Brandon Shillingford, Contributing Writer
As summer winds down and the weather gets colder, a bevy of Oscar hopefuls storms into theaters. That’s right — awards season is officially here. With so many films premiering over the next few months, and with more than a few likely to be flops, it can be hard deciding what’s worth your time. Here are some films you’ll be hearing a lot about over the next few months.
“Parasite” (Oct. 11)
Genre journeyman and South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho made waves in May when his newest feature, dark comedy “Parasite,” made its premiere at Cannes Film Festival and won the festival’s highest prize. Its social commentary on wealth and classism is praised by both critics and fans, who say the film matches, if not surpasses, his earlier works like “Snowpiercer” and “The Host.” All I’ve heard since then is, “‘Parasite’ is incredible,” “‘Parasite’ will mess you up.” Alright, locals, I’m more than ready.
“The Irishman” (In select theaters Nov. 1, streaming on Netflix Nov. 27)
Anytime Martin Scorsese makes a movie, Hollywood stops and pays attention. And his newest gangster film, “The Irishman,” is no exception. A mix of familiar faces like Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, along with newer ones including Anna Paquin and Jesse Plemons, populate the highly anticipated film. “The Irishman” is a big step forward for Netflix, who delved into prestige cinema with its release of Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” in 2018, and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” which streams this fall. “The Irishman” will be released on Netflix on Nov. 27 and in select theaters on Nov. 1st.
“Waves” (Nov. 1)
After stunning Toronto Film Festival audiences with its sheer emotional punching power, Trey Edward Shultz’s new music-driven drama looks to break into the Oscars race this fall. Telling the story of a family trying to put themselves back together after an unspeakable tragedy, “Waves” is a drama with an expansive soundtrack featuring names like Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, and lots of Frank Ocean. “Waves” stars Sterling K. Brown, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie and Lucas Hedges.
“Queen & Slim” (Nov. 27)
Writer Lena Waithe and director Melina Matsoukas make their feature film debuts after working on TV shows such as “Master of None” and “Insecure.” Starring Daniel Kaluuya and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith, “Queen & Slim” tells the story of a couple on the run after Kaluuya’s character kills a cop in self-defense. It’s set to make its world premiere at the AFI Film Festival on Nov. 14.
“Marriage Story” (In select theaters Nov. 6, streaming on Netflix Dec. 6)
Writer-director, Noah Baumbach tries his hand at contemporary tragedy in “Marriage Story.” A modern-day “Kramer vs Kramer” that stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as Charlie and Nicole, as they’re engaged in bitter divorce hearings that push the two to their emotional and personal breaking points. Marriage Story has gotten nothing but praise since it’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival in August, with its script and lead performances being singled out as major award contenders.
“Little Women” (Dec. 25)
Last but certainly not least, Greta Gerwig has her sophomore effort coming to theaters this Christmas in the form of period drama, “Little Women.” The film stars Saorise Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen as sisters living in the aftermath of the Civil War. With as much star power and buzz as the film has behind it, it’s still a bit of a mystery.
All we’ve gotten is one trailer and a few promotional stills, plus it hasn’t screened at any of the major festivals. But the few pieces of material we’ve seen have looked amazing, and the few lucky souls who have gotten to see it have had nothing but good things to say about it. And if her past works like “Lady Bird” and “Frances Ha” are any indication, “Little Women” will be nothing less than a triumph for Gerwig.