I’ve been spitballing 2018 releases for several weeks, but now I’m attempting to focus on films that will probably stand out in terms of great reviews, Best Picture nominations and award campaigns.

It’s now March 6th — less than six months away from the start of the ’18/’19 award season. And right now (stop me if you’ve read this before) eight films are the leading Best Picture hotties — Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman, Adam McKay‘s Back Seat, Damien Chazelle‘s First Man, Barry JenkinsIf Beale Street Could Talk, Bryan Singer‘s Bohemian Rhapsody, Bjorn Runge‘s The Wife, Mimi Leder‘s On The Basis of Sex, and Josie Rourke and Beau Willimon‘s Mary, Queen of Scots. (8)

Tell me which others should be included….please. Richard Linklater‘s Where’d You Go, Bernadatte? Terrence Malick‘s Radegund? Jason Reitman‘s The Front Runner? Felix von Groeningen‘s Beautiful Boy? Yorgos LanthimosThe Favourite (reign of Queen Anne in early 17th Century)? Joel Edgerton‘s Boy Erased starring Lucas Hedges? (6)

Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (Netflix).

Saoirse Ronan in Mary, Queen of Scots.

Director Barry Jenkins (l.) during filming of If Beale Street Could Talk.

Felicity Jones (l.), Armie Hammer (r.) during filming of Mimi Leder’s On The Basis of Sex.

Upmarket Genre: 1. Luca Guadagnino‘s Suspiria (Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth); 2..Steve McQueen‘s Widows (Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo, Andre Holland, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell); 3. Ron Howard‘s SoloA Star Wars Story (Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton); 4. Lynne Ramsay‘s You Were Never Really Here; 5. 20. Stefania Solluima‘s Soldado (Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Catherine Keener — Columbia, 6.29.18).; 6. Steven Spielberg‘s Ready Player One (Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T. J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance); 7. Jennifer Kent‘s The Nightingale (19th Century Australian revenge saga) w/ Aisling Franciosi, Baykali Ganambarr, Sam Claflin, Damon Herriman, Ewen Leslie. (8)

Likeliest Best Foreign Language Feature Contenders: Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma (Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf, Yalitza Aparicio, Daniela Demesa, Enoc Leaño, Daniel Valtierra); Asghar Farhadi‘s Todos lo saben (Spanish-language drama w/ Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Barbara Lennie, Ricardo Darin, Inma Cuesta, Eduard Fernandez Javier Camara);Laszlo NemesSunset (a young girl grows up to become a strong and fearless woman in Budapest before World War I), w/ Susanne Wuest, Vlad Ivanov, Björn Freiberg; Paolo Sorrentino‘s Loro (life of Silvio Berlusconi); Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s The Wild Pear Tree, and Olivier AssayasE-book. (6)

Possible Strongos: Jacques Audiard‘s The Sisters Brothers (Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, Rutger Hauer, Riz Ahmed, John C. Reilly); Felix von Groeningen‘s Beautiful Boy with Steve Carell and Timothy Chalamet; Xavier Dolan‘s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (Kit Harington, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates); Spike Lee‘s Black Klansman (John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins — Focus Features). (4)

Five Likeliest Best Picture Contenders: 1. Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman (Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano); 2. Adam McKay‘s Back Seat (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell); 3. Damien Chazelle‘s First Man, a space drama about NASA’s Duke of Dullness, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke); 4. Josie Rourke and Beau Willimon‘s Mary, Queen of Scots (w/ Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, David Tennant, Jack Lowden, Guy Pearce); 5. Barry JenkinsIf Beale Street Could Talk (Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Teyonah Parris, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry, Diego Luna, Dave Franco). (5)

Five Promising Best Picture Contenders (second group): 6. Bryan Singer‘s Bohemian Rhapsody (15-year period from the formation of Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury up to their performance at Live Aid in 1985) w/ Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello, Allen Leech, Lucy Boynton. 20th Century Fox, 12.25.18; 7. Bjorn Runge‘s The Wife (Glenn Close‘s Best Actress campaign + Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater, Annie Starke. Max Irons); 8. Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On The Basis of Sex; 9. David Lowery‘s The Old Man and the Gun w/ Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits, Elisabeth Moss; 10. Terrence Malick‘s Radegund (August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Michael Nyqvist, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jürgen Prochnow, Bruno Ganz). (5)

