home viewing, at this point.

Bohemian Rhapsody

image credit: geektyrant.com
  • Why should we watch? I watched the first 4 minutes of the Mr. Robot pilot and I legitimately knew Rami Malek would be the gravity on the screen for all subsequent screen appearances for the rest of his career. So Bohemian Rhapsody is one data point affirming all my earliest convictions. I never met Freddie Mercury but I feel like Malek kinda nailed this. And Queen songs, so…
  • Seen it? Yep. Fun viewing experience. My theater was super into this.
  • My review

Boy Erased

image credit: myredcarpet.eu
  • Why should we watch? This is a true story about a boy who was outed to his Baptist parents and then forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program. Lucas Hedges is starring, and, based on his filmography, it would seem he is contractually obligated to only be in great movies. Plus Nicole Kidman plays his mom.
  • Seen it? Not yet.

A Private War

image credit: youtube.com
  • Why should we watch? It’s a cool biopic about a real woman (Marie Colvin) whose story I don’t know at all. She was a war correspondent who was commited to giving voice to the voiceless. And Rosamund Pike, who plays her, is a dream.
  • Seen it? Not yet.

Widows

image credit: filmschoolrejects.com
  • Why should we watch? Did you see 12 Years a Slave? If no, see that. If yes, then get excited for Director Steve McQueen’s first feature since then. It’s about 4 women (whose husbands presumably just died?) dealing with their husbands’ criminal debts in contemporary Chicago.
  • Seen it? Not yet.

Roma

image credit: hollywoodreporter.com
  • Why should we watch? First of all, it’s gonna be on Netflix, so everyone just watch it some night. Second of all, this is Director Alfonso Cuarón’s first feature since Gravity, and The Three Amigos have been crushing it in Hollywood, so let’s assume they’re going to keep it up. Roma is a black and white movie that takes a look at a year in the life of a family in Mexico City in the 1970s.
  • Seen it? No, I’ll hold out until it shows up on Netflix on December 14th.

Green Book

image credit: vanityfair.com
  • Why should we watch? It stars (Oscar-winner) Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. I hate for casting to be the whole reason, so I will mention the story seems rich: race relations in the 1960s Deep South. Ali is on tour as a classical pianist and Mortensen plays his driver.
  • Seen it? No, but any day now.

The Favourite

image credit: time.com
  • Why should we watch? Wow, casting again, and I’ll probably see everything with Emma Stone in it going forward. And did we see The Lobster? Relevant for 3 reasons, here: 1) Same director — Yorgos Lanthimos and two of the same stars: 2) Rachel Weisz and 3) Olivia Colman. And while The Lobster was completely insane, it cannot be cited for its lack of ambition or beauty. The Favourite is about Queen Anne and her friends and I don’t really know what else.
  • Seen it? Not yet.

Mary Queen of Scots

image credit: teenvogue.com
  • Why should we watch? Sorry, more casting justification, but Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan are in a period piece together and I have to see it.
  • Seen it? Not yet.

Ben is Back

image credit: time.com
  • Why should we watch? Julia Roberts plays Lucas Hedges’ (there he is again) mother. Apparently Ben (Hedges) shows up at the house unexpectedly on Christmas Eve and family drama ensues.
  • Seen it? Not yet.

Mary Poppins Returns

image credit: today.com
  • Why should we watch? Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda will be singing. And we get to check in on Jane and Michael Banks, after all these years, now that they have their own kids.
  • Seen it? Can’t wait.

Vice

image credit: comingsoon.it
  • Why should we watch? ADAM MCKAY ALL THE WAY! This is my #1 most-anticipated movie of 2018, mostly because The Big Short instantly secured a place in my Top 10 Movies of All Time upon first viewing (and has only reaffirmed its status upon each subsequent viewing). Christian Bale takes on this Dick Cheney biopic with Sam Rockwell as “W” and Steve Carell as Rumsfeld.
  • Seen it? No, but please let it be Christmas tomorrow.

OK, so above are 20 reasons to watch movies this season. Check back as I’ll add reviews as I see these.