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12 awards-buzzed movies that need to be on your radar

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As summer steadily begins to draw to a close (say it isn't so!), we enter the next phase of the moviegoing calendar known as award season.

Broadly defined as the period from September to February, things really kick off with the Venice Film Festival at the end of August, before comprising further festivals at Toronto, Telluride and London throughout September and October.

During this time, it's not uncommon for many movies to emerge as potential frontrunners in next year's Oscar race. We've picked out 11 of them, in order of release, that need to be on your radar.

BlacKkKlansman

Released 24th August

When you combine the fiery passion of Do The Right Thing director Spike Lee with an astonishing, racially charged true story, you know to expect fireworks. This incendiary, darkly comic take on a black 1970s police detective's infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan is provocative, uncomfortable and uproariously entertaining, often all at the same time. BlacKkKlansman (produced by Get Out director Jordan Peele, further bolstering its credentials) has been hailed as Lee's most relevant and timely work in years, featuring a charismatic lead performance from John David Washington (son of Denzel) and excellent support from Adam Driver.


A Star Is Born

Released 5th October

Hollywood can't get enough of this quintessential rags-to-riches musical – it's already served as the basis of three preceding movies, which have variously featured the likes of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. This time, Silver Linings Playbook Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper turns director for the first time, and also stars opposite Lady Gaga, here playing the reclusive musician who hits the big time. The trailer for A Star Is Born brought the house down at this year's Las Vegas Cinema-Con, and the notion of Gaga de-glamming to become, ironically, unrecognisable, is certainly intriguing. 


First Man

Released 12th October

Oscar-winning La La Land director Damien Chazelle reunites with the star of that film, Ryan Gosling, to dramatise the true story of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. As if that wasn't enough reason to be excited, The Crown's Claire Foy also features as Armstrong's embattled wife, in a movie already selected to open this year's Venice Film Festival. There's already a payload of prestige attached to First Man, and given the Academy loves a movie that brings history roaring to life (let alone one that dramatises such a watershed moment in American pop culture), it's no wonder this is currently an awards favourite.


Bohemian Rhapsody

Released 24th October

Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's life is tailor-made for the big screen, in all its flamboyant, tragically curtailed glory. After original choice Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out of Bohemian Rhapsody due to disagreements with Brian May, Mr. Robot's Rami Malek has undergone a fully-fledged transformation into the iconic Mercury. The story of Queen and Mercury's meteoric rise to fame promises all manner of glitz, glamour and camp, going behind the scenes of the creation of iconic musical numbers like the title song. Who could possibly resist it?


Widows

Released 9th November

It's been nearly five years since director Steve McQueen stunned us into submission with 12 Years a Slave, but our wait for his latest movie is about to pay off. The Oscar-winning artist-turned-filmmaker, also acclaimed for films Hunger and Shame (both featuring Michael Fassbender) now embraces the conventions of the heist movie in this adaptation of author Lynda La Plante's eighties TV series, Widows. The ensemble cast is phenomenal: Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Daniel Kaluuya, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall, to name but five. Scripted by Gone Girl's Gillan Flynn, it will open the London Film Festival on 10th October, a prime slot that further earmarks the movie for potential awards glory.


Wildlife

Released 9th November

Actor Paul Dano makes his directorial debut with this powerful drama, which has already drawn critical raves from this year's Cannes Film Festival. Wildlife is adapted from Richard Ford's 1960s-set novel, in which a teenage boy is helpless to prevent the disintegration of his parents' marriage, and the talent involved is formidable. In addition to Dano's presence behind the camera, Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal play the warring parents, with newcomer Ed Oxenbould as the youngster watching the emotional conflagration take hold.


The Favourite

Released 1st January

Director Yorgos Lanthimos doesn't do normal – his bizarro 2015 'love story' The Lobster, a critical and box office hit, envisaged a world in which people are turned into animals if they don't find their ideal life partner. So the prospect of him working within the conventions of the period drama is very intriguing indeed. Expect the stuffy shackles to be thrown off as The Favourite zeroes in on two 17th century women jockeying to become the favourite of the declining Queen Anne. Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Olivia Colman lead the excellent cast.


Stan and Ollie

Released 11th January 2019

The true story of cinema's most beloved double-act forms the basis of this delightful-looking drama. John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan are eerie dead ringers for Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel, pioneers in the realm of early silent comedy, and given the comedic chops of both Reilly and Coogan, we can surely expect great things. Stan and Ollie is scripted by Oscar-nominated Philomena writer Jeff Pope, who describes both men as his "heroes".



Mary Queen of Scots

Released 18th January 2019

Saoirse Ronan is a performer who can do no wrong. Following her sensational lead roles in the likes of Brooklyn, Lady Bird and On Chesil Beach, the chameleonic Oscar nominee changes her accent again to play the ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots, first cousin of England's ruling Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). We know that Ronan is capable of emotional heavy lifting and the prospect of her squaring off against the the increasingly impressive Robbie (who recently wowed in I, Tonya) promises thespian duelling at its finest.


If Beale Street Could Talk

Released 18th January

It's been a long two-year wait for Barry Jenkins's follow-up movie to Moonlight. That movie stormed the Oscars with its breathtaking, multi-generational depiction of a young black man's grappling with his sexuality, and the director's next movie looks similarly atmospheric. If Beale Street Could Talk is based on the book by author James Baldwin (the subject of last year's acclaimed documentary I Am Not Your Negro), and promises a powerful, topical story of star-crossed romance set against the backdrop of 1970s Harlem.


Beautiful Boy

Released 18th January

Steve Carell's steady transformation from funny man into actor of serious repute continues with his powerful performance as a recovering meth addict. Beautiful Boy is based on the memoirs Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff, chronicling one man's recovery as seen through the eyes of his son. Call Me By Your Name's Timothee Chalamet is the son in question, another heavyweight addition to an impressive-sounding drama.


Boy Erased

Released TBC

Further demonstrating that troubled father-son relationships are cinematic dynamite, Boy Erased is actor Joel Edgerton's latest directorial offering. (His first, 2015 psychological thriller The Gift, was released to critical raves.) Manchester By The Sea sensation Lucas Hedges is the youngster underdoing gay 'conversion' therapy at the hands of a preacher. Edgerton plays the latter, while Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe play the troubled parents responsible for putting their son through hell in this adaptation of Garrard Conley's memoir.

Which of these potential awards contenders are you most looking forward to? Let us know @Cineworld.