Here are some Honorable Mentions that did not quite make the list: Suffragette, Mad Max: Fury Road, Black Mass, Straight Outta Compton, By the Sea, Southpaw, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Dope, Everest, Brooklyn, Ex Machina, Carol, Concussion, Joy and Creed.
Coming out on Christmas Day, Snowden has all of the makings of an Oscar darling. To start, it is based on the true story of the Edward Snowden hack, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, Don Jon) as the infamous hacker. The film also stars Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars), as well as Oscar-winners Nicolas Cage and Melissa Leo. Also included in the cast are Zachary Quinto, Timothy Olyphant, Scott Eastwood and Tom Wilkinson. The film will also be directed by Oliver Stone, who the Academy Award winning director behind historical hits such as Platoon and JFK. Snowden seems to be Stone's return into the limelight, after he went off-the-radar, post-World Trade Center, one of the largest flops of his career. However, this is a perfect project for Stone, who loves to delve deep into the deception and untold history of our country. This could also be a turn that gets Joseph Gordon-Levitt an Oscar nomination. Oh, how the Academy loves it when actors play real-life people.
On October 9, Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump) will debut his latest film to the masses: The Walk. This movie also chronicles a true story, except this time it is of Philippe Petit, a high-wire artist who attempted to cross between the World Trade Centers on high wire in 1974. Joseph Gordon-Levitt will star in this Oscar vehicle, as well as Oscar winner Ben Kingsley. This film will seem to be a visual spectacle as much as a fantastic movie, which this will hopefully be. This seems to be a perfect film for the Oscars as well, who seem to love grand visual filmmaking, as well as true stories, which this film is. Many have already seen Man on Wire, the 2008 documentary chronicling Petit's journey, which will also raise awareness of the film. If this film boasts strong box office numbers, it will have an even greater chance of being nominated in many categories at this year's Oscars.
While this film has flown highly under-the-radar during awards talk so far this year, I bet that as soon as it comes out, the buzz around this movie will be insane. The film is directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (The King's Speech, Les Miserables) and stars Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables, The Theory of Everything) as Lili Elbe, who attempted the first ever sexual reassignment surgery. Alicia Vikander, who already made waves earlier this year with a strong performance in Ex Machina, will play his wife, Gerda Wegener. Hooper's last two films, The King's Speech and 2012's retelling of the classic musical Les Miserables, were both breathtaking visually, and were nearly flawless films. If Hooper can bring this same mentality to The Danish Girl, he could potentially have yet ANOTHER Best Picture nominee on his hands. And Eddie Redmayne might just have the material here to go for his second straight Academy Award! (he won last year for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything) This film seems extraordinary and will most likely be a contender come awards season.
Inside Out is most certainly a lock to win Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. After all, it opened in June to large critical and audience praise, with both adults and children loving the film's characters and deep messages. However, I believe that Inside Out has a shot to become just the fourth animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. After all, the story is brilliant. The film centers on five emotions in a girl's head: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear. The five of them have to work out situations, and when things go awry, these five emotions need to figure out a way to work together to save their girl. Not to mention, Inside Out has all of the makings of an Oscar nominee: fantastic praise, great messages and a fantastic deeper meaning. Not to mention, having seen the film, it is most certainly good enough to be nominated for Best Picture. I have heard many people calling a Best Picture nom for this film a long shot, while others say it is a given. However, Inside Out is a brilliant film, as well as a fun time at the movies. It's not just well-made. Nearly every Pixar movie has been well-made, but Inside Out has something more that propels it into the discussion of the best Pixar films of all time, as well as the best animated films of all time. Will it join Beauty and the Beast, Up and Toy Story 3 in the prestigious club of animated films nominated for Best Picture? We can only wait and see.
Sci-fi movies are generally a stretch for the Academy to nominate for Best Picture. Only if the film shows amazing filmmaking and fantastic emotional pull, sci-fi movies are usually left off the Best Picture list. The film stars Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars, as he tries to find a way back to Earth. It also stars Jessica Chastain and Jeff Daniels. And while I was originally not convinced about its Oscar chances, and it seemed neither was nearly anyone, the latest trailer for The Martian made it seem like the exact type of sci-fi movie that would not only get nominated for Best Picture, but also be a landmark achievement in cinema. However, this film is a gamble, mainly because of director Ridley Scott. At Scott's high point, he made classics such as Alien, Blade Runner and Academy Award winner Gladiator. However, these last few years, Scott has been having trouble "finding his groove," so to speak. In 2013, many experts predicted early in the year that The Counselor, Scott's latest film, would be nominated for multiple categories at the Oscars. The film bombed, and was considered one of the worst films of the year. The same exact scenario happened the following year with Scott's epic venture, Exodus: Gods and Kings. Doesn't this seem like the boy who cried wolf? However, this film could be such a home run that the Academy would be forced to include it on their Best Picture list, as what happened in 2010 with Inception. Will this be another Inception, meaning a sci-fi movie that is beloved by the masses? Who knows. However, the book the film is based on is considered a fantastic read, so at least we know that the story is in place.
