I’ve heard some grousing about 2018 being another weak Oscar year. Too much talent and creativity has gone over to cable/streaming, they say. The serious heft and weight that manifests in Best Picture contenders now and then is therefore less likely to occur. And so the pickings are a bit slim. To be perfectly candid, it does kinda seem that way. Maybe.

What do I actually know? Next to nothing but my insect antennae are humming. I can feel stuff happening. Faint electric signals from just over the horizon…beedee-beep-beep.

I still think it’s way too early to be feeling pessimistic about anything. Mid June, for God’s sake. At least wait until Venice, Telluride and Toronto have unspooled.

Okay, yes…I’ve been picking up hints and signals and indications here and there, and the only film that even begins to sound like serious Best Picture rocket fuel (as in allegedly “beyond great”) is Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma. A Spanish-language film, yes, and shot in radiant black-and-white, but the Academy has nominated subtitled films before. Michael Haneke‘s Amour (’12) was the last foreign-language film to be so honored.

I don’t know enough about Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman — I haven’t read it — but if it was slated for a late fall release, it would be in an excellent position to at least land a Best Picture nomination. Probably. Depending on the usual factors, of course. A shame it’s a 2019 film. It should open this year. A bit less than seven months between now and December 31st and they can’t get the CG together?

The only Oscar season flick that I know is a keeper for sure (because I fell for it at last year’s Toronto Film Festival) is Bjorn Runge‘s The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics, 8.17). A tight, smartly written, well-honed film. Glenn Close is a lock for a Best Actress nom. I said that last year, I know, but it still goes.

I’m not saying why or dropping any hints, but there may be reasons to feel a degree of caution or uncertainty about some of the fall releases.

That trailer for Damien Chazelle‘s First Man, a space drama about Neil Armstrong and the first landing on the moon (Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke). seemed to give some a feeling of pause. I thought it was fine. The script is disciplined, steady and straight.

I’ve been told “not so fast” on Bradley Cooper‘s A Star Is Born.

Felix von Groeningen‘s Beautiful Boy is mainly a performance thing, or so “they” say.

I’ve heard that Josie Rourke‘s Mary, Queen of Scots is a little Game of Thrones-y.

Jonah Hill‘s Mid ’90s might be up to something cool.

I don’t know anything about David Lowery‘s The Old Man and the Gun but it feels courtly and civilized and agreeable.

Steve McQueen‘s Widows is said to be fairly heavy in a “Black Lives Matter” sense.

Barry JenkinsIf Beale Street Could Talk is said to be art-housey and very devoted to James Baldwin‘s book.

Bryan Singer‘s Bohemian Rhapsody may be a fan film.

Luca Guadagnino‘s Suspiria…who knows?

Many films in the hopper, no one really knows anything, it’s too early.