Sunday, July 16, 2017

First trailer debuts for Joe Wright's Oscar contender 'Darkest Hour'

We're creeping closer and closer to the 2017-2018 Oscar season, and it's sure to be an interesting one to say the least. At this point, we already have a few contenders from the early festivals- Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name (November 24), Yorgos Lanthimos' The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and James Franco's The Disaster Artist. I think we can also safely assume that Alexander Payne's Downsizing will be in the Best Picture race, as it's the opener at the Venice Film Festival, the same spot held by La La Land, Birdman, and Gravity. In addition, we also have a few big contenders from the first few months, including Jordan Peele's acclaimed social thriller Get Out, James Mangold's Logan, Patty Jenkins' beloved Wonder Woman, Matt Reeves' trilogy capper War for the Planet of the Apes, and Christopher Nolan's upcoming Dunkirk. Due to a serious lack of "Oscar bait," we could actually see some of these films sneak into the race. But don't worry, even with a slightly weaker second half of 2017, there will still be plenty of obvious awards plays to round out the year. One of the big Oscar movies is Joe Wright's Darkest Hour, a biopic of Winston Churchill with a prestige cast and a prime November release. Earlier this week, the trailer was released for the film- check it out below!

This is a very good trailer, and it was a terrific choice to build up to what is likely Churchill's most famous speech. Oddly enough, this is the second Churchill movie of 2017, and I find it funny that each one focuses solely on the events surrounding a major battle. If anything, Darkest Hour will be a showcase for an unrecognizable Gary Oldman, an actor who has miraculously never won an Oscar despite being one of the most beloved performers in Hollywood. He looks incredible as Churchill, and he has pretty much locked up a nomination already. We'll have to see what Daniel Day-Lewis does in his supposedly final role, but I think that this could be Oldman's year. As for the film itself, I'm less certain of its chances. This seems like it could be an Iron Lady type of deal, where the movie can't quite match up to the incredible performance. Hanna has its fans, but Joe Wright has generally been in a slump since the Oscar-winning Atonement in 2007. Darkest Hour definitely looks compelling, but with a changing Academy, can it find a way into the Best Picture race? We shall see.

Darkest Hour stars Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Stephen Dillane, and will hit theaters on November 22. And depending on the strategy taken by Focus, it may find its way to a berth at one of the major fall festivals.

Poster: Focus/IMDB

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