CHICAGO - The Oscars won’t air until March 2023, but believe it or not, this year’s awards season is already in full swing!
Your friendly neighborhood FOX Digital film critics will be checking out some of the buzziest movies of the fall at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival, which runs Oct. 12-23 at venues around Chicago. We’ve already rounded up a list of six fall movies that could score big this awards season. Now here are six more to look out for (particularly when it comes to their central performances) as they hit movie theaters and streaming platforms in the next few months.
Causeway (in theaters and streaming on Apple TV+ Nov. 4)
Brian Tyree Henry and Jennifer Lawrence in "Causeway." Photo: Apple TV+
After stepping away from the spotlight for a while, Jennifer Lawrence made her splashy cinematic return in last year’s "Don’t Look Up." And now she takes on a new type of leading lady role in director Lila Neugebauer’s intimate drama, "Causeway." Lawrence stars as Lynsey, a military engineer who suffered a traumatic brain injury while deployed in Afghanistan. Struggling to adjust to life back home in New Orleans, she befriends a friendly but troubled mechanic named James (Brian Tyree Henry of "Atlanta" and Marvel’s "Eternals"). And this small-scale, deeply human character study gives both actors a chance to shine without a single bow and arrow or laser in sight.
The Wonder (in select theaters Nov. 2; streaming on Netflix Nov. 16)
The Wonder. Florence Pugh as Lib Wright in The Wonder. Cr. Christopher Barr/Netflix © 2022
"Don’t Worry Darling" may have been overshadowed by the drama of its press tour, but like her co-star Harry Styles, Florence Pugh has another chance to earn some awards season acclaim this year. Set in 1862, "The Wonder" follows an English nurse (Pugh) who travels to the Irish Midlands to investigate a mysterious phenomenon: an 11-year-old girl who claims she hasn’t eaten in four months and is miraculously surviving on "manna from heaven." Based on the strange real-life story of Victorian "fasting girls," "The Wonder" explores the tension between science and faith in a devout community still reeling from the Great Famine. (As an added bonus, it gets Pugh back in those great 19th century costumes she rocked in "Little Women.")
Rated R. 108 minutes. Dir: Sebastián Lelio. Featuring: Florence Pugh, Tom Burke, Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy, Kíla Lord Cassidy, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, Dermot Crowley, Brían F. O'Byrne, David Wilmot.
The Inspection (in theaters Nov. 18)
Gabrielle Union and Jeremy Pope in "The Inspection." Photo: A24
Writer/director Elegance Bratton dramatizes his own real-life experiences in this feature debut about a young, gay Black man who seeks stability by joining the Marines. Battling both deep-seated prejudice and the grueling demands of basic training, Ellis (Jeremy Pope) nevertheless also finds camaraderie, strength and support in his new community — the kind he’s struggled to earn from his judgmental mother Inez (Gabrielle Union). Billed as a deeply moving story about belonging and identity, "The Inspection" has already drawn early praise for Pope and especially Union, whose transformative work could very well launch a whole new phase of her career.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (in theaters for one week Nov. 23; streaming on Netflix Dec 23)
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022.
Break out your fishermen sweaters and thick Southern accents because Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc is back! The beloved "Knives Out" detective returns in a new adventure written and directed by Rian Johnson. This time around, Detective Blanc is called to Greece to solve a murder mystery that Johnson has described as "a roller coaster and not a crossword puzzle." And with a star-studded ensemble that includes the likes of Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista, it’s possible "Glass Onion" could even garner some awards attention this year. (The first film scored an Oscar nom for Best Original Screenplay.) See for yourself — either in the film’s special one-week "sneak preview" theatrical release at Thanksgiving or when it hits Netflix in late December.
White Noise (in select theaters Nov. 25; streaming on Netflix Dec. 30)
WHITE NOISE - (L-R) Greta Gerwig (Babette), May Nivola (Steffie), Adam Driver (Jack), Samuel Nivola (Heinrich) and Raffey Cassidy (Denise). Cr: Wilson Webb/NETFLIX © 2022
Best known for thoughtful contemporary character dramedies like "Frances Ha" and "Marriage Story," writer/director Noah Baumbach returns with a whole new style of movie in "White Noise." Based on Don DeLillo’s acclaimed 1985 novel of the same name, "White Noise" juxtaposes the mundane against the apocalyptic as "The Airborne Toxic Event" upends life for Professor Jack Gladney (Adam Driver), his wife Babette (Greta Gerwig) and their four kids. Think"Contagion" by way of an absurdist Wes Anderson dark comedy, all filtered through Baumbach’s urbane neurosis, and you might kind of get the vibe of Baumbach’s adaptation of this famously "unfilmable" novel. And while that vibe might not make "White Noise" a classic crowd pleaser, it could potentially make it an awards season heavyweight.
The Whale (in theaters Dec. 9)
Brendan Fraser in "The Whale." Photo: A24
The Brenaissance is here! Actor Brendan Fraser stole the show at this year’s Venice Film Festival, when his tearfully grateful response to the standing ovation for his new film "The Whale" went viral. But the latest project from "Requiem for a Dream" director Darren Aronofsky isn’t without its controversies. Based on a play by Samuel D. Hunter, "The Whale" stars Fraser as a 600-pound reclusive English teacher struggling to reconnect with his teenage daughter (Sadie Sink) as his health begins to fail. Early reactions have been split as to whether the film's take on living with obesity is sympathetic or dehumanizaing. Either way, however, Fraser’s empathetic central performance seems like a near lock for a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars.
Make it an awards-worthy double feature with "Carol," streaming free on Tubi
Carol (2015): This achingly romantic period drama from director Todd Haynes stars Cate Blanchett as the titular Carol, a glamorous woman who catches the eye of Therese (Rooney Mara), a young aspiring photographer working in a department store. Carol forgets her gloves (or does she?) and the sparks that fly across the counter catch fire when introduced to the oxygen of the outside world. Haynes’ unapologetically queer film, heavily inspired by photography of the 1950s, is swoon-worthy and stylish. Mara and Blanchett are almost as good at wearing incredible costumes as they are at acting, and they’re very, very good at acting. One of the most celebrated and moving dramas of the century so far. Rated R. 118 minutes. Dir: Todd Haynes. Also featuring Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, Kyle Chandler.
About the writer: Caroline Siede is a film and TV critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, she spent four years lovingly analyzing the romantic comedy genre one film at a time in her column When Romance Met Comedy for The A.V. Club. She also co-hosts the movie podcast, Role Calling, and shares her pop culture opinions on Twitter (@carolinesiede).
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