We know it’s a ways off yet, but with the recent Toronto Film Festival always somewhat of an early indicator for how the Academy might vote; as well as other film festivals throughout the year highlighting some likely contenders, now is officially the start of Oscar Prediction Season.
While there is a HUGE list of still sight unseen movies to come that we can’t really make a judgement on yet - Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, Theory Of Everything, Into The Woods, A Most Violent Year, Men, Women & Children, An American Sniper - and there’s also a good few movies that already have been seen but might not make that Oscar attention grab until closer to the date, here’s the ten movies we see as currently sitting at the top of the Most Likely To Get Nominated list.
We’ll check back in with this in a few weeks and/or months as more and more of the movies get watched, just to see how right or wrong we were.
Who? Tim Burton, directing Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz.
Why? Based on a true story of a famous female painter who had to take her own husband to court after he claimed ownership of all of her in-demand works, this also has two previous Oscar magnets in the lead roles. Last time Burton got this serious, he gave us Big Fish (sensing a title theme?), which was magnificent.
Who? Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, directing Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Zack Galafanakis, Amy Ryan and Andrea Riseborough.
Why? Keaton plays a washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero (Incredible casting choice!), who is about to take part in a Broadway play in order to put his career back on track. Early word from Toronto has been nothing short of spectacular, with Keaton on career-high form, with Inarritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel) teaming up with the cinematographer of Gravity to give us something truly amazing.
Who? Richard Linklater, directing Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette.
Why? Probably just about the best reviewed movie of the year, along with a successful box office run considering it’s art house appeal, this is 13 years of film-making combined with top of the class directing and acting. Despite coming out months ago and out of Oscar season, if this doesn’t get the nomination, we’ll eat our proverbial hat.
Who? Bennett Miller, directing Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo.
Why? We actually had this as an entry in last year’s predictions, so long has the good word been running up on this movie. Carrell appears to be doing a complete about-face on his career with this movie, and most of the hype has been about his transformative performance. Although there’s now also suggestions of Tatum getting some Oscar attention. From the director of Capote and Moneyball, we feel this will do better in the acting categories, rather than actual go home with the biggie on the night.
Who? David Ayer, directing Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman and Scott Eastwood.
Why? War movies are always going to get Oscar attention… until they don’t. Remember Monuments Men? No, neither does anyone else. Although this could go all Saving Private Ryan and blow us all away. From the director of End Of Watch (very good) and Sabotage (very not good), this could go either way. Although early word has been astounding. Throw this on the higher end of the maybe pile.
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Who? Was Anderson, directing ….. most of the known world.
Why? Much like Boyhood, this was released much earlier in the year to much critical acclaim and did very well at the box office, so expect this to be in with a shout. Anderson is a bit of a critical darling most of the time, but mostly for writing – both Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenanbaums lost, as did The Fantastic Mr Fox – so this would finally be the time for a Best Picture nod.
THE IMITATION GAME
Who? Morten Tyldum, directing Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley and Mark Strong.
Why? This has the Oscar double whammy of being about a gay man in World War II, so naturally this is already a bit of a front-runner. It also helps that the movie itself is supposedly very good, with early reviews being pretty much rave-y. From the director of the fantastic Headhunters, this has Cumberbatch on decidedly “Give Me An Oscar, Please” mode, and he’ll probably get it, too.
Who? Christopher Nolan, directing Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and loads, LOADS more.
Why? Nolan did pretty well with Inception, Oscars wise (4 wins out of 8 noms), and we expect Interstellar to do likewise, pretty much being this year’s Gravity. The plot involving the end of Earth as a sustainable planet and the use of wormholes to find a new home for humanity is still mostly underwraps, but the trailer alone already has us reaching for the tear-filled hankies. Plus it looks all kinds of beautiful to boot, with Nolan’s usual DoP Wally Pfister off making Transcendence at the time (whoops…), he was replaced by Hoyte Van Hoytema, who made the likes of The Fighter, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and last year’s Her all look so spectacular.
Who? Mike Leigh, directing Timothy Spall and Leslie Manville.
Why? Firstly, Mike Leigh has been nominated for seven Oscars, and has yet to win one, so he’s overdue on at this point. Secondly, dealing with the life of mad-as-a-bag-of-wrenches British artist J.M.W. Turner, lead actor Spall has a good shot of Best Actor, and early word on the rest of the film has been referred to as a masterpiece by some. One of the smaller entries on the list for sure, but still one not to be discounted.
Who? Angelina Jolie, directing Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Jai Courtney and Garrett Hedlund.
Why? We don’t even know where to begin… telling the true-life (Oscar loves true-life) story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic Runner (Oscar loves sports) who went off to serve in World War II (Oscar loves World War II), only to be shot down and survive on the open ocean with very little food or water (Oscar loves survivor stories), and then taken captive by the Japanese (Oscar loves survivors part two). All this movie needed was for Zamperini to be gay and have a life-threatening illness to fill its Oscar bingo card. Throw in the fact that Jolie is already Hollywood royalty, the script is provided by none other than The Coen Brothers, and O’Connell is one of the best young actors around right now, and this has all the ingredients of a Best Picture sure-thing. Now… to wait and see if it’s actually any good…