We’ve hit one of my favorite times of the year. Nope, it’s not fall or Halloween. It’s awards season!

As a critic, I love awards season for two main reasons: 1) it’s when some of the most highly anticipated films of the year are released, so the odds are much higher that I’ll be wowed by any given movie I see, and 2) it’s when studios start sending awards contenders directly to critics’ homes, via DVD or streaming link. What can I say? While I still try to get to the theater for as many screenings as I can, I’m not going to complain about the option of watching an excellent movie in the comfort of my own home. Redbox figured out the allure of that scenario a long time ago!

Since we’re at the start of the season, I thought this would be a great time to give you the current state of Oscar buzz. Here are some of the movies, actors and actresses that already have industry insiders talking:

  • Despite the controversy surrounding Joker overall, there’s been unwavering consensus that Joaquin Phoenix is in the running for a Best Actor nod for his performance as the titular villain.
  • There’s also been early and solid consensus that Renée Zellweger is in the running for an Outstanding Actress nomination for her depiction of Judy Garland in her late career in Judy.
  • Three names were added to the buzz around the actor and actress categories this week after the LA premiere of director Jay Roach’s Bombshell: Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie and John Lithgow. Lithgow plays Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes; Theron plays new anchor Megyn Kelly, who accuses Ailes of sexual harassment; and Robbie plays a composite character based on other employees at the network.
  • Tom Hanks could nab his third Oscar for his portrayal of Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which I cannot wait to see.
  • Other A‐list names such as Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Robert DeNiro (The Irishman), Eddie Murphy (My Name is Dolemite) and Adam Driver (Marriage Story) have been dominating the Best Actor conversation so far.
  • Ford v Ferrari, a true‐life tale starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, hasn’t screened for many critics yet, but I anticipate it will be up for a Best Picture nod based on everything I’ve heard and read so far.

Other movies that seem to be contenders include Waves, 1917, The Parasite, Little Women, Jojo Rabbit, The Two Popes, and one of my favorite movies of the year so far, The Farewell.

Undoubtedly, there will be other movies, actors and actresses I haven’t mentioned here that leap into the spotlight as screenings continue over the next few months. Which of the movies I’ve covered are you most interested in seeing?

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