Oscar Bait Szn has returned! Let’s look at all the new meat.
As October and Spooky Szn™ comes to an end it’s time once again for my favorite part of the movie release calendar. Oscar Bait Szn. November and December are when the movie studios crank it ALL the way up for the Oscar races. This is what separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and the theys from the thems. Now is the time to put your most pretentious, film nerdiest stuff that has no chance to make blockbuster money out in theaters. This is when you send your stars and directors to every party in New York and LA to shake babies and kiss hands.
You know how NFL draft nerds spend a bunch of time looking at random measurements and drill times from pro days and the combine and then say things like “man that guy’s only 6′ tall and his hands measured about 5/8 inches smaller than average and he ran the 40 yard dash .3 seconds slower than I thought he might. Gotta move him down my board!” Then normal people are just like “…yeah but he’s awesome! He threw for 6,800 yards and 57 TDs last year. I think he’s gonna be pretty good!” I’m the draft nerd, November/December movie releases are pro days/the combine, and random movies you enjoy that have no chance of winning awards are slow, undersized college football star QBs. I can’t wait.
To hear reviews and conversations about some of these movies be sure to subscribe to the One Take Podcast wherever you get your podcasts and let us know on Twitter if there’s anything you want to hear us review this month! We’re a podcast of the people so if you’ve got requests you can hit us up @1TakePod.
Let’s get into it. Trailers linked for each film.
Biggest Movie of the Month
For the 2nd time in the 3 month history of this movie release roundup we have an MCU movie taking the top spot. This one’s gotten a pretty mixed reception thus far and is currently the lowest rated MCU movie on Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes scores have to be taken with a grain of salt (currently Ant-Man & The Wasp is rated higher than Infinity War), but that ain’t a good sign no matter how you look at it. Nevertheless, I shall persist! I’ve enjoyed every MCU movie to this point because even the “bad” ones are still entertaining films in their own ways. And a movie directed by Chloe Zhao that stars Gemma Chan, Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kit Harrington, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, and Brian Tyree Henry gotta be cool to look at for at least one time in the theater, right?
Eternals is out November 5th and we’ll for SURE be talking about this one on the podcast so stay tuned for that.
Now on to the other movies worth keeping an eye on this month, in chronological order.
The Oscars LOVE a biopic transformation acting performance. Since the 1980s the Best Actor and Best Actress categories have been dominated by nominations for biopic stars. Over the past 2 years half of the nominees for Best Actress were in biopics. In the 2010s 7 out of 10 Best Actor winners were in biopics as well. It’s a classic move and now it’s Kristen Stewart’s (yes, the one from Twilight) turn to take her shot. She’s playing Princess Diana in this movie from the same director that did Jackie a few years ago and got Natalie Portman another Oscar nomination for her work as Jackie Kennedy. This movie’s trailers look much more interesting than that one, and Kristen Stewart has established herself as a truly talented actress after Twilight. She’s the current favorite for Best Actress so I’m excited to see what she can do here and if it pays off with an Oscar win.
This one isn’t an Oscar bait movie, just a good bit of fun coming out in a few movie theaters November 5th before hitting Netflix on the 12th. It stars The Rock, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot so I’m sure if you try to visualize what this movie trailer looks like in your mind, you’ll be exactly right.
Basically, The Rock is a detective who has to work with former art thief Ryan Reynolds to capture current art thief Gal Gadot. That’s all I need. Sold!
“A woman, Fahrije, with a missing husband, goes against misogynistic societal expectations to become an entrepreneur. She starts selling her own ajvar and honey, recruiting other women in the process.”
This is one of those to separate all my REAL Oscars sickos from the frauds out there. This movie is from the Republic of Kosovo and is completely in Albanian with English subtitles. It’s Kosovo’s entry into the Best International Feature Film category (formerly known as Best Foreign Language Film) and has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes with 18 reviews so far. It also won 3 different awards at Sundance earlier this year. If you want to flex on your friends during the Oscar ceremony and tell them how beautiful the random foreign films they’ve never heard of are, the work starts NOW! Gotta put in them hours all Winter so you can shine all Spring!
November 10th – 12th
They’ve made those books you really liked as a kid (that they made into a tv show you can only vaguely remember) into a live-action kids movie that looks pretty mid. Hooray…? One of the kids from Big Little Lies stars as Emily, some person named Jack Whitehall stars as her uncle, and David Alan Grier voices Clifford. Keenan Thompson has a role and so does Rosie Perez so that might be cute. Guess we’ll see, or maybe we won’t. Best case scenario for this feels like very forgetablle fun like the Sonic the Hedgehog movie from right before the pandemic.
This one randomly drops on a Wednesday, November 10th.
Back on our Oscars bullsh** with a black and white film, another classic sign that everyone involved is going for awards. Belfast describes itself as “a poignant story of love, laughter and loss in one boy’s childhood, amid the music and social tumult of the late 1960s.” I don’t know what that means but I do know that a British, semi-autobiographical, black-and-white, coming of age comedy-drama was made for awards season. Any time there’s a movie you have to describe with that many hyphens somebody getting an award for SOMETHING.
Jude Hill, the 11-year old star of the movie making his feature film DEBUT, is one of the current favorites for a Best Actor nomination this year. The movie itself is one of the current favorites for Best Picture after it won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year. Obviously I gotta see it. I’ll probably write a review on here when I do so stay tuned.
