BlogDH’s guide to Oscar season

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November brings the promise of turkey, an upcoming winter, and lots of holiday sweaters. But, more importantly, it brings ***Oscar Season***. For those of you who are confused, Oscar season is distinctly different than awards season, which comes a bit later. Oscar season, or “good movie” season as I affectionately call it, is the beautiful time of the year in which Hollywood stops making endless superhero movies and sequels and instead opts for Academy bait and the like. You know what that means: intense thrillers, avant-garde filmmaking techniques, and Amy Adams. Below is a list of the movies that most people (critic-y people, anyways) have cited as having a shot at winning anything come January and February. Don’t worry, no one actually expects you to see all these movies, but knowing they exist will make you feel ~ahead of the game~ when your pretentious informed MCM friend talks about them.

Movies You Already Should’ve Seen

I’m not going to spend too much time on these because, as stated, you really should’ve already seen these movies. Whether you loved or hated Boyhood (did anyone hate this movie?), the movie directed by Richard Linklater promised audiences something they’d never seen before. Its revolutionary process of filming the same actors over an eleven year period had critics across the globe basically jizzing themselves. Love is Strange also got lots of critic love, but won’t be remembered like The Grand Budapest Hotel will. Can you believe Wes Anderson has never been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards? Not even for Moonrise Kingdom? Me neither. People think The Fault in our Stars may get nominated for things, which, I have to admit, would be pretty disappointing.

Movies You Can See Right Now

Skeleton Twins

What the New York Times called the “angsty” tweedledee and tweedledum, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig remind you why they’re awesome and sort of/maybe leave you feeling a little bit sad. The screenplay won at Sundance, too, as if you needed more reasons to see this.

Gone Girl

I’m just going to put this out there: I love Ben Affleck. While I’ll admittedly call his acting so-so, it’s hard not to like a guy who can resurrect himself from the media catastrophe that was Bennifer. I’m not sure how much that can save him for his upcoming role as Batman, but in Gone Girl, it works. Plus, it seems like director David Fincher is capable of anything (or at the very least, snagging another Best Director nomination).

St. Vincent

When I went to the movies this past weekend, I did not intend to see St. Vincent mainly because I didn’t know if I could take another sub-par Melissa McCarthy movie. Yet, as the theatre darkened, there I was watching Bill Murray and the cutest kid in a movie this year (sorry Ellar Coltrane) play out what might be the weirdest babysitter relationship I’ve every seen. I’m not sure how well it’ll do at the awards ceremonies (Golden Globes, maybe?), but dammit, the movie is enjoyable.

Whiplash (at the Avon on November 21st)

Though this movie stars relatively unknown actors, the film has gotten plenty of film festival attention, even winning the Grand Jury prize at Sundance. J.K. Simmons is pretty much a shoe-in for best supporting actor, and the film is being lauded for exploring the overlooked art of jazz. Safe to say you’ll catch me at the Avon on the 21st.

Birdman (at the Avon this week)

Get your booty to the Avon – pronto. This movie was both original and unpredictable, leaving me thinking “what the fuck” more than once. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to say you saw the coolest movie of the year (even if the Oscars ignore it because it’s a comedy).

Fury

It’s not scoring all that well with critics, but audiences seem to like it a lot more. Maybe because people like being reminded that Shia LaBeouf is actually an actor and not just an endless source of crazy stories and 80’s workout clothes. Also, tanks.

Nightcrawler

The film is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and Jake Gyllenhaal is receiving lots of praise for his portrayal of a sociopathic journalist. This film has potential to crawl up from behind (see what I did there?) during awards season, so if you’re tired of Christopher Nolan check this one out…

Interstellar

Or, like everyone else, see this. One person called Interstellar a “less interesting version of Gravity with less likable actors.” Maybe so, but with it’s all-star cast and director, it would be hard to count it out of the game. That, and the trailer is sick.

Big Hero 6

The trailer and cuteness speak for themselves.

