The Oscars are over, the fish-movie triumphant.
A year ago, who could’ve guessed it? That “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi fairy tale romance between a woman and sea creature, would win best picture?
It’s impossible to tell which way Academy winds will blow during the next year. Movies that look good might be bad. Movies that look awful might surprise. Fortunes will fade, heroes will rise, etc. Trying to guess whom and what Oscar will favor is useless.
Nonetheless, wouldn’t it just be some good stupid fun to guess anyway?
Here then, with great humility, I present the 10 films most likely (in order) to generate Oscar heat a year from now.
Note: These films are set for 2018 release dates, but a few could be pushed back into the following year. Also, it’s inevitable that a few new prestige movies will squeeze into fall and winter slots as the year progresses.
1 of 10
1. “First Man”
Release: Oct. 12
Premise: Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”) directs Ryan Gosling in this nonmusical about the life of first-man-to-walk-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong from a screenplay by Oscar-winning writer Josh Singer (“Spotlight”); Claire Foy (“The Crown”) plays Armstrong’s wife.
Why it’s Oscary: Re-read above sentence.
Release: Nov. 16
Premise: When four armed robbers are killed during a heist job, their widows decide to finish the job.
Why it’s Oscary: The Academy might not typically go for something so genre-y, but this Chicago-set thriller was directed by Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) from a screenplay he co-wrote with Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), and the film stars Viola Davis (“Fences”), Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Carrie Coon and Brian Tyree Henry so …
3. “Mary, Queen of Scots”
Release: Nov. 2
Premise: Fellow Oscar-nominees Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie star as, respectively, Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I, in this historical drama about the former’s attempt to overthrow the latter.
Why it’s Oscary: It's a historical drama with two rising stars (either of whom should have won over Frances McDormand). Directed, no doubt regally, by Josie Rourke, artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse.
4. “Isle of Dogs”
Release: April 6
Premise: A boy searches for his dog on a Japanese island that’s full of canines.
Why it’s Oscary: It’s Wes Anderson’s already well-reviewed stop-motion-animated tribute to Akira Kurosawa but with talking dogs, featuring a star-studded vocal cast that includes Greta Gerwig and Bryan Cranston.
5. “Black Panther”
Premise: You know what “Black Panther” is.
Why it’s Oscary: For about a decade, Oscar prognosticators have been wondering when a comic book movie will get nominated for best picture. “Dark Knight,” “Wonder Woman” and “Logan” couldn’t crack into the category, but “Black Panther,” given its acclaim and popularity, might be the one to finally do so.
6. “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”
Release: Oct. 19
Premise: Richard Linklater directed and co-wrote this adaptation of the hilarious novel by Maria Semple, about an anxiety-ridden woman (played by Cate Blanchett) who disappears. Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, Billy Crudup and Laurence Fishburne costar.
Why it’s Oscary: I mean … Cate Blanchett.
7. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Release: Oct. 19
Premise: Marielle Heller (“Diary of a Teenage Girl”) directs Melissa McCarthy in this biographical dramedy about fraudulent celebrity biographer Lee Israel.
Why it’s Oscary: McCarthy, already an Oscar nominee for “Bridesmaids,” is clearly an actress capable of a more dramatic role, and this performance appears poised to bring her plenty of acclaim and maybe even re-calibrate her career.
8. “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Release: Dec. 25
Premise: A biopic that chronicles the origin of the band Queen and singer Freddie Mercury (played by Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot”).
Why it’s Oscary: I would have put this near the top of the list were it not already such a wounded animal of a film. In December, after months of shooting, Fox fired director Bryan Singer from the film for his reported unprofessional behavior. Cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel stepped in to direct briefly during Singer’s absence, and then Fox hired Dexter Fletcher to finish the movie. Near the time of his firing, Singer was hit with a new sexual assault allegation.
Despite all this, the movie is apparently in the can and still looking to a Christmas Day release. Despite all this, I think Malek still stands a chance for a best actor nomination.
Release: April 20
Premise: Jason Reitman (“Juno,” “Up in the Air”) and Diablo Cody (“Juno”) reunited with their “Young Adult” star Charlize Theron to tell the story of a beleaguered mother who befriends her free-spirited nanny (Mackenzie Davis).
Why it’s Oscary: An April release date isn’t the strongest indication that this has a lot of Oscar pull. However, Theron and rising-star Davis are reportedly tremendous in this, perhaps good enough that the Academy will remember them once it comes time to vote.
10. “You Were Never Really Here”/ “Hereditary” / “Under the Silver Lake” / “First Reformed”
Releases: April 6 / June 8 / June 22 / June 22
Premise: A bunch of great actors give great performances in widely acclaimed thrillers and horror movies, genres the Academy typically turns up their noses at (with some exceptions: “Get Out,” “Black Swan”).
Why they’re Oscary: There are performances in the films by Joaquin Phoenix, Toni Collette, Andrew Garfield and Ethan Hawke that might be too good to ignore, even in the face of the Academy’s snooty prejudices.