6 potential Best Picture Oscar winners that have slipped under the radar

  • 6 potential Best Picture Oscar winners that have slipped under the radar

Last year Oscar favourite La La Land was beaten to the Best Film award by the brilliant coming-of-age drama Moonlight.

At the time of its win, Moonlight was the second-lowest grossing Best Picture winner (behind The Hurt Locker), making its triumph an unexpected one.

Will lightning strike a second time? Here are the under-the-radar contenders who could steal the main prize from the bookies' favourites...

Lady Bird

Actress Greta Gerwig wrote and directed the film which stars Saoirse Ronan as a free-spirited teenager - who prefers to go by the name 'Lady Bird' - and who tries to get away from her overbearing mother by secretly applying to colleges in New York.

It received a standing ovation at its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and praise has been heaped on Ronan and Laurie Metcalf's performances as the mother and daughter as well as Gerwig in her feature film directing debut.

With an astonishing 100%  on Rotten Tomatoes with 150 reviews (a feat only achieved by Toy Story 2 and Man on Wire previously), the story of the turmoil of adolescence has wowed audiences and critics and could be a serious contender at the ceremony.

The Big Sick

Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon teamed up to write a fictionalised version of their cross-cultural early relationship, when Muslim Kumail and American Emily's fledgeling relationship struggles due to their religious differences, and when Emily falls into a coma, Kumail forges a bond with her feisty parents.

The rom-com wowed audiences at its premiere at Sundance, and won South by Southwest's Festival Favorites Audience Award as the performances from its main stars Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan were lauded, as well as Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as Emily's parents.

While the last 'comedy' film to win the Best Picture was The Artist in 2011, and the next one was Annie Hall all the way back in 1977, this hilarious and heartbreaking story deserves its place among this year's contenders.

Call Me By Your Name

Another LGBTQ romance story hoping to ape Moonlight's success last year is the Italy-set romantic drama starring Armie Hammer and directed by A Bigger Splash's Luca Guadagnino .

Based on André Aciman's novel, set in 1983, where 17-year-old Elio forms a passionate bond with his father's research assistant, played by Hammer - which has seen critics queuing up to lavish praise upon it, while it has won a host of awards at various film festivals around the world.

With everyone having nothing but good words to say about Guadagnino's direction, as well as the performances of Hammer and his 21-year-old co-star Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name should be disappointed if it doesn't get a stack of nominations at the very least.

Mudbound

The period drama stars Garrett Hedlund (Pan) and Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton) as two WWII soldiers - one white, one black - who both return home to rural Mississippi and have to deal with racism and PTSD in their own individual own way.

After its premiere at Sundance, Mudbound was picked up by Netflix and released on the streaming service and given a small theatrical release, as critics praised its acting from across the cast as well as the direction from Dee Rees (who also co-wrote) and attention to detail.

Mudbound could potentially be Netflix's first Best Picture nomination and a landmark moment for the streaming platform.

Wind River

The murder mystery starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner was released in September, to little fanfare, which is a huge disservice to the quality of the film.

Renner plays a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent who investigates the murder of a young Native American woman, joined by a rookie FBI special agent, played by Olsen.

Praise was aimed at director Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote the intense thriller, with comparisons drawn to a Coen Brothers noir and it has also been dubbed "a thinking-person's thriller".

The Florida Project

A look at the other side of Disneyland sees six-year-old Moonee, who lives in a motel in the shadow of Florida's Disney World resort and her adventures with her ragtag group of pals under the loose supervision of her single mother.

Having wowed on its premiere at Cannes, the film's incredible performances have been heralded, especially on a tiny budget with a cast made up mostly of child and young actors.

Drawing attention to a largely overlooked side of modern America and the kind of poverty that goes barely noticed, The Florida Project has all the attributes to make it an Oscar-winning candidate.

Do you think any of these films are going to spring a surprise at the Oscars? Let us know in the comments below...

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