2018 Oscar predictions: Universal Studios has blockbuster ‘Get Out,’ Tom Cruise vehicle ‘American Made’

At the 2017 Academy Awards, Universal was limited to a single Oscar nomination: Best Production Design for “Hail, Caesar!” For the upcoming 2018 Oscars, the studio has three strong contenders, one of which is a co-production with Working Title which made “Hail, Caesar!”

Of this trio of titles, only “Get Out,” a low budget first film from multi-hyphenate Jordan Peele, has been released stateside. Peele had critics crowing last winter for his deft direction of a horror film that examines racial issues. It merited a near perfect Rotten Tomatoes score of 99. Not even the likes of last year’s top Oscar contenders, including Best Picture champ “Moonlight,” could boast such a high score. Audiences flocked to the film, and it took in an impressive $175 million domestically. Peele is definitely in contention for both his original script and direction while Gregory Plotkin could reap a film editing bid for his expert cutting of this suspenseful film.

Below, detailed listings of each of these Oscar contenders, including release dates, creative types, cast lists, running times, plot summaries, and receptions both critical and commercial.

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“American Made” – Sept. 29
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Gary Spinelli
Cast: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Jesse Plemmons, Lola Kirke, Jayma Mays, Sarah Wright

Summary: Doug Liman’s biographical drama stars Tom Cruise as a former pilot who becomes a drug smuggler in the 1980s before being recruited by the CIA.

Reception: Rotten Tomatoes – 89; MetaCritic – 63
Box Office: US – ; Rest of World – $59 million (as of Sept. 27, 2017)

“Get Out” – Feb. 24
Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, LaKeith Stanfield.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Summary: A young African American man (Daniel Kaluuya) is to meet with his white girlfriend’s (Alison Williams) parents (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener) for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience will give way to a nightmare.

Reception: Rotten Tomatoes – 99; MetaCritic – 84
Box Office: US – $175 million; Rest of World – $77 million (as of Sept. 27, 2017)

“The Snowman” (Universal Studio/Working Title Films) – Oct. 20
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writers: Hossein Amini and Matthew Michael Carnahan (based on the novel by Jo Nesbo)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Val Kilmer, J.K. Simmons, Chloe Sevigny, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Toby Jones, James D’Arcy

Summary: Tomas Alfredson’s mystery-thriller follows a detective (Michael Fassbender) investigating the disappearance of a woman who’s pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous snowman.

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