With the 2017 Oscar season winding down, there is nothing left for movie connoisseurs to do but look ahead to the potential 2018 Oscar nominations. From the buzz-worthy entrants from this year's Sundance Film Festival, to the movies studios are already positioning for award show acclaim, make no mistake, the 2018 race is already off to a great start. While no La La Land style favorite has emerged just yet, there are plenty of films that already have critics anticipating Oscar glory.
If the 2018 crop of potential nominees have one thing in common, it is they are unafraid to boldly tackle hot button issues affecting the world in the wake of Donald Trump's presidency. Racism, poverty, and more are at the center of many of the films' stories. There are more traditional picks as well though, from war movie Dunkirk to Emma Stone's latest film, the Oscars are unlikely to wander too far off the well-worn track of heart-string tugging dramas, and re-nominating Oscar favorite actors.
Are you ready to get a head start on the Oscar 2018 countdown? Then add the release dates for these critical darlings to your calendar now. There is an excellent chance you will be hearing about them nonstop over the next few months.
1. Get Out (In Theaters Now)
Historically, the Oscars have not been kind to horror films, or movies released early in the year. However, thanks to Get Out's near universal acclaim and its brilliant social critique of the racial divide in America, the film has a good chance of leaving an impression on voters. Right now, it has a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, which means it is definitely resonating with moviegoers.
2. Dunkirk (July 21)
Don't let the summer release date fool you, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a World War II spectacle with a cast full of names Oscar voters will recognize. While the taut war drama features many unknowns — and Harry Styles' acting debut — it also stars former Oscar nominees Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Mark Rylance. Unless it crashes and burns at the box office, Dunkirk is sure to nab more than one nod in 2018.
3. Call Me By Your Name (TBD)
Since its Jan. 22 debut at the Sundance Film Festival, critics have not stopped raving over Call Me by Your Name. The coming of age tale revolves around a 17-year-old boy in Italy who falls for an older academic staying with his family. According to Vulture, Sundance audiences were enamored with the film, and Armie Hammer is a shoe-in for a Best Actor nom.
4. Mudbound (TBD)
Netflix wisely snagged this southern drama about racism and the damaging effects of World War II after its Sundance premiere. Starring Mary J. Blige, Carey Mulligan, and Jonathan Banks, the film's fearless examination of two families' messy entanglement has the gravitas needed to enter the Best Picture race.
5. Submergence (TBD)
James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander star in this romantic drama designed to rip your heart out. Separated by thousands of miles, McAvoy is held captive by African jihadists and Vikander's Arctic expidition goes terribly wrong. The two are left with only their memories of each other to comfort them as they face these deadly situations, and if the film turns out to be as emotional as it sounds, then McAvoy and Vikander should expect Oscar invitations any day now.
6. The Big Sick (June 23)
Another Sundance favorite, this romantic comedy written by husband and wife team Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, tackles culture clashes and the struggle to find acceptance from your partner's parents.
7. Battle Of The Sexes (TBD)
Loosely based on the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, this is 2017 Oscar favorite Emma Stone's first post-La La Land film. Need I say more?
8. The Glass Castle (TBD)
Chronicling the unconventional upbringing of a family plagued by poverty, The Glass Castle is based on a memoir by Jeannette Walls. Although it is still early days, the film could be 2018's answer to Captain Fantastic. It doesn't hurt that the movie is also stacked with Oscar favorites including Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, and Woody Harrelson.
9. Darkest Hour (Nov. 24)
While it is not guaranteed a spot in the Best Picture category, Gary Oldman's shocking transformation into Winston Churchill is sure to land him in the Best Actor race.
10. Downsizing (Dec. 22)
Director Alexander Payne has the golden touch when it comes to the Oscars. While his films don't always win, they are almost always in the race. Look for the Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig led film to join Payne's The Descendants, Sideways, and Nebraska in garnering award season accolades.
11. Mother (TBD)
Acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky is teaming up with Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem for a mysterious film about unexpected guests who wreak havoc on a happy couple's lives. With a lineup like that, Oscar glory is well within reach.
Start filling out your 2018 Oscar ballots now.