Oscars 2018: A24 follows up ‘Moonlight’ with more festival favorites including James Franco’s ‘The Disaster Artist’

Last year, A24 earned an impressive 10 Oscar nominations from a trio of films: eight for “Moonlight,” and one apiece for “The Lobster” and “20th Century Women.” While the latter two lost their sole races, “Moonlight” claimed three biggies: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) and Adapted Screenplay.

This indie studio is only five years old but has established itself as a strong Oscar competitor. This year it has another powerful slate with a wide range of films, some of which have already played well at the festivals.

Among these is James Franco‘s “The Disaster Artist,” which screened to much acclaim as a work-in-progress at the SXSW Festival in March. Franco also portrays filmmaker Tommy Wiseau, who directed and starred in the roundly panned 2003 indie film “The Room.” If “The Disaster Artist” connects with awards voters it wouldn’t be the first film about a bad filmmaker to do so. Remember “Ed Wood” from 1994? Tim Burton‘s film won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Martin Landau) and Best Makeup.

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

“The Disaster Artist” – Dec. 1
Director: James Franco
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber (based on the book of the same name by Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell)
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, Hannibal Buress, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone, Jacki Weaver
Running Time – 98 minutes

Summary: A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic “The Room” with James Franco as writer/director Tommy Wiseau and Dave Franco as actor Greg Sestero.

Reception: Rotten Tomatoes – 92; MetaCritic – 82 (work-in-progress SXSW screening)

“The Florida Project” – Oct. 6
Director: Sean Baker
Writer: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
Cast: Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto, Willem Dafoe
Running Time – 115 minutes

Summary: Sean Baker’s follow-up to “Tangerine” was a sensation at Cannes. It is the story of a precocious six year-old and her ragtag group of friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure while the adults around them struggle with hard times.

Reception: Rotten Tomatoes – 100; MetaCritic – 91

“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” – Nov. 3
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writers: Efthymis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Raffey Cassidy, Bill Camp

Summary: Yorgos Lanthimos directs this film, which debuted at Cannes, about a teenager’s attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon (Colin Farrell) into his dysfunctional family takes an unexpected turn.

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“The Lovers” – May 5
Director: Azazel Jacobs
Writer: Azazel Jacobs
Cast: Debra Winger, Tracy Letts, Aidan Gillen, Melora Walters, Tyler Ross, Jessica Sula
Running Time – 94 minutes

Summary: Azazel Jacobs’ well-received romantic comedy centers on a long-married couple (Debra Winger and Tracy Letts) who suddenly find a reignited spark in their relationship.

Reception: Rotten Tomatoes – 87; MetaCritic – 76
Box Office: US – $2.5 million (as of July 13, 2017)

“Sidney Hall” – TBA
Director: Shawn Christensen
Writers: Shawn Christensen and Jason Dolan
Cast: Logan Lerman, Michelle Monaghan, Elle Fanning, Blake Jenner, Kyle Chandler, Nathan Lane, Tim Blake Nelson

Summary: This domestic drama from Shawn Christensen follows Sidney Hall (Logan Lerman), who finds accidental success and unexpected love at an early age before disappearing without a trace.

“Under the Silver Lake” – TBA
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Writer: David Robert Mitchell
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Callie Hernandez, Jimmi Simpson, Topher Grace, Zosia Mamet, Riki Lindhome

Summary: David Robert Mitchell directs this modern day noir crime thriller set in Los Angeles.

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