Awards season is in full swing. With just over two months before Oscar nominations, most of the potential nominees have been released in theaters, premiered at festivals, or at the very least, been screened by critics. However, there’s still one film on the horizon that hasn’t been seen by most. It’s this year’s “ace-in-the-hole” and it should be on everyone’s watchlist. That film is 1917.
1917 tells the story of two young British soldiers (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) who are given a seemingly impossible task during the height of World War I during Spring 1917 in northern France. The soldiers must deliver a message in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, including one of the soldier’s brothers, from walking into a deadly trap.
1917 is no ordinary war epic. Director Sam Mendes imagined and eventually directed the film as one continuous shot, meaning that the film will feel like a few long takes with choreographed moving camera shots. The idea behind the one-shot technique heightens the race against time as well as immerse the audience with the two young soldiers throughout the entire film. Cinematographer Roger Deakins, who worked on the film, worried that the one-shot approach was a “gimmick” at first, but he later said, “It’s a way to get sucked into the story.”
1917 is full of speculation in the film community because hardly anyone has seen it. The majority of critics have not seen this film and most likely won’t see it until the end of November. The film will have its world premiere on December 4 at a UK Royal Charity event. However, back in September, there were reports about a test screening with enthusiastic and positive reactions, with one source comparing it to Saving Private Ryan.
If the test screening reactions are a sign of what’s to come, 1917 could end up being the film that shakes up the 2020 Oscars. Right now, most critics have Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Irishman, and Marriage Story as the leaders of the pack this awards season. However, with strong reviews and a successful run at the box office, 1917 could catapult to the top of the Best Picture hopefuls.
First of all, the Academy loves war movies. Giant set pieces, elaborate battle sequences, and elegant costumes are right up the Academy’s alley. Out of 91 ceremonies, 16 films set against the backdrop of war have won Best Picture at the Oscars. Casablanca, Patton, Platoon, Braveheart, and The Hurt Locker are some of the war films that have won Best Picture. That list doesn’t include previously nominated war movies that didn’t win like Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, and Dunkirk.
The Academy also loves familiarity and rewarding previously nominated filmmakers and actors. Mendes directed American Beauty, which won five Oscars including Best Director and Best Picture. Deakins is a living legend and one of the most heralded cinematographers ever. Deakins has received fourteen nominations (!) for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, winning once for Blade Runner 2049. Plus, the cast includes Golden Globe and Oscar nominees and winners such as Richard Madden, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch.
1917 has all the ingredients of an Oscar-nominated film. I don’t see a world where 1917 isn’t nominated for Best Picture. 1917 should be nominated (and win) for Best Cinematography. Plus, it should clean up in all of the technical categories (film editing, sound editing, etc.) and there’s a chance that Mendes could pick up a nomination for Best Director.
Let the 1917 Oscar campaign begin.
Will 1917 be a force at the 2020 Oscars? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow, or email us email@example.com.