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HOT ON THE TRAIL

Weird Oscars: The best movie and TV trailers of 2018

Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

This is the third entry in Quartz’s Weird Oscars series, honoring the moments, characters, and performances of this year’s film and television that the actual Oscars (and Emmys) are not cool enough to award. Check back later for many more categories, including “Best Movie Dog,” “Best Jump Scare,” and “Best Dance Sequence.” (For a full list of upcoming categories, scroll to the bottom of this post.) All the Weird Oscars announced so far can be found here.

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that the two-minute trailer has become a crucial part of any film or TV series. Trailers are among the most-watched videos on the internet, and have in recent years developed into an art form. It’s entirely possible to love the trailer for a film that ends up being terrible, or to hate the trailer for a classic. (Case in point: The original Star Wars preview kind of stinks.)

In evaluating 2018’s film and TV trailers, we used two criteria. The first: Does this actually make us interested in watching the film or show? Does it give us a good sense of what we’ll be getting into, without giving it away? And the second: Is it a good piece of filmmaking in its own right? Do the music, editing, pacing, effects, and title-reveal work together to create a meaningful (yet brief) viewing experience?

Here are the 2018 trailers that managed to do both:

The nominees are…

A Star Is Born

Thoroughbreds

Homecoming

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

First Man

Pose

Vice

Annihilation

Roma

Black Panther

The First

Isle of Dogs

Leave No Trace

And the winner is…

Roma

The gorgeous, wordless two-minute trailer for Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece gives you a sense of the film’s stunning visuals and emotional breadth without giving away many of its best moments. It’s everything we look for in a trailer: a coherent, entertaining glimpse of the cinematic world you’ll soon enter. And it does all that without a single line of dialogue, entrancing viewers with the scope of the film’s narrative and its sense of time and place. (There is a very quick flash of one of Cuaron’s signature long shots at 1:13.)

While Roma doesn’t have a musical score, music helps its trailer build to a meaningful crescendo, punctuated by intertitles of the movie’s many themes: love, courage, hope, change, and home. There are no cheap tricks in this trailer, no gimmicks, nothing that could leave you disappointed or confused about what the film is all about. It lets the film do the talking, and with a film as good as Roma, that’s more than enough.

Upcoming categories:

Best Stunt | Best Hair | Best Movie Dog | Best Line Reading | Best Dance Sequence | Best Jump Scare | Best Episode Title | Best Eyewear | Best Monster | Best Scottish Accent | Best TV Assassin | Best Lucas Hedges | Best Rich Asshole | Best Historical Figure | Best Dream Sequence | Best Speaking Voice | Best Act of Vengeance | Best Montage

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