By Allison Estremera
Though the 80-degree weather makes it a bit unclear as to what season we are currently in, one thing is for sure, and that is that Oscar season is on its way. And while the box offices will no doubt be filled with the typical award-bait fair, there are a few films that particularly stand out from the rest of the pack. This year’s stock of films also proves to be an incredibly diverse group, ranging from depictions of major turning points for race relations in Civil Rights era-America to a voyage through the Pacific Islands.
Oscar bait includes the adaptation of “Fences,” new Disney flick “Moana,” historical blockbuster “Birth of a Nation” and Civil Rights Era saga “Loving” [feature image]
As “Frozen Fever” has finally calmed down, Disney is introducing its latest addition to its pantheon of princesses with “Moana,” which is slated for release on November 23. The movie follows the titular princess as she sets sail for a with the help of the demigod Maui. Directed by the team that brought such classics as “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” to the big screen, and featuring music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame, the film is sure to be another Disney masterpiece beloved by generations to come, in addition to taking home Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.
In keeping with the theme of making the transition from stage to screen, this Christmas will finally see the release of the long-awaited film adaptation of “Fences.” Based on the 1983 play of the same name by August Wilson, who also penned the screenplay adaptation, “Fences” tells the story of the Maxson family and their hardships while living in 1950s Pittsburgh. Directed by and starring Denzel Washington, as well featuring Emmy winning actress Viola Davis, the film is certain to sweep the acting categories of the Oscars.
The film “Loving” also provides a depiction of Civil Rights Era America through the perspective of one of the most famous court cases in United States history. Loving tells the story of the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia case, which found laws banning interracial marriage to be unconstitutional. The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, though ultimately losing to “I, Daniel Blake.” However, this story of love in the face of adversity is sure to win over the hearts of the Academy voters.
The most controversial of the Oscar contenders this season is without a doubt Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation.” Based on the life of Nate Turner, this film borrows its title from the famous 1915 film of the same name was famously adapted into one of the most influential and controversial movies in film history for its favorable illustration of the Ku Klux Klan. Now over one hundred years since then, Parker revisits title in order to depict the life of slave who used his preaching skills to insist rebellion against the institution of slavery. While certainly a love-it-or-hate-it type of film, a moniker that also extends to its director, “The Birth of a Nation” is one of the most obvious contenders for a Best Picture nomination.
With so many strong performances and harrowing stories being told through these films, the 2017 race will certainly be one for the ages.