16 Oscar Contenders to Watch This Fall
The 2016 Oscar Awards are months away, but the award season buzz is already in full swing. This year, especially this fall, over a dozen films are garnering attention for their stellar performances, impeccable scripts, and outstanding direction. We’ve selected 15 films that must be viewed before the winners are decided. It’s time to hit the theater! Scroll through for our picks.
Courtesy of Broad Green Pictures
An effective melodrama, 99 Homes is “a story of flipped houses and mortgaged souls,” says The New York Times film critic Robin Lindsay. As viewers, we’re reminded to not get emotional about real estate. But what happens when said real estate is your home and it is taken from you? In this ethically complicated film, the victim, played by Andrew Garfield, becomes the protégé of the real estate broker, played by Michael Shannon, who evicted him and his family from their home. Stellar performances and a thought-provoking premise make this film a 2016 Oscar contender.
Courtesy of Studio Canal
A Bigger Splash is an erotic film that takes place over one weekend on the Italian island of Pantelleria. Rock star Mariann Lane, played by Tilda Swinton, and her filmmaker partner, Paul, played by Matthias Schoenaerts, are vacationing in this idyllic setting when an unexpected old friend and his seductive daughter arrive unexpectedly. Based loosely on La Piscine, this film is a whirlwind of jealousy, passion, and violence sure to leave you fascinated.
Courtesy of Netflix
The Netflix-original Beasts of No Nation, written and directed by True Detective director Cary Fukunaga, will be released on October 16. The war drama, starring Idris Elba and Ama K. Abebrese, is based on the 2005 novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala. It won the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival and proves to be a potential underdog for the Oscar for best drama.
Courtesy of Bridge of Spies
Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, this Cold War drama tells the story of insurance lawyer James B. Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, as he is given a mission to negotiate the release of prisoner of war Francis Gary Powers, a pilot whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union.
Courtesy of Universal Pictures
We’ve waited since Mr. & Mrs. Smith for the second installment of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on the big screen together. Written and directed by Jolie, By the Sea delivers just that. But the premise is far more melancholy. By the Sea is an American drama about an unhappy couple that lets their dissatisfaction linger until it erupts in violence.
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara deliver outstanding performances in this painful love story, adapted from the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. It’s a story about a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life and falls in love with an older, married woman. The film was under development for 11 years before debuting at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or. Mara tied for the Best Actress award.
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
From the director of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle comes the American biographical comedy-drama about a single mother of three who defies expectations by creating the “Miracle Mop” and becoming the president of Ingenious Designs. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro, this powerhouse of Hollywood talent is sure to wow audiences when it premieres this winter.
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
This British drama, based on Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Macbeth stars Michael Fassbender in the title role and Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth. The film, which was directed by Justin Kurzel, met rave reviews at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or. Get ready for an epic tale played by two of today’s greatest actors. “All hail Macbeth.”
Courtesy of A24
Brie Larson delivers the performance of a lifetime in this heartrending drama about a woman who is captured and held hostage in a soundproof garden shed. Originally written as a book of the same name, the book’s author, Emma Donohue, wrote the screenplay for this outstanding film, and director Lenny Abrahamson brought it to life. The story is told from the perspective of Ma’s son, Jack, played by Jacob Tremblay, who was conceived two years into her captivity. This is a survival thriller, a hauntingly conflicted drama of loss and a story of gradual reawakening—all rolled into one exquisitely directed film.
Courtesy of Open Road Films
Spotlight tells the story of The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative unit in the United States, and their unprecedented coverage of the Massachusetts Catholic sex abuse scandal. Directed by Josh Singer, this standout cast, including Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, and Liev Schreiber, shares how the “Spotlight” team fought for the rights of abused children and earned the 2003 Pulitzer for Public Service for their valiant efforts.
Courtesy of Universal Studios
By popular and critical review, Steve Jobs "finally delivers a great film about Apple's fiery genius." Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen star alongside Michael Fassbender, who delivers an electric performance as the complicated design genius. This is a must-watch for anyone who loves innovation, Apple, and brilliant acting.
Courtesy of Focus Features
Last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Actor, Eddie Redmayne, returns to the screen for a timely film about Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of gender reassignment surgery. Starring opposite our new favorite leading lady, Alicia Vikander, Redmayne delivers another profound performance that will have you crying throughout most of the film.
Courtesy of Canal+
The Lobster is a love story unlike any other. The film, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz as forbidden lovers. In a dystopian near future, the laws of the world (aka The City) dictate that single people are obliged to a find a mate within a set period of 45 days or else they are ostracized from society. One man escapes the obligatory mating period and falls in love with one of society’s rejects.
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
The Revenant is a Western thriller that tells the story of fur trapper Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, a man who is mauled by a bear, robbed, and left for dead after surviving his son’s murder by his own companions. The film is a story of survival and vengeance, and we’re hoping it’s finally the Oscar nominee that will get DiCaprio the Best Actor win.
Courtesy of IFC Films
Based on the real-life research of Dr. Zimbardo, a psychology professor at Stanford University, The Stanford Prison Experiment tells the story of the infamous experiment in which students play the role of prisoners or prison guards and events unfold that would shock the world. Directed by Kyle Alvarez, this story will stick in your mind a long time after the film is over.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures
Youth is an Italian film written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Michael Caine stars as a retired orchestra composer on holiday with his daughter, played by Rachel Weisz, in the Alps when an unexpected invitation comes his way.
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Did we forget one? Or include a film you don’t think is Oscar-worthy? Let us know what you think in the comments!