By Matthew Belloni
Sundance breakout Birth of a Nation, Ang Lee’s first film since winning best director and an adaptation of best seller Girl on a Train might take center stage this time next year. Here’s a quick rundown of the prospective contenders for 2017 Oscars.
The Birth of a Nation
Fox Searchlight, Oct. 7
Sundance raves and a $17.5 million price tag have put big expectations on Nate Parker’s drama about the slave uprising led by Nat Turner.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Sony, Nov. 11
Ang Lee’s first film since winning best director for 2012’s Life of Pi is a war dramedy that, like Pi, stars a newcomer (Joe Alwyn).
The Girl on the Train
Universal, Oct. 7
If done well, Tate Taylor’s adaptation of the smash book starring Emily Blunt could be as much of an awards player as his best picture nominee The Help was in 2012.
The Weinstein Co., TBD
Harvey Weinstein’s big Oscar play could be this drama from The King’s Speech producers about an Indian kid (Dev Patel) who searches for his parents after being adopted by an Australian couple. Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara also star.
Manchester by the Sea
Casey Affleck’s lauded performance could push Kenneth Lonergan’s New England-set family drama, a hit at Sundance, into the best picture race.
Sony, Dec. 21
Morten Tyldum, fresh from The Imitation Game, directs Oscar magnet Jennifer Lawrence and “It” boy Chris Pratt in a space-set romance that features nearly no other actors. Can he pull it off?
Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street follow-up is this long-gestating film about 17th century priests who travel to Japan to locate a mentor. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver star.
Broad Green, TBD
This Texas-set romantic thriller is said to be the splashier of 2016’s two Terrence Malick films (along with Knight of Cups) featuring Christian Bale and Natalie Portman.