Oscar season: the movies to be excited about

If there weren’t already enough reasons to love this time of year, then I’ll give you another.

Oscar season.

No, it’s not the time of year when the Oscars happens, but when Oscar bait films are all released. Traditionally, between October and early January is when these high-profile, dramatic films come out, so that they’re fresh in critics minds when they vote ahead of the Oscars in March.

As an amateur cinephile, and someone who reads a lot of movie blogs, we’ve seemed to narrow down the field of upcoming movies that should Birdmancapture critics’ — and America’s — hearts.

I’ve already expressed my view on Boyhood, which I thought was masterpiece. It came out in August, and as such a unique entity, it’ll be interesting to see how the movie is rewarded come Oscar season. But for now, let’s just focus on the ones coming out in the near future, in no particular order.

Bear in mind is that all I really know about these films is pretty much the synopsis listed on IMDB, and what I’ve read on a few blogs. I’ve barely even watched any trailers. So let’s go.

Foxcatcher: Nov. 14, starring Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum. It’s a sports drama, and Ruffalo and Carrell are receiving huge accolades for their performances. Especially Ruffalo. It feels to me that this is one that’s really going to tug at the heartstrings, and play on the old sports motif of never backing down from adversity. Usually there’s some actor playing a washed up coach that will be the performance of a lifetime. Not sure if that’s Carrell or Ruffalo. Or both. Either way, America will eat it up. Trailer.

The Imitation Game: Nov. 21, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. Benedict Cumberbatch has become a household name in the past year, but his only real signature role in his career is playing Sherlock Holmes in a British TV series. I’m not counting the second Star Trek movie. In all honestly, I think his popularity has been elevated by his awesome name. Either way, this promises to be a role that cements him as a premiere actor. It’s a period piece about about an English mathematician during World War II. Basically A Beautiful Mind, part two. Trailer.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Oct. 17, starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone. From what I’ve heard, this apparently is going to be the greatest movie of all time. It could not be receiving bigger buzz. It’s a comeback role for Keaton, who right now is the heavy favorite for the Oscar. It’s about a washed up actor who stars in a Broadway play to reclaim his glory. Norton and Stone (that sounds like a law firm) are getting a lot of love, too. It’s both a drama and a comedy, whatever the hell that means. Trailer.

Interstellar: Nov. 7, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. It’s a Christopher Nolan film. It’s Matthew McConaughey. It involves outer space. Need I say more? Trailer.

Inherent Vice: Jan. 9, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Just like Interstellar, the anticipation surrounding this movie is a direct result of its writer and director, Paul Thomas Anderson, who is only capable of making phenomenal movies. I actually did watch the trailer for this one. It takes place in the 70s and involves seemingly corrupt cops. It’s tone reminded me a bit of American Hustle, except I have Interstellarto believe it’s going to be a lot better than that. Trailer.

Gone Girl: Oct. 3, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. I have too much trust in David Fincher to believe this won’t be good. It’s a dark, suspenseful, crime drama. It’s based on a book. That’s Fincher’s M.O. The make-or-break aspect of the film, in my eyes, lies in Pike’s performance. I’m really glad they cast a relative unknown to play Amy, who is the central character of the book. So far, I’ve heard good things. It comes out this weekend, and I expect it to be received pretty well. Trailer.

Unbroken: Dec. 25, starring Jack O’Connell and Domhnall Neeson. I read the book this movie is based off, which is a biography of an Olympian runner who gets stranded on a life boat in World War II, who then becomes a Japanese prisoner of war. It’s an absolutely extraordinary story, and will be hard to screw up. It’s been well-documented that Angelina Jolie is directing, so we’ll see how that goes. Like with Gone Girl, I’m really glad they cast relative unknowns. O’Connell got rave reviews for Starred Up, a low budget film he was in last year, so I think this is going to play out pretty well. Trailer.

The Theory of Everything: Nov. 7, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. This one’s a biopic about Stephen Hawking. I’m always fascinated with biopics about brilliant people (see: Imitation Game), because it’s really interesting to get in their heads and know what really goes on up there. Redmayne and Jones are being critically acclaimed, and are near guarantees for Oscar nominations. It probably won’t be a huge mainstream hit, though. Biopics rarely are. Trailer.

Fury: Oct. 17, starring Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf. Of all the movies I’ve listed here, I feel that Fury stands the biggest chance of being a “bust.” Don’t ask me why. But it’s Brad Pitt and it’s World War II. So it’s going to be a huge. It’s also the first real major World War II drama since Saving Private Ryan, so it’ll be interesting to see how it compares. It comes out in two weeks so we’ll know soon enough. Trailer.

I’ll leave it at that. There’s plenty more getting some buzz, like Tim Burton’s Big Eyes, Selma, Whiplash and A Most Violent Year, but the nine I listed above seem to really be the top tier films. As you can see, most are coming out in November, so we are only a month away.

I, for one, cannot wait to illegally downlo — err, I mean … pay $15 to see all of these in theaters.




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