Semi-biopic about a tragic figure? Check! Well known actor whose gotten Oscar buzz before but hasn’t won yet? Check! Movie adaptation of a popular play? Check! A musical? Check! A story about show business? Check! Highly-anticipated directorial debut from a director who likes to impress people at parties? Check! This one’s got all the awards campaign potential in the world.
tick, tick…BOOM! is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut. An adaptation of an autobiographical play written by Jonathan Larson (most famous for writing the musical Rent and then dying tragically at age 35 shortly before its premiere) where he wonders if he made the right life decision by going into theatre since he’s nowhere close to his dreams. Andrew Garfield stars as Larson with supporting work from the love of my life Vanessa Hudgens. It hasn’t premiered yet but for all the reasons I stated, and because Netflix loves to put big money into Oscar campaigns for recognizable names, if it’s any good at all it’ll get some awards buzz. It premieres at a festival on the 10th, will be out in select theaters on the 12th, and hits Netflix on the 19th.
November 17th – 19th
Halle Berry, still the only Black woman to EVER win Best Actress at the Oscars, makes her directorial debut and stars in this drama about a washed up female MMA fighter trying to get back in the cage amidst brewing family drama. The experts have only given it an outside chance at awards nominations, particularly for Berry as Best Actress, but it’s a Netflix movie. And if it’s any good you might see enough public praise of the performance (and campaigning from Berry and Netflix) to move her into contention. Especially with the early narrative already forming that the Oscars will once again be so white this year.
This one hits theaters November 17th and then Netflix on the 24th.
Fresh off a win in 2019 for Joker (a movie that STINKS) Joaquin Phoenix is back in the thick of the Best Actor race again with C’mon C’mon. Gaby Hoffman is getting Best Supporting Actress looks as well. C’mon C’mon is a black and white film by A24 so this one will probably be an entry-level film nerd’s Oscar pet project. Kinda like how during this year’s NBA Draft you could signal to a regular person that you were into #DraftTalk by hyping up Scottie Barnes as a top 4 pick. But if you hung out with the REAL draft sickos they’d be wanting to talk to you about random dudes like Moses Moody
Anyway, my unnecessary gatekeeping aside, C’mon C’mon actually looks pretty good. The movie is about a radio journalist who is unexpectedly, reluctantly forced to take care of his young nephew. They eventually go on a cross country trip where they form an unexpected bond. Sounds like something we’ve seen a million times, but critics swear by it thus far. We’ll see. In theaters November 19th.
A Ghostbusters Reboot/Sequel starring Proxima Midnight, Ant Man and ole boy from Stranger Things is happening. Do people care about this? Not sure. I know I don’t. But it’s been delayed 78 times by COVID and is finally coming out now so…neat. You can go see it this month if that’s what you’re in to.
We’ve been waiting on this one for a minute. Ever since 2019 when it was announced that Will Smith would be playing Richard Williams (father of Venus and Serena) in a biopic that sounded SUPER Oscar-y. And Will Smith hasn’t had a real shot at a Best Actor since Pursuit of Happyness 15 years ago.
Early reviews and buzz tell us that our man did NOT disappoint. Thus far, Will Smith is the favorite in the category and the movie is getting some hype as a Best Picture contender. This one drops in theaters and HBO Max on November 19th. I’m HYPED. Let’s get my guy Will an Oscar.
November 24th – 26th
Want more Lin-Manuel Miranda in your life? You’re in luck! He wrote the music for this new Disney movie that actually looks adorable. Encanto takes place in Colombia and centers on Mirabel, a young girl who is on the only person in her family that does not have magical powers. She discovers that her family’s magic is under threat and must make a heroic quest to save it.
Disney movies are pretty much always Oscar Best Animated Film contenders, plus this one might have some dope music that gets a Best Song nomination. Plus this genuinely looks delightful. Excited to see it. In theaters the day before Thanksgiving if you need to get your kids out of the house. It’ll be on Disney+ 45 days after that.
This one is going to be special. Another biopic, full of former Oscar winners and nominees, House of Gucci tells the true story of Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) the former business head of Gucci and his wife Patrizia Gucci (Lady Gaga) who would eventually hire a hitman to murder him. Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator among others) is behind the camera for this one that also features performances from Jared Leto, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, and many more big names.
This one looks like a BANGER and it’s also got awards buzz out the wazoo. Adam Driver has quickly turned into one of the best Actors currently in the game and he’s getting buzz as a Best Actor nominee once again. Lady Gaga is neck and neck with Kristen Stewart in the Best Actress race right now and Jared Leto, who has already won Best Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club a few years ago, is expected to get a nomination for that award. Then when you throw in buzz for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and an outside shot at Best Director you’ve got a must-see movie for Oscars-lovers. Plus what looks like a great time for casual moviegoers too. In theaters November 24th, and it’ll eventually make it’s way to Paramount+.
Our final Oscar bait movie of the month. I’ve seen this trailer at least 17 times and I still couldn’t tell you what it’s about. But it’s directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) who has been nominated for 8 Oscars himself and has gotten 9 of his actors/actresses nominated for acting awards. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s son Cooper makes his film debut alongside Alana Haim of the band HAIM, also making her film debut.
The GAWD Bradley Cooper has a role here, he’s one of the favorites for a Best Supporting Actor nomination, and he is the entire reason I am going to see this film. #JusticeForBradleyCooper. In select theaters Black Friday and then getting a wide release on Christmas Day.
That’ll do it for this month’s movie roundup. Thanks for reading all that, it’s always greatly appreciated. Always love to get into my pretentious #Film bag around this time of year.
Up next I’m going to do some quick-fire reviews of movies I saw in October, a sneaky great month for movies this year. I’ll check back in on the Oscar races going into December and we’ll do some fun stuff around the best Christmas movies and music. Keep it locked to the blog for all that, Astros baseball, Rockets basketball, and much more!
TIS THE OSCAR SZN. REMEMBER THAT SPRING/SUMMER LEGENDS ARE MADE IN THE WINTER.
As always, #SupportFlorencePugh