Who Knows?: David McKenzie‘s The Outlaw King (Braveheart-ish action-adventure piece about 14th Century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English, etc.), costarring Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Stephen Dillane; Robert Zemeckis‘s The Women of Marwen. (2)

Unclassifiable: Lars von Trier‘s The House That Jack Built (Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, Bruno Ganz). (1)

Paul Verhoeven‘s Blessed Virgin (17th Century lesbian nun love affair) w/ Virginie Efira. (1)

Stand-Alone: The Other Side Of The Wind (d: Orson Welles (Citizen Kane) Cast: John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Susan Strasberg, Dennis Hopper, Claude Chabrol, Paul Mazursky. (1)

Possible Limbo: Woody Allen‘s A Rainy Day in New York (Timothee Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna, Liev Schreiber). (1)

Gus Van Sant‘s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (costarring Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, Jonah Hill, Jack Black, Mark Webber). (1)

John Curran’s Chappaquiddick. (1)

UNCOMPLETED, UNLINKED: Claire DenisHigh Life (father and his daughter living in deep space isolation) w/ Robert Pattinson, Mia Goth, Juliette Binoche; Dominic Cooke‘s On Chesil Beach; Mike Leigh‘s Peterloo; Coen Bros. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (miniseries); Brian DePalma‘s Domino; Vincent Grashawl‘s And Then I Go, (two boys are bullied at school); James Gray‘s Ad Astra; David Robert Mitchell‘s The Silver Lake. (7 — 41 so far)

Already Partially Discredited: 3.30.18: Garth Davis‘s Mary Magdelene (Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tahar Rahi). (42)

OTHERS, UNLINKED: The Widow (d: Neil Jordan (Interview With The Vampire) Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Chloe Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Zawe Ashton, Stephen Rea; Unsane (d: Steven Soderbergh (Logan Lucky) Cast: Claire Foy, Juno Temple, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Amy Irving; Kursk (d: Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt, Far From The Madding Crowd) Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Colin Firth, Lea Seydoux, Max von Sydow, Michael Nyqvist, Audust Diehl, Peter Simonischek; Private Life (d: Tamara Jenkins (The Savages) Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti, Molly Shannon, Kayli Carter, Denis O’Hare; Cold War (d: Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida) Cast: Joanna Kulig, Agata Kulesza, Borys Szyc, Tomasz Kot, Adam Ferency; Untitled Noah Baumbach Project (d: Noah Baumbach (The Meyerowitz Stories) Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Merrit Wever, Azhy Robinson. (6 + 42 = sub-total of 48)

NOT TO MENTION: Mute (d: Duncan Jones (Moon) Cast: Astrong>Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Florence Kasumba, Sam Rockwell; White Boy Rick (d: Yann Demange (71) Cast: Richie Merritt, Matthew McConaughey, Bel Powley, Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh; Apostle (d: Gareth Evans (The Raid) Cast: Dan Stevens, Michael Sheen, Lucy Boynton, Bill Milner, Kristin Froseth; Maya (d: Mia Hansen-Løve (Goodbye First Love, Eden, Things To Come) Cast: Suzan Anbeh, Roman Kolinka, Judith Chemia, Alex Descas; Beach Bum (d: Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers) Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Isla Fisher, Bria Vinaite; The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (d: Terry Gilliam (Brazil) Cast: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Olga Kurylenko, Stellan Skarsgard, Oscar Jaenada; The Land Of Steady Habits (d: Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said) Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Edie Falco, Connie Britton, Thomas Mann, Elizabeth Marvel; The Little Stranger (d: Lenny Abrahamson (Room) Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, Charlotte Rampling, Kate Phillips; Can You Ever Forgive Me? (d: Marielle Heller (Diary Of A Teenage Girl) Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Jane Curtin, Jennifer Westfeldt, Dolly Wells; Fahrenheit 451 (d: Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes) Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, Sofia Boutella, Laura Harrier, Martin Donovan; (11 + 48 = grand total of 59)