The Theory of Everything

You pretty much have to be Joffery Baratheon not to have this movie warm your heart. Eddie Redmayne’s transformation into the legendary Stephen Hawking will certainly elevate him to the big leagues, with Felicity Jones also getting lots of praise. The film has been receiving some criticism for changing the story around to fit the usual norms of a theatrical drama, but since when has anyone cared about that?

Upcoming Movies

The Homesman (November 14)

Did you know Meryl Streep was in this movie? Probably not, but Hillary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones are the ones you want to look out for.

Foxcatcher (November 14)

Reasons this is the movie I am most excited for: 1) Steve Carrell taking on a serious role that is slated to change the way we look at this funny man 2) It’s director Bennett Miller’s (probably triumphant, according to his Best Director win at Cannes) follow-up to 2011’s Moneyball, 3) Any film that gets Channing Tatum Oscar buzz is worth my time and 4) That trailer.

The Imitation Game (November 21)

This movie is getting a lot of attention for what looks like just another WWII movie. There must be more to the story of mathematician Alan Turing than we think. That, or Benedict Cumberbatch.

Wild (December 5)

Reese Witherspoon makes her grand return to real movies as a heroin addict, how exciting! While this seems like some weird hybrid of 127 Hours and Eat, Pray, Love, Witherspoon apparently gives a performance that could get her a second Academy win. This is also director Jean-March Vallée’s follow-up to last year’s Dallas Buyers Club.

Exodus: Gods and Kings (December 12)

I honestly did not even want to include this in the list, but, for the sake of being thorough and not discounting Ridley Scott, here it is.

Inherent Vice (December 12)

Personally, I would trust Paul Thomas Anderson with anything, even if critics do have their worries. People don’t seem too sure what to make of this noir-comedy, but who cares? Have you seen the cast? Have you seen the trailer (it’s right there^)? It’s Paul Thomas Anderson, for god sakes!

Mr. Turner (December 19)

Compared to Inherent Vice, this looks like an absolute snoozer. For that reason, it’ll probably be nominated for every award ever without me even having seen it. (But if you see me on the street, I’ll say it was beautifully written and Timothy Spall’s performance was subtle but powerful like a like a “moulting, phlegmy Gruffalo,” thank you very much.)

Merry Christmas (surprise, Santa gave you more movies)

Big Eyes

Tim Burton is back at making weird live-action films and this time the truth is stranger than fiction. Amy Adams stars, which will surely make it divisive. But, as we know, Amy Adams rules award shows as of late, so get used to it. The leading male Christoph Waltz has never lost an Oscar nomination, so that too sounds promising. Now, I have to admit, the trailer really freaks me out, but I’m pretty much willing to watch anything. Did I mention that Amy Adams is in it?

Unbroken

There’s not much to say about this one other than I got teary just looking at the trailer, and the movie will likely be no different. The incredible man the film is based on, Louis Zamperini, just passed away, so this movie is bound to make people even more emotional than expected. Hopefully newbie director Angelina Jolie can snag her first Best Director nomination. (A screenplay written by the Coen brothers couldn’t hurt.)

Into the Woods

If you don’t like musicals you probably won’t like this. If you don’t like musicals I probably don’t like you. Director Rob Marshall’s record with theatrical musicals include one major hit (Chicago) and one major slip (Nine), so it would seem that he’s due for a knock out. The killer cast and promising content only has us wishing that the movie lives up to our expectations. But, as the musical tells us, be careful what you (I) wish for.

American Sniper

It hasn’t been a great year for Clint Eastwood. In fact, it hasn’t been a good couple of years, to be sure. But this film is stacked up to do much better than Jersey Boys, make no mistake. If the Christmas release date didn’t convince you, the buzz around Bradley Cooper definitely should.

Selma (limited release)

This film stars Oprah Winfrey as a civil rights protestor and tells the story of the 1965 march led by Martin Luther King, Jr., played by David Oyelowo. Brad Pitt is backing this one and it was received well at AFI Fest, so it’s sure to be good, even if no one sees the final cut until Christmas.

Still Alice (limited release) in December, theatrical release January 16, 2015

Pretty much the only reason to see this movie is because award shows love Julianne Moore and you should, too. (Also, the Best Actress category is looking pretty weak.)

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