Cool weather, cute cardigans, and the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte can only mean one thing. The best time of the year has arrived.
No. Not Fall. Oscar season.
With TIFF wrapping up this week and the next three months literally jam-packed with releases, I’m pretty sure I have at least one movie to see every day from now until the end of the year. And the most exciting thing about this year is that for the first time in a while, we don’t really have a definitive frontrunner yet.
For the past eight years, the Best Picture winner had already premiered by mid-September. While there are certainly some serious contenders already, it still seems too early to call any as a sure bet.
With so many question marks and so many films still left to be seen by the masses, narrowing down the top ones to see was no easy feat (my list reached over fifty movies before I realized that might make this post a little too long).
The fact that I’ve been insanely behind this month hasn’t helped. There are at least three September releases I have yet to see with one more premiering next Wednesday. Straight Outta Compton and Pawn Sacrifice are second-tier priorities but still must-sees on my list. Black Mass premiered here in Boston last week and though critical reception has been lukewarm, I’d watch Johnny Depp read an encyclopedia. And finally Joseph Gordon Levitt’s The Walk comes out next week.
Oh and Everest is out already as well. Man, I’m more behind than I thought.
Well let’s hope I’m all caught up by next weekend cause that’s when the real fun begins:
The Martian — October 2
This. Cast. THIS. CAST. I mean ohhhhhhmyyyygod. This cast. I read the book as soon as I heard they were making the movie and absolutely loved it. I found myself wondering, much like I did back in 2012 with Life of Pi, how they were going to make a film out of a book that hinged on its internal narrative and sparse dialogue. After seeing the trailer (about a hundred times) and reading the positive reactions out of TIFF, I’m convinced that Ridley Scott & co. managed to pull it off. Also. THIS. CAST. Can there be an Oscar for Best Ensemble?
Steve Jobs — October 9
Much more excited about this than I was about Ashton Kutcher’s Jobs and not only because it has some of my favorite names in the business. Directed by Danny Boyle, written by Aaron Sorkin, and starring Michael Fassbender alongside Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels. I’ve already heard how great Fassbender is in the title role, which should come as a surprise to no one. I’m most curious to see the Boyle-Sorkin collaboration and how Boyle will adapt his typical style to the storyline. Not to mention David Fincher was originally attached as a director so I’ll definitely be making comparisons to what is and what could have been.
Room — October 16
Though it debuted at Telluride a week before TIFF, Room still walked away with the coveted People’s Choice Award at Toronto. This film has quietly been picking up speed, and I fully expect it to get even bigger when it goes into wide release in mid-October. Brie Larson could easily be a top contender for Best Actress, and if history is any indication, the film will be in the running for Best Picture (Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, and 12 Years A Slave all won the People’s Choice at TIFF in their respective years before going on to take the Oscars’ top prize).
Beasts of No Nation — October 16
Two words: Idris. Elba. Also: Netflix. Okay three words. This movie marks Netflix’s first feature film, which is beyond exciting from an industry standpoint — it will be released in select theaters and simultaneously go wide on Netflix on October 16. After premiering at TIFF this past week to critical acclaim and generally killing it during the early rounds of the awards circuit (child actor Abraham Attah snagged the Best Young Actor prize at Venice), it seems like a safe bet to say that at the very least Netflix will be shaking up the Oscars game this year. Watch out Hollywood.
Our Brand is Crisis — October 30
I’ll basically watch anything with Sandra Bullock. At any rate, her performance seems to be the one bright spot critics have been able to agree on. While the film itself has been getting so-so reviews coming out of Toronto, I still have to commend producer George Clooney’s willingness to gender-swap the leading role. Definitely looking forward to seeing this one and forming my own opinion though something tells me it won’t feature too heavily as the Oscars get closer.
Spotlight — November 6
I cannot wait for this one. Set in Boston and based on the true story of Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation within the local Catholic Archdiocese, it boasts another great ensemble cast and rave reviews coming out of the awards circuit. It premiered in Venice and screened at Telluride and Toronto earlier this month leaving behind nothing but praise from critics. Not to mention it was runner-up to Room at TIFF for the People’s Choice Award which should definitely not be taken lightly.
Brooklyn — November 6
Watch out for this slow-burner. Saorsie Ronan will surely be in the running for Best Actress with her stunning performance as a young Irish immigrant making her way through 1950’s Brooklyn. I’ve been keeping an eye on this one since it premiered at Sundance earlier this year and after screening in Toronto, it has surged back onto people’s radars. It was acquired by Fox Searchlight in Park City, which, knowing Searchlight’s awards circuit record, definitely makes it a possible contender for Best Picture.
Trumbo — November 6
Bryan Cranston plays Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, blacklisted in the 1940’s for being a communist. It came out of Toronto with mixed reviews, though praise for Cranston’s performance seems universal. Not having seen it yet and just going off the latest reviews, I’m apprehensive of its chances (especially when it’s competing with Spotlight and Brooklyn on its release weekend). But knowing how the Academy just loves movies about itself I wouldn’t be surprised it gets more attention than critics might think it deserves.
The Danish Girl — November 27
Definitely one of my most anticipated films of the year, starring last year’s Best Actor winner and all-around precious British nugget Eddie Redmayne alongside Alicia Vikander (who’s having a hell of a year with three movies out since April). The biopic looks beautifully shot and no doubt acting from all sides will be stellar. I just hope it doesn’t follow the same path as The Imitation Game last year, which felt too “Oscar-bait” in my opinion and didn’t connect as much as it could have.
The Revenant — December 25
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Emmanuel Lubezki, and my precious baby Leo. Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight. This is Leo’s year I CAN FEEL IT GUYS IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN PLEASE OSCAR GODS LET IT HAPPEN.
I could go on forever and this is by no means an exhaustive representation of every film on my must-see list this season (Star Wars, Hunger Games, Suffragette, the list is literally endless). There are also quite a few that I managed to catch at Cannes back in May so for the sake of space, I’ll just give you a quick blurb on them.
Sicario came out last week and I highly recommend it. I don’t think The Lobster will have a wide release here in the US which is a shame and Tale of Tales definitely won’t be screened here at all. If you’re interested in the foreign film category, I HIGHLY recommend Hungary’s entry Son of Saul which will be released in the US on December 18. Also Macbeth and Youth both come out on December 4 and are probably the only two I didn’t get to see at Cannes so they will absolutely be on my list.
ALSO SIDE NOTE: Why hasn’t The Little Prince been given a USA release date yet?! It was probably my favorite film from Cannes (including, dare I say it, Inside Out, which full disclosure and no shame, I’ve seen three times).
ANYWAY there you have it folks. Prepare for three months of popcorn for dinner and an ever-diminishing bank account as I spend all my free time in a dark theater and blogging all of the feelings.
Let the games begin!
Obviously also looking forward to all of these – some more I’d add are:
Truth – Focusing on the Rathergate Scandal, starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett – already getting great notices out of Toronto.
Carol – Blanchett’s other big film this season, a two-hander with Rooney Mara directed by the extraordinary Todd Haynes.
The Good Dinosaur – I don’t know what we did to deserve two original Pixar films in one year, but we should keep doing it.
Macbeth – Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, two of my favorite actors, working on an adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. They liked working together so much that Marion signed on to do Assassin’s Creed with Fassbender. I want them to be the new Tracy and Hepburn and work together all the time.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I mean, obviously.
Yes to all of the above
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