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Roma, A Star is Born, The Favourite... Will anything flop this festival season?

by Nathaniel R

So far so good for all the expected Oscar favorites. The First Man won (mostly) raves and the next three big premieres also did. Alfonso Cuaron's Spanish language black-and-white family epic Roma, Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star is Born with Lady Gaga, Yorgos Lanthimos' comedy The Favourite with three great actresses... everyone seems to love everything! Are they all suffering from "first!" blurb whore fever or will the next wave of critics (coming soon at Telluride, TIFF, and NYFF) also fall so hard for these same pictures?

I don't personally read reviews before I see a picture (though sometimes I skim them) but if you do, here's what people are saying about these Best Picture hopefuls...


  • THE FAVOURITE - The Guardian and Time love it, especially Colman. The Film Stage says it's "endlessly quotable" (which we love hearing!).  Variety and IndieWire call it either Yorgos Lanthimos' best movie or his most accessible.

  • ROMA - Vulture and Time both love it. And The Hollywood Reporter says there's a "breathtaking single-take sequence" (we live for thos). And The Guardian claims it's Alfonso Cuaron's best film yet (which is crazy high praise considering!)... though I have to say hearing it referred to as 'huge' and 'epic' and 'technically stunning' makes me already worried for it given that it's Netflix that has it and they don't push the big screen experience. 


I may do better on my early bird Oscar predictions than usual since I saw The Favourite and A Star is Born coming before everyone jumped on board and buzz became deafening. But surely something "expected" is going to crash and burn. So which film yet to screen is going to tank hard when people actually look at it and become a future topic on "This Had Oscar Buzz"? Beautiful Boy? If Beale Street? Widows? Back Seat? Boy Erased? Mary Queen of ScotsMary Poppins Returns? Widows? Whatsitgonnabe? I'm guessing Boy Erased and Mary Queen of Scots and maybe Back Seat  as the three most likely to not live up to expectations.  I have to admit I'm a bit worried about If Beale Street,  too, because two consecutive smash successes from wonderful Barry Jenkins sounds too good to be true in a season where everything so far is supposedly great... and it's not like there weren't rich pictures from the first 2/3rds of the year to fawn over, too, like Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Eighth Grade, Isle of Dogs, First Reformed, Tully, Disobedience, etcetera.

How are you feeling about the impending fall film season?

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Reader Comments (40)

I get the feeling Mary Queen of Scots, Widows, Mary Poppins, and Backseat will not be part of the Oscar conversation once they finally premiere.

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Feeling fabulous. Love this time of year, waiting for the reviews to drop. It also feels like the male Oscars are completely up in the air right now, and while the female categories have possible front runners, it's still anybody's game.

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Mary Queen of Scots seems like a future episode of This Had Oscar Buzz

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBJ

Mary Queen of Scotts
Mary Poppins (because of Rob Marshall)
Boy Erased
Beautiful Boy
Robert Zemeckis movie
On the basis of sex

Already on this group

Desobedience (sad about the great Alessandro Nivola, but the movie is ok)
Black Panther (sorry, guys! But is not even good)
Everybody knows (sad about Farhadi and the cast, but is ok-ok-ok)

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Add to the already on this group:

Isle of dogs (first and second act outstanding; third act vomit emoji)
First Reformed (love Paul Shrader, but this is not even on the same level as Taxi Driver, Ragging Bull or The Last Temptation of Christ in level of good writing!)

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJon

This has been a quietly wonderful year for movies, such that I'm just catching up with a few under-appreciated indie gems like Thoroughbreds, Disobedience, Gemini and Oh Lucy! If the buzz is to be believed (festival reviews are always overly effusive) we may be heading toward a 2007 or 1976-level watershed year. I hope so.

As for "This Had Oscar Buzz" candidates?

I was underwhelmed by the trailers for Beautiful Boy and The Frontrunner. Mary Queen of Scots could very well end up playing weak sister to The Favourite. Green Book could go either way but it feels like a middling riff on Driving Miss Daisy. Maybe that's just what Oscar voters are looking for in 2018, though?

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterW.J.

I am already exhausted by the Gaga hype, and it literally just premiered. I may have to quit social media between now and February.

I want her to be good and I want to like it (because in a perfect world all movies would be good), but this movie has been done over and over and over again, and it's hard to fathom her being better than Judy Garland, so what's the point?

Roma and The Favourite I'm thrilled to hear good things about, though, so can't wait on those.

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I know it's only september, but isn't Sandy Powell a lock for The Favourite? Can't stop looking at those stills.

Mary Queen of Scots is going to suck.

Glenn will win Best Actress and Gaga will win Best Original Song and there will balance in the universe (for once).

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

It looks like Golden Globes - musical or comedy will be so fierce with The Favourite, A Star is Born and Marry Poppins Returns. And now I understand why Emma Stone dropped out of the Little Women project. The Favourite will be one of the top contenders for best ensemble and individual acting awards everywhere, so Stone oscar campaign for her third nomination has a long way to go.

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJack for Streep

Stone dropped out Little Women because it's the wrong project at this point of her career. Glad she saw it clear.

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

Kathleen - Glad to know that, thanks.

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJack for Streep

All the Roma reviews talk about how gorgeous the cinematography is and how it requires a big screen and I just get more and more upset that it'll be released in like....10 theatres?

For last season, I'm sure the Mudbound cinematography looked gorgeous in theatres, but I didn't find it all that special on my laptop. :(

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

Emma S dropped out because her people convinced her to spend her time promoting herself over working with others where her part was small. Not sure it’s admirable.

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSister Rona Barrett

Considering her acting choices, Emma Stone is remind me of Shirley McLaine.

I look at Emma right now and Shirley in "The Apartment" come to my mind.

