One sign that prestige movie season is upon us: The films are getting very British. You’ve got your royals (The Favourite, Mary Queen of Scots), and your characters from English literature — Mary Poppins Returns and Holmes and Watson, although the latter stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, so maybe Academy Awards are not its priority.
And though you have American actors playing Holmes and Watson, you also have British actors playing famous Americans — Felicity Jones is Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On the Basis of Sex, and Christian Bale is Dick Cheney in Vice. Surely there’s an Oscar in there somewhere. Here’s a list of the awards contenders and other movies being released this month, with dates subject to change.
The Favourite. In 18th-century England, Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) manages the country’s affairs on behalf of ailing Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) until a troublesome and ambitious new servant (Emma Stone) turns up. Directed by Yorgos "The Lobster” Lanthimos. Dec. 7.
Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes. Alexis Bloom’s documentary about the life and influence of the Fox News empire builder — including his upbringing, his ailments, and how he used the power and wealth of Rupert Murdoch to make a news network very much in his own image. Dec. 7.
Shoplifters. Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s story of a family of petty criminals whose bonds are tested when they take in a homeless girl. Japan’s entry in the best foreign film Oscar category. Dec. 7.
Mortal Engines. In a post-apocalyptic future, a young woman (Hester Shaw) tries to save her people from a mobile machine/city that crushes everything in its path. Written by Lord of the Rings veterans Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh. Dec. 14
Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump St., The LEGO Movie) directed this animated Spider-Man story about teenagers who take turns donning the suit. Dec. 14.
The Mule. Clint Eastwood directs himself in this story of an elderly gent who takes a job as a deliveryman and finds out he’s running drugs. With Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña,and Andy Garcia. Dec. 14.
Roma. Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white, loosely autobiographical account of a Mexican family disintegrating in the early 1970s, with emphasis on the troubles of the family’s hardworking maid. Early buzz has it as a leading Oscar contender. Dec. 14.
Mary Queen of Scots. Saoirse Ronan has the title role as the Catholic Scots queen vying for the throne of England with her Protestant cousin Queen Elizabeth (Margot Robbie). Dec. 14.
Mary Poppins Returns. The Banks children are now grown up with little ones of their own and the stress that comes with them. Into this chaos comes Super Nanny Mary Poppins, this time played by Emily Blunt. With Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, and Ben Whishaw. Dec. 19
Bumblebee. California teen (Hailee Steinfeld) finds a beat-up VW bug in a junkyard, and when she starts to fix it up, she finds the experience … transformative. Not directed by Michael Bay. With John Cena. Dec. 21.
Aquaman. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) tries to keep the peace between ocean-polluting humans and residents of the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, where Nicole Kidman is his mom and Amber Heard is his potential girlfriend. Directed by James Wan. Dec. 21.
Welcome to Marwen. Shell-shocked WWII survivor (Steve Carell) and artist creates an imaginary world to help deal with his post traumatic stress disorder. With Janelle Monáe and Leslie Mann. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Dec. 21.
Second Act. Jennifer Lopez plays a blue-collar woman who inadvertently catfishes her way into a high-profile gig at an ad agency. With Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens, Treat Williams, and Milo Ventimiglia. Dec. 21.
Bird Box. In the future, people are being killed by something they look at, so a woman (Sandra Bullock) learns to survive blindfolded as she makes her way to a purported sanctuary. Directed by Susanne Bier. Dec. 21.
Holmes and Watson. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have the title roles in this comedic take on the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle characters. With Rebecca Hall, Ralph Fiennes, and Kelly Macdonald. Dec. 25.
Vice. Adam McKay directs this look at former Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) and his role in the administration of President George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell). Dec. 25.
On the Basis of Sex. Felicity Jones stars as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in this drama about the life and career of the Supreme Court justice, her key legal arguments regarding equal rights for women, and her remarkable marriage (Armie Hammer is her husband). Dec. 25.