- Don’t Think Twice
- The Handmaiden
- The Lobster
- Nocturnal Animals
It’s been three months since my first attempt at predicting what I’ll nominate come January, and it seems to me, with the Venice and Telluride film festivals underway (and once the Toronto festival is over, I’ll go over what films are looking good, which are looking iffy or bad, which are now on my radar which previously weren’t, etc.), it’s a good time to take another look at what I’ll be trumpeting this year.
Let’s go to it, shall we?
As we’re edging towards my 6-Month Film Awards, it’s a good time to start theorizing on what the end of the year will bring. So, based on what looks good, what’s gotten good festival buzz, and what I’ve already seen, here are the first predictions. Obviously, there’s a great deal of guesswork here (last year I had high hopes for The Counselor, and…yeah), but I always get a kick out of doing this.
Each category will have a Top 5 and a 6-10, except for Best Picture, which will have a Top 10 and an 11-20.
There are few people of color, few women, and very few women of color directing films nowadays, so the fact that Amma Asante was able to make a film, with a big-name cast and a healthy budget, and that film features a woman of color as its protagonist, is to be applauded in of itself. On its own, the film is quite good–not great, for various reasons, but compelling and very well-acted–and tells an intriguing based-on-fact (though highly fictionalized) story, of a biracial woman living free and wealthy at a time when she normally would have had neither freedom nor wealth.
We now have trailers for two of my most anticipated films of the year, along with a third film I’m quite intrigued by.
I don’t know if this is a brilliant thriller, or just a brilliant tease. But brilliant it is, and so merciless in its manipulation of the audience that, were it a person, you might want to slap it–which might just be the response director Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Javier Gullón wanted. What is exceedingly clear is the greatness of Jake Gyllenhaal’s dual performance, the skill of Villeneuve’s direction, and the overwhelming atmosphere they both create, one which suggests Hitchcock, Cronenberg, and Kafka, one which suggests perverse manipulation, existential horror, and cosmic confusion. The film’s epigraph, “Chaos is order yet undeciphered”, is delightfully obnoxious and perfectly chosen.