Oscar Season Preview

By Josh Svetz @Svetz17

September symbolizes things to come. Whether it’s football kicking off or the Fall TV season gracing our televisions, the transition from summer to fall is an interesting time in the world of pop culture. In the movie world, it means Oscar season is upon us. Although the awards are not given out until late February, the majority of the movies in contention come out during the months of October, November and December. That said, let’s dissect the films with the most anticipation surrounding them.

The Danish Girl: Tom Hooper’s latest film about the real life pioneering sex-change of Lilli Elbe may have opened to mixed reviews, but strong performances by Ex-Machina’s Alicia Vikander and last year’s best actor award recipient Eddie Redmayne mean that this film could end up taking home a couple awards at least in the actor department.

The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino’s new western revenge film is generating a lot of Oscar buzz, especially in the supporting actor and actress category. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh are all in the conversation for supporting actor and actress nods.There’s a good chance that Tarantino could get nominations in the best picture and best director slots, but is unlikely to win, not necessarily based on the quality of the film, but more from his history with the academy.

Joy: At this point, if David O. Russell, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence make a movie together, you should expect the film to be in the Oscar conversation. The trio seem to put out great movies annually, as evidenced by 2013’s American Hustle and 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook. Other than an obvious Oscar nomination for Lawrence, O. Russell’s Joy could find the director in contention for the best director and best picture nominations.

Black Mass: Welcome back Mr. Depp, we missed you. Yes, it looks like the actor that captured our hearts with brilliant performances in films like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Edward Scissorhands and Blow may be making his return to the elite. Depp’s latest film puts him in the role of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious gangster himself. While the film is getting mixed reviews, Depp’s performance is receiving universal praise. Don’t be surprised if the academy favors the comeback story this year and gives Depp the award

Room: You may have not heard of this one at all, because, its buzz is relatively new. The film based on Emma Donoghue’s novel has received high praise from the Toronto International Film Festival, most notably for the performance of Brie Larson. While it’s tough to envision the film taking home a lot of awards altogether, Larson’s performance is getting rave reviews, so don’t be surprised if she takes

Steve Jobs: You knew this was coming. We finally get the Steve Jobs movie we’ve been clamoring for— we aren’t going to talk about that abomination Ashton Kutcher did. Kate Winslet and Michael Fassbender take the lead roles, the latter taking the role of Jobs himself. As much as I believe Depp and Larson could be winners this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if this film takes home a boatload, especially best actor and best actress.

Carol: Todd Haynes’ latest project has caught the attention of the Academy early, but not necessarily for the quality of the film. Actually, the Oscar buzz for this project comes from the excellent performances by the two lead actresses, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Both Mara and Blanchett should be up for the best actress award and, according to Indiewire.com,  Mara is an early favorite to take it home in either the lead or supporting actress category.

Bridge of Spies: Two words: Steven Spielberg. One of the greatest directors of all time is returning to the director chair after a three year hiatus. Since Spielberg’s presidential biopic Lincoln, The acclaimed director has been linked to multiple projects, including Indiana Jones 5. However, with his Cold War inspired thriller Bridge of Spies, Spielberg actually has a legitimate product completed. While the film has not yet been released, the anticipation for it is growing, and I’d expect at least a best picture, and a best director nomination for Spielberg, as well as a best actor nomination for Tom Hanks.

Best of the Rest: Everest, Suffragette, Trumbo, Brooklyn, The Revenant, The Martian, Beasts of No Nation, Spotlight, Inside Out, Sicario

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