Some Summer Movies May Be Oscar Contenders

21 July, 2017

In past years, most big summer films have been action movies. Stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone became known for appearing in summer movies.

In recent years, movies featuring Batman, Spiderman, Superman, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, The X-Men and other comic book characters dominated the theaters.

Such summer blockbusters are not usually considered as serious possibilities for big awards like Oscars and Golden Globes. Studios usually release films they think could win such awards later in the year.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is the organization behind the Oscars, or Academy Awards. Critics have argued that the organization often ignores movies that are hugely popular with the public.

But this year, some big summer releases are getting a lot of awards "buzz."

Among them is a July movie called Dunkirk. Christopher Nolan directed the film which is based on an event that happened during World War Two.

A New York Times critic recently called the film a "tour de force" and "brilliant."

Harry Styles poses for photographers upon arrival at the World premiere of the film 'Dunkirk' in London, Thursday, July 13th, 2017.
Harry Styles poses for photographers upon arrival at the World premiere of the film 'Dunkirk' in London, Thursday, July 13th, 2017.

The story takes place in 1940. Hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers were battling with Germany near the French city of Dunkirk. The allied soldiers were under especially great risk of being killed or captured.

But an evacuation effort took place over a few days in late May and early June. Many small civilian boats crossed the English Channel to help more than 300,000 soldiers escape danger.

Emma Thomas is the producer of Dunkirk. She said she is not worried about awards; she just wants to make movies that people like. July is a good time for movies because many people take time off from work and have time to go to the theater.

"This film we primarily thought of as an entertainment," she said. "For us, we make films for audiences. My feeling is always: If your film works and people engage with it, anything that comes later is a huge bonus."

Audiences, Thomas said, think differently about movies that come out later in the year. "You're almost limiting it, in a way, and we don't want to limit the film."

Another summer film that may make Oscars news is Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman has sold a lot of tickets since it came out in June -- over $380 million worth. But, it has received great critical praise as well. Both director Patty Jenkins and actress Gal Gadot could be considered for awards early next year.

A recently released summer movie receiving award buzz is The Big Sick. It tells the real-life story of a Muslim-American comedian who falls in love with a young woman right before she gets seriously sick. Doctors place the woman into a coma while they treat her.

The film Detroit is also under discussion as a possible award nominee. The movie will open in August. It tells about five days of riots in the city of Detroit, Michigan fifty years ago, during the summer of 1967.

Kathryn Bigelow directed Detroit. She also directed The Hurt Locker, which won best picture in 2010. It was also a summer movie.

Bigelow said awards are "not why we make these films... Whatever happens along any other lines, I have no idea."

I'm Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on a story by the Associated Press. Caty Weaver was the editor.

What was your favorite movie of the summer? Do you think it might win a big award? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

character – n. a person who appears in a story, book, play, movie, or television show

dominate – v. to be much more powerful or successful than others in a game, competition, etc.

blockbuster – n. something that is very large, expensive, or successful

buzz – n. excited talk about something

tour de force – n. a very skillful and successful effort or performance

brilliant – v. to try to hit a ball with a bat in baseball, cricket, or a similar game

evacuation – n. the act of leaving a dangerous place

engage – v. to get and keep (someone's attention, interest, etc.)

audience – n. a group of people who gather together to listen to something (such as a concert) or watch something (such as a movie or play) :the people who attend a performance

comedian – n. a person who performs in front of an audience and makes people laugh by telling jokes or funny stories or by acting in a way that is funny : an actor who plays roles that make people laugh

coma – n. a state in which a sick or injured person is unconscious for a long time