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Venice Film Festival: the potential Oscar contenders to watch out for


The Hollywood A-list are currently out in full force amidst the romantic waterways of glitzy Venice for the annual Film Festival, now in its 74th year.

Running until 9th September, it's one of the buzziest events in the movie calendar, as a host of potential awards contenders get their first airing in front of hushed critics and audiences.

Many eventual Oscar favourites have made their debut at Venice, including the recent likes of Spotlight and La La Land, so will the magic be repeated with the following movies?


It's been four years since we last got a movie from the brilliant Alexander Payne – that was bittersweet black and white road trip drama Nebraska starring Bruce Dern.

In truth the director has never made a bad movie – Election, About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants all comfortably sit atop lists of modern day classics. And it sounds like his latest is not only poised to join them – it may even top them.

Matt Damon (making his first appearance in our Venice rundown), Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Christoph Waltz lead the superb cast of Payne's quirky satire, a story of people who reap the rewards – and pay the price – of miniaturising themselves. 

Critics have said it's another richly thoughtful, wryly funny and quietly emotional masterwork from a filmmaker who specialises in them. Check out the teaser below.

The Shape of Water

Like Alexander Payne, Mexican visionary auteur Guillermo Del Toro is a director worth waiting around for. His lavishly operatic and emotional touch has cast a spell over the likes of the Oscar winning Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and last year's brooding Gothic horror Crimson Peak.

His latest though shakes things up a bit. The Shape of Water is set in 1960s Cold War-era America, a far more contemporary and recognisable setting than we've come to expect from the director.

Britain's finest Sally Hawkins stars as the mute cleaner who bonds with a mysterious aquatic creature at the lab where she works – the combination of director and actress alone promises to deliver movie fireworks.


George Clooney's run as director has been pretty solid with critically acclaimed works including fact/fiction hybrid Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and tense political thriller The Ides of March. The latter drew Oscar attention and Clooney himself is no stranger to Academt attention, having won Supporting Actor for Syriana.

He did however come a bit unstuck in 2014 with tonally wobbly World War II caper The Monuments Men, and it seems that some residual frustration may have been injected into his latest effort.

Suburbicon is far angrier than we've come to expect from Clooney, casting Matt Damon as a schlubby 1950s suburban dad and widow who explodes into violence when threatened by encroaching mobsters.

The trailer looks insane and teases a prestigious array of talent, also including stars Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac. Plus, the script is by Oscar darlings the Coen brothers, Check out the trailer.


Oscar likes Darren Aronofsky, a director who specialises in gritty and unsettling subject matter. His breakout movie, uncompromising addiction drama Requiem for a Dream, garnered an Oscar nomination for Ellen Burstyn, and Natalie Portman won the coveted prize for her raw performance in the overwhelming ballet tour de force, Black Swan.

Aronofsky even restored Mickey Rourke's credibility with The Wrestler, something many believed impossible. It remains to be seen whether his new movie Mother! will be swinging for the awards fences or will be simply looking to terrify audiences.

But with its story of home invasion and psychological panic coupled to a heavyweight cast featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer and Domhnall Gleeson, we expect this to be igniting the attention of Academy Awards voters.

What Venice movies are you looking forward to watching? Let us know @Cineworld.