The Hateful Eight is the latest venture from Quentin Tarantino, who has helmed such cult classics as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Tarantino is one of the best screenwriters in the business, so generally any film he makes is considered an Oscar front-runner from the beginning. However, while all of his films seem to be nominated for Best Picture, he's had trouble winning the gold statue in the past, losing out to Forrest Gump (1994), The Hurt Locker (2009) and Argo (2012). Will this finally be the film that wins a Best Picture Oscar for Tarantino? We'll see, as the film takes place in pre-Civil War Wyoming, where a group of bounty hunters get involved with a plot that involves crime and deception. The film has a cast of pure A-listers, including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern and Demian Bichir. This seems like a sure-fire Best Picture nominee, but will it win? We'll find out.
On September 18, the masses will finally get a look at Denis Villeneuve's (Prisoners, Enemy) next film, which stars Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, Into the Woods) as an FBI agent, whom is brought to the border between the US and Mexico to try to help lead the war against drugs. Villeneuve's most recent films, Prisoners and Enemy, were both extremely well-received. However, neither gained any nominations for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. So what makes Sicario different? Well, this film has debuted at many film festivals, to overwhelming praise. Nearly everyone who has seen this movie has been raving about its Oscar potential. The film also looks like a great role for Emily Blunt, as well as other esteemed actors in the film, such as Benecio del Toro and Josh Brolin.
On October 16, Academy award winning director Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Schindler's List) will unveil his latest project: Bridge of Spies. The film centers around Tom Hanks, who plays a lawyer whom is hired by the CIA to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union. For starters, Steven Spielberg is directing this film, meaning that it seems like that is an automatic sign that it will get a TON of Oscar attention. Not to mention, the trailer was extremely well done with what looks like a suspenseful plot and a strong performance in the lead from Tom Hanks. When Hanks and Spielberg team up, good things always seem to happen, from Saving Private Ryan to Catch Me If You Can to even The Terminal. The film also features a prominent supporting cast, with Alan Alda (The Aviator) and Amy Ryan (Birdman) also starring in the film. This seems like a much safer bet to get nominated than many of the other films on this list, because of the strong cast and Spielberg's reputation. Spielberg has not made a "bad" movie in a while, with his last two films, Lincoln and War Horse, both period pieces as this one is, getting Best Picture nominations. Not only does Bridge of Spies look excellent, but it is a sure-fire bet to get nominated on Oscar night.
This release should have a large chance at getting nominated for Best Picture, and already has industry analysts buzzing. Why? Well, this is Alejandro Inarritu's follow-up to Birdman, which won Best Picture at the Oscars last year, and it follows a frontiersman in the 1820s, Hugh Glass, who goes on a killing spree after he was left for dead. This film is also based on a true story, making it more fascinating for the Academy. Not to mention, the cast is simply brilliant. Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street, The Aviator) plays Glass, in what he hopes will be a turn that will FINALLY win him an Academy Award. Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises), Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson are also in the film. This movie could potentially be the best revenge story we have seen since Kill Bill. The material is very interesting, and this film has an Academy Award winning director, as well as a fantastic cast. Will The Revenant win Best Picture? It very well could, with all of the buzz that this film has been getting, and most likely will get upon release.
While 2013's Steve Jobs biopic JOBS was a total critical flop, Steve Jobs, the newest retelling of the famed Apple computer designer's life, seems to have multiple things going for it that could get it a Best Picture nomination, and quite possibly, a win. The film is directed by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle, who helmed fantastic films such as 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting. The film is also being written by Aaron Sorkin, who wrote such critically acclaimed films as A Few Good Men, The Social Network, Moneyball and the popular political TV show The West Wing. Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave, X-Men: First Class) tackles the insane task of playing Steve Jobs, while the film also features a fantastic supporting cast, which includes Kate Winslet (Titanic, The Reader), Seth Rogen (The Interview, Pineapple Express) and Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber, Good Night and Good Luck). The talent is there, both behind the camera and in front of it, and the story is most certainly there, as the film is based on the biography Steve Jobs, which was written by Walter Isaacson, and made waves around the media cycle following Jobs's unfortunate death. Steve Jobs has the makings of a Best Picture nominee, maybe even a winner, more than any other film debuting this year, or on this list, and I am totally excited to see this film when it debuts on October 9.
Thanks a lot for reading this article, and comment down below whether you agree with this list, what films would you have put on there?