Good girl!

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Oscar flops:

-Welcome to Marwen - Everything looks terrible here
-Mary Queen of Scots - At least the trailer looks fierce for different reasons
-On the Basis of Sex - I still mystified how anyone can see the trailer and like that.

High expectations:

-If Beale Street - For some reason, missing Telluride can backfire
-Boy Erased - There's a small but clear backlash on twitter against Edgerton and let's see if Moretz badmouthing the film hasn't made effect

Who knows:

-The Front Runner

August 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLeon

Happy to know that so many on here have such insight into the inner workings of Emma Stone's mind.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGrant

Grant -- Emma clairvoyancy is a hot skill right now :)

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Coming off La La Land, surely Emma Stone could've had her pick of follow-up roles but chose to do an auteur's period ensemble: The Favourite. I highly doubt that working under the direction of another exciting auteur like Greta Gerwig in another period ensemble (derived from a classic novel no less) gave Emma Stone second thoughts. It's more likely simply that the demands of promoting a film that is likely to run the table of the fall festival and Oscar circuits were just too great, so she dropped out. That's the way the business works, y'all.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Mary Quern of Scotts... bless, by the looks of the trailer only it seems really bad, and I am a period drama girl. The acting seems a bit laughble, taking itself too seriously, many movies and tv series have already portraid elizabeth and mary stuart, and i think this theme needs more sarcasm and irony, not just a another melodrama with big costumes. It looks like the favourite has that already.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAni

Oh my God Lady Gaga is getting nominatef for Best Actress😘😘😘😘😘

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R


September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAni di

On the Basis of Sex and Welcome to Marwen will flop. Mary Poppins will come nowhere near the success of its predecessor but will probably get a Best Original Song nom. I have bad feelings about Beautiful Boy too...

I think Boy Erased will do spectacularly.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Nat you win "Comment du Jour" Emma clairvoyancy is a hot skill right now :) I don't think you have ever given it to yourself,very funny.

My prediction is The Front Runner,On the basis of Sex and the Carell films won't catch on.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Perer travers said he has watched beautiful boy and chalamet gives a great performance even better than his performance in cmbyn And that’s saying a A lot

I think widows may not be an oscar type movie but i don’t think it’s going to flop

My real consern right now is boy erased and i think mary queen of scots is going to suck!
Everyboy keep predicting backseat to be a contender for top prizes and we haven’t seen anything about it yet not even a photo wich is not a good sign so i think it’s going to flop too.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAmirfarhang

Who needs another Little Women with such a boring and obvious cast?

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Amir-Peter Travers is probably not the best source for Oscar buzz though. The man declares about sixty performances “Oscar worthy” every year.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I'm going for "Mary, Queen of Scots" and "On the Basis of Sex" as total flops. "Beautiful Boy" will get mixed (but mostly positive reviews) but wil get buzz for the acting. "Boy Erased" will do fine in acting and screenplay. "Beale Street" will be amazing and will run for Best Picture. "Backseat" will only work for Rockwell (and maybe Adams).
End of my predictions

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEd

All I know for certain is all the films we all love this early will be hated and vilified by a large number of people come January. It's how Oscar season is always is and it's exhausting.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Who's the BIG acting snub of the season I am wondering.It's hard to direct yourself to a nomination and they aren't kind to romantic male lead so this far out maybe Cooper.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

The Front Runner did not flop, exactly, but it is not going to be an Oscar player either. Some of you were so pressed when I predicted that Reitman and Jackman couldn't pull this off.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I can see Spike Lee upset for not being nominated in BP and BD. And the best supporting actress is Olivia Colman.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGiovanni

Yorgos Lanthimos getting into the Best Director race would single-handedly make this a great year in my book.

Agreed that On the Basis of Sex looks boring; I also haven’t been at all taken with Beautiful Boy from the trailers (it just looks like nothing we haven’t seen before), and Welcome to Marwen is almost certainly going to crash and burn...I love Steve Carell like any sane individual, but I’d like to see him go back to comedy for a bit. His dramatic turns are just sort of starting to blur together for me.

I personally would LOVE if Suspiria went anywhere, but right now the reviews seem way too polarizing to make that likely.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJamDenTel

I saw the "Mary Queen of Scott" trailer and that has Oscar bait written all over it . The trailer was good but it did not seem to have anything new to say about the story.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Looks like Suspiria is this season's first misfire.

September 2, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Going for Telluride, we have the first misfires:

-The Frontrunner: Certified Oscar FLOP. Not even Reitman's die hard fans loved the film
-Destroyer: It wasn't enough to have excellent reviews for Kidman's perf.
-Boy Erased: This is still on the air, but the reception is mixed.

September 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLeon

Also, I forgot "Peterloo". This may be Mike Leigh least liked film in eons. Currently 70 on Metacritic.

September 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLeon

wouldn't it be an irony, that both "Roma" and "Everybody Knows" make the cut for Best Picture? The first time, a film in spanish language (the 2nd most talked in the world) would be nominated for the big one, and it would be TWO of them?

The closest spanish language films in the Best Picture race, to my understanding have been... Pan's Labyrinth (obviously) and maybe Talk to Her, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Sea Inside and maybe Biutiful and Y tu mamá también...

September 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

A little bit of Steve Carrell goes a long way.
An overdose of Steve Carrell = meh, ugh.

September 3, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteradri

People, please, think before you post. Shit.

September 3, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Spanish is not the second most spoken language in the world—that’d be Mandarin Chinese,
followed by Hindi/Urdu—but more Spanish-language Best Picture nominees would be welcome.

Mary Queen of Scots and Welcome to Marwen look like the two that will crash and burn into a pile of dashed Oscar hopes.

September 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

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