The summer movie season wrapped over a month ago and maybe you saw our review of that whole debacle. Now we’re deep into fall and that means it’s Oscar season. This time of the year and all the way through Christmas, is when the studios release all the tastiest Oscar bait. But how do you know which of these movies are even worth watching? You won’t not until they’re released anyways. But we’ll try our best to preview these movies and give you a rundown of the top Oscar contenders set for release until the new year.
Yes, this was last month, but the release of Sully really kicked off Oscar season. We’ve already written about Sully previously so there’s not much more to say about it. It’s pretty obvious this movie was made to win awards.
Again, this movie is already out but it’s not like you missed it already or something. This based on a true story is about the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell star in the film directed by Peter Berg, best known for Friday Night Lights and Lone Survivor, which also stars Wahlberg (he must really like Marky Mark. I wonder if they’ll work together again?).
Queen of Katwe
You may have heard of Deepwater Horizon but I’m sure you’ve never heard of this one. So why is it an Oscar contender? Well it takes place in a poor foreign country and features an empowered female protagonist who not only has to overcome poverty but I assume some older males that don’t think it’s a woman place to be competing with men, in chess. Yes, this movie is about chess. It stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o too.
The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation is about Nat Turner, a Virginia slave that led one of the largest slave rebellions in U.S. history. Movies about typically do well when it comes to awards, as just in the last five years we’ve seen Lincoln and 12 Years a Slave. I don’t mean to be cynical. Slavery was a dark, yet fascinating part of our country’s history. There’s a lot of great drama to tell from this period and early reviews are positive. Director Nate Parker pulls triple duty in his debut as he also stars as Turner and wrote the screenplay.
This one is kind of a darkhorse but it’s worth mentioning. It’s an indie starring no one you’ve heard of (except maybe Janelle Monae who’s a musician). However, the early reviews are great, currently at a 98 on metacritic. It’s about a young black man who struggles with his sexuality so positive reviews are no surprise.
Mel Gibson is back as a director for the first time since 2006’s Apocalypto. Wonder why it’s been so long? South Park said it best, “Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but the son of a bitch knows story structure”. I’m glad he’s back behind the camera and this one sounds real good. Andrew Garfield stars as a WWII medic and Medal of Honor recipient. What makes him so interesting though, is that he was a conscientious objector due to his religion. That means he didn’t carry a weapon and would not kill. Yet, he saved over 75 lives serving in the army.
Jeff Nichols is one of the most respected indie filmmakers out there and it’s his latest, Loving, that will start getting him some awards show attention. Loving is about an interracial couple in the 1950’s who end up suing the state of Virginia after they are arrested due to their forbidden love. The suit ends up in the Supreme Court resulting in all laws prohibiting interracial marriage being struck down. The two leads, Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, are both expected to receive acting nominations.
Director Denis Villeneuve is on a hot streak. If you don’t know his name now, you will soon. His previous films include Prisoners and Sicario and after Arrival he’s making the Blade Runner sequel coming out in 2017. But don’t skip Arrival, a sci-fi mystery starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
If you think this is a terrible title, I would agree. But it does make sense. This movie is about a young soldier being honored at halftime of a Cowboys game. He has flashbacks to his tour during the halftime ceremony. You see, it make sense. So it’s a war movie and it’s directed by two time Academy Award winner Ang Lee.
Manchester by the Sea
This small indie stars Kyle Chandler and Casey Affleck as brothers in a small Massachusetts beach town. This movie might not have been expected to be an Oscar contender but it got such a great reception at its Sundance premier that it has real Oscar chances now.
A biopic about a significant historical person. These types of movies seem to be made specifically for award season. This one features Natalie Portman as former first lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis in her years following JFK’s assassination.
La La Land
Despite the stupid title, La La Land might be the best picture favorite. It’s Damien Chazelle’s follow up to Whiplash. Chazelle brings back J.K. Simmons and pairs Ryan Golsing and Emma Stone together again in this musical/romantic comedy.
The Founder was supposed to be out already but it was pushed back, most likely for award reasons. Michael Keaton stars as Ray Kroc, the “founder” of McDonald’s. Keaton has starred in the last two Best Picture winners and is almost assured a Best Actor nomination for this one.
Will Smith is a depressed man due to the loss of his daughter. I’m sure he’ll be really good in this one.
Denzel’s directorial debut based on an award winning play. This could be bad but probably not. I believe in Denzel Washington.
This sci-fi thriller is probably not going to get nominated for Best Picture but it could win some technical awards. Stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence might be the hottest actor and actress right now so it’s hard to see this one flopping.
Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg make a movie together for the first time in over two months. Not sure if this one will be better or worse than Deepwater Horizon but there’s potential.
Two missionaries, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, try to find their mentor, Liam Neeson, in Japan. Martin Scorcese has been trying to make this one for years and finally got the chance to do it after the success of The Wolf of Wall Street.