We are finally to the traditional beginning of the 2017 awards season. Filled with film festivals and Oscar bait films over the next few months there will be a ton of new potential Oscar nominees to gain mass attention. But before we fully focus on the next few months I wanted to take a look back at this year in film so far and look at some potential Oscar nominees that has already hit theaters this year. Please remember that this is a list based off of what I have seen so far, it is totally possible that the last half of this year could bring enough amazing films to completely knock these picks out of the conversation. Also I am not saying these are the only possible nominees from films earlier this year, these are just some that stand out to me. (This is in no particular order)
Hoyte van Hoytema-Best Cinematography (Dunkirk)
Personally I found Dunkirk to be good, not amazing but just good. However one thing that really stuck out to me was the cinematography in the film. Dunkirk used the camera to the maximum to create some truly incredible scenes with some amazing atmospheres, from claustrophobic and unsettling scenes cramped in the bottom of a boat to overwhelming wide shots of a beach where everything felt huge, the cinematography in Dunkirk created a visual experience that stood out to anything else this year and that desirves to be recognized.
Patrick Stewart-Best Supporting Actor (Logan)
Going into Logan earlier this year all eyes were on Hugh Jackman in his final performance as The Wolverine, and even though his performance is fantastic the actor that stuck with me was Patrick Stewart as Professor X. While as a character he does fall into some cliques it's his attitude and excellent delivery that makes him work as well as he does. He takes what could just be an ok role and turns it into a funny, emotional, and memorable performance.
Ben Richardson-Best Cinematography (Wind River)
There is something naturally haunting about the isolation of being in a forest, It can feel eerie, like someone is watching you. Wind River uses this perfectly. They use their remote setting of Wyoming to create some truly haunting shots. This movie also has the gorgeous white landscape of winter which leads to some gorgeous scenes of the natural landscape. This blend of beauty and haunting creates some truly stand out scenes which creeps up on you and grabs your attention.
Will Poulter-Best Supporting Actor (Detroit)
Detroit is yet another movie that I thought was fine. Even though I had major issues with the directing and pacing of the film there were some highlights, and one of those were Will Poulter. Going into the film he was the part I was dreading the most, overall his track record has not been anything to brag about, but he stole the show in this movie. He plays a racist cop and this is easily his best performance yet. He gives a performance that gets under your skin in the best of ways, you truly hate his character and his performance is what makes it work to the level that it does.
James McAvoy-Best Actor (Split)
Say what you want about Split as a movie, but I think the majority can agree that you have to at least respect James McAvoys performance. He had to play basically 23 different characters, and sure most were just shown in quick bursts but even his performance as the main few are impressive. From the funny yet unsettling Hedwig to the haunting Patricia, James McAcoy devotes himself to these characters and gives some truly wild and memorable performances.
Jeremy Renner-Best Actor (Wind River)
Jeremy Renner gives the performance of his carrer in Wind River. He plays a hunter who is dealing with personal demons while trying to help out with a case, and his character was fascinating to me. Seeing a hunter use a hunters mindset to help solve a case really intrigued me and Jeremy Renner played this character perfectly. He was able to give a layered performance using some very subtle techniques which made his performance flow very naturally and connect to the audience.
Edgar Wright-Best Director (Baby Driver)
Edgar Wright has proven himself time and time again to be one of the best directors of the modern era and he continues this reputation in Baby Driver. He directs a fantastic and fun action movie filled with some truly creative and awe inspiring action scenes. Basically he created a better version of first 10 minutes of Drive, and then did it a few more times. This is a beautifully shot movie which uses music to provide an amazing atmosphere and pacing which helps it stand out from any other film this year.